Upcycle | Hostess Trolley

In the preparations up to last Christmas one of our trickier tasks was working out how to keep all of our food warm for the Christmas day dinner for 9 people. We looked at using an electric plate warmer so the plates were warm but that didn’t help us when it came to the food. However, a family member told me about these old school hostess trolleys that were used a lot back in the 50’s and 60’s. They are small cabinets that are heated to keep food warm so that you don’t have to hold the space in the oven. Well as soon as I heard about these I wanted one. I set about my usual search on Facebook, eBay and other platforms until I found one I liked on Gumtree. There are a few designs out there but the one I settled on looked just like a sideboard but it was heated so I went and picked it up from Amersham and started planning how I wanted it to look.

I already had my beautiful pine table and chairs and wanted this to still remain as the central piece of furniture in the room so I had to come up with an idea for this cabinet that would make it fit in but also stand out as it’s own piece as well. As it was heated and not just plain wood I didn’t feel comfortable sanding it down so I looked for a paint whereby it didn’t require sanding prior to painting. I’d heard about Annie Sloan paints before but never used them. I decided to give it a go and purchased a tub of the brilliant white as my table is white and I wanted the two pieces to go well together.

The first thing I did was to take the doors off along with the hinges and remove the trays from the top of the cabinet so that I was working with a blank canvas. I then gave the whole unit a clean ready for the first lick of paint. I began by painting the sides of the unit and then working my way around it until every section of the wood veneer had been painted. I also did the same with the cabinet doors and then left the whole thing to dry. After a second coat in the same areas the bulk of the project was done.


I then needed to decide what to do with the top. Although the cabinet was going to be used to keep food warm, I also wanted it to work for me when it was switched off so that it had more than one function. I had some leftover marble contact paper and wanted to work it into this project so I decided to use it for the top of the cabinet so that when it was closed it looked more like a bar than a serving hatch. Happy with the marble paper on the top I needed to finish off the edges. I hadΒ some bronze paint lying around that wasn’t being used so using a tapered brush I lined the edges of each half with the bronze paint so that it looked more finished.

Happy with the rest of the cabinet I began finishing the doors so that I could start using this beauty. To continue with the marble and copper theme that I also have running through the rest of my room in other areas, I used the contact paper on the front of the cabinet doors and changed up the door handles to some far more modern copper knobs. Once I had put the unit back together I gave it a coat of furniture wax to keep it protected and then stood back and admired my handy work!

I am so incredibly proud and pleased with this purchase and project and everyone has commented on how gorgeous it looks in the corner of my conservatory. I placed an accented lamp and a copper ice bucket on top of my cabinet so that it brought out some of the features in this individual piece. Please let me know what you think of it and how you would have done it if you were me!



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