During my last live demonstration at Morgantown Market, I met up with a super sweet customer named Amandaa. She was on the hunt for a large storage piece in her home, and I had a perfect option in mind.
After the demonstration came to a good stopping point, we snuck away and I showed her a gorgeous Jacobean buffet that one of my fellow dealers, “Pear of Hearts Farm“, had brought in.
From the photo, it looks like it was in pretty good shape, but don’t be deceived. It actually needed a lot of TLC. I reassured Amandaa that it would look amazing once I got my hands on it. We decided that Miss Mustard Seed’s “Linen” would be the best color to match her home decor.
Linen is a lovely off white with yellow undertones. It’s a light cream color that is warm and gorgeous.
Before taking a paintbrush to the buffet, I had to do some heavy duty repair work and cleaning. There were several patches of missing veneer, and there were really bad sections on the sides.
I would guess that either heat or water made its way under the veneer, and anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of the veneer had bubbled up and was completely detached from the underlying wood. I used a putty knife to scrape off all of the loose pieces and used a LOT of wood putty to fill in the gaps that remained.
There were also a few missing pieces of trim work, but I wasn’t concerned about them. They would blend in once everything was painted. I did tap that nail back in so it wouldn’t stab Amandaa or her husband!
As the wood filler dried, I got to work stripping the top. Amandaa loved the look of this Jacobean buffet I painted a few months ago. She wanted the same wood stained top, but not so much chipping on her buffet
To get that gorgeous wood stained top, I used CitriStrip to remove the old finish and existing stain. I snaked the stripper up and down the top of the buffet,
and used a junk brush to spread it out evenly.
Then, I waited while the stripper did its thing.
After about an hour, I tested a spot with a plastic scraper and found that it was ready to remove. I removed all of the stripper and washed the piece with 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits. Because I was going to follow up with oil based General Finishes Java Gel Stain, using Mineral Spirits to clean the wood was okay. If I was going to follow up with a water based stain, then I would have used a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water.
I let the top dry on our back deck in the sun and after about 2 hours, it was ready to sand. If you’re going to use any of the General Finishes Gel Stains, you should use 120 grit, followed by 150 grit. Going up to 220 grit will actually close the wood grain and make it very difficult to accept stain. (That’s a new piece of information for me! I always sanded up to 220 grit, but now that I’m a retailer for General Finishes products, I’m refining my process.)
I used 120 grit sandpaper to rough up the body of the buffet for its MMS Milk Paint makeover.
Once the body was taken care of, I turned my attention to the inside. The cabinet door areas had a really old (and smelly) contact paper that was glued down. Using some Murphy’s Wood Oil Soap, a sponge and a scraper, I painstakingly cleaned the inside of the cabinet areas and removed all of the smelly paper. I also washed the insides of the drawers, removed them, and washed the inside cavities. I let everything dry in the sun, which is the best remedy for getting rid of smelly odors.
At this point, all of the wood filler was dry and set, so I sanded it back with my orbital sander. I also installed new cabinet closure hardware so the doors would close flush and remain closed! The door on the right popped open every time I moved the piece because one of the closing brackets had broken off a long time ago.
Once all of the structural repairs were completed, and the piece was completely prepped and ready to go, I started refinishing the top. I applied General Finishes Java Gel Stain with a foam brush and wiped it back with a shop towel.
After that, I applied 3 coats of General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin using a foam applicator brush, finish sanding with a 220 grit sanding pad in between the first and second coats.
To see the process you can watch this video, which helps you learn how to apply Java Gel Stain over a large surface (like a super long Jacobean buffet).
And this is how you do the same thing with High Performance Topcoat on a large surface:
FYI – “Lap marks” are those lines where the product overlaps itself.
Once the top was sealed and ready to go, I focused on the bottom. I mixed up several batches of Miss Mustard Seed’s “Linen” and it took three coats to get full coverage. Unfortunately, despite my prep scuffing, the buffet had chipped more than I was anticipating, and I knew my client didn’t want a super chippy look.
To fix the problem, I followed the same process I described on this blog post from a few years ago. I wasn’t expecting large patchy spots of chipping, but you never know how or when Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is going to chip. It required a bit of flexibility and in hindsight, I should have mixed Bonding Agent in with my batches of Milk Paint from the beginning.
Once the chippy patches were repaired, I distressed tastefully with Amandaa’s preferences in mind and sealed the buffet with Tough Coat. It’s my absolute go-to topcoat of choice when I have a chippy piece.
It’s non-yellowing and has a lovely matte finish with no shine. I applied it using a bristle brush and a foam applicator brush, taking care to watch for drips.
Once the hardware was shined up with Hemp Oil, I put the buffet back together and gave it a proper photo shoot.
The doors now close flush and remain closed with new hardware installed.
The inside of the cabinet doors are now clean and fresh. There is no musty odor anymore and they’ve been hydrated with Hemp Oil.
There are small patches of chipping, but they are tasteful and much more in line with what my client was looking for.
The patched bits of chipping now look more like texture that has always been there. They add to the old world charm of this buffet.
I love the high contrast look created by the rich Java Gel Stain on the top and the MMS Linen Milk Paint on the body.
Speaking of the top…
Oh yeah. That’s the stuff right there!
The hardware pops much more now that its set against an off white background.
The turned chunky legs are to die for!
Here’s that door that had the missing piece of trim. As you can see, it’s not really all that noticeable anymore.
Amandaa has already seen photos of her buffet and she’s super happy! I’m also super happy to have another beautiful Jacobean buffet under my belt. These pieces make absolutely stunning makeover pieces and if you can find one in your area, snatch it up! Some may be in rough shape, but they revive in an incredibly beautiful fashion. Not only was I able to help Amandaa find the storage piece she was looking for her home, I was able to support a fellow vendor at Morgantown Market. That, dear friends, is a win-win!
If you like this look, you can shop for all of the paint and stain products that I used from my booth at Morgantown Market. Here’s the list of products for easy reference:
- General Finishes Java Gel Stain
- General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin
- Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Linen
- Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat
- Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil