I started with this:
The buffet I was told I could have if I could fit it in my car. This baby was pitiful. She was FILTHY. There were several species of bugs living in here and even a wasps nest.
I have never done so much sanding at one time! I sanded - by hand - sans palm sander until there was raw wood after many days of thinking that white paint just wasn't going to cut it.
I sanded edges of the BLACK hardware to bring out the shiny brass underneath.
Then I used my favorite Dark Walnut stain to stain the ENTIRE piece of furniture. This is also the first time I've sanded an ENTIRE piece. I have spots and blotches all over my arms. I should've warned longsleeves. Dear Minwax, put that on your cans, lol.
The end result looks pretty awesome.
Normally I take these wood pieces, sand them down, and then paint them. But something just didn't feel right about painting this one. I couldn't commit to a color after days of trying to imagine it. And so restoring it close to what it looked like new (obviously I had to leave some distressing) made it feel right. The edges pop, and rather than undo the natural distressing just to dull it down, I brought out the imperfections with this rich stain. And now it sits, awaiting a dining room space to surround it.