« Verdant views | Main | One more for the road »

My credenza makeover

Yesterday I shared my dining room makeover, so today I thought I would show you what happened to my credenza. Some may love, some may hate, but it's working for now so I am going to enjoy it until I can maybe afford something fancy. 

Soon after we moved in I noticed Benjamin Curran was selling a bunch of pieces of this walnut veneer (??) vintage furniture in Montreal so off we went with my mom's massive SUV and trailer and picked up this credenza, a headboard, 2 side tables and an armoire. All for an awesome price (or free because some of it he just wanted to get rid of). I loved the somewhat brutalist pattern in the doors and still do, and it fits PERFECTLY in this alcove (7' long). It has SO much storage with pull out drawers behind the doors on the left and right sides and drawers down the centre. 

Pre-makeover of the room it was pretty cute. But then we went and refinished the floors grey. Then I had that hemlock dining table made (blonde and grey wood). After that the orange tones of this credenza were just AWFUL. We looked into buying Ikea kitchen cabinets to fit in the alcove and getting a marble top made but the cabinets alone with shelving/drawers inside would have been over a thousand dollars. YEAH. NO. And I could not find anything this long that wasn't a gazillion dollars. 

After much thought, I committed the worst crime of all and painted the credenza. It was a bitch of a job but in the end, saved me a ton of money until I can afford something totally fabulous. 

I painted it Black Blue by Farrow & Ball that I used on the alcove windows and doors. I figured this was the safest colour choice, and I wanted the dining table to stand out and this to blend in more. It sat like this with an unfinished top for several months. Why you ask? Because I was determined to purchase a piece of white carrara marble for the top because I am obsessed with white carrara marble. Husband called around and we got several insane quotes for around $3,000. UH NO THANKS. Seriously?! We managed to find one place who offered to cut us the piece we needed for $800. I was game, and we visited their warehouse, then the showroom, then the warehouse, then the showroom (why we had to do this I still don't know) and several emails in between and I was all CAN YOU JUST CUT ME A DAMN PIECE OF MARBLE ALREADY? So guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. After a few emails asking when our marble would be ready, we never received a response. I was fed up at this point and decided these people could go to hell, and I came up with a PLAN B. I enlisted husband to search online for a really nice looking white marble contact paper. And he found a roll on eBay for a grand total with shipping of $50.77. 

I was nervous that I would screw up the measurements and cutting but I managed to do a decent job.

I had curled the ends over the side in this photo and not done the front yet, but I realized this would not fly as this paper was VERY thick so I cut the sides off and re-cut separate side pieces. The beauty of this whole project is that this credenza had this raised part on the top so when covered in the paper it looks like a really thick piece of marble. I think in the end this looks better than if I had of stuck a piece of marble on this already raised top. 

I sooo dig the pattern on the front of this beast. Too bad I didn't shut the middle drawer tight. YEESH!

Here's a detail shot of the marble pattern. There are some air bubbles that I need to poke out, and I probably should have installed it with one of those squeegee things to really get the air out but I was a contact paper virgin and didn't know any better. 

And voilà! My credenza transformation. :)

Reader Comments (22)

Quite a story. It looks great. Would like to see inside of cabinet.

5 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

looks wonderful. never buy something different - move on to other things is my suggestion. this is clearly DONE! ;)

5 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

"I committed the worst crime of all and painted the credenza"

I used to be one of those that would have frantically tried to stop you, but as a friend once told me "It's only paint. The wood is still there. Underneath." I have no idea why that made me feel better (and laugh) in spite of not making sense but there you go! I think it looks great, by the way :)

5 Oct 2016 | Unregistered Commenteraxie

@Christina - Thx! If I showed you the inside I'd have to organize it. LOL
@Alex - Thanks!!
@axie - Thank you! I figure whoever I sell it to can have the fun project of stripping it if they so choose ;)

5 Oct 2016 | Registered CommenterKiM

That credenza is a great piece... I don't think you need to replace it. Maybe someday with a real marble top, but I think you made it your own.

