I went to the brocante over the weekend and bought this Henry II buffet. These normally go for anywhere between 30-100€. I bought this for 2€; I spotted it a while ago, but it was only 25€ then. It’s obviously something they just wanted rid of now.
Although I had to pay 30€ for delivery it worked out the same amount that I was about to spend on wood to finish off the ‘vestibule’ under the stairs. I could use wood from this to do that and I’d have something to use as a project that I wanted to finish before Christmas.
So, before I tell you what it’s going to be used for let me know…..how would you use it?
When we first moved to France I bought this buffet in a brocante.
We had to furnish a rather large rental home and so I bought inexpensive furniture. As we moved it into the new house it didn’t take the strain and there was some breakage. The carved top was still in good order and that will go in another project. In the meantime I’ve used one of the shelves in the hallway…
and one in the toilet/utility….
So in terms of the top of the buffet I was left with this,…
I unscrewed the parts that held the lower shelf and I plan to use that in a project too. Then I seperated the top into two parts with a circular saw.
I’d never used one before and I was so nervous doing it. All seemed to be going well and the two areas were divided – great! Then I moved the parts from the workmate I’d been using and found that I’d sawn a load of the bench off too.
Anyway, the method differs to this doorway in that I just screwed the wood straight onto the walls using the same raw plugs and long screws as before. I then added some quarter rounds as before, but this time to the top and bottom of the boards to cover up the cut edges and give it some extra definition.
I also added some additional wood carvings to run beside the door frame.
This is a part one as I’m going to add a central wood carved moulding, but I went ahead with the project because when I finished the other door moulding and came through to the sitting room I found this waiting for me….
So I figured I’d get on and do this and then I have one of my jobs off my New Years list.
Bare in mind that they need caulking and the additional wood carving to be added (hence the waiting for the caulking), but in the meantime there’s this…..
My hubby was uncertain of my efforts when they weren’t painted, but after their coats of paint he was pleased. Especially when you consider that this cost about 10€, including the wood carvings and paint.
Do you recycle old furniture parts? I’ll be posting a lot more of this kind of stuff this year as I have many things I want to move from my ‘junk’ pile to make our home a little bit of heaven.
If you do have any recycled projects add a link in the comments below – I’d love to pop over and take a look!
Firstly, let me apologise for the quality of the pictures I’ve taken. The dining room is at the front of the house and it’s not a brilliant light source to photograph in.
This armoire cornice is from the one that I tried to put back together in the spare room, but I found it had warped so the doors couldn’t go on. For those who follow the blog (if you don’t please hit the subscribe button) you may remember that I used the ornately carved door panels to add interest to the plain, 1970s style door here.
I’d decided that I’d be using the curved top for this project as soon as I made the decision to use the panels.
One of the reasons I wanted to use the armoire in this way, resulting in just buying another one rather than attempting to fix it, is that it can be far more economical to do this than buy wood carved mouldings for various projects. For example, a large moulding for a door like this one will set you back at least 100€. I can buy an entire armoire for that from a brocante and salvage various pieces to use in numerous projects. So, like I said, hit subscribe because this one armoire will be used in a few more projects coming up.
I know I’m talking armoire here, but the English wardrobe from the spare room could have been used in a similar way.
Just a quick reminder, here is how the doorway in the dining room looked prior to today’s work.
The small moulding just above the door came from another armoire. Our rental property when we moved here was ancient and a wonky floor meant the doors opened in a dangerous way and it collapsed as my husband was putting it together!
The moulding is lovely, but very small and didn’t stand out a lot. So the very first thing was to remove it from the wall as it was still too high to allow the wood moulding to fit above it.
The wood carved moulding is heavy, so I had to be sure that it was firmly secured in place. Here’s how I did it.
Pay attention to your drill choice
I used stone drill bits and two drills. One to drill in the wood of the moulding, and the other for the stone wall. Or what I thought was the stone wall, but more of that in a bit.
