The Antique Hardware Cabinet Finally Comes Home

I came across an antique hardware cabinet over a year ago and fell in love with it.  Being too long for any wall in my 1840’s cottage, I had to forget about it. Then I saw it again this summer and realized … I’m super-stupid.  It was made of wood and wood can be CUT.  So cut it I did.  Here are the results.

Listen, I know you are all interested in what this cabinet looks like after being cut down, but mainly what you want to know is Did the pig’s head stay?  Yes.  It did.

I am pleased to report he’s happily keeping watch over my kitchen as he always has, perched above my new, old antique cabinet; which is now 13″ shorter than it was 2 months ago.

What kind of sorcery does it take to shrink a solid wood cabinet down by 13″?  Just chuck it in the dryer. Just kidding, that would never work.  The sound of it clunking around in there would make you a crazy person.

The resizing of this early 1900’s cabinet required the skills of a rather talented Polish man to hack away at it.

It was cut down the centre and then pushed together again. The seams were disguised and aged, and the cabinet was given new supports to maintain it’s structural integrity.

So there’s a seam down the centre of it that you really can’t see. In fact I don’t think I’ve noticed it even once.

Had I wanted a completely invisible repair, they could have taken the entire cabinet apart, made it shorter and put it all back together  but that also would have taken a lot more time in the dryer and therefore a lot more money.

This isn’t exactly a fine piece of furniture. It’s rustic. So a seam down the middle isn’t going to take away from its beauty at all.

If You Had to Change it, Why Buy it?

That’s your question, right?  I bought it for a few reasons.

  1. I loved the original metal numbers on every drawer.

2. It’s only 13″ deep which is rare for a large cabinet.  13″ is what I had space for.

3. I needed more storage.

4.  There was just something about it.

A lot of times we can’t put our finger on why we love something so much.  That was the case with this cabinet.

I loved how my white brick wall looked before with my collection of rolling pins hanging on antique french curtain tie backs but … I needed room for STUFF.  You can see how the wall looked before in this post.

For now every single drawer is still empty.  Partly because I still haven’t washed the interior of all 54 drawers and partly because I really have to plan what I’m going to put in those drawers and how I’m going to remember what’s in them all.


O.K., this is PROOF at how bad I’m going to be at remembering what’s in all those drawers. I just this moment realized I do have something in one of the larger lower drawers – I have the far right one filled with dry cat food and a scoop. I just lined the drawer with some waxed paper and poured it right in.


See?  Cat food.  And horrifically ugly knobs.  But I’ll deal with those later.

Taking a look at the cabinet head on, you can see that the cabinet doesn’t look like it was altered at all in any way.

For reference, this is what it looked like before it was cut down to size.

 

Two side by side sets of small drawers and one large drawer were removed right down the middle.  An interesting note about those drawers.  If you look closely you’ll notice one drawer doesn’t have a number on it like the rest of them do.

Further  inspection shows that this drawer has NEVER had a number on it. There are no holes or patched holes on the inside or the outside of the drawer.

The drawer is drawer number 13. That’s how superstitious people were back in the day.   I plan on keeping my evil eyes in the drawer.

Just the storage on the shelves of the cabinet has allowed me to clear out a full cupboard and shelf in my kitchen by moving things around.

This might not be how it stays, this is how I put things in there quickly during my mad rush to get it presentable before Thanksgiving guests arrived.  I picked the cabinet up just a couple of days before I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 15 people.

My ironstone and perpetually tarnished silverware has never looked better.

 

I’m going to live with the cabinet for a little while before I decide on knobs for it.  The knobs on the lower big drawers are what irk me the most. They’re plastic as far as I can tell and weirdly deep.  The knobs on the little drawers are a mix of old and tarnished, which I like, and new and plasticy and shiny which I do not like.

Nor does the little pig.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

I'd been looking at this antique hardware cabinet for my kitchen for over a year. But it was 13

140 Comments

  1. karen tomlinson says:

    absolutely beautiful. but how are you EVER remember what is where?

