When I bought something similar, I just thought it was a niche.
I liked it so I bought it.
Someone noticed it in my studio and asked if it was an old clock cabinet? I knew it probably was not going to be what ever it used to be, but at least now I had a clue as to what that was.
Traditionally they looked more like this. I guess mine might have had a door at one time.
They came in various styles.
Mine needed a little wood filler here and there.
The short sides on the base had fallen off so my nephew reattached them for me. (Actually, they were fine when I bought it but it sat so long in my studio, the glue gave out.)
I had an idea for this piece that involved painting it first. I have been wanting to try the formula for making chalk paint and this seemed like the right opportunity. I mixed 2 Tbsp. of a free sample paint from Valspar with 1 Tbsp. of Plaster of Paris and 1 Tbsp. of hot water. This was enough to paint the entire piece, including the back, with two coats.
For the next layer I used one Tbsp. of the same paint and 1 Tbsp. of white paint along with the water and Plaster of Paris. I distressed it some and decided I didn't like the fact that I could not see any of the original color.
I also glued a sheet of decorative paper to the inside back.
And then I gave everything, including the paper, a coat of wax.
I checked pinterest to see what others were doing with their clock cabinets.
(acase of curiosities.com)
This one is more sophisticated than mine. Nicer wood, well made, and beautiful detail in the half columns.
Here is an example of one with the door intact. I think they added a shelf so they could display more tiles.
Creative applications abound.
I did find one that was painted.
But back to my project.
I had been tossing around ideas for using old keys and some medals and crosses I had saved.
I decided this might be the right opportunity to use them.
I laid them out first.
I added a few more after this picture was taken but there are still spaces that I will fill in when I find something I think works with what is already here.
I have an old statue of St. Anthony that I wanted to use inside the grotto. He is already slightly worn so he was perfect. No distressing needed.
That's it. Finished.
I took these photos standing on a stool, and as you can see, an unsteady one at that.
But for now, one more to-do project is ta-done.
I tried taking a few more before I published this post.
I just can't quite capture it. It looks better to my eye than it does in the photos.