Card Catalogue Media Console

Remember those amazing drawers I spotted in an old plane hanger where my dad works? I loved the way they were perfectly imperfect. Handmade, weathered, layered with paint and labeled with yellowing masking tape. I snapped the above photo of them and then must have talked them up quite a bit, because a month or so later, my dad called to say that he'd bought them from his boss for a six pack of -er- drinks. ;)

We brought them home after I spent the summer with my parents again this year. We nearly killed ourselves lifting them onto the roof {those things are HEAVY} and burnt up the transmission. {I guess you can't go 80 mph over a mountain pass while hauling a few hundred pounds of card catalogues. Now you know.}

But it was worth it. Because I turned those drawers into this:

I'm in love. We can never, ever, ever move from this house because it will be impossible to budge this beast, let alone maneuver it out of a door; but still-- I'm in love. 

Here's how I did it:

I built it in a weekend, and since I was working alone, I chose to do it in the room where it would be placed. Because HEAVY.

The drawers were actually two separate pieces that had, at one point, been one unit. {Over the years, someone had cut it in half and stacked the two halves on top of each other, so I was just 'restoring' it.}

I bought two sheets of 3/4" Birch Plywood that I had cut to size at Home Depot. After drilling all my pocket holes and installing 5 vintage furniture legs on the bottom slab, I assembled the frame around the old card catalogue drawers and ended up with this:

That top shelf was waaay too tall. After conducting a quick poll via text-message, I confirmed that the rule of thirds was being blatantly violated and took a skill saw and fence to it to remedy the situation. Much better:

Next, I mixed up two batches of chalk paint using this recipe. One was a darker turquoise type blue called Araucana by Martha Stewart. The second was a light minty blue. {it was made by just mixing a bunch of leftover paint I had, so no name or brand, sorry.}

I painted the entire thing with Araucana first, then sanded it lightly before layering the minty blue on top of it and sanding it again. As I sanded, bits of the darker Araucana blue and even the original forest green would show through. Which is exactly why I wanted to use chalk paint-- I wanted this piece to have the weathered texture and patina that I loved, without having to incorporate forest green into my design scheme. ;)

After lots of painting and sanding {and cleaning up all the minty green dust left behind} I had to wax and buff the entire thing. Oh, those drawers. I had to wax Every. Single. One.

This is where the color really started to come alive. The wax somehow revealed all the layers that had been hidden under a dusty top coat:

See how it all looks mint green except for the waxed portion on the interior drawer? Suddenly you see the darker blue! So cool. {And Oh! How I love all that chipping!}

Next, I had to house all the media components and hide the wires. Most of those cables ended up in the wall, but I was glad for the hidden ledge for all the power strips and stuff.

Finally, I ordered 75 antique brass card catalogue pulls with brass screws, centered them as best I could, and printed off labels as a finishing touch.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up with the coolest media console EVER.

While I still haven't finished styling it, {I want to hang the television on the wall and perhaps replace all those books on the shelves with graphic black and white boxes like this and this} I have to say that I just may want to be buried in this thing. Yes, it would take a crane to lower it into the ground, but as with everything related to this beauty-- it would be worth it. :)

PS- I have conflicting emotions about the missing drawers. Too distracting? Adds character? I had planned on building replacements, but they're starting to grow on me. Maybe leave just two or three empty?


Lindsay said...

That turned out AMAZING! I'm jealous and everyone else in blog-land will be, too :) Such a lovely color you selected. Impressed with each hand-waxed drawer!

Hannah Q. Parris said...

Awesome! I'm definitely envious (especially as a librarian). I love the color, and I would keep the empty cubbies!

Anonymous said...


I thought the chicken coop was Heaven, and it was, but now you've shown us Nirvana. Where and what will be Valhalla, my dear?

Outstanding work, girl. You rock.

merelyLooking said...

As you know, I love it and would put a sticky note on it to inherit it if I were your daughter instead of vice versa :) Keep ALL the empties! They keep it character full nd prevent it from the dreaded So Perfect It's Boring.

Apis Melliflora said...

Amazing project. Coolest console ever: agreed. I'm wondering if you ever say to the kids: "Oh, yes, I know where that is. It's in drawer 26."

Crystal Hansen said...

This is priceless. I would say you are very lucky to have it, but luck has nothing to do with it. You created it, and deserve every inch of its magnificence.

The Queen Vee said...

FAB, absolutely FAB! I love the price, 6 drinks….and that you're dad worked the deal for you. You had a vision and the ability to pull it off to perfection…well done Melancholy, give yourself a DIY A+++!

Miggy said...

Yep, stunning.

And keep the drawers empty. I too think it adds to the character and perfect imperfectness.

ellen said...

It's AWESOME! I love it.

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