Nothing makes me feel more sophisticated than using the word ‘credenza’ in everyday conversation. Well, that, and holding a clipboard. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what a ‘credenza’ was until eight months ago. I started to notice that Mid-Century Modern furniture kept drawing my attention and was taking over my “Home Decor” Pinterest board.
One day I was poking around the furniture section in one of our local Thrift Shops, and there he was. I say ‘he’ because I’m pretty sure that if furniture were to become animated, this piece would be male, have a British accent and maybe smoke a pipe.
He had one cupboard door and two sliding glass doors that when opened released a beautiful musty smell that verified this guy was twice as old as I was. Though the laminate was a little faded and dull with age, the structure was immaculate. An orange neon $70 tag was stuck to the surface. Though thoroughly impressed and happy we met, I walked away.
At home, I couldn’t stop thinking about him!! I texted my friend, Tammy, who shares my joy of vintage furniture, asking her if I needed a credenza, where I would place it, if it would fit, how I would refurbish it, etc. The verdict, Yes, everyone needs a credenza.
The next morning, I showed up at the Thrift Shop just after it opened preparing myself for the letdown of my buddy having gone home with someone else….he wasn’t. Trying not to skip to the cash, I paid and loaded up my SUV. That’s where the story ends and we get technical.
How do you renew a LAMINATE surfaced piece of furniture? Fortunately, I had done my research. Gel stain.
Up to this point, Gel stain and I were not on good terms since having to stain the pine walls in Chris’ man cave…Twice, but that story is for another day.
Gel stains are slightly thicker than regular stains and tend to not penetrate the woods surface, and they allow for more even coverage. They act as a two-in-one product, offering tint plus a protective urethane coat. In my past experience, gel stains are much less pigmented and must be shaken or stirred often so the pigmented particles remain suspended in the liquid and don’t sink to the bottom. Since the laminate surface was not real wood, this time……this is exactly what I needed.
I wiped the whole credenza clean and using a high grit sandpaper, lightly sanded WITH the grain of the laminate wood pattern to rough up the surface so the gel stain would adhere better. After wiping the dust off, I applied the gel stain over the entire unit, with the grain, as quickly and smoothly as possible (this stuff starts to dry fairly quickly). I skipped staining inside the cupboards of the credenza since this was actual wood and hadn’t been discolored like the laminate.
The goal here was to deepen the color of the laminate slightly to even out the discoloration and fading that age had caused. Also, the gel stain brought a new looking shine and protective coating to the surface.
I switched out the one piece of hardware with this cute Lion head door knocker type I got from Home Depot for $3 and that’s it!!
It now lives in our hallway and houses all my self-help books (a guilty obsession). I topped it with my Mayan Mask from our last Mexico trip and my thrifted vintage wooden leaf tray. The same leaf tray that Jax and Tara had on their kitchen counter in Sons of Anarchy….just sayin’!!
It needs a little more styling, a few more items with a little height, but I’m taking my time until those pieces and I eventually meet, in which case I will update! The picture hung above is a very special find that I will post about in the near future. If I was a better picture taker, you would be able to see why. Stay tuned!
Chris loved it when he got home! Score!! It is one of the projects I am most proud of, and honestly, one of the easiest!!