Cabinet Makeover with a Secret Identity

If you read my Top 10 Project Wish List for 2013, you might remember number 10 on my list was to replace this table:


This was my husband’s table, and I’m on a mission to replace all of his furniture find a piece that would provide some storage, something my very open-concept house is sadly lacking.

I am happy to announce that Wish List Project #10 can officially be crossed off the list!

I found this cabinet at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago.  I paid a bit more for it than I normally would have wanted to, but you’ll see there’s a reason this cabinet had to come home with me!


Sewing Cabinet Before

 After:Sewing Cabinet Makeover

This is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White with clear wax.

I added feet to dress it up a bit.

Adding feet to a cabinet gives it a whole new feel

I thought the dark hardware was a nice  contrast the light cabinet.  I really liked the original hardware but one of the handles was broken.

Dark hardware is a nice contrast to the light paint


Sewing Cabinet Makeover

Have you figured out why I just had to bring this home?

It’s also a sewing table!

Painted Sewing Cabinet

I love to sew because it’s such quick gratification.  I’ve been sewing since I was about 12. I remember going to the fabric store with my mom and picking out my pattern, carefully assessing and gathering what I needed for my project.  I also used to make and sell dolls, all of which I created the pattern for.  I sold a lot of dolls, ya’ll! Maybe I will share some of them one day.

So you see, I was delighted to discover that this adorable little cabinet that is also a sewing table!  I’m not sure if my machine will attach to the top,  so I can just fold it down into the table, but there’s plenty of room to store it underneath too.

You can see I also reattached the thread holders that I spray painted black.


The inside is in perfect condition, so there was really no need to paint it.


I don’t have a craft room, so all my sewing notions and fabric are stored in a cabinet in the garage. Now I can bring them inside for much easier access!

This cabinet also came with a sewing machine attached (which I tried to leave at the store in exchange for a discount on the cabinet, but they said no).

I didn’t need another machine, but it looked like it was in decent condition.

Do you know what I discovered about this machine?


The Athena 2000 was the very first electronic sewing machine made by Singer.  It retailed for about a $1000 in the  late 70’s!

Can you see these fun stitches it makes?  There’s a wave, leaves, flowers, and even a little dog.


I played with it a little, but I was only able to get it to sew a straight stitch.  Pretty fun though, huh?

Sewign Cabinet Makeover with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint


Now to find a sewing project so I can try it out!




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  1. I love this cabinet! I would love to find one of these for my house…so handy! I featured your project on my blog today!

  2. That is the most beautiful sewing table I’ve ever seen – so original!
    What a great find!
    And what a beautiful transformation! ( lots of exclamation points I know lol )
    Visiting from Shabby Creek

  3. I can’t believe you only paid $90. It’s perfect! I love your paint job on it. Really made it’s personality shine! Great job!

  4. I love this I have a side table I’m going to redo soon and am looking for inspiration. I was thinking distressed, for some reason myhubby loves that look so this is good for me to see. Plus I’m jealous of all the organization in it!

  5. Holy Cow! I am sure there are lots of sewists out there who would love to grab the machine and the cabinet it came in for a mere $90. That is a steal, if what I read is correct. The sewists (I read three blogs, one of which is 10,000 Hours of Sewing, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, and Tanit Isis Sews ) are always on the lookout for “vintage” machines that were designed to do fantastic things that only specialist type of machines (or very expensive machines) can do these days. I’m glad you didn’t paint the inside of the cabinet. No one sees the finish inside the cabinet anyway, it’s not like you sit with the cabinet doors open and everyone stares constantly at it and say oooh, aaah, I just LUV what you did to the inside of the cabinet, Christy!” If the finish is fine the way it is, why do it over? Just for the heck of it? Nope, don’t get it, and I probably never will 🙂 I think your Athena is a major SCORE! BTW, your redo of the outside of the cabinet is lovely, and I do like the addition of the feet to the cabinet. Really does finish it off, and you had to do something if you wanted to keep it in the same spot as the prior table, over that (1) REGISTER or (2) AIR RETURN and still have the register or vent usable. A very smart adaptation.

    • You make me laugh! I have come to terms with the cost especially after I read up on the machine that was included. I’m hoping I can get it working properly so I can try out some of those fun stitches 🙂

  6. Ooh! Great find. I would love to put that piece in my house. I always hate lugging my machine in and out of storage.

    • That probably makes you put off sewing projects, I would imagine. I just had mine in the garage, but it still seemed like an inconvenience to have to lug it in and set it up!

  7. Nice project and it came out great! Would love to have you link this project to What to do Weekends Party also. Following you on several platforms. Linda

  8. Beautiful!!! Found you over at the inspiration gallery at crafty, scrappy, happy!

  9. Linda Prince says

    I have NEVER commented on a blog before…but I just had to tell you about my sewing machine and cabinet. I have a similar cabinet with a Singer 2001 Touch-Tronic machine that came out in 1979. It was the first purchase I made with my first paycheck after graduating nursing school. This past summer I gave the cabinet a makeover, inspired by Miss Mustard Seed. I painted the cabinet cream, stained the top walnut and added old bronze bin pulls and crystal knobs to the doors. My machine still works great. I proudly told my husband last night as I was sewing that I’ve had the machine longer than him! (We’ve been married 28 years.) I think it might be worthwhile to research (google) your machine on the internet. It might have a reset button for the electronic stitches and I do think there might be a market for the machine. As I said I’ve had mine for Yikes! 34 years! Kind regards and have a blessed day! PS. I might have to steal your idea to add feet!

