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Entryway Credenza Makeover

My entryway is looking a little different now because I gave my credenza a quick makeover. This is a credenza that I built myself about four years ago, and at that time, I gave it a light whitewashed look (using liming wax) and used grasscloth on the drawer fronts.

When my new sofa arrived a week ago, the credenza (and specifically those grasscloth drawer fronts) seemed to clash with the blue undertones of the new sofa. So I set out to find a way to make the credenza work. In the end, I went with removing the grasscloth, and then giving the whole credenza a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax. And here’s what it looks like now.

Getting to that final decision was a process. I originally considered painting the drawer fronts, but after trying one drawer, that didn’t look right to me.

Then I thought I could just remove the frames around the drawers, replace the grasscloth with something else, reattach the frames, and be done with it. But the only thing I could find locally was this vinyl self-adhesive wallpaper from Lowe’s that kind of looks like grasscloth. And since it wasn’t wide enough to be placed horizontally on the drawers, I tried it vertically.

I didn’t like the color with the original washed look of the credenza, so I tried to darken the wood (starting on the top) using some Annie Sloan Dark Wax that I’ve had since the condo days. Applying the wax was as easy as wiping it on with one cloth, and then wiping off the excess and buffing it with another cloth. Quick and easy. I liked the darker wood, but I still didn’t like the new gray faux grasscloth wallpaper on the drawer fronts.

So then I decided to take the grasscloth off, sand the adhesive off of the plywood fronts, and then use the wax on plywood and see if I could get those to match the rest of the credenza that was getting a coat of dark wax. I was doubtful since the body of the credenza had that light washed look of the liming wax, while the drawer fronts were just unfinished plywood. But to my surprise, it looked pretty good!

And more importantly, I liked how it looked sitting behind the new sofa. If I could have chosen the perfect stain color to suit my personal taste, this would not have been it. This has that touch of orange, and I would have preferred something a little more neutral, and perhaps just a little bit darker and richer in color. But this really is fine, and I like it so much more than the light finish/grasscloth combo from this vantage point.

So I continued. Each drawer took about 30 minutes from start to finish — removing the trim frame, removing the grasscloth, sanding off the adhesive, giving the drawer fronts a coat of clear wax, giving the drawer fronts and frames a coat of dark wax, and then reattaching the frames to the drawer fronts.

With each drawer that I finished, I loved it even more. It’s amazing how a couple of small changes can give a piece of furniture (and a whole wall or room) such a different look.

Anyway, after all of that, I now have a solid stained/waxed credenza sitting on that wall behind the sofa. No more teal grasscloth clashing with my gray sofa with the blue undertones. I like this so much better with the sofa.

And I like the overall look as well. So many of you encouraged me to keep the wood rather than painting the piece, and I think that was the right decision.

And while the finish isn’t perfect, I do like that the new finish doesn’t have such a rustic look to it that the original finish had.

Anyway, I’m glad that’s done. I wanted to go ahead and take care of that because I didn’t like that I had gone from a completely finished living room and entryway that I loved (other than the sofa that my cat had shredded) to a living room and entryway with a beautiful new sofa, but with a credenza that now made me cringe every time I looked at it behind the sofa. So with a couple of days of work, I’m now back to a finished living room and entryway that I love again. It was worth it.

I’ll end this post with an almost-but-not-quite-180-degree view of this whole area.

While standing in the cased opening between the entryway/living room and music room, the living room is to the left. On that wall on the left, you can see the teal fireplace which is flanked by two purple chairs.

Looking straight ahead, you see the front door and the “entryway” that is created by the placement of the sofa to separate the living room furniture from this “entryway” area.

And the on the right, there’s the “entryway” wall.

So on one end of the room, I have a large teal fireplace flanked by purple chairs with floral pillows on a white background. Then on the opposite wall, I have a large teal wall with purple and white ottomans. Get it? 🙂 (That was for those people who regularly tell me that the purple ottomans don’t make sense in this room. When you’re standing in the room, they do, and it was a very intentional decision because of the balance they bring. You’re not required to like them 🙂 , but they’re not random.)

Here’s a wide angle view, and while it’s still not wide enough to get the teal fireplace, you can still see one of the purple chairs and the entryway wall.

Anyway, that’s done. The thing I like the most about the new credenza finish is that it’s very similar to the color of the woven shades on the windows. So having that color on the entryway wall brings balance. And I like balance. 🙂



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  1. What a great result! The wood finish relates to the floor, the woven shades, plant basket and the coffee table legs, so it creates great balance. It is also a place for the eye to rest with all the other color in the room, so it all works together very, very well. Nice job! Once again, you have found and implemented a great solution.

    1. This is exactly what I was thinking. Good job, Kristi! I liked the grass cloth version but I like this new one even more. I still smile when I think that you built the credenza yourself. I don’t think my fine carpentry skills are that good.

  2. Wow! I loved it before, but you were right about it not having the right look with your new couch. The transformation is fabulous and adds a nice warmth to the area! Love it! I wish I had your energy, vision, and skills. It much be wonderful to be able to envision something and then make it happen. Great job as usual!!

  3. Much better. I wonder if just a touch of Annie Sloan wax in black (to achieve a bit more of a gray grain look–not all over), would be more to your liking with the couch.

    I love this so much more–gives your eye a place to rest in the entry way.

