Hey there instafriends! I know it’s been a moment since my last project and I apologize. I must admit I’ve been crazy busy sewing halloween costumes, planning parties, and now Christmas projects underway. However, I do have a little surprise for y’all still hanging around. I have (what’s that?), not one but two pieces for you this week! Seriously though, what’s better than double? All things good come in twos, twins, pair of Manolo Blahniks, and yes even Lorelai Gilmore. Well this particular duo came to me from a storage warehouse that rivaled some of those places they go to on “American Pickers”. Ew!(said with a Jimmy Fallon voice). I usually do my best to acquire pieces that have good bones, but the buffet and cabinet I found there were a set and they had certainly been through the ringer. They were such beauties though I knew I couldn’t leave them there to die. It took a lot of hard work to restore them but was completely worth the hardship in the end.
The wood finish on these two were completely destroyed and someone through the years decided to try and fix the loose frames by gluing them back together. Which would be fine if they had used wood glue. Instead they used an industrial glue of some kind and let it dribble all over the piece. I began by sanding down the dribbled glue as best as I could. It was literally on there like concrete! I caulked all the major seams, used finishing nails and wood glue to reattach trim pieces, and completely reworked the cabinet door and a couple drawers. Although this sounds easy it took me hours upon hours to stabilize the frames. Finally, they were sturdy enough to withstand daily use and I was able to move on to cosmetic issues. I love their elegant details and that’s what drew me to the pieces but sadly one wood appliqué was missing from the buffet. I couldn’t find any professional mill workers to copy the design for me so I purchased what I could find. I also bought three other appliqués to fill in some areas that were lacking appeal. I really wanted to paint them and stain the top of the buffet but they were so bad staining was completely out of the question.
First of all, I want to say your paint job is only as good as your prep. To do that I would usually sand these babies smooth. However, this time that wasn’t possible. Since they are circa 1930’s I wasn’t sure of their product history. I didn’t want to risk some old product being airborne. Some of those old poly’s are very harmful. So, I did the next best thing and used a bonding primer paint. It is specifically formulated to adhere to shining surfaces. You can literally apply this stuff directly on top of polyurethane and achieve great results! I removed all hardware (more on that later) and applied two coats of bonding primer, being very careful to not load up too heavy on the delicate carvings. I chose a lovely french gray hue for them both. Applying two coats to give proper coverage. To add interest and depth I used an antiquing glaze, working it into the details. Then finished them off with water-based polyurethane in a semi-gloss *I used the same poly in both regular formula and in a spray can on all the detailed areas. (Some places are just too tight and delicate for a foam brush!)
Lastly, the hardware were in as sad and sorry shape as the wood. So, they received a spruce as well! I ended up with an anitqued nickel finish. Im sad to report that the cabinet knob was beyond resuscitating. It had rusted over and was literally crumbly in my hands and therefore I tossed it (Dust in the Wind, softly playing in the background). I felt like this was a great opportunity to give it a little sparkle and gave it a stunning yet simple glass knob. Needless to say this project was such a labor intensive one I am keeping both of them with me for all eternity. In fact I’m going to be buried with them. (Too morbid? Sorry, haha!)
On a final note: Keeping true to their era, I paired them with matching art deco inspired lanterns in a finish that correlated to the hardware. I also added a glamorous mirror that again, went with the era but also had clean lines that made it still feel modern. Along with the french gray paint color and dark accent pieces I was able to balance both contemporary modern with the art deco style. ( Always follow the 60/40 rule when blending different styles ❤ ) I hope you were able to take something away from this and if you have questions, comments or want to share your own stories with me, leave me a message. I’d love to hear from you!
Check out my before and after pics below! Until next time……