From Trash-Bound to Worth Thousands - Why We Never Throw Things Away

It all started when one of our clients purchased a very large china cabinet! One of the things we offer is inexpensive pick-up, so after she found this unique piece at a thrift store my fiancé and I headed over to pick it up and prepare it for new life! 

The number one rule when looking for a china cabinet - turn buffet is to make sure that - first of all, the top and bottom are two separate pieces, and that second, the bottom portion does in-fact have a top and is not wide open. This one checked both of the boxes!

After a challenging load up into our truck (this thing was CRAZY heavy, even in two pieces)! We were off to start work not the bottom portion only. The buffet section turned into a beautiful white glamorous buffet - but that's a different story. The real winner here was the top portion. Best of all - our client let us keep it for free!

After contemplating what to do with the top portion for a couple of weeks, I was finally able to convince our carpenter (my amazingly talented father!) that the piece was worth salvaging, so it made its way to his wood shop. The picture is how it looked at that point - definitely dated, and large enough to fit our entire extended truck bed. 


After countless hours of work - the piece was transformed. The crown moulding at the top cut down, a wood top put in place, brand new shelves built, and super cute round button legs put in place! The dated over-sized cabinet top was in the first stages of becoming a statement piece! 


The piece was then brought back to our finishing shop and was ready to be beautified! It started with a thorough sanding; then a trip to the paint store for inspiration. I knew I wanted to keep the colors neutral and traditional. We do so much work with white and gray that I was super excited to get to pick out a color with a bit more creative flare. I ended up choosing Dixie Belle "Spanish Moss" which I purchased from a cute local shop (it's also available on Etsy). 

My next step was to pick up some Rust-Oleum spray paint for the glass doors. As you can see - they were not overly modern and definitely didn't fit my high-end traditional end-game, especially with the sea shell hardware. I removed the glass and knobs and sprayed each door with "Flat Chestnut" spray paint to give them a bit of dimension. Interestingly this type of spray paint doesn't have great reviews online, but after years of spray painting hardware and other metals, it has always stood up the best and provided the best colors, plus the cans don't randomly stop working as often as a traditional spray can, which can be insanely annoying. 

I'm the worst when it comes to needing instant gratification when working on my pieces. So.. of course I stained the entire top with Gel Stain and polyurethaned it to see the finish right away. Then I taped it off and began applying the Dixie Belle paint with a course brush. After covering the entire piece with two coats of paint I decided it needed a little something more. 

I ended up mixing Decorative Brown Glaze and water - about a 50/50 mix and used a clean cloth to wipe the entire piece down with the mixture. I didn't want a brown looking finish, just some texture, so I was careful not to apply too much and to wipe it down very well as I went with a separate clean cloth. After covering a section I would immediately wipe it down with a sponge drenched in polyrutheane. My goal was a shiny dimensional finish and it really came out exactly how I envisioned. Working quickly and with all of your products right in front of you, really makes it much easier to create the finish you're looking for. When working with non-sealed woods they can really soak up your products, so to make sure you don't overly saturate a color you don't want, adding water to a product such as the glaze can make a big difference. 


Once the finish was complete and the doors had dried, I reinstalled the glass, put the shelves back in, and re-hung the doors. Although I've done it by myself before, I highly suggest hanging doors with some help. There's no use risking breaking glass or scuffing/denting your piece by trying to screw and hold a door at the same time. LOL seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised the risks you're willing to take when you just want to get a project done. Probably the most important thing I've learned while working on hundreds of pieces is that if you get frustrated or impatient, just walk away. Making quick and risky decisions just to finish something up is not at all worth it!


At this point I didn't hang all of the doors because it was about to be transported. I never suggest moving a piece of furniture with glass doors attached, it's just too risky. I ended up taking them back off, loading the piece in our trailer (with help of course), and delivering it to its forever home. 

Final in-home pics coming soon!!!

Laura Cone