This project was so fun for me because I got to make it for a dear friend of mine! I refinished a buffet a few months ago in a farmhouse style and she loved how it came out. It sold very fast but I promised her I would find a similar piece and finish it the same way. You can see that project here. My friend obviously has great taste, saying goodbye to that one was SO hard. It looked so good in my dining room. Anyway, I was on the hunt for a very similar buffet and finally found this one on Craigslist. I plan on using the hutch for a different project. Check back soon for that one. But here it is, very dated and dark.
This piece came from a smoker so it stunk and was covered in a smoke film. My first step was to try to remove some of the film. I used Klean-Strip Odorless Mineral Spirits. It’s great because it’s low odor so you can use it indoors if needed, mineral spirits help to remove any gunk and grime. You can kind of see the film in this picture. And look at how shiny and red that top is, ew.
I didn’t feel like wasting ten thousand sanding pads on this top so I started with Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel. I love this stuff, it’s low odor and low VOC and smells like starburst. Just slop it on with an old paintbrush and let it sit. I let mine sit for about an hour because that shiny top took a while to soften. You can usually tell when your stripper is ready to be removed if it takes on the color of the stain. In the picture below you can see it’s still pretty orange so not quite ready yet. I used a putty knife and gently sloughed off all the gunk.
After that I wiped the top down again with mineral spirits to remove any stripping residue. As I suspected that shiny top coat protected a lot of the stain so instead of stripping again I decided to just start sanding. Before you sand you have to make sure the top is completely dry from the stripping gel/mineral spirits. I used my orbital sander and started with 80 grit paper, then 120, then a final smoothing with 220 grit. I had to sand by hand on the underside edge where I couldn’t use the orbital. Then I did one coat of Kona stain, and one coat of dark walnut. Topped it off with my favorite Minwax Regular Finishing Wax.
Here’s the top finished before I painted the bottom. You can’t tell how different it looks in this picture but trust me, it’s no longer super red and shiny. And don’t judge my disaster of a garage in this pic.
Not sure if you noticed but there’s also a weird pine wall built in that bottom cabinet. I’m bad about taking pictures as I go. I just keep working and forget to stop and snap a few. After the top was finished I created that wall. This was originally one big open space between the bottom left cabinets but my friend asked for a basket in the middle like my other project. It would have looked very weird if I didn’t build a wall and section off each space. I won’t got into super detail as my woodworking skills are still in the learning stage. But I will tell you that wall is sturdy and will not go anywhere, and that it took me way too long to figure out. I made my husband check my work to make sure I did it correctly. He approved! Basically I measured the space then cut a pine board to fit. I had to use a jig saw to cut out a small space in the front to go around the magnetic clasp on the left cabinet. Then I cut out four small wood pieces to anchor the board to the cabinet. These small pieces are on the left hand side. I screwed them into the pine board first and then screwed them into the buffet. I also reinforced with Liquid Nails. Love that stuff. Then I used some wood filler to make one cohesive wall, you can just barely see it on the front part of that pine board.
Next step was sealing this baby. The past few older pieces I’ve painted I’ve had some slight bleeding issues. This is when the stain shows through your paint no matter how many coats you do. Before I even started painting this one I wanted to seal it so I coated with a very thin layer of Rust-Oleum Clear Shellac. This stuff goes on super easy and dries lightning fast. I was able to paint within the hour of applying this. It’s also low odor and not toxic which I loved. After I sealed this I started painting and debating baskets. My original plan was to put a shelf in the space and do two smaller baskets. But I really wasn’t loving the look. Because this used to be an interior space, the way the shelf was attached just looked cheap in my opinion. Here it is with the fronts painted and two baskets, eh, not great right?
So back to the store to find one big basket to fill that space. Luckily Homegoods is close by and always has a huge assortment of affordable baskets. I found the perfect one! Finally I was able to finish painting. I should mention, I did a very fine sanding using 220 grit paper after my Shellac dried. I also did a very light sanding in between each coat of paint. Then I distressed the edges all over. Then finished with my favorite Minwax Regular Finishing Wax. Dries in 15 minutes and buffs to a light shine. After buffing I attached the hardware and put everything back together. Brought it inside and set it up in my dinning room I don’t want to let this one go either!! I’ll be over at my friends regularly now just to admire it!
Thanks for reading!