Boutique Counter from an Old Door

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Now that the store is open, I can share some details about the crazy cool retail counter that was created for Sugar Maple Boutique in Marietta, Ohio. The women’s clothing store owners Michelle Willoughby and Nikki Logston contacted me several months ago as they were planning the space for their new venture. They had an old five-panel door that they wanted to incorporate into the décor, which was going to be a mix of industrial, shabby chic and glam all wrapped into one.

Here is how it all started…a door and two lower cabinets purchased from Lowe’s.

The two cabinets were spaced on each end of the width of the sideways door, leaving an area in the middle open for behind-the-counter storage. Nikki's husband Kevan cut down another old door to fit the sides and that became the two end panels. Some old wood trim pieces were added to the top and bottom edges of the doors to match up to the height of the cabinets. New routed wood edge trim and medallions made up the endcaps to complete the counter’s carcass. (The countertop came later.)

Michelle also had an old dresser that belonged to her father that the girls wanted to use behind the counter, so we planned to make it match with the same look.

A second door was cut down for the sides. 
This old dresser became extra space behind the counter. 

Ready to transform these pieces into something cool!

Time to get to work!

Over the course of several evenings and a few Saturdays, I went about the transformation. After cleaning and sanding both pieces (and removing hardware from the dresser), I applied two coats of General Finishes Seagull Gray Milk Paint. This is a great, soft color as is, but we wanted to take it beyond basic gray. We left the old wood trim natural, since it complemented the look and blended perfectly once the glazing effect was added.

Next, I applied a coat of General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Flat Finish to the gray surfaces and let it dry. This gave me a barrier between the milk paint and the General Finishes Pitch Black Glaze Effects that was used next. I used a foam brush and applied the glaze onto the gray in manageable sections, then wiped off the excess with a cloth to leave a worn, faded look that was darker in the recesses.  I did the same effect on the new wood endcap pieces, but left the old wood untouched.

To give the counter and dresser a little shimmer for the “glam” part of the decorating equation, I lightly brushed on General Finishes Champagne Pearl Effects to highlight certain areas. The girls loved the look!

Topcoat applied between milk paint and glaze

Shop Topcoats

Pitch Black Glaze applied, wiping back excess

Shop Glazes

Glamming it up with some Pearl Effects

Shop Pearls

General Finishes Pearl Effects highlights

Shop Pearls

A light distressing completed the shabby chic look, which was then finished with two more coats of GF Topcoat. Once dry, the hardware went back onto the dresser.

The Door

Now…let’s talk about that old door. It was super duper chippy when they brought it in. We wanted to maintain the vintage feel but we had to clean it up and keep it from chipping all over the floor. I did a good scrub with a Scotch-Brite pad and 50/50 water and denatured alcohol to get the loose chips off. After that dried, I did a very watery mix of Seagull Gray and white Clean Canvas Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint in a big cup and brushed that on with a chip brush, wiping off any drips with a rag. This sort of “whitewashed” it and sealed the surface from further flaking. I added some Pearl Effects on the door panels and highlighted a few areas.

However, Nikki and Michelle decided they wanted the door darker to blend in more with the rest of the counter. So I did another wash with General Finishes Driftwood Milk Paint (a darker gray) and some Seagull Gray, going darker in the edges around each panel. I went back with more Pearl Effects, and then sealed it all with the flat topcoat.


You may notice that the counter finally has a countertop!  The landlord (also a builder) made this really nice solid countertop with rounded edges and it was in place three days before the grand opening. Yep, three days. But never fear, I sprang into action. He had primed it already, so the next day, after allowing the primer some dry time, I started by giving it two coats of Seagull Gray. Then I used a scruffy brush and dry brushed the top with Driftwood, alternating with Seagull Gray for a layered effect of light and dark grays. I sealed it with two coats of topcoat, thinking I had completed the job with a day to spare.

After a vote, we decided the countertop also needed to be darker. No worries. The next night (night before opening — eeek!), I applied the black glaze as I had the rest of the counter and then did a liberal dose of “shimmering.” The darker top brought all of the elements together — the old wood trim, the dark glazed sides and the gray-washed door. Two coats of finish and whew! All agreed the darker blend was a good call.

Special Touches

The next day! Store owners Nikki and Michelle are pictured below on opening day (with a protective mat on their new countertop!). The store is darling, and I absolutely love the cluster of light fixtures with Edison bulbs above the counter!

The rest of the décor features a mix of elements that all work magically together. The dressing rooms have shiplap wall dividers, sparkling crystal lighting fixtures and the biggest antique mirror you’ve ever seen. An old mantel, which I painted Seagull Gray and distressed, is the perfect place for hanging scarves and clutches, while a vintage suitcase holds more treasures.

[Thank you, Heather Smith, for some of the photos!]

Grand Opening!

Nikki and Michelle on opening day
Gorgeous dressing rooms - look at that giant mirror!

Mantel - BEFORE

Painted and distressed mantel has hooks for displaying scarves and wristlets

Clothing is hung on industrial piping, while jewelry sparkles nearby on pegs in ornate picture frames, as well as a clever display using an old dresser. Blonde Mountain Designs created several unique signs for the store, including the three “Shop Local” pieces that fit onto a mobile clothing rack. They also made a large lighted “Hello beautiful” sign that hangs from the ceiling with “Goodbye gorgeous” on the back – so cute!

Another clever display is the one featuring three ladder-back wooden chairs that hold clothing on the seats and rungs. Two more pieces of Blonde Mountain Designs’ work are the sign featuring the Sugar Maple Boutique logo on metal and the one that says “Your husband called & said to buy anything you want.”

Jewelry is cleverly displayed in ornate matching frames
A dresser holds more pretties

Mobile rack holds three custom signs

"Hello beautiful" lighted sign - love it!

Ladder-back chairs form a unique display
Another custom sign from Blonde Mountain Designs

Shopping bag rests on the new countertop

Day one kept the girls and their helpers very busy!

To see more of the cute fashions (sizes Small to 3XL) and jewelry available at Sugar Maple Boutique, stop by their store at 248 Front Street, Marietta, Ohio, or follow them on Facebook at Sugar Maple Boutique.

Best of luck, Nikki and Michelle, and thanks for allowing me to be part of your journey. And also for letting me barter my services for some adorable clothing! Wishing you many successful years ahead!

EDIT 4/12/19: One year later, Sugar Maple Boutique opens a second location! Check out this blog to see how we took mismatched pieces to create a cohesive look with a little paint and some imagination: Eclectic Furniture Mix Unified with Paint. 

Old doors, chairs and mantels can all be repurposed into some pretty incredible things. These boutique owners creatively styled their space using ingenuity and originality with unexpected materials. Use your imagination to think beyond the ordinary the next time you run across some vintage pieces. Let Woodcraft help you with supplies and advice. Click here to find a store near you. We're here to help!

We hope you'll be inspired!

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