5 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJared Hayden

At first I thought I was going to hate how this turned out. Especially with the photo where you didn't paint the top. I'm glad I kept reading. It turned out beautifully. I do have to say this I agree that it all worked out for the best with the contact paper. It may have looked a little funny with a marble slab on it when it's already raised up there. Good work!

5 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Oh dear Kim I don't mean to be negative or mean but I have just found this unit on a wonderful site called 1stdids (they sell amazing high end antiques and collectables) Your credenza originally had a hutch on top and please brace yourself is for sale (in that 'horrible' orange color) for $8300 Aus! Please check out what I have copied about the cabinet before you paint any more pieces.
PS I'm a big fan of DTI, it's an inspiring site!
This Brutalist Mid Century Modern Hutch in the style of Kent Coffey-Perspecta or Broyhill Brasilia is Canadian made. This solid Well built piece comes in two parts for easy moving or to use as two different pieces. The base can be used below a flat screen TV as a credenza or server. It consists of 2 cabinet doors as well as 3 center drawers. The upper part is lighted for evening display of china or collectibles. It has 2 full length adjustable glass shelves . This piece would also be appealing to any Paul Evans enthusiasts

Brutalist Mid-Century Modern Credenza or Hutch or China Cabinet


Reduced From $8,375.59AUD

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered Commentertani

I think it looks much better painted. I applaud you for giving the contact paper a go. I've tried using it many times, and I have never, ever been able to apply it without air bubbles, squeegee or no. I've gotten to the point where I simply mistrust any DIY project where the photos appear to show perfectly applied contact paper. Impossible!

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Thanks Jared and Michelle!
Tani, that's hilarious! Everything on 1stdibs is horribly overpriced and there's no way in hell that would ever sell here for anywhere near that amount.
Jen, I may or may not have photoshopped out a couple of bad bubbles in the closeup. :P

6 Oct 2016 | Registered CommenterKiM

I'm another Axie, I likely would have wrestled you away from it!. But it actually works and the 'marble' top really completes it. Superb!.

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

I think it looks fantastic! It's a superb piece of furniture and perfect for your alcove. You've brought it up to date to blend with your dining furniture. By the way I also painted a cabinet of similar age because of the orangeness but I went light. After seeing yours I'm thinking of redoing it dark! Thanks for sharing your story.

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMoyra

just sayin' love 'original' vintage furniture!

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered Commentertani

Looks really smashing. Nice work. Adore the black, marble and pink together.
Re. contact paper. If a glass top - a fine mist of soapy water + squeegee gets a really smooth application. Did this on some glass walls with frosting stripes for privacy and was remarkably easy.

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAMR

I think it's awesome...truly. Looks elegant and chic painted. Fits there so nicely. Love the top and say don't put another piece on top of that already-recessed piece.

Who really cares about the original wood or how much the thing does or does not cost?

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDana D

Thanks everyone! XO

6 Oct 2016 | Registered CommenterKiM

I am usually against painting mid century modern, but I love this piece in black! It emphasizes the incredible details in a very modern way. Makes me think of the fascinating black painted objects sculpture of artist Louise Nevelson. And I love how it contrasts with the Calamine walls which are so soft and lovely. Another option for the top, when you are ready for a change, it to cut a piece of antique mirror glass to size. I think it would jive with your modern meets moody meets retro style. And bounce some light from your awesome arachnid chandelier!

6 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Madeline

See, at first i thought: "NO, why would you ever paint it?!" and then I saw the floors, and now I completely love what you've done with it.

7 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSilje

This is amazing! And the marble is the coolest finishing touch. You're so imaginative and creative!

7 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I am always for good paint! Alaways. Good is white, black and grey.
Everything else can go.
So - great work!

7 Oct 2016 | Unregistered Commenterombia

Absolutely fabulous and kudos to you for going for your vision and what you love best!! :)

9 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeanzBeans

Looks fantastic!! No reason to ever get anything else for that nook I say! I don't know why people get so upset about what other people do with their own furniture. You shouldn't need to apologize for painting something that's yours to begin with.

10 Oct 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Medicus

Thanks again everyone! You're all making me not regret my decision AT ALL. :)

10 Oct 2016 | Registered CommenterKiM

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.