Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Uses for Vintage Wardrobes

'There's a forest inside your wardrobe.' I looked at my husband blankly when he made this statement about my 'new' vintage wardrobe that I had purchased earlier that day - my second wardrobe acquisition that I had grand plans for that involved the loan of his sander and a can of Dulux Antique White USA. ' If you step inside you better watch you don't walk into the lamp post and you might meet a lion in there too'. 'Oh very funny!' I replied as I caught onto his Narnia reference in relation to the size of the wardrobe. If only it had been as ornate as the wardrobe that featured in the movie! In the story and at the store there were fur coats hanging inside the wardrobe but my intentions for this piece of furniture did not involve hanging up garments! The older children declared my wardrobe 'a monstrosity' and I have to tell you I did share their opinion and was so keen to begin its transformation I forgot to take any 'before' shots!

With the fleur de lys embellishment glued back into place.
Also lots of display space on top for baskets and candle holders!

You will have to settle for the 'after shot' and my silly little camera has no flash wide angle lens so I can't even show you the full length and size of the wardrobe! It was too big for any wall in my family room so it had to find its place in the hallway - I have a long and wide hallway so it looked in proportion. It's not too far to visit when I need supplies - for my wardrobe is my.....

Craft cupboard!

It has 3 deep shelves which are a perfect fit for the clear plastic boxes that hold all my craft supplies. There is room for paints, fabric, scissors, tins of thread and jars of buttons.

It has the pull out drawers typical of these old wardrobes which were ideal for storing spools of ribbon. Two of the drawers are dedicated for storage of paper and card. I decided not to paint the interior and gave the front of the drawers a fabric and trim makeover to cover up the dark stain - the only evidence of its former life as a dark and dingy wardrobe!

The inside door needed to wear a disguise so I created a pin board using cork floor tiles, ribbon, pins and vintage style buttons to hide the pins. It is a great place to locate packs of stickers, scissors and other bits and bobs.

It's where the paper doll version of me now resides (yes, her name is Ann without an e!) and I thought this 'Happy' needle book looked just the part. No more hunting through drawers to find a needle when a repair or splinter removal is required!

Not only is this wardrobe my craft cupboard, it is also my storage for Christmas decorating supplies! They live in their clear plastic boxes which I was thrilled to find fitted quite snugly - I thought the wardrobe was not going to be deep enough to hold these containers at first. In the central not so accessible recess not visible in this picture is the Christmas tree in its tall box.

I had intended to remove the rail but realized it would be very useful for hanging up my Christmas garlands. So much storage in one wardrobe and because most of my crafting is done in the Christmas season it is very convenient to have all my supplies in the one location. No boxes of decorations hiding and taking up room in the walk in wardrobes in the bedrooms.

The picture at the top of this post is the first vintage wardrobe I acquired. It is actually in a bedroom but is not used for storage of clothes. It is in fact - a lego closet. I am convinced that every boy needs a lego closet and every mother will be grateful to me for suggesting this idea because those ugly plastic drawer sets you buy at Bunnings which are perfect for storing the several trillion tonnes of lego that a boy accumulates by the age of 12 fit perfectly inside the section where you are meant to hang clothes. Do you know I rejoiced, jumped for joy and did cartwheels when I discovered this fact!

Don't bother sorting out the lego into colours or types, having one for bases and some for blocks. It will only get all mixed up again. One drawer though has been set aside as a barracks for the army men who know that it is safe to stay inside the lego closet because they have seen Toy Story 3 and remember what happens to army men who remain on the floor of a boy's room! Any time I find army men underfoot I yell out 'Remember what happened to the army men in Toy Story 3 and that is guaranteed to bring a boy running from the other end of the house!

The pull out drawers in this wardrobe are used to hold other boy stuff which includes tins of tennis balls, books about tennis, posters of tennis players (can you tell he likes tennis?) and all those Where's Wally geography files we picked up at a garage sale that don't fit on the library bookshelf. I'm glad these drawers are not deep because you never give a boy deep drawers - same goes for baskets, they will find stuff to fill them if you do - so don't say I didn't warn you!

Hope you have enjoyed seeing my ideas for new uses for old wardrobes. I like the idea of using old wardrobes for storing and displaying family treasures such as quilts and china. I've also seen them turned into pantries. Alas, I have no free walls left in my home (the price you pay for having lots of French doors and glass everywhere!) so my days of wardrobe transformations are over for now. What alternate uses do you have for old wardrobes and cupboards? Have you ever transformed an old vintage wardrobe? Do share!


A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Oh I so want to jump in your craft robe!!!!! And I think my Son Needs a lego closet! We just yesterday unearthed a tonne of it trying to find a Instruction manual from a star wars set! Arrrrrrr!!!!!!I have turned a Cupboard with hutch into a Laundry storage unit....It is squishy having it in my 'bowling alley" style laundry but it is wonderful...iron,sprays,detergents,toilet paper,car washing stuff everything lives in there!

Saminda said...

Love that craft cupboard!! Sigh... Saraya too would appreciate having all those materials so beautifully presented and right at hand for easy access. :) Thanks for the inspiration Ann. xx

Unknown said...

We have one vintage wardrobe that we turned into a TV cabinet, so that we can shut the doors and pretend it's not there.
We also have another that we turned into a computer cupboard, but now has all my sewing stuff in it. On the other hand my daughter has an old fashioned kitchen pantry as her wardrobe, it was before this our homeschooling cupboard.

Finding Joy said...

What a wonderful idea. I have no where to put one but I can still dream! You have though sparked ideas for my paper doll collection, I might see if I can do something creative with them. At the moment they are all tucked away wrapped in paper in a box. This is why I blog, to discover great ideas from creative women:)

Finding Joy said...

PS I had to smile with the Ann without the "e" comment, when I was much younger I decided I would become JoAnn rather than the very boring Joanne! It didn't last long as everyone spelt it wrong!!

Camille said...

How fun Ann! I like what you have done with both of your wardrobes. What a great idea to do the *Lego* one for your son's *tidy* and accessible. :)

I have a little wardrobe in my kitchen that holds spices and cookbooks as well as tablecloths, napkins and cards.

We have a wardrobe in our schoolroom with *supplies* in well as laptops. Out of sight behind closed doors...I like that! :)

Have a wonderful week!
Many blessings,

Cheryl@OntheOldPath said...

What a fantastic idea. I love it when people come up with new uses for old items!!

Pam said...

We have an old wardrobe (well, it is only about 20 years old...not really that old, but its meant to seem old) that we have used in many ways over the years... first a T.V. cabinet, then a homeschool cabinet, a craft cabinet, and now finally; a clothes closet. I love the lego closet idea. That's great. I think a wardrobe could have endless uses and is sure handy to have... and pretty too. Thanks for sharing... its inspiring.
Much Love,

Natalie at Maple Leaf Circle said...

I love the craft cabinet! How did you attach the fabric on the drawers? It's so pretty!

The Coderlambian said...

Beautiful wardrobe! Nice to have such a pretty place to keep your crafty supplies!

the happy sparrow said...

Love the cupboards! Great inspiration Ann. Thankyou! :) Martine


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