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Anthropologie-Inspired Storage Cabinet

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This Anthropologie-inspired DIY bathroom storage cabinet deliver big, expensive looks for only a few dollars. Scrounge up those old, ornate picture frames, and we’ll show you how to make a $230 Anthropologie storage cabinet for only the price of some plywood and paint!

Handan is always shoving some piece of junk or another into my face and then demanding to know if I’m aware of what I’ll be doing with it. This usually happens while I’m trying to concentrate on something important, like television or video games or food.

“Babes!” She cries, as a smile spreads across her face. “Babes! Do you know what you’re going to turn this into?” Whereupon she thrusts some splintered piece of furniture or rickety frame or broken bauble towards my averted eyes, tilting it this way and that. She usually attacks from the right, so I’ve learned to feint left, thus maintaining eye contact with my show, my game or my meal.

“Hrnmph.” I say, hoping it conveys enough meaning to ward her off.

It rarely does, and she circles around for another run at me.

“Does my babes know what he’s going to make for me? Does he? Does he? Hey? Hey?”

She’s like a buzzard on the scent of some carrion or wounded prey. I’m trapped, and she knows it. She always gets me when I’m sitting down. It takes a lot of time and energy to shift this much mass up off of the couch and get it running for the hills. She knows my weaknesses, and she exploits them.

I sigh the long sigh of The Eternally Tormented Soul and meet her sparkling eyes with a heavy-lidded stare.

“What am I going to do, my babes?” And so it begins…

*****

Our salvaged, purchased and collected picture frames number in the hundreds and mass about a metric ton. To me, they are a single, intimidating entity, but Handan can tell you the history of and plans for each and every one of them. Her brain is like a filing cabinet. It also makes it nearly impossible to win an argument with her, since she has total recall of every word I’ve uttered since we met and has no problem repackaging those words and hurling them back at me at the most inopportune moments. Einstein once wrote to a friend that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is horseshit. The definition of insanity is arguing with a woman and expecting to win.

Anyway, back to the picture frames. Handan’s favorites are the ornate ones. The fancier, the better. She found one a long time ago at the dump that she loved. Yeah, yeah, I thought it was pretty cool, too. It even made the featured image of an old post she wrote about finding free furniture. It’s a great post, and you should check it out if you haven’t read it already. Really, go read it, or I’ll make you argue with her 🙂

Here’s the frame:

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The print is a famous painting by Johannes Vermeer titled “The Lacemaker.” He painted it in 1670, five years before his death at the young age of 43. You may also know another of his masterpieces, “The Girl with the Pearl Earring.”

Though we are separated by centuries, I feel a kinship with Johannes Vermeer. He painted several self-portraits, and in each of them, he has the same tortured look that I have when Handan hooks me into another project.

You want me to do what? But I was eating…

Anyway, Handan had a vision for this frame. She had seen a bathroom storage cabinet on Pinterest that Anthropologie was selling for $228:

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Source: www.anthropologie.com

You can guess the odds of Handan forking out $228 for something like that. Instead, I got the Vermeer in my face.

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She didn’t show me the picture she found on Pinterest; she just explained what she wanted.

“You’ll make a box, my babes, about this deep.” She held up her two hands, spaced several inches apart. “And it will have two shelves.”

“Two shelves. Got it.” I said. I extricated myself from the sofa, shuffled down to the basement and set to work.

I chose 1/2 inch plywood for the back and 1/4 inch for everything else. After taking some measurements, I cut my pieces to size. I would cut the shelves after building the cabinet frame.

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I didn’t take any process pictures. I was so riveted by the complexities of the box, that all other thoughts were dispelled from my head.

I’m kidding. I just forgot.

Anyway, I finished the cabinet. It was a fine thing, resplendent with its two shelves.

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I filled in the imperfections with spackling and sanded everything smooth. I marched my fine creation upstairs to show Handan like a three-year-old with a crayon scribbling for mommy.