  2. Caryl says:

    It is absolutely beautiful.Even if it was 100% unusable I would have it in my kitchen yesterday. Well done, Karen, well done.

  3. Keelea L says:

    I’d forgotten how invested I was in this cabinet after the debacle with the floors! Welcome home, cabinet! It’s a perfect fit!

  4. Sue says:

    What are you doing with the section that came out? Was there anything salvageable?

  5. Marjorie Kramer says:

    Wow!! So perfect. Well done. You have it all – the ability to see the possibilities, the ability to plan how to make it work and then the phone numbers of craftspeople who can make it happen – should you not be able to do it yourself! Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Bethany Jones says:

    There’s gotta be a Dewey Decimal Drawer app for that.

  7. Meg says:

    I love that your house is always a new work of art, in progress.
    And also the cat food drawer!

  8. Jo says:

    Looks awesome Karen! A beautiful fit to your home. Congratulations on your find.

  9. Margaret K. says:

    You’d never know it had been cut. A great fit now and lots of storage – perfect!

  10. Heidi says:

    Beautiful, well done!

  11. Robert says:

    To die for! Beautiful job but for the record and please don’t kill me I can see the middle seam in the pictures

  12. Julie Anne says:

    You have such great vision. If you can’t do it yourself, you’ll find someone who can. It’s perfect, except for the knobs.

    Organizational idea. A spreadsheet numbered 1 to X. Fill in each & leave room to pencil in additions while you’re getting organized. Update it as needed. You get the concept.

  13. Nikki Howser says:

    Beautiful! You will have to make a spreadsheet with the numbers and corresponding items 😂

  14. Susan Jacobs says:

    Maybe you could use one of the small drawers like a library card file list of whats in the other drawers. I absolutely love this cabinet. I have been looking for an old library card file cabinet for years.

  15. Lois Baron says:

    It looks So. Good. on that wall.

  16. Ella says:

    It really turned out beautifully….your Polish guy is a master!

    Not to be critical but….Dontcha think putting the cat food in there loose like that is a siren call to every mouse in the neighbourhood….? After living in a house of similar vintage….I dunno….I wouldn’t do it.

    • Doug says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Hey, maybe Karen has all that covered, too.

    • Karen says:

      If mice want food, they’re going to go for the cat food that’s in a bowl on the floor all the time. MUCH easier access. ~ karen!

      • june says:

        Karen,

        PLEASE, NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! DO NOT chance it! Your cabinet is too pretty.

        I had a super-mouse invasion. They ate through a WOOD CABINET AND TUPPERWARE just to get to some dried pasta. I’m sure that the cat food bowls are sometimes empty and as long as they can smell tasty meow mix, they will find a way. I would imagine it is far more appealing than dry pasta and they will work for it.

  17. Kimberly says:

    I love it so much. And I was just so excited to see the email saying it was there! You had it! You make me want to do a home
    blog with all the stuff we do around here (1911 house, lots of fun stuff done like your house, happy lovely clutter). But I don’t think I will. I would need another me.

    But yes. I love this. I love you. I love your whole home. And I am glad you are giving that cabinet a home and loving it. Good work. It’s all exactly right. Thanks for just spreading your love on the world thick.

    That sounds sticky. But ah. I don’t even know if you know what I mean. But I love it. I love when old stuff is loved and when people make their homes HOME.

    ❤️❤️❤️

  18. Elaine says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Karen; I bet you stand there and admire it every day … I know I would! Love how you have decorated it, too!