Our house is ancient; we know it was built pre 1850, but as the French didn’t keep records until then we can’t be sure exactly when. As a result of its age the majority of the walls are stone and when I first started to try and put up pictures in the house I had to drill into the walls. However it was always hard work as the drill isn’t powerful enough.
The drill I was using for this job actually belongs to my father and had enough power to get the job done. I’m just telling you this as if you’re struggling to drill into walls in a period property it may not be you, but your tool.
To ensure this heavy item stayed on the wall and didn’t come away – with the danger of causing someone serious harm – I used these brackets. They acted as a mini shelf for the moulding to rest on. They only cost about 3€ per bracket and I got four.
I chose these multi use raw plugs that separate as a screw is driven into them, and therefore anchor themselves well into the wall. Make sure the head of the screw is flat, so that the moulding can rest flat against it, and is bigger than the screw hole in the bracket.
Cut off the sides of the armoire top
Obviously the armoire top couldn’t go up as it is, so the top needed to be removed and the sides sawn off. I started it off with a screw driver and hammer to prise as much as I could away, then I used a mini saw that’s used to cut off tree branches to do this rest.
I did this using the measure app on my Apple phone. If you haven’t seen them they are amazing and, as I always have it with me, it means that I’m ready to measure any piece of furniture for possible fits when I see something in the brocante.
Here’s a photo I took of the measurements.As you can see I took them of the arch and the two sides that would touch the brackets.
Then I marked out where the arch and side lengths where on the wall to ensure a central position, and where the holes for the brackets would need to be.
Drill into the wall
When drilling into the wall start by selecting a drill bit which approximately fits the size of the raw plug. If you’re unsure always use the smaller drill bit first; it’s kind of like cooking. You can always add more, but you can never take it away.
Insert the raw plugs and tap them in with a hammer if necessary. Screw the brackets into the wall.
Add the screw holes to the moulding itself
I rested the wood carved moulding in the brackets and was relieved when they bore the weight. Then I marked where the screw holes needed to go, removed the wood and drilled into the markings.
Prior to placing the moulding on the wall I covered it in no more nails type super glue. Many of you will have noticed the little holes in the wood, it’s obviously had termites. Elsewhere in the armoire it was evident these had been dealt with with a dark, wax substance which was plugging the holes. However the back of the wood obviously wasn’t dealt with.
When I rubbed the wood with my finger there was no residue. I’ve found that active holes will have this. Even so I used so much glue not just to ensure the wood stuck well to the wall, but to plug those holes and stop any termite spread. That’s why there’s so much glue.
Place the moulding in the brackets and screw in place
With the moulding in position, glued and screwed. In place it was onto making it look more polished.
Applying additional wood mouldings
The next thing I did was put the previous, ornate wood moulding back on the door. I just used no more nails type glue to do this, in the exact same method as the wood mouldings on the coving.
Then I glued and added these quarter rounds to the top of the door frame and bottom of the main moulding to cover the brackets and finish the job nicely.
Using filler in stages
Add wood filler or acrylic filler to fill any gaps. Do this in stages as if you keep smoothing over the same area it may result in the filler just being pushed back into any gaps, rather then creating a filled surface. You can see two stages of filler below, note the difference between the first two images and the last one.
Each time you apply filler smooth it out as much as possible with your finger. It’s very hard to go back and correct acrylic filler in particular as it has a plasticky texture that can’t be sanded easily.
Here it was before….
Here It is the mouldings fixed to the wall. Obviously I’ve just painted it white so far, it’s just an undercoat. I need to decide whether I paint the whole door and maybe even panelling teal.
You’ll notice the little square gaps in the detail are; the struts went there. I’ve ordered some additional square, carved appliqués and will add them prior to painting properly. At present though this little job coast around 20€? Not bad.
