Sunday, July 21, 2013

the old brown mare ain't what she used to be: tale of a buffet makeover

     Years and years, (and years) ago, back when Chris and I were planning our wedding, he lived in an apartment furnished with nothing but a bed, a dresser, one huge stereo system, a television and a small square table for 4. He, a single guy, loved sitting on floor pillows and saw no need for real, grown-up furniture. 
     By stark contrast, I worked in a furniture store and was studying Interior Design in college. I came from a large family who ate together often. Furniture and food were my life. Not much has changed, has it?
     Family friends were selling a 1940s era, Duncan Phyfe mahogany dining room set which included an extendable, double-pedestal table, eight chairs, a monster buffet and petite china cabinet. They were also throwing in a small writing desk... all for $300. Being the frugal, decorating diva that I am, I decided to buy it all for our future home. 
     Upon learning of my plan, the spouse-to-be expressed his opposition. Why did we need furniture? We could sit on the floor. For every occasion. Forever. Bahahahahahaha. Sure, dear. Whatever you think, honey.
     So, fast forward nearly thirty years... The little desk has been faux-finished to resemble reddish-brown leather and sits in the upstairs office. The ricketty chairs one-by-one refused to be repaired any further. The last three went to the Salvation Army five years ago. 
     The old table has seen much better days, but remains tenderly wrapped and safely padded in our attic. The china cabinet with it's small, vintage size seems dwarfed by the larger scale of our current house.
See the drab, brown buffet lurking in the background?
     A couple of years ago, we purchased a massive, industrial-style dining table I found at Pottery Barn Outlet. It is very dark wood. So are the new chairs. And the buffet. And the china cabinet. And the entry-way sideboard. And the hulking entertainment armoire in the adjoining living room. 
very Unimpressive
     That's it... I'd had enough. NO MORE BROWN! Time to brighten things up. I was downtown with some lady-friends and spied this buffet at a local shop. It is the inspiration for my buffet makeover.
spotted at One Fish, Two Fish
    After removing the buffet's hardware, doors and drawers, I began by sanding the entire piece to rough it up, wiping it down to prepare for painting. My husband painted the entire thing with Valspar's Day at the Jewelers from Lowes.
     After two coats were applied and left to cure a day or two, I took the belt sander to the buffet, intent on the aging process. I followed that up with a fine grit sand block to smooth it out before staining. By sanding areas that are frequently touched, you get a more authentic hand-worn appearance, like behind hardware, on corners and legs, edges of doors, etc.
     With the sanding was finished, I vacuumed, then wiped the entire thing down with a damp cloth. This removes any dust or residue. Two shades of water-based stain, (mossy green and golden oak,) were applied to deepen the color of the paint, giving it a vintage-y aged feel. 
     After allowing it to dry for a couple of days, my husband applied a coat of paste wax to protect the finished buffet... Beautiful. Bold. not Brown.

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