If you know us…or have even read part of our blog…you know we LOVE antiques! I am especially in love with antiques that have a family history. Take a peek at this beauty…
Hey – be nice! Yeah, so she is a little worn and torn, but that is what makes her so beautiful! She has a long history and many stories in those scratches. This dining hutch belonged to my paternal grandparents, and was then passed down to my parents. This hutch is part of the dining set that I remember growing up with! She held all our precious things like grandmother’s china, my first tooth, my brothers first haircut clipping, our piece of the original UGA hedges, etc. She has been moved from state to state, house to house. Hubs and I think she is PERFECT – she just needs a little CPR to be brought back to life!
The poor gal was covered in scratches (from kids and cats and dogs and who knows what else) and the handles were falling off from her move up here from Florida. She was definitely looking a little rough, but Hubs and I could see the beauty underneath it all.
We started by taking out all the drawers, taking off the cabinet doors, and taking off the hardware. When I pulled a drawer out, I saw this beautiful company stamp and stopped to do a little research (don’t you love smart phones?! – get answers to your questions right away where ever you are). The Temple Stuart Furniture Company began in 1910 and ramped up production of furniture after WWII. This particular factory closed down in 1960. We are not sure the exact age of this piece, but we don’t really care. We are more in love with the memories that she holds in that beautiful wood grain….now to bring her back to life!
We started with the belt sander to get all the varnish off the top. We then used the hand sander to bring back the beauty of the original wood grain.
We chose to go with a Dark Mahogany stain on the top of the hutch to bring out the beauty of the natural wood grain. Then we covered the top with three coats of a spar varnish. I plan to protect that pretty wood…I also want to use this piece as a serving hutch in our basement and need a durable top to protect it when we put food and drinks on it.
Once we stained it, there were a few nicks and scratches that didn’t come out, but I am IN LOVE with them! It leaves a little character to the old lady.
Now for the bottom – um, we were nervous about this one! This is the first time we have tried to refinish an antique and actually give it an antique look. We usually give our pieces a nice clean finish that makes them look new, but with this one we wanted something a little different. We were worried about getting started because the top looked so beautiful. We didn’t want to mess up the bottom…but there is nothing you can do but just dive in…so that’s exactly what we did!
We started by lightly sanding down the doors, drawers, and sides. The goal was just to get the “gook” off and scuff up the surface, not to take it all the way back down to the original wood since we would be painting it instead of staining it. (Above: 2 pictures on the left are before sanding, top right is after sanding)
Next came the paint…Ugh…this was a difficult decision. You can see that we bought paint + primer to hopefully take less coats (we did two coats), and you can also see that I changed my mind after we already had the paint mixed! Thank goodness the paint guy was in a great mood today. He remixed my “Touch of Grey” to “Saddlehorn Grey” because I thought the first mix was way too light.
The paint went on great! Truth: At this point in the process I still think the paint is too light. You can see the nice contrast between the dark stained top and the lighter bottom, but I was hoping for more gray.
Now for the super scary part! We bought two types of antiquing glaze and tried them both on a scrap painted piece of wood first. We have never used this type of product before, so Hubs had spent hours researching how to use it.
Both products went on easily and achieved the type of look we were going for, but the Rust-oleum was a brown tint, and the Valspar was a black tint. We went with the Valspar for this project. Sorry there are no pictures of the process to apply the glaze…we were nervous…and it is a FAST multi-step process.
- Apply the glaze all over your product with a foam brush, making sure to follow the wood grain and get in the nooks and crannies.
- Use a shop towel (no lint) and wipe off the glaze. Leave the glaze where you want it…like in the edges and creases.
- Use a damp sponge to clear the large surface areas of excess glaze.
- You have 15 minutes to work with the glaze. If you wipe away too much, just re-apply and re-wipe. The hardest part was trying to keep each piece somewhat consistent on the “look” and amount of glaze left on the piece.
Here is a before and after of one of the drawers with the antiquing glaze:
I was so worried, but in the end I really love the overall look! We continued on glazing and wiping to finish the drawers, doors, and cabinet.
After the coat of antiquing glaze went on, I am actually kind of glad we went with the lighter grey. It darkened it up a little and added so much character that I don’t think we would have seen on the darker grey. Plus I have a happy husband that didn’t have to go back and have the paint remixed a third time.
Hubs wanted to give the top of the hutch an over-the-top finish. He wet sanded the dry varnish and gave it one last coat, then buffed it to the perfect shine…the result was a glass-like finish on the top!
We sprayed a protective satin finish clear coat over the entire piece.
The hardware was our final dilemma. At first we liked the natural patina look of the handles and we were just going to clean off the hardware and reattach it. But once the drawers were finished and we held the hardware up to it, we decided the color was way off. So off we went to 3 stores hunting new hardware…no luck. Nothing would fit the pre-drilled holes (of course). So we ended up with a can of Rust-Oleum spray paint, and back to the original hardware.
We are so pleased with this refurbished piece! I just love that with a little bit of elbow grease, you can take something old and tired and turn it into a beautiful piece that will last another 70+ years in the family! (sorry for the bad lighting in the basement…these pictures really don’t do the finished piece any justice!)
If you are looking to have a special piece of your own refinished, check out our For Sale Page to see how you can get a quote for us to do the elbow grease work for you!
And just because….Don’t you just love my little blogging partner?! He has made his own little spot on my grandmother’s chest in my office. It took me a long time to heal the heartbreak of loosing my Enzo, but I have finally let Gauge into my heart…man oh man I love this wild child!