So I ended up going with a flat pewter finish -- thanks to Tanima and David B. for painting advice. It's a very lackadaisical project -- two days ago I gave the cabinet itself a coat. Nothing yesterday. This morning I painted one side of the door to the cabinet. In a few hours, I plan to turn it over and paint the other side. Then I'll look at the whole thing together and decide if it needs a second coat. I think it doesn't need one, but it might want one. I don't think I can decide until I put it back in the bedroom, with the appropriate lighting. A tiny bit of the white is showing through right now -- but not in a bad way.
Sometimes I think everything I enjoy doing in life comes down to aesthetics, one way or another. Home improvement, poetry collages, music, writing, shopping for pretty clothes. Cooking meals that look beautiful and taste beautiful. I don't just mean prettiness, though I can appreciate that too, but more of an underlying beauty, a wholeness. There's an astonishingly strong desire for aesthetic harmony in me -- I'm not sure why I care, but I do. If most people basically feel the same way, then it's no wonder the advertisers and the beauty magazines have such power over us.