That Last Corner of the Living Room

By Kate Riley April 19, 2012

I’ve never confessed it out loud here, but I’ve always wanted a mirrored piece of furniture somewhere in my house. It must be because having just one piece of mirrored furniture adds a little glam to a space.  I also had this dilemma in my living room where the former barely gray dresser sat for many many months.  (You can see it in the Christmas tree post from last year.)  The dresser, while nice, was not the proper fit for the space, it was too thick and since it sat behind the door I could never open the door wide enough to allow for proper flow of traffic. 

As I was looking for something more narrow that would fit that little corner much better, I spied this Cosmopolitan Apothecary Chest on Joss & Main a month ago and thought, “That’s it!  The perfect fit for that last corner of our living room! And mirrored too!”  So I took the plunge and ordered it.  The mirrored chest was finally delivered and I sat there staring at it for several days.  Then I decided while I liked the shape, I wasn’t crazy about the all black color.  So naturally, being me, I changed it.

apothecary before


This time I used the ‘French Linen’ chalk paint with its mid tone gray color that goes with everything.  Last Saturday morning over coffee decided to change things up and gave the piece two coats of the French Linen.   

chalk paint and coffee


I almost painted it all, but then decided to step it back and not paint the drawers for a two tone look.  There’s a black piano in this space, and the black trim on the drawers plays well with it. 

Here’s the mirrored chest, redone in French Linen chalk paint.

cg mirrored apothecary chest


The best news is the door now opens all the way now that the new mirrored apothecary chest is more proportional to the space.  Score one for me!

open living room door


The mercury glass bottles are from Pottery Barn (I know, coulda done a DIY, but fell prey to their beauty).  Inlay boxes from Marshalls.  That’s the Kitchler mirror in antique silver.  I moved the DIY paint stick sunburst upstairs – I still love it, but wanted something slightly more elegant in the living room.  The flowers are budding viburnum from my yard.

mirrored chest and mirror cg

They’re both a nice upgrade to this last corner of our living room I’ve been meaning to complete for oh, I dunno, a year?  I think I might be close to deeming the living room “done”.  “Might” being the operative word! 

For anyone who’s interested in the dresser that used to sit there, it’s for sale in my friend Jessica’s space at Summer Cottage Antiques on Kentucky Street in Petaluma! 



  1. Super random question. I notice every time you take pictures of various spaces in your home, or furniture you redesign, you set the picture with fresh flowers and accessories. I was wondering if all the flowers in your home are fresh or do you have a mix of fresh and faux. What’s your take on faux flowers?


    • Ha Melissa, that’s funny you notice that! I guess I always like something natural and fresh in the picture, it’s a habit now to place something there! And as it turns out, one of my stylist friends (coming up next as a guest post) recommends that always! Most of the flowers in my home are fresh, I pick from my garden or buy a bunch at the store every week.

  2. that’s a really cool piece. now i’ll be looking for one just like it on joss and main (: love that you kept the black trim. wish you could come decorate my house!

  3. This looks fantastic. You have done a great job with it. I would never have thought that a cabinet with mirrors could finish up like that. Well done. I love the black edges.

  4. I had my doubts but it turned out even better than what you bought. Great eye!

  5. Ohhhh I adore this :) Its a beautiful piece and you have enhanced its beauty by painting it. Also good call on keeping the black trim on the drawers.

    Congrats on a wonderful addition to your living room!

  6. I have always been skeptical about painting new furniture, you know, why buy something new if you’re just going to change it? But I think this turned out great! And you obviously love the piece more. I’ll be painting new furniture more often. Thanks :)

  7. Although the original was beautiful, your painted version is even better. It is beautiful and perfect for that space!

  8. That chest looks stunning in your space!
    Here’s a totally unrelated question…and I’m not saying I’ve EVER done this ;) …but looking at your pic with the paint can and coffee cup might have reminded me of something. Have you ever dipped your brush into your coffee instead of your paint can?

    • Ha Maggie, no not yet! (Knock on wood) – but now that you’ve mentioned it, I just might accidentally dip my paintbrush in my coffee soon !

  9. I LOVE the way that turned out! The two tone is gorgeous and makes it blend so nicely. Glad you find the perfect piece!

  10. That looks fabulous! And I love the contrast of the black. I would love a mirrored piece, but I find it’s probably a tad unrealistic with my house of kids ages 5, 2 and soon to be newborn in our house. I can’t even keep our stainless free of fingerprints! Someday though!

  11. Beautiful piece, I love it painted, it looks so much more elegant, and the little pop of black around the drawers is a great little contract. It looks great!

  12. I love it! And tickled to see you like French Linen as well. I am about to re-do a cabinet in our breakfast room in French Linen with a bit of crackle finish on the door insets. It is sooo overdue for a makeover.

    You have a beautiful vision for your home. Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us!

  13. I love it, too. Very beautiful, and very “Kate.”
    I must confess, though — one of the photos had me oohing and aahing over something other than the chest….. I love the coffee mug!! Any chance you can “source” it for me? :)

  14. Wow that is beautiful! And good for you for painting it! I too would have been scared or iffy about owning something I already had to paint and would have debated sending it back! I too love the coffee mug though ahahah

  15. Beautiful color! and I love the way it looks through that fabulous French door!
    Question – Did you prime before painting?

    • No priming with the AS chalk paint Joanne! It’s one of those “paint indoors on a Saturday morning” paints, which is why I love it, no odor too!

  16. Hello Kate,
    LOVE French Linen!!!! Wonderful choice for that piece as it goes so well with the modern feel of this piece of furniture. Amazing what a little artistic vision and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ can do.

    Well done my friend….janet xox
    The Empty Nest

  17. I had no doubt that it would look better after you had your way with it! Why is the original glass distressed and yours is bright and shiny? Were you able to order it either way?

