Hoosier Cabinet Update – Entry/Pantry/Office Makeover

Kevin inherited a beautiful Hoosier-style pine cabinet from his grandparents. We both LOVE the piece. When we first got it 2 years ago, I wanted to strip the original varnish.  Kevin resisted the idea (as usual – he hates change.  Funny that he married a chronic re-doer!!).  But it had to be refinished – there were stencils of Amish people on it!  I managed to win that round – varnish stripped.  Amish people stencils gone.

Although it was a little big for the space, we put the cabinet just inside of our main entry.  It was great for catching keys and such, and I had plans of backpacks going in the bottom cabinet. But it wasn’t quite big enough for 4 stuffed backpacks, and the idea never caught on. Over the years it became storage for a hodge podge of items. Not at all organized.

I decided to move the piece into our front entry on the other side of the house. Kevin resisted the idea (of course. poor guy.). :)

The cabinet looks so much more important where it’s situated now. It’s not crowded, and it’s much more useful in it’s new spot.  Plus it’s closer to the kitchen, which is the room it was meant for.  Hoosiers were built for use and efficiency – and I think that our little cabinet just looks happier where it is.

(Wow – can’t wait to get some curtains on those windows!!)

Soooo…. once it was situated and everyone was happy with it’s spot, of course I thought it needed a makeover.

I wanted to paint it. Kevin resisted the idea. I debated and debated. (Actually, it wasn’t much of a debate.  Kevin was very close to his grandparents, and this cabinet holds so many special memories for him.  I couldn’t live with the Amish stencils, but I could certainly live with it being un-painted!)

Kevin won that round.  Go Kev!

I did add some stain to it though. I can’t remember exactly what I finished it with after I stripped it 2 years ago – I think that I used either linseed or tung oil. Whatever it was, I didn’t take the time to sand it off before this makeover. As usual, I was too impatient to get started. I used dark walnut stain, but it didn’t get as dark as I would have liked, probably because the residual oil prevented the stain from fully penetrating the wood.  Also – I don’t think that pine stains as dark as other woods – is that right??

Most Hoosiers have a sliding counter top on the base of the cabinet – a lot of them are enameled metal. Ours was covered with laminate (which I don’t think was original). I was able to remove the laminate and the glue with a heat gun and lots of sanding and scraping.  I had originally painted the counter top red because the edges were red, but it really didn’t do justice to the cabinet.  Once the wood was darkened, black seemed like the best option for the counter top. (Thanks Jill!) I distressed it a bit, and I love how the red shows through!

To dress up the inside of the cubbies I lined the backs and bottoms with cardstock. Way back in June, I received the most awesome assortment of papers from Canvas Home Basics for winning the DIY Club’s Monthly Project Contest.  (See my contest entry here!)  The styles that they sent me happened to have the perfect look for the cabinet.   I used glue dots to hold them in place.

Speaking of dots – I ran out of the small-dot paper, so I had to use a larger dot for the top shelves.

This is one hard-working cabinet.

I use it for storage and display…

As a library, and as a mini office…

The paper that I used for the blackboard came on a roll and has a sticky backing.  The cork board that I used for the other door was cut from a sheet.  Canvas Home Basics actually sent me a sheet of chalk stock and a sheet of cork stock.  Really cool, but it wasn’t enough for the project and none of our craft stores carried it.  (btw – Canvas Home Basics has no idea I’m writing this.  The products are quality, and I am so grateful to have received them.  I thought a shout-out was warranted!)

Don’t you love the flour sifter?  Makes a great magnet board!

I am so in love with this cabinet!  I think it’s a perfect addition to our entry/pantry/office makeover.   What do you think?

Much love!


Linking Here!

Twigg Studios – Sunday Show Off Linky Party

DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade

Elizabeth & Co. – Be Inspired

Between Naps on the Porch – Metamorphosis Monday

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesday’s Treasures

The Ironstone Nest – Transformation Tuesday

Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Restore Interiors – Restored It Wednesday

Beyond the Picket Fence – Under $100

House of Hepworths – Hookin Up with HoH

It’s Overflowing – Overflowing With Creativity

Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays

The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday

The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday

My Repurposed Life – Catch as Catch Can

2805 – Potpourri Friday

Jennifer Rizzo – Fabulously Creative Friday Linky Party

At The Picket Fence – Inspiration Friday

The Dedicated House

Redoux Interiors – Friday Redouxs

French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday

Shabby Art Boutique – Shabbilicious Friday Link Party

The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday

Stuff and Nonsense – Fridays Unfolded

Homespun Happenings – Rustic Restorations Weekends


  1. This looks great! I love the papered insides and the corkboard and chalkboard paint on the doors. I have one of these in our garage that belonged to my grandparents and now I think I’ll spruce it up like yours and bring it inside. Thanks for the great ideas! ~ Angie

    • Thanks Angie. I can’t believe you have one just sitting in your garage!! I love these cabinets. It’s hard having space for everything inside though. Would love to hear about a makeover for yours!

