Can I keep it?

So I just finished up my second project for Restore and After (You can check out the first one here). It is a hutch that started out that golden orangey oak. (Why was every piece of furniture made that color? Ewe.)

See? I'm sure my grandmother would think this is lovely and I fully admit that generations from now people will ask why I stained all this beautiful wood a dark brown.

When I first saw this piece, I thought it would be great for the bakery. I kind of love it. And after I finished it, I really don't want to let it go. Maybe nobody will bid on it and I can bring it back home. :)

I decided to do a similar look as the first piece I did. I stayed with a dark stained top and a painted bottom. This is for two reasons. Staining the entire thing is really difficult and time consuming. You have to get all the previous stain and poly off and it's not always easy. But I love the look of staining opposed to painting. And the reason I didn't paint the top is because that is one surface that things will be set on-possibly drinks, plus the top of the unit could easily scratch paint off and I didn't want that.

I originally tried to stain it Antique Walnut. That did not go well. It was the same orangey oak color! So I sanded the top down again and went back to my tried and true American Walnut. (It's harder to find in stores but you can order it online. I only had a little left, but it was enough to finish.)
Sanded with wood conditioner

With one coat
With two coats
After I finished the top, I got to work on the doors and drawers. Instead of doing the process where I painted the doors and then scraped the paint off to add interest, I went with a process we did on our kitchen cabinets. You can actually buy the kits from some of the kitchen cabinet companies at Lowes, but I did this with the stain that I originally didn't like on the top!
After priming and painting all the surfaces (and allowing to dry), using a sponge brush, coat the surface with the stain (again, I used the Antique Walnut polystain-meaning I gave me color and shine in one step!)

Don't let it sit for long, Basically as soon as you put it on, wipe it off with a paper towel. You want to leave some of the stain around the edges where there is detail. Wiping it all over and then removing it gives the whole surface a slightly darker color and ages it. You can leave as much or as little of the stain as you like. 

After that, let the stain sit for a day before touching it. Now, you could stop right here. But I didn't. The stain set we bought for our kitchen cabinets included a splatter stain. (you could do the same with an oil based stain in a very dark color, like an ebony.
It's best to do this outside if possible and with rubber gloves and a hard bristled brush (a small craft type brush.) You should probably practice on a piece of cardboard first. I will dip the brush into the stain and with my left hand, I will run my fingernail across the top of the bristles, flicking them. (this is why the bristles need to be hard, a soft brush won't do this.) If you don't practice, you can end up with giant splotches that require you to basically start all over. (Yes, I know this from experience on our kitchen cabinets.)

You will see the dots when it's up close, but from a distance, they're not as noticeable. But it gives the piece a really nice vintage feel. 

Originally, I wanted to stain the back of the piece a dark color, like the top. But then I thought it would be more fun to add a color. The only color I had on hand that I thought would be nice was the one from our dining room walls. I'd been panning it for a while and got in love with the idea/color. But then? I opened the can and it was thick. No so thick that I couldn't use it, just thick enough I probably shouldn't have. It didn't go on well, despite my thinning it down with lots of paint thinner. 

But I'm stubborn and I kept painting. Originally, I had planned on doing the same staining technique as the rest of the piece, but the thickness of the paint created its own unique aged look and I really ended up liking it. Brad came in and he agreed that it looked cool. So I left it. 

I really, really wanted to buy new hardware. But a couple of things prevented that. First, I'm trying to open a business and that whole 'no job' thing. The other was that I would want to put Oil Rubbed Bronze on it and not everyone has that metal in their homes. This would look nice with a brushed nickel as well. So I decided to put the original stuff back on. The eventual owner can hopefully outfit it with hardware that they like. But I did decide to replace the two door knobs with some from Hobby Lobby. The blue matches the back perfectly!

So after a few weekends, here is the finished hutch:

A few notes: 
Definitely take the back off to paint, it will make your life so much easier. Also, remove all hardware and take the piece completely apart. Don't just paint around hinges, remove and start clean, you'll end up with a much nicer piece in the end. 
White paint color: Valspar antique white off the shelf from Lowes
Blue paint color: Bher paint and primer in one color "Harmonious"
Top stain: Minwax water based wood stain in American Walnut
Stain over paint: Minwax polyshields gloss in Antique Walnut