Check out the YouTube video of this project HERE If you would rather watch than read!
I had some clients of mine come to me with a challenge.
“Can you give this buffet the ‘Arhaus‘ look?”
They provided this picture from one of the company’s catalogs and pointed out that it was the Earl Grey finish on the table that they wanted to recreate.
It’s not easy to reverse-engineer a finish for a piece of furniture but I was willing to give it a shot.
I’ve worked on some pieces in the past where I had used a similar technique.
The frame on the 2018 Swan Settee for example:
I first had to take off the slick, orange finish that the buffet was currently wearing.
After removing the door and drawers, I sanded the whole piece down to the raw wood. The original finish didn’t put up too much of a fight and I was able to able to get the whole piece sanded in an afternoon.
After cleaning away the dust I started to think up a strategy to get the weathered look.
I started with watering down some Valspar Belgian White paint.
2 parts paint, 1 part water.
I haphazardly brushed the paint mixture on, leaving it on for about a minute and then wiping it away with a damp rag.
This is what that technique looked like after one coat.
I did 3 coats of this technique until I got my desired look.
Here is the white-washed door up against a raw wood side of the buffet to compare the difference:
I repeated the same thing on the entire piece.
After letting the layered white wash dry over night it was then time to add a stain combination.
I consulted my stain stash and I chose Minwax’s Classic Gray and Jacobean to layer on.
I also add weather oak to the mix just incase.
Using some latex gloves to protect my hands, I applied the first coat of stain with foam brushes and then wiping it off with a clean rag.
I started with classic gray and decided against using Jacobean because I felt like it had a little too much red in it. I choose to use weathered oak instead to enhance the gray.
This is what 2 coats of classic gray and 1 coat of weathered oak over the white wash looked like:
The was still too much of the orange from the raw oak showing through and we need to darken the grain of the wood.
I thought maybe a black stain would help to combat the warmth but I was fresh out!
My solution was to cut a little bit of black paint with some water, brush it on and wipe it away with a damp cloth ASAP.
This is what it the black-wash cover looked like after one coat vs just the classic gray & weathered oak stain layers:
I decided to apply the mixture to the whole piece.
Brushing it on and using a damp cloth to wiping it off after a few seconds was key to keeping the paint from saturating the entire piece.
Finally I just had to stop and walk away.
There is such a thing as over-working something and a project like this could easily get away from me.
I let it sit over night before completing the final touches and the last thing to apply before adding hardware was a top coat.
I like to use Minwax’s water based polycrylic protective finish in clear matte for almost everything I work on and this project was no exception.
All it needed was a thin coat.
After letting it dry it was time to add hardware.
I tried using what the buffet came with originally but the client wanted to mix it up and we decided to try painting the hardware black.
I didn’t want the black to look too new so I did a light mist of an age bronze spray paint on top.
I styled the piece with some ironstone mixing bowls and an old bull horn.
This piece has a lot of structural detail already and could easily be over-styled if I add much more.
I had the chance to try to re-create the Arhaus ‘Earl Grey’ finish and it might not be perfect but I think I got pretty close.
It was a beautiful day when I took theses pictures so It looked very light-n-bright.
The hardest part of this whole project was finding the right combination of paint and stains to toning down the natural orange-i-ness of the oak.
I was hoping to achieve the look with less product (paint, 2 different stains, more paint) but I’m okay with where we ended up.
You can also watch the YouTube video HERE of the entire process!
- Foam Brushes
- Latex Gloves
- Valspar Paint – Belgian White & Lincoln Cottage Black
- Minwax Stains – Classic Gray & Weathered Oak
- Minwax’s Polycrylic Protective Coat in Clear Matte
- Black Spray Paint
- Age Bronze Spray Paint