Hello friends!  When I last left you, I was telling you all about this great furniture piece that my neighbor had set out by the curb, free for the taking!  A beautiful buffet from probably the 50’s or 60’s.  Some damage but nothing I couldn’t work with.  She only needed a few minor repairs and some TLC.  After a couple of days of contemplation, I decided that the distressed look would work well with this particular piece since there was some damage that I couldn’t repair to the finish.  Here are the steps I took:

1.  The first step for me always is to remove doors, hardware, and drawers and air the piece out.  I’m sure you have noticed that a lot of older furniture pieces can have kind of a musty smell to them.  A couple of hours in the fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for this.

2.  Once your piece is taken apart and aired out, the next step is to wipe it down thoroughly, getting as much of the dust, dirt, and grime off as possible.  I didn’t spend a lot of time doing this and I only used a slightly damp or dry rag.  If you are going to sand down the piece or use stripper, you obviously don’t need to spend much time at all.  If, however, you are going to go straight to chalk paint or something of that sort then you will want to make sure you have as much dust and dirt removed as possible.

3. Next up for me was sanding.  I have a palm sander and a round disk sander.  I admit that I’m a little in love with my sanders.  They make this process so much easier!  **Make sure you are wearing a mask whenever you sand so you aren’t inhaling all of the dust, etc.  This was a big piece and it took me several days of sanding to get all the old varnish off and the bigger of the imperfections filled and sanded down.  While I love my sanders and use them whenever possible, there are obviously some areas that have to be sanded by hand so as not to damage the trim.  It can be pretty labor intensive but it’s also a great workout!  Once your sanding is completed, you want to be sure and wipe your piece down really well with a dry or very slightly damp rag to remove all the sawdust etc. from your piece.

4. Now I started with the base for my distressed finish.  My goal was to try and give it a look like it’s been around for quite some time and has had several layers of paint over the years.  You know that look, I’m sure!  I used chalk paint for my basecoat because it covers so well and other layers you may add on adhere well to this finish.  (I make my own chalk paint:  1/2 C. Plaster of Paris, 1/2 C. Water (mix these until the Plaster of Paris is completely dissolved) 1 1/2 C. latex paint.  Mix until well-blended.) I love this recipe and use it all the time.  It’s much more affordable than pre-mixed and you get to use up extra paint you may have around already.  It covers great and holds up well!  Make sure you mix in a container that you can put a lid on if you don’t use it all right away.  It will hold up for at least several days so you can have it ready to start your second coat if you keep it covered.  It may thicken up over time so you may need to add a little water to it on the next go around.

As you can see by the photos I posted here, the piece is already taking on a whole new look!  I was quite pleased at this point.

Be sure and join me for the next installment as I share the next steps involved with restoring this curbside beauty!

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?