Mid Century Bassett China Cabinet

Typically I am not a mid century modern kind of girl.

But when I saw this Bassett china cabinet with the most adorable door pulls I had a slight change of opinion.

The piece came to us as an auction leftover.  If it weren’t for the hardware, I would have completely looked the other way.  But the hardware alone drew me in even though the china cabinet was a mess.  The sliding glass doors were missing and it was very dirty.  I removed the hardware and put it in a safe place so that I could clean it later.

Other then a few patches of missing veneer,

the china cabinet was in good shape.  I chose to use Bondo to fill the spots with missing veneer.  In the auto body world, Bondo is used to repair dings and dents in vehicle bodies.  But I have found that it works on furniture as well.  Bondo comes in two mediums, the hardener and the filler. The hardener is pink and comes in a tube; the filler is gray and comes in a can.  Use a throw away container to mix  and be in a well ventilated area.  This is how I remember the quantities of each to use ;  ‘golf ball gray and  pea size pink’.  In fact, I wrote that little recipe  on top of the hardener can after this post! 😉

Only mix enough Bondo  in small batches and be ready to work quickly – no time to answer the phone while you are applying it!  Mix it thoroughly so it will adhere well.  It dries very quickly so have your tools ready to go!

Use the little stir stick to apply it to the area that needs repair.  You can see that I wasn’t concerned about leveling the Bondo mixure – it sands very easily and I will take care of that after it is completely dry.

Drying time isn’t long and I used my DeWalt Orbital Sander to blend this area with the rest of the cabinet.  I used the sander over the whole piece with a light touch and 220 grit sandpaper. A good once over with the shop vac removed all  loose bits.  Then a good cleaning with a microfiber cloth and my favorite cleaner, Simple Green in a bucket of warm water.

I knew I wanted this cabinet to be neutral in color

so a soft gray would be perfect.  General Finishes makes a gorgeous gray called Seagull Gray.  Their milk paint line is not officially milk paint but an acrylic based paint that mimics the look of traditional milk paint.  It comes pre-mixed and is so easy to use.  You can read all about their line on milk paint and see all of the colors right here!


The entire exterior of the china cabinet was painted in Seagull Gray but I chose to paint the interior of the cabinet in General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint.  By interior, I mean the top shelving area and the area behind the doors on the bottom.

The Seagull Gray covered in just two coats but the Snow White took a total of three coats.  If I had primed first, the Snow White would have covered in just two coats.  Keep this in mind when painting dark colored furniture because it can be a challenge to cover especially in light colors such as white.

Also, bear in mind that stark white paints tend to yellow over time.  Since I am going for an aged look, this typically doesn’t bother me.  If you want to read more about this subject, check out the FAQ’s in this article provided by General Finishes.

A bit of Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser and Polish

restored the hardware beautifully!  Wear gloves when scrubbing with this cleanser, it can really dry out your hands!

On to the distressing!

There are many methods to this, a quick search on Pinterest and you will find all sorts of ideas!  I use this little knife with a method that I came up with.  Read all about this method here.

It is good to remember where you applied the Bondo so you don’t accidentally distress in that area.  Oops!  Just a little paint over my mishap fixed the problem!

General Finishes High Performance in Flat is my favorite sealer.

It is not necessary to seal the milk paint in the  GF line, I just like the flat finish this product provides.  They do warn that any water based top coat can result in yellowing.  If you are concerned about this, there are products that can help to prevent the yellowing although not eliminate the possibility of yellowing.  Wood is a quirky material – you can’t always predict how paints and topcoats will react on natural surfaces.

Really I don’t worry too much about all of this.  I do however,  make sure the piece is lightly sanded and cleaned before I tackle the painting. A clean surface is a must when refinishing furniture!

Here she is!

The finished Mid Century Modern Basset China Cabinet!  I did end up book paging the drawer interior and you can read all about that in this post.  This step is becoming my signature on pieces and my customers really like this touch 😉

The drawer has this lovely detail and it distressed beautifully!  Did you notice the drawer doesn’t have any hardware?  Although you can’t see it, the bottom edge of the drawer has a grove down the long edge for your finger so that the drawer can be pulled  open.

Look at that hardware! Perfection!

I really love the white interior alongside the gray exterior.  That white interior will show off a beautiful collection of dishes!  Or maybe, a collection of baskets and wooden bowls and hand turned candle holders!  Oh, did I mention that we have a collection of hand turned candle holders and wooden bowls in our shop?

Remember this?

Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do??

Let me know what you think of this transformation in the comments! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!  I would love to help you!

Thanks for dropping by for this furniture tutorial!  Happy reinventing to you!




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