For a long time now I’ve been thinking about changing the door on the spare room, but we have so much to do before Christmas that the cost was prohibitive. That and the fact that I don’t know how to hang a door myself. I’m willing to give most things a go, but sometimes when you have a long list of jobs to do another skill to learn can just be too much.
Then, as I started to put together the very room that the door was needed, we came across a bit of a hitch. The wardrobe that we’d brought with us from the house we rented when we first arrived in France seemed to have warped. There was much to admire about this wardrobe, and I knew I could use lots of it’s parts for projects around the house. So a new wardrobe was bought and I set about repurposing what we had.
Back to the door. The rose detailed side panels on the wardrobe were perfect as central panels on the door. However they were a bit narrow, so I decided to add some corner moldings and some half rounds to finish it off.
This is a photo of my planning out where everything would go. The gold finger plate is one I already had; it was the only one I’ve managed to find with a space for the key hole.
You can see below that I’d changed the lock on the door as there was never a working key there. You can see the mechanism that you just change over. The man at my local quincaillerie checked that it was an exact match for me; so now there’s a working lock and key.
I glued and nailed the central panel, wood moldings and half rounds in place. Then I painted it all white before screwing the finger plate in place.
I already had this beautiful cut glass door knob. I’m so pleased with the results. I only spent 11€ on this, however I obviously had the finger plate and door knob as well as the wooden fixtures that I’d already bought.
The door hardware came from eBay; I just put in “ancienne poignée de porte” and “plaques dés doigtés” for the finger plates.
Here it is before….
….and here it is hung back in place.
As you can see the original stain on the wood panel has bled a little, so I’ll be adding another coat of sealant primer and then finishing the paint work again. I was just so excited to have a door more in keeping with the room that I thought I’d share now.
I’d love to hear what you think and what items you’ve repurposed around your home. It would be great if you hit the subscribe button for future projects and leave a comment in the box.
These actually aren’t just repurposed armoire carving tops, I’ve also used some brackets from a dressing table.
Firstly the armoire top. I’d been wondering in my local brocante when I saw this amongst the furniture in the less, ahem, showy items (yep, the junky section). It’s dirty and my first thought was ‘20€, what a joke’. Off home I went. Then literally in the night it popped in my head. In fact, it was more an image of it above our bifold doors.
I still think 20€ is a lot, but I’ve researched carvings like this to do the same job and they’re at least 130€. It doesn’t seem so bad in comparison does it?
So Monday morning I was there and home it came with me (with a light fitting for our soon to be kitchen, but I’ll tell you about that later). As I was driving home I remembered the arms to a mirror from a dressing table mirror that I’d kept. I was going to use it for a different project, but my plans have changed and I’d spotted them recently making me wonder what I’d now do with them.
I was thinking about the abrupt, dead end the carving would have when I removed the side struts. My initial thought was that I could match the three together. However when I put them in place it was evident this wouldn’t work as the straight sides where too big for ends of the carving.
Looking at them again I realised that if I joined them together they might make a nice heading to the other side of the bi fold doors.
I put the carving above the doors – too big; they hit the dado rail I’d put up in the room. My mind turned to the mirror struts, but then I remembered something else. When my family and I had moved here we bought an armoire for our rented property. Long story short (unlike this one) it broke. I kept lots of bits to use elsewhere, including the top. I sought it out in the garage and, with it’s intericate, traditional carvings, it was perfect for above the door in the dining room.
So this is how we’re looking now. A large armoire top which is going in the hallway, mirror scrolls to be joined together and put above the bifold doors between the sitting room and dining room and another armoire top above the other side of those doors in the dining room.
The dining rooms colours of teal green and blush pink are being used in the doors too. I’m not going to show you a full picture of this yet, as there’s more work to be done in the dining room and the lights not good today. The next thing I’m working on in there is a possible stencilled ceiling.
Id rather gotten bored of finishing this room off, I’ve been waiting for someone to make a patters for a dolly light switch before I showed the whole room, this has ré-energised me.