THIS Is Why You Should NEVER Leave the House.

This is what one of my kitchen walls looks like right now. I love it. It’s one of the few things in my house I know is exactly right. So it only makes sense that I should completely change it.

I know. I agree and understand your outrage.  It’s a perfect wall.  White painted brick with bits of original wood stuck in there.  Antique French curtain tie backs holding my collection of rolling pins.  Plus of course – that pig’s head.

So why change it?  Because I left the house.  And nothing good ever comes from leaving the house. Leaving the house invariably means spending money, so it really is best to never leave your house.  (blocking Amazon on your browser is an additional safety measure one should consider)

Last summer I went to a Sunday antique market and spotted something that made my heart stop.  I went home, measured my kitchen and realized it wouldn’t fit.  This summer I went back to that Sunday antique market and saw it was still there. Apparently it wouldn’t fit in anyone’s kitchen.

So I took a good look at it again, determined it could easily be made a bit smaller and that was it. I bought it. The brick wall that I love so much was going to be covered up to make room for something I loved even more. This.

Granted, it’s in a bit of a “state” in this photo, but you get the idea of what it looks like.  The reason I had a hard time letting go of it is because a) it’s beautiful and b) it’s narrow.  It’s as narrow as the bench that I have running along my brick wall.

That means I’ll still be able to get around the cabinet with no problem PLUS it’ll  hold a heck of a lot more than 6 or 7 rolling pins.  In a house that’s 180 years old there isn’t a lot of storage.  In a small house that’s 180 years old there’s even less storage.  More of a cottage really.  The kind of thing a family of gnomes would feel comfortable in.

So the cabinet will go along that brick wall giving me storage for STUFF.

The cabinet doesn’t come to the ceiling so the white brick will still be visible for about a foot and a half above the cabinet.

It *will* however, completely change the feeling of the kitchen.  Even though it’s narrow (the top cubby holes are only 7″ deep) it will make the kitchen feel more closed in.  And it’s dark.  So it will darken the kitchen a bit.

I’m preparing  myself mentally for that.  In fact I’m preparing myself for a kitchen that feels like a dark, cramped hovel so that when the cabinet is put in place it’ll be a refreshing realization that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

I find it best to trick myself in these types of situations, and luckily I’m very good at tricking myself.


The cabinet was made for holding nails, screws and other hardware. I’m guessing it came from an old hardware store, I’m going to try to find out more abou tit.  It’s built from quarter sawn oak.  Each drawer has a metal, numbered label on it.  The knobs are hideous and will eventually be replaced with something more authentic.


The drawers as I mentioned are hilariously small.  Good for spices and toupees and that’s about it.  Or so I thought until I realized if I wanted to, I could use part of it for a seed storage catalogue.


The issue with it not fitting is this.  The cabinet (which looks weirdly small in the photo below that shows the owner measuring it) is 91″ long.  12.25″ longer than my wall.  Which is the exact measurement of 2 rows of drawers.

If I take the middle section of the cabinet out, including 2 rows of small drawers, and one of the larger drawers and push the cabinet back together – it will fit perfectly.

I was a bit worried that would ruin the look of the piece. Part of what’s so great about it is the size. But I think it’ll still be mighty big enough to have an impact.

I was going to attempt this reconstruction myself but then decided I’d rather pay someone to do it right.  I  know a guy.

This is the cabinet as it is now (full length).

And this is what it will look like once its reduced in size.  I still can’t get over how weirdly small it looks in these photos.

The cabinet is getting delivered from the antique market directly to the man who will reconstruct it and when it’s done I’ll pick it up and bring it home.

Until then – I’m not leaving the house.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Gail Dedrick says:

    Assuming you didn’t refinance your house to buy the thing, I think you did well. Plus, you can always move it if it doesnt work. The white brick will always be behind it, but I think this is more functional. Plus, by reducing the size you’re probably making it a hell of a lot more functional for other people, too, which means it would be easier to sell if you tired of it.

    • Karen says:

      That’s what I thought, so I’m not too worried about having hacked into it, lol. It’s been for sale for a couple of years now so clearly no one had room for it. ~ karen!

  2. leo muzzin says:

    Ok after writing the first comment I decided to google “Tregunno Seeds” and saw a Jan 23, 2013 story on The about the store closing, and a photo of their seed cabinet, which look to be in sections, and yours could be one of those sections. Very interesting. I used to buy my seeds for my garden plot here and really enjoyed the atmosphere in this place!

  3. Jeanne says:

    One more thing. If you haven’t priced knobs lately, they are frightfully expensive. A matte dark metal spray paint would help those knobs a lot till I (you) can afford to replace them.

    • Karen says:

      Oh yes, I know all about the price of knobs. :/ I’m going to see if I can weather them with some sort of solution for now. ~ karen!

