After selling the hutch that was in our kitchen when we moved here, I searched Craigslist and consignment shops for a long time, looking for a piece to go along a big wall in our eat-in kitchen. Finally, I found one with potential for just over $100.
The buffet was made of mahogany by the Drexel furniture company sometime in the 1930s-1940s. I know mahogany is a great thing to find and refinish, but this piece had some serious dents and scratches all over the place. Since it was solidly built, though, I thought it might have some potential.
I left the thrift shop tchotchkes behind and took the buffet home to begin the repairs. I removed the hardware, filled dings and scratches and gave these areas a light sanding before applying the Stix primer. I had half a quart left from a family project, saving me money, and it also kept me from having to sand the entire piece before painting.
While the Stix coat dried, I worked on salvaging the hardware. I did a magnet test to find out if it was plated or solid (solid-yay!) and then mixed up a batch of vinegar, hot water, and salt to remove some of the gunk. This solution is actually what I use for cleaning my silver jewelry after soldering, and I like it because I always have it on hand.
I left the handles in the pickle solution for about 45 minutes, and took pieces out one-by-one for a final scrub with Barkeeper's Friend and an old toothbrush. While it was really good at removing the black gunk, the pickle also pulled the copper color to the surface of the brass and gave it a bit of a pink tinge. The scouring powder and toothbrush took care of this, and I was left with a warm glow on all of the pieces. Yes, it was time-consuming, but I love how they came out.
I gave each piece a quick wipe with some Pledge, which is actually a pretty hard wax. I am hoping that it will keep these looking good at least a little longer than they would otherwise.
I wanted a very matte finish on this sideboard, but I was hesitant to go the chalk paint route, because of the waxing/buffing step and questions about the durability of these products. After talking to the owners of my local Benjamin Moore store, I came up with an alternative that I think worked out pretty well in the end. In the past I've used Benjamin Moore's Advance line that I've used for furniture, but I thought Advance was just a little too shiny, even in satin.
Instead of a regular-finish paint or something fancy like Advance, I just stuck with a Fresh Start primer tinted to the color I wanted-a soft grey without any odd undertones. I brushed on two coats of the grey Fresh Start and let it dry. Lastly, I followed this up with two coats of Benwood Acrylic Polyurethane in "flat" finish, using a small, foam roller. The final product seems like it will hold up well, and the finish is very warm and soft looking, not shiny, but not dull, either.
I'm not quite sure what to do next as far as a runner, lamp, etc. to go on top of the buffet, but I like how the painting above also has a lot of blues and grey tones in it as well.
From start to finish, this was a worthwhile project, despite the elbow grease and time required. The buffet was $110, and paint/supplies were another $50, but I don't think I could get something like this for that price anywhere else. Come to think of it, since I sold the previous hutch for $150, I am actually only out $10 if I factor this into my project costs/totals! That is nuts...