  18. Kate it turned out gorgeous!!! Brave girl for sure for painting something new, but I absolutely love how it turned out. That mirror finishes off that corner perfectly!!! Love it all!!! :)

  19. Gorgeous!!! I’ve been following your blog for months and it just dawned on me that we must be semi neighbors, duhh, I guess I get all caught up in the lovely things you share, but when I read “Summer Cottage Antiques” the light bulb went on! I’m in Santa Rosa, it’s a small world!! :)

  20. Wow! It looks so much better now that it is a lighter color. I reeally love it. You should send the manufacturer a picture, maybe they will start mass producing them that way. haha.

  21. Bravo! I too am curious about the look of the “antique mirrors” on Josh & Main (or Wayfair) verus the clear, shiny look on yours. Is there a choice b/c I’d love to order one similar if it looked like yours.
    Also on the mirror – yours looks more bright silver than the “antique silver” Wayfair one. Can you confirm? Just don’t want to be disappointed if I order. Maybe it’s just because you take such nice, clear pictures. Thanks so much. Lovely, as usual.

  22. I liked the black one until I saw what you did with the gray. Good call to leave the little spot of the black. I imagine it was kind of hard to decide to paint a new piece that you just got…but it looks amazing. I’ll have to check out this Joss and Main.

  23. I love that you left the drawers black. The combo of linen, black, and mirror adds much needed dimension to the piece. Lovely!

  24. I love, love, love your blog! A few months ago we moved into a home that needed to be entirely renovated, top to bottom. But being 8 months pregnant on moving day, we only had time to paint, re-tile bathrooms and the kitchen, and put in new carpet before bubs arrived. There was no time for any of the fun decorative work. Now I’m enjoying going through all your posts, dreaming about which projects I can tackle while baby naps. I’ve already asked my husband for wainscoting for Mother’s Day!

    • Ha Jenna, you’re just like me! “Wainscoting for Mother’s Day” – excellent!

  25. Definitely the chalk paint made the piece much better! How do you have the guts to paint something new though? I always have problem touching new furniture since I might change my mind if I do redo it, but with your excellent taste, I bet the decision was not too difficult for you. :-)

  26. As always, looks fab! I agree with everybody else, genious on leaving the bit of black. Looks so much better than the original! And that mirror……………….swoon!!!

  27. You’ve done it again! I thought it looked great in black until I saw the pictures after you painted it- GORGEOUS and so unique!!

  28. I’m always so scared to paint new furniture, but I love the way that this turned out! I think you just gave me the courage to go paint a few of my newer pieces. Thanks! Oh, and I like your shoes too. ;0)

  29. This looks incredible! Absolutely like it so much better in the new color. It goes amazingly with the mirror above it as well!

  30. Is the AS Chalk paint opaque? And does it feel chalky? I’m also loving mirrored pieces – looks wonderful!! Some day you’ll have to do a virtual tour of your house!!!

  31. The chest looks great! I love it! I admire your courage to paint a brand new piece of furniture. I need to be more courageous and just do it. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Wow! That is such a beautiful piece. I thought it looked great before, but the linen colour really makes it sleek and classy.

  33. Great results, Kate! I have a rarely expressed love for the mirrored pieces that are everywhere right now.

    Keep up the wonderful blogging!

  34. I did like it in it’s original form but the white paint with black trim on the drawers is very nice. Great job!

  35. Oooh, Kate, this could be my all-time favorite of your painted pieces! I can picture the black piano, and I love the mix of silver and gold I spy in the mirror, too!

  36. What a great idea- it is so beautiful. You sure have an eye for beauty.

  37. Hi there! LOVE it! Great job! The whole vignette is wicked. Can you tell me the name of the paint colour on your walls? Also, what is the deal with chalk paint and why is it so hot right now? Thanks!

    • Hey Krista, the wall color formula is in the Paint Colors button in the sidebar, check it out there. The AS Chalk Paint is great for furniture, but pricey and limited in its color selection. It’s nice because it’s no odor and you don’t need to prime, which is why you can paint indoors with it on a Saturday morning like I did! You have to find a local stockist or order it online.

  38. I love that you left the drawers black! Such a beautiful piece and much improved by painting. You seem to always know what to do!

  39. The chest looks great! And I love the mirror from Wayfair — quick question, did you paint the mirror? The site says its antique silver, but it looks more muted goldtone — wondering if you hit yours with some silver?
    Thanks — love your work!

    • Hi Karin, yes the site shows some subtle warm undertones and if you get up close you can kind of see them, but it’s mostly silver and since my picture was brightened slightly, I think it comes across a hint more silver that it is. The picture on the site is pretty close to accurate. :) Kate

  40. So pretty! Did you paint the Kitchler mirror? Since it looks different on the website vs your photo (less silver).

  41. Lovely job!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!…. You are AWESOME!….. :)

  42. Lovely! I have that same mirror, but I found it at Ross (like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s).

  43. nix that. Mine isn’t a mirror, it’s a clock, but same size and design.

  44. I’m pretty overwhelmed with how amazing you are! How on earth do you have the energy, creativity, and time to do all these awesome projects!?! So glad I found your blog.

  45. I’ve finally gotten into the whole blogging scene (this weekend, actually) and I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! You are the reason, come to think of it, for my sudden interest. I followed you on Pinterest and, well, you know how one pin leads to another (I’m going to use that in my blog!).
    So I clicked over here from today’s post on decorating your living room for fall. The apothecary chest looks SO much better after you painted it! And I’m seeing chalk paint EVERYWHERE these days on Pinterest and d.i.y. sites but I really know nothing about it. I guess it’s time to learn!
    Happy fall!

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