“Look what I did, my babes!” I beamed at my wife and awaited my praise. Perhaps she’d make me a dry martini? Nahhhhhh, that would never happen, but surely she would crow over such magnificent craftsmanship!

“My babes…” And with those two words, my world collapsed. It was how she said them. I had done something wrong.

“My babes,” She continued, “I asked for two shelves.

“Yeah…?” I was so confused. We were both looking at the same work of art engineering marvel cabinet. What the hell was she babbling about? “There are two shelves.”

“My babes,” She pressed, “You made three shelves. How am I going to fit toilet paper in those shelves?”

Three shelves? I mouthed the words silently to myself.

“Babes, look.” I pointed at each of the shelves I had installed. “One. Two. Two shelves!” My logic was sound. My argument was watertight. This woman was a loon!

“My babes,” She said, irritation and anger creeping into her voice. “There are THREE shelves here. She stabbed a finger towards my creation. “ONE. TWO. THREE!” Her finger came to rest on the bottom of the cabinet, what I had been thinking of as a base, and what she considered a shelf.

“Ohhh….” Realization dawned like a spotlight in the dark. “OHHHHH!”

Shit.

“Okay, my babes. I’ll make another one.”

~~~One Year Later~~~

Hey, I never said when I’d make another one! So it took a year? So what?

This time, I would not fail. And this time, I would take pictures!

I gathered my plywood and cut it to size. I would build this cabinet into the frame, piece by piece, cutting new pieces as I went along. I remembered from the year before that the frame was not square, so even the three-shelved masterpiece didn’t fit in the frame properly.

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A little wood glue…

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And some brad nails…

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Oh, by the way, I no longer have that squirrel on my face. I got fed up with it a couple of weeks ago and shaved it off. I did that once with my hair two years ago. I just got sick of it, so I lopped it all off. It’s quite refreshing. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, where was I? Hmmm? Oh yeah, the cabinet. I completed the frame.

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Then I fit the cabinet frame into the picture frame.

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It was a perfect fit, so I applied glue around the edge and clamped the two pieces together.

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Since the frame was so warped, the clamps were necessary to ensure contact all around the frame.

I added some wood filler in some spots, and then sanded everything smooth.

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Okay, I forgot to take pics of the next two steps, but I added a shelf (SHELF! not SHELVES!). Once the shelf was in, I installed the back.

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I handed it over to Handan to repair the frame’s face. There were a lot of cracks and chips. This Vermeer print had seen some years and miles.

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Handan was having trouble filling all those cracks the traditional way, so she developed a technique using a small detail paint brush. She would add a bit of wood filler (DryDex – the kind that is pink and smooth like spackle when it is wet), and then work the filler into the cracks with the brush. It worked brilliantly.

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She painted it with her homemade chalk paint in old white color and distressed it, and there it sat in her crafting area until a fateful Saturday morning this past March when she suggested I hang it and then write about it. We all know how that turned out, right? What? You don’t? Well get with the program, Madam, and go read about the guest bathroom renovation! I’ll wait…

You’re back? Oh, good. Let’s continue.

Since everything else in the new bathroom was pure white, Handan repainted the cabinet to match.

Just as we were hanging this Anthropologie-inspired storage cabinet in our newly-renovated guest bathroom, we broke it. If you’ve read the bathroom renovation series, you know that that project was plagued with misfortune, and breaking the storage cabinet was the last mishap in a long line of mishaps (or maybe it was the toilet paper holder fiasco that was last…I can’t remember, or I’ve already blocked it from memory). As I was holding the cabinet by its sides, one of them snapped in my hand.