  4. You could always paint or stain the baskets on the bottom shelf if you want that pop of color. It’s a beautiful piece for sure!

  5. “The thing I like the most about the new credenza finish is that it’s very similar to the color of the woven shades on the windows. ” That was my first thought! Good choice.

  6. As much as I LOVED that grass cloth this does compliment the room better. That credenza has always been one of my absolute favorites of yours. But it looks just as amazing now. Good job and good eye as usual.

  7. Such a good look! I like it better than it was before, and I thought I liked the before! What’s most important though is that you like it, and that’s all that matters. Now, how has it been going with your outings with Matt?

    1. Great! He’s thoroughly enjoying getting out and going to lunch, going to church, and being among other people in general. My birthday is next Tuesday, and it’ll be the first time in about 15 years that we’ll be able to go out together for my birthday. That’s exciting!

  8. I agree. The credenza now plays a supporting role rather than demanding the attention for itself. Well done!

  9. Much much better. I’m glad you saw the wisdom of toning down the cabinet.

    I get it that those ottomans are going to stay. As I look at the whole picture now I think the gold pillows add a color that seems out of sync with everything else. That is immediately where my eye goes instead of drawing me to the living room. Possibility of trying a quieter effect?

    Now that you have solved that dilemma, will finishing the bathroom be next on the agenda?

    1. Those pillows on the ottomans are place holders. I don’t know if you’ve tried shopping for home decor or fabric lately, but the selections are pretty slim. Joann Fabric (which is the only fabric store in my city, with the exception of a small selection at Hobby Lobby that never matches my decor) literally has no decorator fabric at this point. I’ve spent way more time that I’d like to admit searching online for fabric and/or pillows (I think I’ve look at every single pillow available on Etsy), and I can’t find anything. So until supply chains get back up and running, and until store inventories start to get built back up, I’m stuck with gold pillows.

      Yes, I’ll be continuing to work on the bathroom.

      1. Have you tried Fabric Guru? They have a huge inventory and have samples available at a reasonable price.

      2. Have you tried fabric dot com? I’ve bought quite a few fabrics from there before — huge selection, good prices on samples, generally good quality fabric. I’m sure you could find something you like from there!

      3. Love the credenza makeover. I wonder how the fabric from the pillows on the purple chairs would look in the entry. One of the pictures of the entry showed the reflection of the pillow in the mirror. Don’t know if they would look too busy but they do pick up all the colors in the bird pictures. Worth a try. Love your work

  10. Beautiful! I think it looks very substantial and sophisticated, and allows the other more colorful elements in the room to pop!

  11. I like balance and the first thing I thought when I saw the new and improved credenza was the connection between the shades and the wood. I think it looks calm and intentional now. As always, good job!👍

  12. I like this better than the grasscloth. Looks like a very high end piece of furniture. Of course it should since it is a custom piece!

  13. Very nice! To my untrained eye it ‘settles and calms’ that wall and lets the other pieces shine. Hope that makes sense.

  14. I am blown away with how much I love love love the credenza now! I loved it before but now, wow it is absolutely very rich and harmonious with every room now, especially the new sofa. I am sure it was hard work but so worth it for this beautiful peace. Great job!

  15. I think it looks amazing like this, better than before and the simpler look does a great job of highlighting the great art work above.

  16. This looks rich, and calming, and beautiful! Thank you for the explanation of how the ottomans relate to the chairs.

  17. Perfect decision/execution, Kristi. That’s exactly what it needed to be. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture.

  18. It all looks wonderful. I liked the grasscloth before but love how the stained & waxed piece looks with everything else.

  19. That looks SO nice refinished…I do love it, and it seems to be nice with the shades, and the side table – all looks wonderful together! Such a beautiful room. So happy to hear you and Matt are still enjoying some lunches, and outings. That all makes me so happy for you both.

  20. This looks so good! Love how it grounds the room and how everything seems pulled together now. And most of all, so happy the outings continue!!!

  21. Yes! I love that! It really does blend so well with the floors and the wood blinds. Once again, you figured out a great solution to an annoying problem! Good job, Kristi! xo

  22. It also blends really well with the mounting blocks on your sconces. Much better in my humble opinion. The only regret I have is that I no longer live in McGregor and come learn woodworking and help you in remodeling your home.

  23. I absolutely love this!! I wasn’t crazy about the grass cloth, but it wasn’t my house so I never said anything! This just makes the whole room look finished in my humble opinion. Absolutely freaking awesome 😎👍

  24. I really like it! The color blends well with the other elements of the room. I like the ottomans better now, too (before, they competed with the credenza (to my eye)). PLUS, it was a simple, inexpensive fix. HUGE Bonus, now you can get back to other projects and Matt with more energy and focus. Great job!

  25. I loved this room before, but love it more with the new color on the credenza. Love how it ties in your wood blinds and gold accents. Great job, as always Kristi!;

  26. Just gorgeous! As always! I’ll never forget how this room looked when you first started it. Remember that AC unit that was pretty much painted into the window? It is such an amazing transformation each time.

  27. Beautiful project. I love the before and after, but somehow it looks more elegant the new look of your credenza.

  28. Absolutely gorgeous!!! You are amazing. And such an inspiration. Thank you for continuing to share everything with usa!

  29. That looks awesome Kristi. The credenza is now classic and it changed the tone of the whole area. Gorgeous.