Renovations + DIY

Quick styling tips for a built-in cabinet

July 7, 2015

It all started with a print.

All you need is love and dogs on Barr Bungalow.

This framed print – one by Jenna Kutcher that I’ve been eyeing up for months, ever since I interviewed this fabulous Wisconsin photographer for Wed in Milwaukee.

For one reason or another, I had yet to pull the trigger on purchasing this print, and this week I was surprised when a dear friend + coworker of mine wrapped it up in a pretty little package for me. It’s a big week for me – Monday I start a new career as a Senior Digital Strategist in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. It’s bittersweet. I’ve formed multiple friendships with the coworkers at my current company, and the one who gifted this print to me is no exception. She’s Megan (check out her mommy blog – Expecting the Unexpected), and from the moment I opened the gift, my mind was swirling with ideas on where to display the frame in my home.

The clean lines of the frame and the simplicity of the print made it a perfect addition to my dining room, since it’s positioned in the center of my home.

Here’s the thing. I’m a modern girl – I love clean, crisp lines and white, bright trim. But I also love my 1920s bungalow and feel strongly about keeping the wood trim and built-ins exactly how they were meant to live. Since moving in, I pushed out the thought of painting my trim white, although I love the look of it.

This print saved that. I cleaned off my built-in cabinet buffet, and started roaming the house for any white accents I had. Our dining room has a large focal dining table that’s made from reclaimed wood and steel legs. We have 6 fabric cream colored chairs positioned around it. I’m tellin ya – there’s a lot of wood in that room. But I love it. With a few quick swaps of items I already had in my house, I brightened the space to match the dining chairs and other modern accents from our kitchen.

Here are my top tips for swapping out designs:

  1. Know your style. I’m constantly trying to combine my want for modern + my love for charming character. Experiment and find the balance.
  2. Find items to match that style. If you’re like me, and you need to brighten up the space, look for white and cream accents. If your space is already too white, choose a bright accent color and other complementary colors to play off of it (we do this with yellow in our kitchen).
  3. Ditch what doesn’t match. I still have a countless number of black frames that I used to decorate this space with. I finally realized, black isn’t necessarily my color anymore, especially with the wood tones, so I stored them away for future use. It’s ok; you’ll use them again someday.
  4. Add faux flowers. I’m still working towards this, because flowers can truly transform a space. I have my eye on these next.
  5. Experiment. Play around with what you have, and live with it for a few days. I’ve already rearranged a few things here and there in the last day that I made this change. You’ll get it perfect eventually.

How-to-style-a-built-in-on-Barr-Bungalow-5Styling a built-in cabinet on Barr Bungalow.Styling a built-in cabinet on Barr Bungalow.

Styling a built-in cabinet on Barr Bungalow.Styling a built-in cabinet on Barr Bungalow.Styling a built-in cabinet on Barr Bungalow.

Totally simple, but fun to play around with. Now I just have to figure out what I’ll do to the top of my buffet. It has some scratches and stains that came with the house when we moved in, and I would love to spruce it up and restore it. Any suggestions?

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  • Reply Kim Keener March 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Danielle! Saw your new job on Linkedin and decided to check out your blog. Try Howard’s products for the top and the entire buffet. They worked wonders on vintage pieces I have restored. They have a touch up stain product called Restor-a-finish. Follow the directions to a tee – and visit their website; the product opens up the wood grain so you have to work properly and quickly with it. Then to finish it off they have a fantastic wood conditioner called Feed-n-Wax. It is a “cool drink” for aged, drying out wood. I use their cutting board product for my wood salad bowls, cutting boards, etc. Be well and enjoy your home.

    • Danielle Nicole Barr
      Reply Danielle Nicole Barr April 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hi Kim! Thanks for the tips! This is great. As soon as it’s warm enough for me to open the windows, I will be refinishing the cabinet. Spring project!

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