  19. brenda says:

    that is so beautiful and so smart of you to figure out you could ask someone else to fix it to fit too … also it’s easy peasy to remember what is where … frame an index for each number of what is in each drawer with a little picture + word(s) … and then you can ask other people to please get you a cup of sugar, or 1/2 cup of flower, or 1 T of dried cannabis

  20. Dreamy. Beautiful. Magnificent.

  21. Tine Lisberg from Denmark says:

    Åhhhh Karen – Hvor er det bare et flot stykke møbel (It’s just such a beautiful peace of funiture). Jeg forstår godt, hvorfor du har forelsket dig i det (I do understand why you have fallen in love with it). :o)

  22. tucsonpatty says:

    Oh My Heart! I knew I would love every little thing about this gorgeous hunk of love-ly wooden cabinetry. I also wish for an affordable card catalog. Whatever I would put into the drawers would never again see the light of day. I might just leave them empty. Folks have suggested filling the drawers with bottles of wine, but I don’t drink, so… Congratulations on the two new members of your family – your floors and your cabinet!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Patty! I have a friend who has a similar house to mine that she bought recently. She’s frustrated that it’s still needs soooo much work. But, this particular house of mine has been almost 20 years in the making. And I still have my office and bathroom to do! ~ karen

  23. tucsonpatty says:

    (I do realize this is not a library card catalog. Just commenting on another’s wish.)

  24. Paula says:

    It looks awesome! The tone of the wood matches your island and your sink countertop and everyone needs room for more stuff.

  25. Karen says:

    As I see it you have three choices. #1 Spend a week or so placing things and memorizing where they are ( which will only work if you have a decent memory.) #2 Place things in alphabetical order (and then repe the alphabet every time you need to find something.)
    #3 Make a little book which lists the items in alphabetical order and the drawer said items are in.

  26. M J Korbol says:

    🤩WOW‼️ Your “new” cabinet is down right friggin’ AWESOME‼️ I so love ❤️ your eclectic design & that cabinet is absolutely perfect for your kitchen. I think it has much more character than the brick wall‼️ You are an interior design artist ~ I so enjoy all of your posts. Thank you for allowing us into your wonderful abode‼️

  27. Juliana says:

    I f-ing LOVE it! Your wall was too barren, and it was perfectly adjusted for you. Somehow I managed to bring your blog up in normal chitchat everyday this week. I feel like a weirdo

  28. Sarah says:

    It looks fab – what a great job he did on it ! I’d like to know what became of the 3 extra drawers…I hope he made them into a cupboard/shelf unit or something. Can’t bear to think they’ve been chucked..
    And yes, good luck with remembering what’s in each drawer ! You’ll have to make up a crib sheet with the numbers and contents on !

  29. Grammy says:

    Breathtaking. It looks exactly like I imagined, and you must honestly be the happiest girl in the world.

    Now I look forward to seeing what you do with the seven small and one large leftover drawers — no idea what it will be, but I know I’m going to envy it.

    There are excellent apps for inventory of books, music, movies, etc., cheap and easy to use. One of them is going to be exactly what you need to let you check where what you want is located. Many are free to try, then you can pay a tiny price to purchase one of them if you find it works for you but need more.

  30. Lez says:

    Beautiful! Personally I love the brass knobs, the small ones anyway. I would leave them on.
    Interesting on the lack of Number 13!

    I didn’t think of mice with the cat food, but I did think it may make other things in the drawers smell like fish/cat food!

  31. Wendy says:

    Your cabinet is lovely. I have a large cabinet similar to yours in some ways with 72 drawers. You do end up filling it up…I did! However, remembering what’s in them can be a chore. I found some antique looking label holders online to put on mine from an online antique hardware shop. That could work for you too! Or you can just (by trial & error) eventually memorize where things are. Hahaha! Enjoy! It’s stunning!

    • Emily says:

      I agree label holders would be the easiest solution. Any kind of index or clipboard still adds an extra step of matching the drawer number to the contents. Lazy me wants to just look at a drawer and know what’s in it.

      I would probably mentally divide the cabinet into sections, like spices on the top row in semi-alphabetical order, gadgets on the bottom row, etc. Even without any labels, I would only have to open 2-3 wrong drawers to find something I didn’t use every day.

