I love French Armoires. So far, I own two. One is waiting in my bedroom to be upcycled (with nice double-mirrored doors) and the other one has a loving home in my kitchen. The one in my kitchen had a single large mirrored door, so, I thought it would be good idea to experiment a little with it. I had seen lots of Armories (Hutches, as they are known in America), with chicken wire replacing the mirror door. I thought this look would be great in my French, country style kitchen.
Mr H pulled one of those faces, when I asked, “Can you help me remove the mirror and replace it with chicken wire” but when he was assured that it would look great, Mr H helped me start the makeover process.
After the mirror was removed (wow it was heavy), from the door frame, it was easier to work with but it did cause a few problems with the joins coming apart in the top left corner. I guess the piece was so old it did not like being disturbed and the glue had dried out over time.
I made my own version of homemade ‘French Grey’ chalk paint and started painting. I was actually painting the Armoire whilst the kitchen was also having a makeover. So, there I was, backwards and forwards, working on both the kitchen and the Armoire.
Next the area was prepared for the chicken wire to be placed (see top image for process). This turned out to be a bit trickier than I thought, but with patience, it was now firmly in place and I love the whole thing. In fact, the finished door with the wire looks better than I thought possible.
I knew that I wanted a heavily distressed piece and I had been inspired by some pieces edged with white, so I decided to try this technique. I dry brushed all the trim with my homemade vintage white chalk paint and then blended in with the distress process.
The edges, I thought, worked really well in the white and enhanced the angles of this fantastic piece of furniture. I sanded and distressed it in places and when I come across parts of it that I did not like or I had gone a bit overboard with the distressing or the edging, I just topped up with grey or white, where necessary.
Mr H then drilled holes in the door and top drawer and fitted small, ornate door furniture left over from another project. For me, it just finished the piece off and they look as though they have always been there. And, of course, makes the drawer easier to get into. We also put a handle on the door to make it easier to open.
I used Autentico Grey Wax to distress further and sealed the coats for protection. Next, the damaged areas were glued and clamped to set. It is not perfect but to me it adds to the vintage charm.
I then saw some wallpaper in my local DIY ‘Castorama’ store and thought it would look great in the back of my Armoire. This was tricky, as the back had panels and of course, the paper was not wide enough. So, I stapled and glued the paper and was really happy with the result.
I also wanted to paper the front of the small drawers but I could not remove the drawer furniture and rather than force and damage, I decided to paint them vintage white, which I think works well. I prefer the white to the grey.
What is great, is that this unwanted and unloved Armoire has become a versatile piece of furniture that stores all my kitchen crockery and pans. The drawers hold all my baking tins and trays and it is a centre piece in my kitchen.
There are two further top sections to the Armoire. I decided not to use them for now, as there was not enough room where I wanted the Armoire, but will keep them safe as you never know. Another small job is to cut some ply to cover the top and then it will be finally finished!
I look forward to working on my bedroom Armoire next (minus the chicken wire) 😉