A very special little girl is turning ONE. Sooo…a very special gift is in order for her!

And migosh I think she loves it!

Lemme tell you the story behind this here transformation.  It was a 3 month-long party. I bought the child size cupboard right before Christmas from a sweet woman who shared the history. The cupboard belonged to her mother as a little girl.  Her grandfather built it which dates the pieces to about the 1920s.  After years of use, it came into my possession looking very hurt and forgotten. Coincidentally it seems to match the dated background in this pic but that’s a different project on a different day.  Don’t judge.

Did you notice the mismatched hardware? The cabinet doors with no innards? The chipping, uneven paint?

I chose to leave some of the dings and signs that really show the age and history of the piece.  After cleaning it up, I painted the exterior in 2 coats of ASCP Antibes Green which is super bright as is.

The shelves and the interior were painted 2 coats of ASCP Pure White.  I followed up with clear wax.

Ryan worked on rebuilding the doors so they were functional again.  Like the action shot?  He’s pretending he doesn’t know I’m taking his picture.

So we decided on classic shaker doors for the bottom.  Ryan cut plywood to size and adhered it to the original frame with wood glue and then they got painted green too.

The Antibes green surfaces were all dark waxed to tone down the green a little…but not too much to keep it juvenile!  The dings and signs of age I mentioned really captured the dark wax to give it a primitive look.

Do you love the door handles?  They are vintage copper pulls that I scored at a flea market.  I was saving them for just the right project!

It only seemed appropriate for the top doors to be see-through. Obviously real glass would be too dangerous for the little tyke so plexiglass it is! The panels are secured in the original door frames with glazier’s points.

The knobs on the top doors are new – from Lowe’s.  Aren’t they adorable too?  So precious and yet the coppery colors match so well.

Now that I got through all of those details, aren’t you just dying to know about the “counter top”? Hope so because I am dying to tell you about it! Yes, those are pennies.

Pennies!  This part gets lengthy so you might want to go get a drink or something before we get started.  Go ahead!  I’ll wait.


I honestly don’t even remember how the penny top came about. I do know that early on in the transformation we decided we’d do a tile counter top to add some interest. I even bought little 1″ x 1″ tiles. Then I returned them because the penny top idea was born.

First step was to clean up the pennies so they’d be all sparkly and tile worthy.  We used a tarnish remover.  Scrubbed ’em up and toweled ’em dry.  At this point, I was starting to feel a little crazy.  Just a little.

And then really crazy. Like dancing on the table crazy! (Yes, that’s my party outfit below.)  I placed each polished penny individually on the newly painted white counter top.  I’d like to say that the placement was strategic and there’s some wild pattern between the light and dark pennies but I’d be lying.  Completely.  I was just trying to stay awake as I placed them in alternating rows.  However, I did rotate between heads and tails when I thought of it.  I used gorilla glue to adhere the front row in place.

Omg that outfit.  Hideous.  Sorry… Next step was securing the “tile” and making it look like a counter top for real. We needed bar top epoxy to do that.

My mad scientist mixed up the varnish concoction and carefully poured it over the pennies.  Wilson supervised.  Note the small level on the shelf but please don’t note anything else in the, ahem, shop.  The level ensured that the liquid was level.

And another important note, should you create an epoxy bar top, is to cover the surfaces below in plastic. The varnish will drip over the sides so if you don’t plan to varnish those surfaces, cover ’em up. We secured plastic on the lower part of the cupboard with painter’s tape.

And here I come in another hot sweat suit.  That’s right.  The varnish has to be spread across the surface before it dries.  And it dries rapidly!  It gets really tacky too so you have to handle it sensitively or you will lift the pennies up with it.  To avoid that, you could glue down each individual penny but, please, I wasn’t doing that!  Overall, you need to move quickly but also slowly if that makes any sense at all.  We tried a few different tools to help spread the rapidly drying liquid to all corners.  Yes, that is a spatula for the grill in my left hand. It wasn’t the best choice.  But worth a shot.

I found that the paint stirrer worked best to spread the varnish because it worked a large surface and didn’t really get stuck in it.  You will notice that I did not wear gloves.  Don’t try that at home.  Wear gloves with this stuff!

After just a couple of days of allowing the varnish to harden, the new counter top was ready for baking prep!  How adorable are the stuffed cupcakes?

That just leaves the lower cabinet.

We kept it unpainted inside as it always had been.  I lined the shelf with wood look contact paper to polish it off.  That’s it.

And that’s the transformation.  Happy Birthday to my favorite little girl!

Linking to Miss Mustard Seed, Common Ground, 504 main, Get out of my head, Primitive & Proper, Home Stories A to Z, Restore Interiors

14 thoughts on “one

  1. What a labor of love!! A keepsake that she will treasure forever! I really like the green and of course all those pennies!

  2. How awesome is this?!?! I love the history behind it and that you made it new again for more years of play 🙂

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