2017 Beginnings

Happy New Year!

I should be starting this post with photos of my son's completed bedroom.  And we're officially 97% there. But his comforter needs to be washed. His new desk needs a thorough cleaning and staging. And he's in the middle of doing laundry (that I told him all last week to do so he wouldn't be stressing the day before he goes back to school...). And since I don't get home until after it's dark all week, photo's will have to wait until next weekend. Maybe I'll have new artwork for him by that point too...

Umh, and so while I should be putting the finishing touches on his room (cornice board isn't started, still looking for the right rug for his room, and I'm working out his hang out area)...I'm not. I got distracted by a new project.

I've mentioned I love to poke around Habitat for Humanities ReStore. If you're willing to visit frequently and dig through a lot of trash, there are some amazing treasures. Remember the granite vanity top with the undermount sink for my kids' bathroom that I got for $75, the 7 ft. soaking tub on clearance for $50, and our $150 front door (still sold a Lowes for just $600). Sometimes we really find some incredible deals. 

The Builder and I tried to stop in after Christmas to poke around. We didn't really need anything, but like I said, it's a store where merchandise moves quickly so it never hurts to poke around. However, they were closed a week for Christmas so that was a bust. This morning, as it was raining dogs and cats (and small tractors and elephants) I remembered that they opened again, so we decided to go and walk around. We were almost done wandering through, considering this trip a bust, when I came found it.  In all it's shabby, needed to be re-worked,  ugliness, a true treasure. A diamond in the rough!!

The Builder...needed some convincing. 

Yes, the top is bad. But after closer inspection, that's a veneer top, and we could strip that off. Yes, the drawers need to be re-worked as they currently have wood slides, but that's an easy fix. I like the cabinet hardware, it just needs to be cleaned and refinished a brushed nickel to coordinate with the rest of the fixtures in the house. The sides and doors need some repairs, but only small repairs. 
The Drawer Front

Look at the curve on the front of that drawer.  It's beautiful. And it's solid wood, no particle board in this piece. The drawers are all dove tailed as well. And you can't tell in the photo's, but 7 of the 8 drawer pulls are installed upside down.  I have no idea if someone took them off to clean them or something, but it's the craziest thing. 

You may have guessed, we're not going to re-stain the entire cabinet. The doors will need some wood putty in spots that have been damaged. The front of the cabinet has some minor scratches and gouges that will need to be filled and sanded. The goal at this point is to remove the existing veneer, replace it with new veneer, and stain the top. The rest of the cabinet will be stripped of the clear coat, painted, and lightly distressed. 

We were slightly excited when we got it home, and may have already removed ALL of the damaged veneer top...and maybe started removing the clear finish on one of the doors...
One heat gun later, and the veneer came off fairly easy (this was more about patience than effort, but it did take a couple of hours). We also discovered that the heat gun will melt the clear coat off, making it easy to scrape off. Since we plan to paint it a cream color and antique it so a little of the dark stain shows through, it's important that we be able to see the existing stain. This is our first time attempting to do a distressed/antique finish, but it's perfect for our dining room. 

I have no idea what the actual age of this piece is. There were no furniture stamps to determine who made this buffet. We believe both the top and the bottom skirting have been redone at least once. Our best guess is that they lightly sanded it and finished it with a tinted top coat. While sanding the skirting today, you could see where someone had fill nail holes in it with a pink tinted wood filler. Given the degree of disgusting found under the dresser, I think this may have been sitting in someone's garage or shed for some time. But all of that is easy to clean. 

We figured the investment for this piece to be fairly minor:
  • buffet - $48
  • heat gun - $20
  • new leveling feet - $4
  • new plywood to repair the weak bottom of the main drawer - $13
  • new drawer slides to replace the wooden ones - $30
  • paint - $23
  • spray paint for the hardware - $5
  • Total Cost: $143
Now let me be clear. I have been wanting a buffet for several years now. I love dishes and I have managed to collect quite a few pieces over the years, in addition to the china my grandmother gave me when I got married (that I dearly love!). We currently have a small china hutch that worked when I first got in on Freecycle 12+ years ago, but now, is way too small for my our needs. But the cost on a solid wood, 6 ft. buffet, is crazy stupid. World Market is probably the lowest in cost, at just $499 + shipping for a 54" buffet, but only the frame is made from real wood. Wayfair has some with free shipping, but they look SO modern and...blah. Of course, Pottery Barn to the rescue, I dearly love this one:
Of course, it's a lot more rustic than I actually want, but it checks off all the boxes for size (62") and being made from solid wood. It does not, however, fit the budget. The buffet is $1800. If I want the matching hutch (yes, you know I do!) that's an additional $1600. Shipping, of course, is additional. 

So $143 vs. $1800. The Builder was still reluctant as the the ReStore guys loaded it into his truck, but after getting it home and into the garage, he quickly got on board!

I really, really want this to be a simple project. My dining room needs this to be a fast and simple project!