I've been scouring Craigslist almost every day for the past month or so with a long list of things we'll need to buy (dresser, barstools, dining chairs, end tables/night stands, and places like West Elm, Crate and Barrel, etc.). Luckily we're in no hurry it's easy to pass up the mediocre or poorly priced. One of the things I was looking for was a buffet for the dining room, and there were tons of really gorgeous refinished antique ones, but they were going for $500+, which wasn't even close to my price range. Then I stumbled across this beaut:
I fell in love. It was clear from the picture (which wasn't the one above) that it had a little wear and tear, but I just didn't think I could live without it. I emailed the owner and talked him down 43% (yes, I just calculated it) to a crazy good deal. John and I went and picked it up, brought it home, and the drooling commenced.
Some day when we aren't doing so much home reno I'd like to get it restored, but for now I decided to go for a quick fix on some of the damaged areas. The main issue is that pieces of veneer have chipped off, and in some places the veneer is still intact but it's been rubbed. After talking to my mom who has a much better understanding of antiques than I do, she told me not to touch any of the veneer. If you try and stain it or sand it yourself, you can ruin it beyond repair in the future. For example, if you stain it and later try to have it restored, the stain you put on will probably not sand off in the same way the original stain will, which could leave you with a dark spot. Who knew.
What I decided to do was to stain the body that was showing through where the veneer had chipped off. That way if I get it restored, they'll put veneer on top of my stain and no one will know I ever did anything to it. I grabbed a wood stain marker from Michael's for $2 after my 40% off coupon.
So you don't have to scroll back up, here's where I started:
You can see that on the doors there are some areas that are significantly lighter, as well as two small chips on the upper drawer. There were also three big chips on the right side.
I tried to read the directions... but there were none. So, I jumped in! I just started drawing it on. It smelled like vanilla... mmm. Look at how much better it blends in!
You may be able to tell that the chips are there when you're a foot and a half off the ground and your face is 9 inches from the buffet, but other than that these spots just blend right in now.
The improvement is more apparent in person than it is in these pictures. Now I walk by it and think "gosh that looks nice" rather than "yikes, I really need to get that wood stain marker." See how the top left corner just blends in now? And same with the left side of the right door? And how the two chips on the drawer are nearly invisible? The left door is still a little roughed up and I could easily blend those spots in with the marker, but again I would rather be able to restore it in the future than do a quick fix now that could compromise it.
I just love this buffet. Craigslist can be a really amazing thing. I don't have very girly taste, but there's something about these feminine shapes that just get me.
Does anyone have any experience restoring antiques? Tips? Tricks? I always try and draw yall in with these questions but no one ever bites... Give me some love!