The Armorymoire

Old houses have storage problems. This is a given. Nobody 100 years ago had a ton of crap they needed to stash, unless it was out back by the barn.

When you’re involved in historical re-enactment AND stage combat, there’s a lot of gear that goes with that. We have a dedicated walk-in closet just for garb and accessories. It’s the only walk-in closet in the house, up on the second floor. While the garb closet is awesome, it is impractical to lug equipment up and down the stairs on a weekly basis for rehearsals and fight practices, not to mention potentially damaging to my walls as things are banged about going up and down the stairwell. Sadly, this has meant that for the past 2 years my game room has contained a pile of these items. The downstairs closet also held a bunch of stuff, but I recently turned that into a pantry, so those items joined their bretheren in the game room.

I came up with the idea of using an armoire to house these items. Here’s how that turned out.

Step 1: Find the armoire.

I looked around at armoires, trying to find one that had the right setup and the right price (cheap), and fit in with my sense of style. I was lucky enough to find this one at the estate sale place in Trenton, one of my happy shopping haunts. For $135, it was acceptable for what I needed to do.


Inside, Before. same bad paint job, but easy to remove the one shelf and make open space.

Step 2: make it look like I want, and make it functional.

It took two days, wood filler, sandpaper, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Charcoal plus light paste wax for the outside that I got at Soldier58 antiques in Bordentown, NJ, add some leftover gray flat paint for the interior, A few 1×3 boards for hanging hooks on the inside and back, some LED tape light for the interior, a bunch of hooks from home depot, and voila, a place to hide all the fencing and fighting equipment.  I call it the Armorymoire.  I’m very pleased with the outcome, and with not having a pile of swords in my game room.  My husband is pleased to be able to find his stuff, and proud to show it off.


Outside. Ann Sloan Chalk Paint, charcoal gray, plus paste wax.


Interior of the cabinet.  Added a quick shelf from the closet aisle at home depot, plus some hooks.

A closer look at the LED lights and hanging hooks in the interior.

Some notes

  • The Annie Sloan chalk paint is pretty darn cool. It’s quite thick, though. For the first coat I used it as-is from the can, which gave very good coverage but used about 3/4 of the quart. For the next coat I watered it down a bit to a better consistency, which allowed me to get the final coverage I needed with just the one quart.
  • The wax provides a beautiful finish to the chalk paint.  It was quite a muscle workout to cover that whole armoire though!  I kept thinking of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid.  Wax on…wax off…  I used a rag, next time I think I will buy a wax brush.
  • The LED tape light from Mosaic is ultra-cool.  It only required a small hole out the bottom back for the cord, no electrical expertise needed.  Each unit plugs directly into the previous unit in the chain.  I used one base kit and one extension kit to light the interior top along the sides and front.  The adhesive tape back is strong enough to hold the tape up, and didn’t release even though the paint on the interior was new.  It’s bright enough to illuminate the inside and find things.

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