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Shoe Cabinet Makeover!

If you're anything like me, you own shoes. If you don't know what shoes are, people put them on their feet, so they can go to work and sit-down all day. Now, I don't want to brag, but I own a couple pairs of shoes (straightens bowtie)...and I put these shoes in a contraption some folks call a shoe cabinet. Any shoe cabinet aficionados out there? Boy, did you come to the right place. This is how I gave my 40 year old ugly shoe cabinet a makeover.

This is my house in Japan. I've been living in Japan for about half of my life and believe it or not, but right now, I'm dressed as a samurai, typing this with a kendo stick. True story!

So this is the entrance of my house and it's called genkan in Japanese. Are you falling asleep? The shoe cabinet is called getabako, most places have one, and shoes are kutsu. Now bow to your sensei!!

The before! Not so's alright! Right?

I actually remodeled this entire room! It's coming up in my next post! Cliffhanger!

No, not the Sylvester Stallone movie from 1993....

Yeah, these cabinets needed a makeover!

Check it out! My shoes don't even fit in this thing. No clown shoes allowed!

Take a closer look at the shelves.

All of the shelves are held up by showcase style plastic supports.

These things...are so...teeeerrrrible! C'mon! I mean, who thought little plastic supports were a good idea for a shoe cabinet? What's the world coming to? What's next?..human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...MASS HYSTERIA!

I pulled out all of the little plastics supports and installed wooden cleats.

Wooden cleats are cut from solid lumber and used to support shelves. I only used them for the sides, but they're normally installed along the back and sides. When cutting them to length, make sure the side cleats are long enough to attach to a stud at each end. I attached these cleats to the frame/stile of the walls of the cabinet.

These shelves aren't holding a lot of weight. but it's good to remeber:

A single lag screw in a wood stud can bear a weight of between 80 – 100 pounds and two screws can hold 160-200 pounds.

After cleaning the inside and all of the shelves, I started painting...wait a second!

Are there any PAPF out there? You know: "People Against Painted Furniture."

Now is the time to abandon ship. The painted furniture alarm is blaring! Get out while you still can! It's too late, Annie Sloan is here!

So, after cleaning everything, I painted the inside of the cabinet with an easy cleanable dark gray gloss paint. This paint supposedly eliminates odors and is formulated to be mold and mildew resistant. Fingers crossed!

For the outside, I used Annie Sloan chalk paint for the base coat. Yeah, it's orange! I had a can of orange left over from the sideboard flip my lovely wife, Mariko did a while back.

I do love chalk paint! With the Annie Sloan paint, it adheres to almost any surface and there is rarely any need to sand or prime before painting.

I stained the shelves with WATCO mahogany oil stain.

Water-based stains have come along way and some brands claim to last longer than oil stain. Keep in mind that water-based stains are more difficult to use because they raise the grain of the wood and they dry fast.

What a difference!!

I painted the orange base coat with a coat of white sealer. This sealer is an undercoating agent that can be applied to almost anything. The finish coat is the same paint I used for the inside of the cabinets but in this milky white color.

I painted the doors the same way.

-Chalk paint


-Finish coat

I know what you're thinking and the answer is: yes!

You can come over and put your shoes in the shoe cabinet.


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