      • Elaine says:

        I am SO jealous! That is a gorgeous piece and it will suit your kitchen to a T! I sure wish we still had that antique place in town … I was so disappointed to see them go. I remember a Pin on Pinterest where salt, vinegar and peroxide were used to age any kind of metal. Can’t wait to see your piece all dolled up for Christmas!

    • Jeanne says:

      I used to do stained glass. There was a patina you coukd rub on the lead seams to darken it. Good luck

      • Karen says:

        Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking! My mother and sister used to do stained glass and said they thought it might work. :) ~ karen!

  4. Miriam says:

    I think it’s even nicer in its reduced size.
    Look forward to seeing it installed. I actually thought you were going to do the reduction yourself, that’s just an indication of how much faith I have in your skills!

  5. danni says:

    I so totally get that urge, I have a thing for old containers, (wooden boxes, old steamer trunks, old blanket chests…) my house is full of them… but THAT!!! Oh man that just is lust-worthy for sure! Green with envy here! Can’t wait to see the results, I know it will be great! So happy for you!
    (and yet I’m calculating where I would put it in my house…. ha!)

  6. Cathy Reeves says:

    I can see why you are on the fence. It. Is. Gorgeous. But then so is your wall. But then you are brave and courageous AND you know when to raise the white flag that says ‘I need help with this’. You’re my hero.
    I’ve always wanted a card catalog piece from a library.
    Kind of the same thing.

  7. leo muzzin says:

    I remember seeing something like this at the Tregunno seed store, which closed up several years ago. Just wondering if it could be from there.

    • Karen says:

      Nope. It’s from a hardware store originally, and came out of a collection from a man in Muskoka a few years ago. Would make a great seed catalogue though! ~ karen

  8. Barbie says:

    It’s going to look brilliant! Kudos to you for allowing someone else to do the work! Look how far you’ve come! Sometimes it’s just what we need to do! … or not do ha ha! Can’t wait to see the final product in place!

    • Karen says:

      If I didn’t have a chicken coop to reroof I might consider doing the cabinet but it wouldn’t be nearly as good a job as “my guy” will do. So I’m pretty sure I’ve made the right decision. :) ~ karen!

  9. Jean says:

    Actually I like the proportions of the revised cabinet better. And if you decide you made a mistake, I’ll buy it off of you!

  10. Stunnnnnnning!!!! I want to see it installed! Can’t wait ! PS. when me and your boyfriend come by to admire your new kitchen-ness, can we have pizza? Giving you lots of warning. hahahaha.

  11. SuzanneLH says:

    I too have a little drawer fetish… Magnificent, jealous, good for you!

  12. susan says:

    Since you’re already cutting into it, why don’t you get your guy to change some of the drawers to doubles or even triples, put the same fronts back on and then it still looks like singles but when you pull it out, it’s a wider, functional drawer? Goodness, glad I don’t have to say that sentence out loud! I love those things and had to forcibly remove myself from an auction with a dentist’s cabinet.

  13. Kathryn says:

    Do not photograph large furniture while giants are measuring.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I know, she looks like a giant and the piece looks like doll furniture. Neither of which are true. Not that I remember anyway. Eek. What if she was a giant and I did actually buy doll furniture? NOTHING will fit in those drawers if that’s the case. ~ karen!

  14. whitequeen96 says:

    Wow, your re-design actually looks BETTER than the original! The middle archway now matches the size of the other two and everything looks neater and prettier. Oh, I would love to have something like this, but I’d leave some drawers open with things trailing out; plants, ribbons, seed packets, moss, etc.

  15. Maria Campbell says:

    I hope you are telling him to save the extra little drawers you are cutting out. Those will have a million uses by itself. Well done. It’s beautiful Love it.

  16. Heather says:

    Cool! Can’t wait to see the completed project.

  17. JennyW says:

    Be still my heart <3

  18. Edie Marie says:

    I’ve always loved cabinets with little drawers, lots of little drawers! What better place to put… lots of little things? And this cabinet has sooo many drawers. I now have cabinet envy. I’ll be waiting on pins & needles to see it in your kitchen. It’s going to be faaaabulous!!

    Blessings, Edie Marie & Kitty

  19. Sarah says:

    Can’t wait to see what it looks like in place ! Great piece of furniture.

  20. Meg says:

    that is so neat!

    also, uh, how long can one keep seeds? (well, and have them still be viable?) Cause I am totally trying to grow a few seeds now (completely off-season) and keep the remaining seeds til next year, hoping at least some of them germinate next year, too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg. Most seeds stay viable for a longggg time if you keep them in the dark and relatively cool. The only seeds I’ve found really can be a bit finicky are lettuce seeds. Everything else is pretty good about sprouting even 5 years later. You’ll lose some but if you’re planting old seeds just remember to overplant. ~ karen!

      • Meg says:

        yay! that’s awesome. thank you! I am now totally excited about my chances for plants next year too.

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