Restoring The Addie! Can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to unveil The Addie. Let me give a little history.
I have so many wonderful memories of this cabinet. It was my Great Aunt Addie Cazee’s and she was given it when she got married and set up housekeeping in the early 1900’s. If I recall, and I could be corrected, I think it was given to her as a hand-me-down as well, so it wasn’t new to her at the time. Trying to put a timeline on the piece has been difficult but we know it is at least 120 years old, possibly dating back to the 1880’s. I had never seen another like it but yesterday, imagine my surprise when I was perusing Pinterest and eBay and came across one that was identical! I contacted the owner who didn’t have much information on that piece since it wasn’t from their family. They did say that they understood it to be 1880’s so I am hanging around that mark.
I have tried to research the period and some will call this a cupboard or hutch but we have always christened it a pie safe because of the screened holes in the side. Years and years ago, ladies would put their baked goods in a pie safe to cool them and also to protect them from critters and little ones.
Aunt Addie gave this piece to my grandmother, Mamaw Cammie, many years ago. She had it as long as I can remember and it was filled with the Franciscan Apple dishes, all in perfect condition to this day in my mother’s china cabinet. You are probably familiar with these beautiful pieces!
It is not clear, among the siblings, how I ended up with the pie safe. My sister will inherit the dishes, priceless pieces. My brothers received several things of my grandfathers when he passed away. But I hold to the reasoning that I was given the cabinet because I was the only one married at the time and the first one to leave home! (smile) However it worked out, I have had it for over 20 years in my home and used it in its original condition. (Here it is in my garage after its move to Tennessee and right before it was painted.)
This treasured piece still had the original wavy glass in the doors and original screens! The knobs are the only thing that have obviously been replaced at some time and both sets of doors had a key lock of some sort with a hook on the inside to hold the other door. (Note that we had already begun sanding a bit before I took these pictures…I wasn’t thinking of a post!)
Since the priceless treasure (to me!) is always going to be in my family, I decided I wanted to do a Pinterest makeover with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint! I had read countless articles and watched so many Youtube tutorials that I felt I was an expert before I began.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is not chalky at all but there are so many benefits to using it on a piece like this. The one that sold me was that I didn’t have to do one blessed thing to it if I didn’t want to. No sanding, no preparation whatsoever! Yet, I did sand the inside a little just because the shelves were so rough and there were a few areas, especially on the doors, that needed smoothing out. But with Annie Sloan paints, there is no need to remove the stain or varnish or even old paint!
I wanted the cabinet to be a darker gray, so after consulting with the stockists at C’est Moi in Brentwood, Tennessee, and looking at some pieces they had painted there, I decided to mix the colors Graphite and Old White together.
Easy peasy! Annie Sloan paints are so smooth they are easy to mix together for just the right shade. There are several grays in her line, but the Paris Grey seemed too light and had a touch of blue. The French Linen had a little too much taupe, or it seemed to me, so I opted to create my own.
So easy to apply, and one coat was all it took to cover The Addie! I applied Old White to the inside back wall, don’t you love the plank boards on the back?!
We decided, for now, to leave the doors off. I have always had the doors on and usually opened but wanted to try something different. I did go ahead and paint and finish the doors in case I ever want to put them back on. You know it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind!
Now, I knew this needed a finish and I had read countless opinions about what to use. Annie Sloan suggests her wax for finishing unless it is a “high traffic” piece, then most furniture restorers preferred a polyacrylic coat of some sort to help protect against scratches. This would be especially important on something such as a table top. Since my cabinet was going to house my every day dishes and that would mean quite a bit of “in and out” use, I decided to apply a polyacrylic coat. I chose Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish, purchased on Amazon. It was easy to apply, and even though it goes on milky, it dries perfectly clear. I gave it two coats for good measure.
But even after all of that, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the result. It needed something and I was sure that Annie Sloan White Wax was the answer….and it was!
Using the round wax brush, you basically can brush it on any old way, in small sections, then wipe it back off with a lint free cloth. The idea is for the white wax to get into the crevices and details of the furniture. It lightened up the piece a bit and gave it a weathered, slightly distressed look, which seemed appropriate for something so old! Tutorials and experts say “Wax is always last” and The Addie now has plenty of protection against daily use.
What do you think?
The Sweetheart still has to install the new screens. We didn’t want to just leave open holes and wanted it to be as authentic as possible. The old screens probably could have been cleaned up and reused but one of them was just about to rot completely away.
The hardware was discovered at Hobby Lobby. If you ever need knobs or draw pulls, good grief, they have a fabulous selection. It took several trips and returns before I found the one that I thought fit the cabinet and the period pretty well. I see I didn’t take any pictures inside the bottom part of the cabinet, but rest assured, it is beautifully painted and all cleaned up as well!
You can see the hints of the white wax in the details, I simply love the light distressing.
One more time, here is the cabinet/hutch/cupboard/pie safe before and after with just a few Pioneer Woman Vintage Bloom dinnerware pieces to give some color…can’t wait to finish decorating!