What an event that was! These little beauties consumed every ounce of my storage space and my "free time" the entire 4th quarter of 2016, but the end result was well worth it. Here's how we did it...
A picker friend of mine stumbled upon a hotel that was doing a remodel and selling off these tv cabinets/armoires that would be replaced with new furniture. This is how I wound up with 15 of them being 100% identical...otherwise in my industry, it would have been unheard of to find 15 identical pieces of furniture. 2 different road trips and trailer loads full (one of which was such a heavy load, that it overheated the truck pulling it on the way back) we managed to get all 15 of them in town for us to begin working on them. I did a prototype as the very first one with the intention of having a visual for my customers to see my "vision" for these and planned on selling my prototype whatever color I painted it...and selling the other 14 as custom paint jobs so the buyer could select their own paint color. That worked...we sold all 15 within an hour of posting them (with a wait list of 50+ people still hoping I happen upon more of these). It will take me a lifetime to work through the wait list, so here's what you need to know if you want to tackle your own dress up closet conversion...
1. In my case, the armoire tops sat on top of a separate piece with 2 drawers in it. We purchased the tops only, as the 2 drawers would make the height too tall for little girls. Depending on the specific armoire you find/buy, you may have additional modifications to your base.
2. My intent was to directly attach feet to the base of the amoire tops...but according to my husband that "wasn't possible" because there was nothing for them to screw into. So he got stuck with the unexpected task of making 60 (15 x 4 feet each) feet bases, giving the feet something secure to attach to. (Side note...I may never hear the end of this one 🙄)
3. We cleaned and prepped these as we would do with any other piece of furniture in addition to removing many magnets and brackets the hotels had added to these (I'm assuming as safety features specific to their use for them).
4. We removed the rotating tv trays from them.
5. We under estimated the paint cost on these by 3x! We've done furniture painting for years now...we are pretty good at estimating these things...that says a lot. If you are going to take on one of these as a DIY project...make sure you have plenty of paint. These take a ton of paint! It was easier to paint the feet before we attached them permanently, but you could also paint them after they are attached...whatever you prefer.
6. Once painted, we sealed these with our usual General Finishes top coat preference and highlighted the raised carving with Gilder's paste to give it the perfect finishing touch.
7. On the inside we added hooks for dress up jewelry to be hung and mirrors. The mirror opening was tricky and there were not many options available that would fit the space, which is why we ended up with 2 square mirrors instead.
Note: If the armoire you come across doesn't have as many details and is more on the plain side...don't let that hold you up. You can buy wood trim pieces at Hobby Lobby that can be added easily with wood glue that will add a ton of character to your piece. Once it's painted, no one would ever know it didn't originally come that way.
If you have plans to try to do one of these yourself...I would love to see pics when you are finished! Happy DIYing!