Vintage Display Cabinet Restoration

I really like trying to restore and refurbish things. It's a great way for me to get something cheaper than it normally would be and I don't mind putting in a little bit of work, to get a better deal.  I love seeing the before and after of an object that has been given new life.  When we were planning the new kitchen and breakfast area, we thought a Hoosier cabinet would go really well.   We've not seen them show up in the local antique shops very often and they are often quite pricey when they do.  On one of my trips to a shop near me, I came across a dealer selling a small, metal display cabinet for only $35.   It wasn't in very good shape, was quite rusty and someone had painted it with flat black paint, probably to hide the rust.  Still, I could see the potential as a good place-holder, until a better cabinet came along.


The display cabinet in its "before" state


My first step was to remove the old paint and grind off the rust.  Fortunately the previous owner didn't use the best paint for the job, so the old black latex paint came off quite easily.  I next sanded and treated as much of the rust as possible.  I painted it with rust-preventing primer and then regular enamel primer


Old latex paint removed


The base had the most rust on it, but couldn't be cut or ground away without compromising the integrity. So, I built a wooden base, to set the entire cabinet in.  This covered the rusted spots and added some stability to the bottom. I screwed the wooden base to the cabinet itself, to keep it in place.  I then filled in the gap between the base and the cabinet itself, with some putty.   After that, I painted the entire thing with oil-based enamel paint.  I painted the inside of the upper part of the cabinet bright red and outside white.  The original drawer pulls were pretty rusted, so I replaced them with some extra Youngstown cabinet pulls I had, to match the rest of the kitchen.  I added some plexiglass to the upper doors.

The wooden base I built

The new base, not quite in place. You can see the rough, rusted edges on the bottom of the cabinet itself.

The new base, not quite in place. You can see the rough, rusted edges on the bottom of the cabinet itself.

Base attached

The entire cabinet isn't the best quality, so the metal was much thinner than our kitchen cabinets. As a result, the whole thing was pretty warped in spots, making the upper doors hard to close and stay closed.  So, we bought some small, very strong magnets, that help pull the doors closed.

The cabinet has been placed in our breakfast area and I use it to display my collection of cherry things and vintage packaging.  The drawer is currently empty and will eventually be a junk or tool drawer, but the lower half is being used as a liquor cabinet.

My collections now properly displayed.

The final result!