      If you find you don’t actually need that many drawers, could some of the small ones be combined to open as one double-wide drawer? So it still looks like two drawers from the outside.

      I LOVE how this looks. Your rolling pin wall was pretty, but this is so much more functional and still gorgeous!!

  32. Connie Bridgham says:

    Karen: Karen: This is gorgeous. What a fabulous idea. You are brilliant.

  33. Ina says:

    I could never put cat food or any kind of unprotecetd foodstuff in a drawer. Where I come from (the Lowveld, South Africa) any type of food, even dry cubes, would be teeming with ants and goggas (insects) in no time. We even keep our flour in the deep freeze!

  34. Mary says:

    Love it!
    It looks fantastic in your kitchen like it was meant to be there.
    Great find.

  35. Sandra Lea says:

    I need to know where I can get a pig’s head just like that one. Oh, and the cabinet is great too!

  36. Eileen says:

    Use an index card and list each item. You already have the numbers on the drawers so it’s meant to be. Gorgeous piece of furniture. BTW, that is not a little pig!!

  37. Edie Marie says:

    I can see why you fell in love with it! There truly are things you see and become enchanted by them. Your cabinet turned out so fabulous Karen! I myself would have to have a clipboard hanging on the end of the cabinet listing what’s in which drawer… God be with you!!

    Blessings, Edie Marie

    • Karen says:

      That’s also a good idea. I wonder if I can find an old, wood clipboard. ~ karen!

      • Jane Baker says:

        Actually, I have two clipboards that were used in my husband’s grandfather’s hardware store in Manitoba with unique metal hangers that you turn sideways to open. One even has ‘THE OFFICE SPECIALTY MFG. CO. LTD. TORONTO CANADA’ stamped into the metal. There is even a heavy old metal two hole punch that goes with them. You’re welcome to them if you want them. I finally started using them in my office just before moving last year or they were going to have to go to the dump or the share shed but to be honest, they don’t work well for me at all. I’m only using them because I would hate to see such neat old things that still work well be trashed. You’re welcome to them if you want them or want photos. Just let me know.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Jane! I’m sure I’d love one but I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to catalogue these drawers and if I didn’t end up using the clipboard then I’d feel guilty, lol. ~ karen!

  38. Janet Goddard says:

    Beautiful!

  39. GerriAnn Constantino says:

    Karen, this looks great! What are you doing with the two drawers from each row that were taken out? Also, have re drawers been reorganized numerically? Beautiful piece.

  40. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Oh my, I love it! When you get tired of it, I’ll come get it. It would be perfect storage for my cookie cutter collection. 😀😀😀

  41. Marilyn Meagher says:

    So cool..now you need a planogram

  42. Sabina says:

    Absolutely FABULOUS!

  43. Liz K says:

    I think it looks even better now than it did before. Well done! You are going to have so much fun tricking this out…

  44. Diana Donaldson says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Good job!

  45. Did you keep the leftover parts/wood? Might come in handy down the road, hmmmm.

  46. Peter G Oster says:

    Time to find some sheet metal and solder a tin box to fit inside the cat food drawer. More stuff to do.

  47. Bruce Cisco says:

    Great Job! I love the symmetry and think it looks better now than originally. High five to you and your craftsman.

  48. Colleen K. says:

    I happen to live in Brant County, would this wonderous Polish Gentleman be close enough to do a project for me? I have something very similar, an old post office cabinet that is just a little too large for my space. Just like yours, almost all the knobs are there along with brass fittings for labels.

    Would you mind sharing his contact information?

    Colleen

    • Karen says:

      Hi Colleen. I mentioned his place in my first post on the cabinet, I think. It’s Walter Klotz of Klotz Antique Restoration in Hamilton. Just an FYI, it’s NOT cheap to have done. ~ karen!

  49. Colleen K. says:

    Karen, I happen to have a similar dilemma with a vintage post office box. Would you be willing to share your wonderful Polish gentleman’s contact information?

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