Antique sideboard up cycle

I have a really exciting mid-century sideboard upcycle to take everyone through a "how to upcycle a sideboard". I picked this up from TradeMe for $20.00 and it was literally like 50m down the road. When I pulled up to pick it up it was SO much larger than I originally thought (get a Mazda Axela - you can fit anything in those bad boys). 

In total I spent roughly $40 on filler, sandpaper and paint with the intention to sell this but I'm sure you can see why it is still sitting in my lounge not going anywhere anytime soon haha.
I didn't realise the the veneer was in quite bad shape in the pictures so when I got it home I could see the hours stacking up but a great project is always worth it and this baby was quite a unique looking sideboard that I would hate to see go to waste.
Before I started I did a quick run through of everything I needed by giving it a REALLY good strip down and look over.  


  • Someone had done a DIY on the hinges and used a 3 inch nail and drove it straight through the side pillars : 0 I was horrified haha.  
  • The locks had no keys and were taped shut, bent and in bad order.
  • The handles are AMAZING but I will keep these for another project.
  • The inside of the drawers had Scooby Doo durable hahahahaha.
  • The veneer was chipped and dented with chunks missing.
  • Inside the cupboard, there was a wonderful New Zealand calendar from 1999 that had been cut up for the images and clear duraceled to the shelves - screams my nana hahahaha.
  • Veneer had multiple stains and fade marks.
As you can see there was quite a bit of work to be done so I wrote a list and off to Bunnings I went.
To start I used my new orbital sander (exciting) with a 80 grit to take the varnish off and smooth out some of the dents (more blemishes were exposing them selves haha.  When the sanding was done I brushed it all down and started to fill with Sellys Permafilla I filled each one twice and sanded in between fills. I was conscious that I wanted to change the knobs so I filled the existing holes as the new ones were a different size boring new holes at the same time. After a sand everywhere I wiped down with a microfibre cloth and begun the priming, I knew I wouldn't need a stain blocker with this one because I was using Dulux Duramax range - this stuff is incredible!
My setup isn't the best because I live in a unit so I make the most of the sunny days haha.
The colour selection for this was the most difficult stage.  I wanted to paint it an outrageous colour like burnt orange and Georgia pegged me in and we took a closer look at the room it was going in so white it was!  I did x3 white based undercoats sanding with a sanding sponge in between coats and x3 top coats in white again sanding in between coats except for the last white coat followed by a clear plastic coat.
The drawers and cupboard doors were really cool because they had a unique angled wood grain so I had already sanded these back with the shell QUICK TIP - always sand with the grain not against, it's easier and turns out better every time. I used a dark charcoal stain that was in my shed and it was perfect! I brushed it on with a paintbrush generously and let settle for 5 minutes then rubbed off with a clean cloth.
The existing locks and hinges I painted Matt black, they came up great!  After letting dry thoroughly for 2 days I put everything together, the locks had no key so I have left them open and installed magnetic locks on the inside.
Overall I am REALLY pleased with this piece and have enjoyed the challenge, a heads up that these things take time, patience and detail so don't rush them and cut corners because you will always notice them when you look at the piece.
As always would love to hear your thoughts, if you ever want our advice on anything just yell out!