  2. Looks Great! I am so glad I read this because you gave me so many ideas. We inherited my aunt’s which was down her basement holding paint, screws and what not. Now I know I can refinish it and use anywhere in my house. So glad I don’t have to sell it. Barbara.

    • Oh Barbara don’t sell it!!! I’m so glad that you stopped by. The cabinets are so versatile. I really would have loved to use it as an entry-way catch all – shoes in the bottom, a place for mail, keys, etc. It could also hold tons of baking supplies. I don’t have a lot of kitchen cabinets, so clearing up space in that way would have been great! So many possibilities!!! Good luck with yours –

  3. You did a wonderful job…you are a determined girl! I have a Hoosier also that is almost identical to yours. I never thought of doing anything to the inside such as the scrapbooking paper of the cork and chalk board. I think I have a little project brewing in my head! I’m glad you didn’t paint it, it really is a sweet antique!


    • Thanks so much Jane! I like my neutral paper, but would have loved to use really bright, funky paper for it. You could completely change the look of it depending on what you choose.
      I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!!

  4. Sounds like a happily ever after! The cabinet has charm and purpose and that flour sifter is amazing!

    • Thanks Liz! That is so satisfying to hear! I always aim for purpose – every piece in our house has to have a purpose – there’s really no room for things that don’t! The charm is a bonus – thank you so much!

  5. Thanks Brenda. I don’t think I will sell it. Unfortunately, this one had a lot of damage to the wood. My husband replaced some. There isn’t a real grain on it. So I am going to paint it bright white. I saw several done that way and loved them. Our kitchen when I was growing up was red, white, and black. Loved it. I will stop back to check out your next project. Thanks for the ideas. Barb

  6. It’s great when a piece of legacy furniture from a cherished family member finds a loving new home and new purpose rather than being shoved into a storage room, forgotten and collecting dust. I agree the cabinet seems happier with room to breathe in your entry. And I love it’s multitasking nature and your clever rethinking (flour sifter = magnet board). Really like the combo of patterns you used to line the cubbies. Hope Kevin is happy with the current use!

    • Hi Stranger! Haven’t ‘talked’ for a while! Thanks for noticing my cabinet. I absolutely love using pieces that have been in the family. I wish that we had more room for things – my mom is always trying to get rid of stuff! Kevin is really happy with how it turned out – he’s commented many times that he loves it. :)
      I was hoping that you’d show up at the blogging conference. You would have had a great time! I’ll catch you at the next one!

  7. Wow I am truly jealous;) I just joined the blogosphere recently and just found your blog…I must say I adore/envy your home…gorgeous!! And this cabinet is gorgeous as well.

    • Hello and welcome! Thanks for your sweet comment. Good luck with your new blog – I will stop by soon to visit!

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      • That’s a skillful answer to a difficult question

      • Asali, don’t worry. We are both busy and I spent most of the last weekend doing the change so I just went with it.He, he, now I know how often you visit my blog.

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      • This post cracked me up! I think it’s great that you tried a creative approach and that you found out that your daughter wants to help. I say, let her. It’s important for kids to learn skills, have responsibilities, and develop a sense of partnership in their family. If you wait until her teen years, she won’t be nearly so willing. I say go with it. Within reason, of course. :)

  8. I love your cabinet. So glad you found a spot that works so well for you. I love how you have it so organized and pretty. It puts my cabients to shame.

  9. Hi Brenda, you have a beautiful cabinet and it looks so cute the way you have finished it. I think it is actually oak and that is probably why it did not stain as dark as you wanted. Pine absorbs stain more than oak does. Beautiful piece!!

  10. Brenda! I remember you talking about your cabinet at SBC. I love what you did to the hoosier cabinet! It’s great and a perfect compromise between you and your hubby (sometimes necessary for us constant re-doers).

  11. I think you have made wonderful use of the interior space of this piece! I absolutely love your antique/vintage kitchen items behind the glass door and in the underneath open space. I was very surprised to read that a cabinet like this would be made of pine, as it is a soft wood. Looking at your close-ups, it looks like the grain of oak to me. Great job!!

  12. The hoosier cabinet looks quaint and lovely. Don’t know what to do with the flour sifter until you said it could be a great magnet board. Great idea, indeed! Wonderful job for this office makeover of yours!

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