    • Hi Linda! Thanks so much for sharing about your machine! Looks like we have something besides sewing in common; I’m a nurse, too:) I love furniture that is redone to maintain the beautiful finish on top. I wanted to brighten up that corner so I painted the top on mine. Thanks for letting me know about the reset button. I’ll have to check that out. I purchased the feet from Home Depot for around $8 each if you’re interested.
      Have a great day:)

      • Your cabinet is amazing! Wonderful job 🙂 I also had the Singer Touch-Tronic. That machine lasted me for 20 years. I made everything under the sun on that including full-blown pull-string drapes and all the curtains and draperies in our house. I handed it down to my daughter two years ago when I bought a brand new Janome. The Singer is still going strong and she loves it!
        I’d love to find a cabinet similar to this. I’ll have to keep my eyes open 🙂

        Thanks for sharing!


  10. Beautiful! I wish I could find a sewing table like that! I love the feet too!

  11. I love it and I think you got a deal! I have some friends that have been working on machines for years. You might find someone who works on machines that could get it going for you. Those stitches might be fun!!
    Congrats on the redo 🙂

  12. Wow What a surprise inside! I love the cabinet and the fact that it is a sewing cabinet makes it even more awesome!

  13. great update, love it in white. that’s a niced sized sewing table too! storage is a MUST!

  14. Wow, that’s incredible!! I wouldn’t paint the inside too and it’s a nice contrast. It’s a beautiful cabinet and such a score! Good job 😉
    Jamie ~ Better With Age

  15. I have seen a ton of sewing cabinets over the years, but nothing like that! It’s fantastic and can double as a buffet or sideboard if you ever give up sewing. Lovely!


  16. beautiful cabinet makeover. That is so funny that you picked up the Athena 2000. at the thrift store a few weeks ago I bought a Grab bag that had a ton of accessories for that machine: the feet(I Mean All Kinds Of Extra Feet) A Manual, Etc, But I Don’t Have The Machine. let me know if you’d be interested in the accessories I would certainly be interested in purchasing your machine if it runs. I also don’t need an extra machine but thought it might be nice to have another on hand for teaching friends

    • That is so funny! The cabinet actually had a plastic bag attached the inside that had all the accessories which was pretty awesome. The only thing I don’t have is the manual which I may be able download. I think I’m going to keep it and see if I can get working properly. Maybe you’ll come across a machine to go with your accessories:)

  17. That is the most beautiful cabinet I have ever seen. Great Job!

  18. I never would have guessed a sewing machine was hiding out inside! Must be nice to have it right there, and not have to drag out of the closet (like me!). Nice job!
    I hope you’ll drop by to see My Daughter’s Master Bath Redo – #83 at Met Monday.


  19. Wow! It looks beautiful now. I have never seen one of those sewing machine cabinets before.


  20. Christy, I love this transformation! And what a great surprise! I love to sew and this would definitely make me sit down and do more of it! Would love for you to share at the party! xo bridgett

  21. I love the makeover! And the sewing machine looks pretty cool too, I hope you can get it to work. You just gave me an idea too… with a little tweaking I think one of these old sewing cabinets would make a great kitchen island!?

  22. Great job! Paint changes everything! And so handy!

  23. I never would have guessed it was a sewing table. Great transformation! Please share your project at each and every week and check out what other creative divas are up to.

  24. This is great, I really love the used look on the parts that would have wear over time. It being a sewing table as well was a huge wow factor to this article as I was reading along. Thanks for the walk through on this awesome item. Enjoy a good sew.

  25. Lataunya Penninga says

    Hi Christy, I love your sewing machine project.. looks great! So.. odd question for you.. but where did you get the knobs/hardware from? I’m on the hunt for my kitchen cupboards.. Thx! 🙂

  26. Hi Christy! I’m loving looking at all of your projects! I’m so inspired now that you make it look so easy 🙂 Could you share your tips on giving your furniture that “distressed” look after painting, like on this cabinet? I know there are many different ways but I love the way your pieces come out so just wondering what your method of choice is. Thanks!

