A Blond Breakfront China Cabinet Goes Brunette…

A client had a breakfront cabinet that she felt was stuck in the 80’s – the color finish – pinkish blonde.   She didn’t want a painted finish -she just wanted it darker. Not an easy fix – finished wood furniture typically requires sanding/stripping and starting with a fresh stain color  –  or, simpler – painting over it with easy paints like Caromal Colours basecoats.

I gave her an option of trying a ‘quick fix’ – using a gel stain and applying it directly over the existing finish.  I forewarned her – you can’t guarantee what  you’re gonna get … the stains can bite into one area stronger than an other… her piece was in lovely condition so she stood a pretty good chance that the gel stain could work for her piece.   I made a trip out to test it on the inside door – this was using a lighter color, but even that was enough for her to say ‘lets do it’…

So I came back with a color called Dark Walnut

and started the piece

My plan was to get it done in one day, but the inside kicked my butt, and I had to take 5 drawers back to the shop to complete

I’ll rate this application at least medium difficulty in terms of DIY ease – I won’t lie and say it doesn’t offer a challenge…  I’d recommend practicing on something of no value before tackling a piece you adore – once you start you can’t go back easily.

I was quite pleased with the transformation, the homeowner liked but didn’t love – she felt it took the piece from the 80’s to 90’s , but she was looking for the 2000’s….  I told her when I returned w/the finished drawers I could take one more swipe at it (just the exterior) since it would be completely dry

This was on the return – it took an extra hour to apply another wash of stain -the first layer took 8 hours…

she loved the results so much

that she sent me home with the matching server

that one I was only able to snap shots of layer one, they picked it up before I took final photos, but even this way its lovely…

Just in time for a Thanksgiving family gathering!     I hope all of you had a blessed day!

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8 responses to “A Blond Breakfront China Cabinet Goes Brunette…

  1. Patty – That turned out gorgeous! Don’t you just love Old Master’s Gel Stains! They rock – and so does your work!

  2. Did I read that right…..it only took you 1hour to do the second coat? HOLY MOLY, you are a speed demon! Those pieces look great!

  3. What a transformation. Great work.

  4. Beautiful and rich!

  5. These turned out really nice! How did you apply the gel stain? Did you have to prep the wood at all?

    • Nancy, you want to really proceed with caution – test an area first – I tested several of the inside door panels, to see how the piece would react – and then the customer signed off with the understanding that there were no guarantees – one big risk is that the stains can bite into an area of your existing finish and take differently than the rest of the finish – especially areas where the finish is thin, like around edges or handles. There were a few areas inside the hutch that took much darker because it wasn’t as sealed up as the rest of the finish, but it was okay because it was out of direct view. Clean the piece well with a simple green. I brushed the gel stain, then modified it with dry brushes and cheesescloth.

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