Painting New Life Into a Drab Drexel Buffet/Sideboard #chalkpaint

6 Hours
This drab Drexel Buffet/Sideboard/credenza what ever you want to call it. Drexel is a brand that is still around today. It features strong quality construction, beautiful design elements and stunning hardware. This piece however is extremely heavy and probably sat in front of the window it's whole life with the previous owners. Thus causing over 60-70 years cracking and discoloration on the top.
I knew I wanted to keep the top wood, as it is just my typical style. Drexels are fabulously made but like most companies in that era they used Veneer to create that rich and elegant look and to keep costs down. On the top a lot of this was lost in the yellowing of the finish. This was a good opportunity to teach my son some sanding skills. Passing the baton so to speak and to our surprise a detail that was lost in the darker finish and it's yellowing was revealed. A beautiful burled wood border on the top, with a closer look we later noticed it on two of the front drawers as well.
Once this Big Bertha had a sanded down top and was all cleaned up we hauled her into the dinning room to paint. We live in the south and the weather this time of year is so humid and hot I can't stand to paint outside. I searched out a paint brand with 100% of their products are non toxic and VOC free so I could paint inside.
We removed all 9 drawers (there are three inside each of the side cabinets) and moved her inside it was time for her makeover. I decided on a cream called Vanilla Bear by Shabby Paints, when I went to paint the front two drawers I noticed... more burled wood. I love it on the top so much I quickly went out and sanded down the finish saving the drawer boarder for the Hazelnut ReVax I had planned for the top as well.
The first coat used on the top was a 50/50 mix of the Hazelnut ReVax and Vax. This gave a lightly tinted top coat over the entire top. Once it was dry over night I put down painters tape along the inside edge of the burled wood border and proceeded to paint a top coat of 4 parts Hazelnut to 1 part Black ReVax to give it a deeper darker center. This color also coordinated with the original finish which I kept in tact inside the cabinet doors and on the drawer fronts inside those cabinets.
I touched up the scratches and such with some Dark Chocolate Gelato Gel Stain by Shabby Paints. The color was a perfect match as was the sheen. All the hardware is original. These interior drawer pulls were nasty and I cleaned them up with 50/50 water vinegar cleaning solution and a small amount of blue Dawn dish soap to cut any grease. Once clean I tested the look before painting and I loved the brassy tones with the rest of the piece. It is a nice pop and surprise when you open the doors.
As for the feet I kept them original also with some touch ups from the Dark Chocolate Gelato Gel Stain.
Now I am not usually one for the two toned paint look but I just loved how this two toned wood came out.
As I mentioned briefly before the drawer fronts match the top border. There was in inside scoop trim I also refinished dark to bring the dark color of the center of the top back down to the front as well.

The final step with this piece was to Antique over the Vanilla to highlight the relief carvings at the top of the cabinet doors and the top center drawer. This was done using the Hazelnut ReVax by Shabby Paints like an antiquing glaze. Bush on a little section... wipe it off with a baby wipe till desired antiqued look is achieved.
Here is the overall look one more time. Let me know what you think in the comments. I am also happy to answer any of your questions. Comment if you like it! Share/Pin if you love it! Follow me if you want to see more of my work... Thank you in advance.

You can find more info about this item, all the supplies I used and more blog posts on my website linked below or follow me here.

Letitia Grace Lauer
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Norma Jean Norma Jean on Jun 15, 2017

    What a beautiful piece of art you brought back to life.

    My questions is how many weeks did it take yo to accomplish it? Was it hectic? And that times did it seem impossible to achieve your goal?

    I have been working on my antique piece of furniture for a week, and just figuring it out has got me pulling my hair. But I'm not a quitter!

    I'm in the South also and the sweat and sand dust just will not wash off. LoL

    Love your ideal, I'm also not a 2 tone person, but I do love your wonderful ideal.


    I had a hard time going with staining the top which is a beautiful Oak. I just kept wanting to paint the top as well. ( Not good ideal )

    Thanks, for letting me vent!

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