    • Hi Brie! I’m thrilled to have you here! For this cabinet, I painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white. Then I sanded with 150 grit sand paper. I buy my sandpaper in sheets and cut them into four pieces. Then I wrap a piece around one of those foamy sanding blocks. I start sanding very lightly then go a bit harder in areas that I want to distress a bit more. I’ve been using a finer grit lately as it gives the final pieces a bit more of a smoother finished. If you like it more distressed, 150 is fine. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • Oh! Then I finish it off with clear wax 🙂

  27. So so helpful, thank you!! And what is the purpose of the clear wax? I haven’t heard of that technique before.

    • The clear wax is an Annie Sloan product as well. I order mine online. The paint is around $37 a quart and the wax is $26 a quart. Very pricey, but they go a LONG way! There is a recipe on my blog for DIY chalk paint that I love just as much for a fraction of the cost. However, I still use the pricey wax. It protects your paint finish and acts like a top coat. The chalk paint requires no priming or sanding prior, but the end result is a chalky flat finish. The wax gives it a beautiful sheen. I use old white T-shirts to rub it on, then buff it off leaving a beautiful finish. The tops of furniture should get least two coats. 🙂

  28. Hi Christy! I recently discovered your blog while searching on google for a DIY sewing cabinet and Wow it has changed my way of thinking about old furniture! Someone on craigslist is selling this exact cabinet! Im wanting to buy it and update it like you did but Id like to know first if its good and comfortable and if you’re pleased with the function of this cabinet? Does it have room to store 2 machines? The seller has no clue about this cabinet that belonged to a late family member and I just want to ask someone who actually uses it for an honest opinion! – Laura D

    • Hi Laura! I’m so glad you found my little piece of the internet! First of all I still love it just as much as I did when I first redid it. It is very functional as it holds my machine, my spools of thread and all of my notions. If you attach your machine to the part that folds down, you can store one there and then there is still room on the bottom shelf for another. Before adding the feet, it is very comfortable with a regular chair. Because I am keeping this in my living room and I wanted it to look more like a piece of furniture and not just a cabinet, I added feet. However, to use it comforatably, I have to use my bar stool which is a bit low for a bar stool but higher than a chair. Honestly though, I usually store my machine in the bottom and take it to the dining table to use. If you like it without the added feet, it will be perfect and will work nicely for you. Hope this helps! Come back and see me again! 🙂

  29. One more question… This cabinet looks tall to me so im wondering if you use a bar stool height chair or is it low enough to use any standard chair? Thanks for your time!

  30. I am so glad I found you. I love all your furniture redos. You keep me going with my garage sale finds. Keep up the encouragement….

  31. Christy, your sewing cabinet makeover is so beautiful that now I want to learn to sew. Just looking at it, I would have never thought that it had a secret identity. You did such a great job on the makeover. I’m so glad you shared it with us at Throwback Thursday!

  32. I never would have guessed that this piece is a sewing table. The storage it gives you is so handy! I really like the white paint and new hardware that you chose for its update. Thanks for sharing with this week’s Throwback Thursday party.

  33. Hi! What a beautiful job you did with this cabinet! I have a huge sewing machine (23″ wide by 10″ deep) that I currently use on my dining room table. Someone is selling a sewing cabinet just like this about an hour from where I live. It’s for a very reasonable price, but they have no idea what size sewing machine will fit in it and are using it to sit a big TV on right now. Would you be so kind as to tell me what the dimensions of the cut out are and if there is room to cut to the right of the hole if I need to enlarge it? I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate it. I’m a free-motion quilter and would love to have a set up like this for my machine. Thanks again, Jen

    • Hi Jen! I’m going to email you a couple of photos that should help. Let me know if you don’t get them! 🙂

      • Christy, You are a doll for sending me these pics! They are so helpful! Thank you so much!!! You’re right in that my monster of a machine is too big, but still could sit up top and take advantage of that cool back ledge that somehow forms when position it that way. It would make a great ledge for the fabric to lay on while sewing and free-motion quilting especially. Again I love how you finished it and the hardware you put on it is so pretty.
        Thanks again for all your help! XO -Jen

  34. Do you happen to know who made that cabinet?

  35. I have the EXACT SAME CABINET! I searched “painted cabinet” because I’ve been considering painting mine white. It’s so funny that you found the exact same thing and you painted it white even! Hahah! It looks great! I’ll probably paint mine white now that I can be sure it looks good! I paid 125$ for mine from an old woman from my church! It’s the handiest cabinet! My regular machine and my serger fit inside it. It’s great!

  36. Oh gosh, I just bought this cabinet yesterday and was looking on pinterest for ideas for painting it. Yours is gorgeous! I’m curious to know if you ever found a way to mount your sewing machine in it. I’m trying to figure that out and I’m clueless.

    • Thanks, Danni! I never attached mine since I don’t sit at it to sew, and it fits perfectly underneath. I’m not sure how to mount it. My old machine had two screw holes in the bottom, which I assume were for mounting, but my current machine doesn’t. Sorry I’m not much help!

  37. I just snagged this very same sewing cabinet at an estate sale! Very excited about refinishing it. Did you prime it with a darker color of primer or paint first or is it the original color coming through when you distressed it?

  38. I just purchased a cabinet just like that!! Took us a while to figure out how everything worked, and I got it at discount of $55! I’ll be painting mine as well, can’t wait! Also have a couple of cane chairs (got free!) to paint, which I’ll use with cabinet…excited! Soo cool!!

  39. Hi! Love what you did to the old sewing cabinet! Great idea. I’m interested in the sewing machine. Do you still have it? Would you be willing to sell it? A friend of mine lost hers in Hurricane Sandy. If you are willing to sell it, please let me know!

    Thanks, Lisa