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Handan started laughing. But it wasn’t the happy kind that makes me laugh. It was the scary kind that makes me want to duck and cover. Although my first instinct was to Hulk Smash the cabinet and run, screaming, down the middle of the street, I put on a brave face and told Handan that it would be alright. We could fix it. I got my super glue and insta-set spray, and we had it back together in no time. No, her smile is not at all forced, why do you ask?

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Handan’s Ongoing Pajama Counter: 9

Our Anthropologie-inspired storage cabinet looks great above our new toilet in our newly-renovated bathroom.

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I’d love to tell you how we saved $228 by building it ourselves, but that would be just about the biggest load of bullshit this side of the Ozarks, since this little cabinet launched the bathroom renovation that cost us almost two months of our lives and many many hundreds of dollars. Though it may not have saved us any money, it has given us a beautiful new bathroom that I like to call The Dapper Crapper.

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43 Comments

  1. Okay I just need to get this out of the way. Why did you kill squirrel face……………………? Mmmmm, MMMmmm? Coz now you probably look all of 16 years old and no-one is going to believe that you can use power tools Greg 😉

    Okay I’m done with the squirrel. Over IT and loving the bog roll Anthropologie shelf and the way Handan fixed the damage. I wonder if it would work on miniature frames too. Does DryDex dry super smooth too?

    1. It’s summer and time for a change, Michelle! I had that thing long enough that I’d forgotten what I looked like without it. I’ll probably grow it back next fall. The wood filler dries as smooth as you apply it. It still needs to be sanded for it to be super smooth, but it is way smoother than the old gritty style of wood filler that we used to use.

  2. i wanna know is the tp still stacked in that pretty little threesome, or is it shoved into the shelf in the plastic it came in like it would be here ha ha xx p.s. it is very pretty for a $4000 shelf muuuhahaha xx

    1. You’ll be surprised to learn that it is still getting nicely stacked. We re-stack it when it gets down to one roll. The whole bathroom still looks like it did when we finished it! As for the cost, Handan would have flipped her lid if it cost $4000! We did that project for under $1000. I don’t know the exact figure, but it was over $900 and under $1000.

  3. Hello Greg and Handan, as always, perfection! but I especially like the placement of the reading lamp in the guest powder room. Very thoughtful on your part. I will be doing our powder room sometime in the near future. I need to gather my strength for what promises to be a l-o-n-g hall. I hope you won’t mind if I refer back to your wonderful ideas to incorporate some of them into mine. Thanks again! Laura I
    PS I so enjoy your wonderful sense of humor. I hope it exists in your lives and not just on paper.

    1. Thank you, Laura! Good luck with your project! Please send us some photos – we’d love to see your progress.

      I write how I live, so yes, we’re like this in real life! Those conversations in the blog are pretty accurate!

  4. I absolutely love this shelf! I wish I had the vision that Handan has! At least I can copy all her great ideas, and of course Greg’s too! I like seeing that I am not the only one who struggles with home improvement! Thanks for the laughs!

    1. Thank you, Giselle! Yeah, Handan’s vision is amazing. Whereas most people (including me) see a piece of junk, she sees potential. Hmmmm…I wonder if that’s what happened when she first saw me?

  5. You were right Greg. You originally built it with 2 shelves & the tp would have fit, just not artistically stacked.. Sorry Handan.

  6. Love this story! And I love seeing the bathroom again.
    We just did our bathroom, it had a yellow ‘elder’ walk in tub,that was a joke. We put in a shower with tile walls,and a glass front ,but the door is only 24 inches. While it is very prettyit is time consuming wiping down after shower. So we don’t use it. ? Yeah. $$$$ Kaching! We had never done this before and I got talked into something,that now I regret . Have you ever done something like that? Don’t say your bathroom,because it is lovely! ?

    1. There’s another solution for a glass shower door: leave it alone. Soon it’ll be covered in hard water stains, and you’ll have yourself a DIY frosted glass door!

      Fortunately, we haven’t done any projects that we regret. Certainly, there are ones I wouldn’t want to do again (the bathroom, the pond makeover, the dresser-to-wine-bar, etc), but we are very happy with the way they turned out.

  7. Always love the projects you two do, and your wonderful sense of writing, my readers would really love your style! I would like to invite you to share your furniture projects over at my place at #FridaysFurnitureFix, hope to see you there!

