And she really did it herself


THE FINISHED BUFFETT (Photos by Steve Perez).

In my last column, I wrote about a project that I had undertaken this past summer – an attempt to refinish a hutch and a buffet that had been sitting in our garage for years.

I ended the column by asking if this project turned out to be a worthwhile investment or if the furniture would end up at the dump; instead of sharing the results of my effort. While this may have left some readers feeling disappointed, the wait is over! I am pleased to reveal that the hutch’s transformation was breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and a welcome addition to our home.

The beauty of the refinished hutch prompted me to start working on the dining room buffet. So, without hesitation, I moved the buffet from the garage onto the driveway. Next, I removed the doors and drawers. I was now ready to begin the process of stripping the paint.


Although I thought the buffet would require less work than the hutch, I discovered, upon further inspection, that repairs were necessary to the bottom left side. And there was a small chance that I might have to replace a whole piece of wood veneer due to significant water damage. I was hopeful, though, that would not be the case.

Next, I repaired the damaged areas using wood glue, a scraper, and some clamps. I carefully and meticulously added glue to the damaged veneer pieces then used a clamp to hold the pieces in place, making sure they didn’t lift. Once dried, I used wood filler to fill in empty spaces.

After waiting a day to make sure the glue and filler were dried, it was time to use the sander to create a smooth surface. I must admit, after sanding, the area looked surprisingly good, considering the amount of wood filler used.

When the wood was smooth and ready for the final steps, I prepped it by coating the entire buffet with wood conditioner, which allows for even absorption of the stain. After waiting a day for it to dry, I returned to the garage, carefully added paint thinner to the gel stain, gently mixed them, grabbed my rag, and slowly spread the color onto the wood.

And just like that, it felt like Deja Vu as I found myself falling in love with the rich chocolate color breathing new life into the once unloved buffet. The transformation was stunning, and I could not wait to bring both pieces into our home.

This project didn’t go as smoothly as you might believe. There were a few incidents along the way. For instance, while my husband was rearranging the garage, he accidentally scratched the side of the hutch. Fortunately, the scratch isn’t noticeable unless the light hits it exactly right, but I know it’s there. And, as much as I dislike that scratch, it will be a constant reminder of that summer when I transformed two pieces of unsightly furniture into two pieces of furniture that bring added beauty to our home.

This project was a worthwhile investment of my time. As the addition of the “new” furniture in our home reminds me of my newfound skill, I often wonder why it took me so long to transform this forgotten furniture. I am glad I didn’t let my husband take them to the dump. Now, I get to enjoy their beauty and my work daily.

In the end, the buffet, and the hutch, that spent so many years in our garage wasting away, used only as a repository for random items, had finally been restored. They have received a new lease on life; only to be used, once again, to store miscellaneous items.

“Am’s View” appears on alternate Sundays.

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