One afternoon while visiting one of the local antique shops we ran across an old cupboard that they were using for display. It was in awful, awful shape. The doors were missing, the drawer was falling out, it looked like someone had literally used a hack saw to remove the old paint and it was wobbly. It wasn't even for sale. But it looked like it had good bones, and everything really is for sale for a price isn't it? So we asked the shop owner about it and he said he would have to ask his son, it belonged to him.
We went back the next weekend and not only were they willing to sell it, they had managed to find the door frames, which had been stored in a barn. Only the frames, no glass or panels, but they were there none the less. So we negotiated a price and loaded it up. I'm sure they had a chuckle after we left about the "crazy fools" who were willing to buy that piece of junk.
We brought the poor old cupboard home and entered it into a twelve-step program.
Step 1. Plane and sand the outside to make it at least somewhat flat and useful again.
Step 2. Shore it up to remove the wobbles.
Step 3. Add drawer runners and a stop to the inside. You can see them here, and this will give you an idea of what the whole cabinet looked like at first as I forgot to take a true before pic.
Step 4. Rebuild the doors, adding a thin plywood panel for the inset.
Step 5. Stain the exterior with a dark stain (I used dark red mahogany) and allow to dry at least over night.
Step 6. Apply the first layer of milk paint to the inside, allow to dry.
Step 7. Apply a thin layer of red milk paint to the exterior, using an almost dry-brush technique leaving some stain showing through. Use a rag to wipe some of the paint off in areas where you want distressing.
Step 8. Apply more mustard milk paint to the interior, wipe as needed. (apply as many coats as you deem necessary)
Step 9. Lightly sand the whole piece, more heavily around the edges to create wear and tear.
Step 10. Apply a thin coat of tung oil, allow to soak in for about 10 minutes and then wipe off any excess. Allow to dry for 24 hours then apply another coat.
You might want to go grab a snack...it'll be at least 48 hours while we wait for it to dry...