  8. I love your posts! They are always filled with so much humor, I wish my husband could find the humor when we are working on projects together! The cabinet is so beautiful you did a wonderful job.

    1. Thank you so much, Glenda! The humor usually comes after I’m done. I’m sure I’m just like your husband many times when I’m working, LOL! 🙂

  9. Love the way you write!!!! I usually only skim info, using pictures as my guide, after playing with projects for so many years. Really, one of the best Blog reads yet!! Go get’m guys!!

  10. The cabinet project was so delightful to read that I am hooked. I will check out all your gifted posts. Your humor, love for each other, perspective on life and marriage, respect for art and history, ability to create and linguistic gifts are compelling! Thank you!
    Nancy

  11. The cabinet turned out very nice. Congrats on the creativity!
    Don’t ya just love it when ‘their’ project turns into *your* project??….only to be compounded by building the box two times due to someones miscommunication…..a word of advice: A picture is worth 1M words!
    In retrospect, $228 might have been a bargain given the time and materials one put into it. Then again, the joy is in the creation. (Who would deny you the opportunity of losing another argument? lol)

  12. What a ride! What a great read! I discovered your project via Hometalk and am glad for the numerous tutorial. My husband will enjoy it when I hold him down and read it to him tomorrow. Lol

    We too are busy with a bathroom remodel. I would never imagine such a lovely cabinet. We are going taking weeks simply removing popcorn and framing the mirror!

    Sign me up! I will check in often.

    1. Thank you so much, Lorrie! I’m glad you found us, and I hope your husband doesn’t suffer too much while listening 🙂
      Good luck with your remodel!

  13. Funny now, right? But I would have been crying hysterically, and probably screaming too, if the pieces broke off the side after all MY work. Can’t believe y’all found that picture & frame in the DUMP! To have such a dump around. But maybe I didn’t read that right. Love your name…the Dapper Crapper. Well, it’s a beautiful piece now!

    1. Thank you, Florence! Yes, you read it right! We find so much awesome stuff in the dump. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure 🙂

  14. Hahahaaaa…..a year later….yup I can relate to that in this house! Am reading this again…still so enjoyable. By the way..I never heard about the blog awards…how did the na age patch do? It’s the best blog I read….
    Oh maybe if I send this to my son he will trim his squirrel off too. He’s only 52 but it is graying…makes him look so old, therefore makes ME look old! Grrr
    And I still love the bathroom remodel. Now if everything had gone smoothly…no entertaining story,right?
    I am going to look for your bathroom remodel,because I had posted about the selection of toilets..(millions of choices,)and something folks should think about BEFORE potty/ crapper decision. Which we didn’t…because we had never bought a new fang led terlet before. So off to find and add another comment..if I may??. Bernice

  15. Ok I can’t find the toilet install and my comment so putting it here…when one is considering a new terlet,you might think about where the …ahem…”solids”. Are going to land. If not…almost every time a deposit is made…it could land above the water level…posing a new problem. Because evidently the new flushers don’t have enough water to move the “solid” down into the water and then out the back door. VERY DISAPPOINTING!!!??. My 2 cents,

    1. Oh yeah, that’s a good consideration. I think ours is supposed to be able to flush a bucket of golf balls, which could come in handy if I ever decide to start smuggling golf balls and need to dispose of them during a police raid 🙂

      1. Well golf balls are hard ,it doesn’t take much water to convince them to move on. Soft “solids” on the other hand…like peanut butter…need more water to whoosh things away…?there’s a big difference between golf balls and peanut butterish solid…advertisers know this! But they ain’t sayin’.

      1. Bummer…I don’t follow any of the other blogs..don’t even know who they are. Just you,Hometalk,and Kim Komando! ?

  16. As usual, loved your story and the finished project. I bought a desk drawer for $1 and plan to use it as a shelf over the toilet; no pretty frame, but it will be a bright turquoise so it will be busy enough!

  17. I knew it!!! The minute I saw that picture I knew it was done by the same artist as the girl with the pearl earring!! Awesome frame and I just love the cabinet you made from it!!!