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Cabinet Almost Done

Refinished Cabinet for Cat Food

December 10, 2010 Sarah Coggins
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In my spare time over the last few weeks (ie, nap time and when Trent is home to help keep an eye on our son), I have been working on painting the dining room and refinishing a cabinet. The cabinet is my solution to child proofing the cat food and water now that our son is allowed into the dining room and kitchen (he’s at the point where the living room alone is like being trapped).

The cat food bowls and water fountain are like a magnet drawing him in. He knows these aren’t for playing with but can not resist the temptation. Thus the idea for a cabinet where they could be closed off from him, but accessible to the cats came about.

I found this cabinet on Craigslist for $20:

Cabinet Before

It was a good size (36″w x 18″d x 36″h) and overall in good condition. It had expected wears from previous use, but also had great bones. I had a vision that it could be beautiful and functional with a little work.

Sanding Craigslist furniture find in preparation for refinishing.

I sanded it down. Removed the old knobs. Patched the holes. Cut a 6″ x 6″ opening in one side for the cats to enter. Then came paint.

I was momentarily stumped. The other furniture in the room is a dark walnut tone. I wasn’t convinced that I could get a color to match and, honestly, didn’t want this refinished cabinet to match those. I wanted it to be a fun accent piece.

Searching the room for inspiration, I came to the curtains. In May 2009, I had added a striped top panel to lengthen the curtains after accidentally shrinking them. Looking at the striped fabric, I had my aha! moment – a nice olive green color would be perfect. After a trip to Lowes for supplies and several layers of paint (Valspar #318-6 Shubbery mixed in Olympic semi-gloss no VOC base) later, my vision was starting to come together.

Even my son was joining in on the fun when he could – oh how he loved climbing in and playing hide ‘n seek:

Photo from Instagram of a smiling toddler boy sitting inside cabinet.

Finally, the dining room was painted and the new knobs I ordered arrived:

New oil rubbed bronze knobs with a leaf pattern.
Refinished cabinet featuring beautiful olive green paint and new bronze knobs.

For now only the cat food is in there as we let them adjust to the new location. I’ll eventually place their water fountain on the bottom and cut a hole in the shelf so they can access the food above. And, of course, I had to add locks to keep our son from being able to open the doors.

Cat food placed inside a cabinet to keep out of reach of toddler and view.

And our refinished cabinet in it’s new home:

Cabinet After

All in all, I spent less than $50 and ended up with a unique, beautiful piece.


  • Casey Wright December 10, 2010 at 11:12 am
    What a cool project and so creative! LOVE IT!
  • scrapchick December 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    Looks great! Love DIY projects! TFS!
  • Laura December 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm
    Very cool! We will need an update to hear how the kitties like it. :)
  • Bonnie December 10, 2010 at 7:39 pm
    You did a wonderful job on the cabinet. It's beautiful! I find it interesting that the cats & fish are in the same place. My cat would have been drinking out of the aquarium! Dylan sure looks cute hiding!
  • chapelhillmom December 11, 2010 at 9:00 am
    It looks great! Also excited to see the fish there since you know that I think Santa needs bring us a "Dorothy" and worried about how Emmie will react. ;) Well done lady on this project, so impressed!
  • Linda December 12, 2010 at 5:44 pm
    I love how your dining room has turned out. The cabinet is a clever and stylish solution. I hope your cats like it.
  • ter@waaoms December 12, 2010 at 10:28 pm
    I have seen a few projects like this in blogville and I always wonder how do the cats know to go in the cupboards and how do they like eating in the dark? I guess they don't mind, since it is a popular solution it seems!

    Good job on your cabinet!
  • Ryzmomplus2 December 13, 2010 at 8:14 am
    OMG Sarah I love it! I'm in the middle of painting some boards my brother in law is going to add to our island and painting all the chairs for a whole new look. I'll be sure to post pictures when its done!
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    Hi! I'm a DIY and craft obsessed mom to 2. I have my hands covered in sawdust or paint any given day. My husband and kids join me in many of our projects. When we aren't creating at home, we're creating memories in our many adventures. Join along! Read More


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