Mini Makeover: My Vintage Kitchen Trolley


I must admit it’s been a while since I undertook a small makeover project in my own home. We’ve spent two years concentrating on the bigger bits of our renovation – painting stairs and walls, updating the kitchen, tiling, plastering, filling holes, installing lighting, sanding floor boards, painting woodwork, the list goes on – that the idea of doing a smaller scale DIY job has felt a bit like climbing a mountain. But most of the jobs I have around the house are small enough to take up just a couple of evenings in front of Netflix anyway, so without too much hesitation, I gave a gorgeous little vintage hospital trolley that I’ve been deliberating about painting a mini makeover and I tell you, it’s given me the motivation and energy to do more little jobs at home that I’ve been putting off for ages.


I was given this trolley by my friend Lauren who bought it when she moved to the Netherlands for 9 months, and I’ve had my eye on it since the day we rolled it rattling through the shop, stuffed it into the back of my car and brought it home to her little temporary studio. It finally became mine the day she left to go back to Australia, which made our goodbye a tiny bit sweeter. Before she could say ‘look after it!‘ it was in my kitchen, styled with all my bits and pieces on it I’d been sneakily imagining for months! But though I loved it’s pale army green colour and it worked well with everything else in my kitchen, I felt it was lacking something. 


Here’s she is before I let loose on it with black paint! Cute, but she needed a bit more attitude. I gave it a light sand all over with fine sandpaper, primed it once and then used Flexa Creations Mat Black paint, which dries mat instantly. Truth be told, I got halfway through, having sanded, primed and painted half of the trolley, and freaked out completely, stressed at the thought that I had ruined a perfectly sweet little green trolley. My husband was at the pub, my daughter was fast asleep in bed, so there was none to console me and reassure me that I wasn’t crazy to do a thing like smother a vintage piece of history in black paint! So I did what anyone who is in the midst of a panic attack, who happens to have immensely varied but impeccable taste in music, would do. I played Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill album VERY loud and put that black paint all over that green trolley. The results? I’m very pleased with myself.







What do you guys think? Are you appalled that I painted over the green or do you prefer it black? Or are you more appalled at the fact that after two years we still don’t have baseboards? I know I am, but on the plus side I think the trolley looks smashing and has a lot more attitude and personality now, plus it pops against the rest of the room, which has a lot of wood and white tones throughout. I have used it to display my favourite pieces, mostly ceramics since my kitchen cabinet was starting to overflow with ceramics I’ve been bringing home in quick succession lately. Serious weakness, will share with you my favourites this week!

Spot something you like on my trolley? Black and white dinner plates | Pale green dinner and side plates | Large earthenware salad bowl | Small recycled ceramic  bowls | Dipped earthenware bowls and woven African bowl, brought back from a recent trip to South Africa | Wooden pestle and mortar, inherited | Brass bird, vintage purchased on Etsy (similar here, here and here) | Artwork from Stilleben| Jug and black & white cup, vintage | Books: The Kinfolk Table .  NopiGroentenOns Eten

Tomorrow I am welcoming 10 photographers into my home and studio for the second workshop in the #inspiresessions photography and styling workshop I am hosting with Hanke Arkenbout. Last week’s session was such a buzz, I can hardly wait to meet tomorrow’s group, to inspire them and be inspired by them all over again. I’ll be sure to share with you some snaps from our workshops soon, you’ll be amazed at the level of talent that has come out of these workshop gatherings. It gives me such immense pleasure to watch other creatives at work and build their talents and careers and that’s what these sessions are all about, fostering inspiration, talent and creating community. I am so grateful to have a job that allows me to offer this to people.

4 Responses to “Mini Makeover: My Vintage Kitchen Trolley”

  1. lolly says:

    hi Holly

    I love the trolley! I have to say, I loved it in the soft sage green tone, so can totally understand how you must have felt…. But like us all, we just need to have the courage of our convictions and go for it! That said, it looks fab! Dramatic, but in a calm and cool way, housing your items perfectly! Good job lady! x

  2. susanne says:

    definitely right choice, Holly. Love the black. Green was ok but was held the piece back a little. Now this amazing trolley shows his true personality.

  3. Elisabeth says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! I really like the mat black. Your pictures are so inspiring!

  4. Cate says:

    I love it black! It contrasts so nicely with the white Walls and pale colours of the rest of the room, you’re a very clever lady! X

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