Funny story how I came be painting a buffet, and mostly how I came to own this amazing buffet. I had an MCM china cabinet for sale, and someone contacted me to inquire about trading for it.
I don’t usually trade my finished pieces for unfinished pieces because the price points are so different. I buy low and sell high, or that’s the goal at least.
Then she sent a picture…and all logical thought flew out of my head! She traded me the antique buffet plus $100.
I had paid $10 for the MCM china cabinet, and I thought it would be a harder piece to sell, needing just the right buyer, so I was thrilled!
Here she is in her original state. Even with the dated finish, the many details stood out. The fluted legs. The door mouldings. The curved front. The little circle carvings under the doors. The teardrop shapes across the bottom front. She had me at hello.
She was manufactured by Northern Furniture Company in Sheboygan, WI. They were in business from 1904 to 1949. So this buffet is at least 70 years old! Also, she is from my home state!!
Before I get into all the steps of painting a buffet, here are the products I used:
If you’d like to learn more about Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this post and click this pic for my free guide:
Of course, refreshing her was not without challenges. I didn’t want to strip the top. If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that ain’t nobody got time for that! Instead, I went right over the existing finish with Espresso gel stain. One coat looked pretty good.
After it sat for a few days, though, some greasy spots came up through the finish. Not to worry; I have a fix for that! I applied a coat of Zinsser Shellac with a sponge brush, and let that dry for an hour. Another coat of gel stain on top of that, and I had perfect coverage.
I chose Buttercream, a slightly warm white, for the base. After painting one coat, though, I started to see bleed-through. Certain wood species have tanins that will come through white paint as a pink or yellow tinge no matter how many coats you paint.
Dixie Belle has the perfect product for that, called BOSS. The name stands for Blocks Odor Stains and Stops bleed-through. There are both a clear and white version, so I used the white to ensure better coverage. Ideally you would use BOSS first as a primer, and then paint. But it’s fine to use it over the first coat of paint if you need a solution on the fly.
A second coat of Buttercream over the BOSS was enough for good coverage.
I couldn’t wait to distress this piece. I use 80 grit sand paper which is a little more aggressive than some would use, but I like the chippy look. Distressing all those edges and details is really the crowning touch to highlight them.
The hardware was yet another challenge. There was one pull missing from the original hardware. Rather than order all new, I ordered 2 new pulls for the cabinet doors. They have a verdigris finish, to mimic copper that has oxidized.
I decided to paint my original drawer hardware to match the 2 new pulls. This was a 4 step process:
1. Paint with Mint Julep
2. Wash with watered down Mermaid Tail
3. Wax with brown wax
4. Rub with Gold Rub N Buff
They don’t match perfectly, but they are pretty close.
The top drawer had a big stain on the inside, as older pieces often do. I lined the drawers with this pretty daisy paper. I cut it to size, and used Mod Podge to stick it down and seal over it. One tip I learned is for large drawers, only apply Mod Podge to half of the drawer bottom at a time. Managing the whole thing at once, you will get more bubbles and tears.
Lining with fabric is easier to do, and easier to change out down the road. My goal is to do more with the interiors of pieces in the future. Whether it is paint, fabric, stencils, whatever. It gives a more custom feel, and can be the thing that steals a buyer’s heart.
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