Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DIY: Mother-In-Law's Buffet

A year or so ago my sister-in-law, Debbie, moved to a new house and in the process she got rid of a lot of extra furniture.  Scott and I got two pieces, their mother's buffet and the piano.

I have been using the buffet to store dishes, place settings, table cloths, etc., but recently, I decided that I could really use the storage for other things.  I only use the "fancy stuff" one time a year, Thanksgiving, and I could move all of that stuff down to the basement and have a lot of extra room for other miscellaneous stuff.  The buffet, though, just wasn't my style.  It is quite a few years old, the door was broken and one drawer stuck so I decided to redo it.

Before I go on with this let me tell you that I am not a a crafter, DIY'er or anything close!  The only thing I can claim to be is a HGTV watcher and I have seen shows where they refurbish plenty of things so I figured it couldn't be hard, right?


Notice the broken door.

The one thing that I knew for sure that I did not want to do was to sand it down and stain it.  I knew that I wanted to paint it but I wasn't sure if I could just do a spray on Krylon paint or if I should prime it and then paint it.  I decided to prime it first. 

Before priming, I took off the hardware and used a wood filler to fill in the holes.  While using the wood filler, it didn't seem like it was "working right" but I have never used it before and I didn't know.  After the filler dried, I sanded it down.  I primed all of the pieces two times.

Next, came the paint.  I decided on a semi-gloss black.  Everything took two coats with a little extra touch up here and there.

Here is where the problems started mounting.  After all pieces were painted, I headed off to find some new hardware.  If you look back in the original pics, I just couldn't stand that look so I knew that I wanted stainless steel pulls and handles.  After using the wood filler and sanding it down, I could still see the holes from the original hardware but I couldn't get them to fill up.  I don't know if I didn't do something right or what.  I, personally, didn't care because I knew that no matter if you could see the holes through the paint or not, it still looked better than it did before. 

It was at this time that I realized that I was way over my head.  I am full of creative ideas but I do not have the knowledge to follow through on them.  I have never used a power drill before today. 

When I got to the store, though, I started doubting myself.  I had really put a lot of effort into the buffet already and I didn't want to mess it up so I decided to go with handles where there were handles before and pulls where there were pulls. 

Now, remember how I said this piece was old.  I couldn't find any handles that where the holes were exactly the same length apart as the old ones.  I decided to get as close as possible to the original ones because if I would have gotten 5" or 6" pulls then you would definitely be able to see the former holes.

I got home and measured where to drill the holes and this is where the trouble began.  The new holes were literally within millimeters of the old holes so whenever I would try to drill the bit would slip over to the path of least resistance.  No matter how hard I tried to drill down straight, it happened every time.  So, now, I didn't have two holes but 4. 

This is where the meltdown began.  I don't mean getting upset.  I mean full on crying, ugly face upset.  This was Scott's mom's furniture and I didn't want to mess it up to where it had to be thrown away.  I would have been heart-broken.  Plus, I really wanted this to be a piece that I would keep for a long, long time since it was hers. 

After I came to terms with the fact that I would have to fill in some extra holes, I went on to put on the pulls for the three doors down below and I didn't buy any.  Are you kidding me?  I had texted Scott to ask him how many handles I needed and he told me 7 but we both didn't even think about needing pulls for the 3 doors.  I just figured that I would get the doors back on, replace the magnets and then go out tonight and buy the pulls.

On to the hinges . . . I bought hinges this morning along with the handles and magnets.  When I went to put the hinges on, they wouldn't fit.  Don't ask me what this means but, apparently, the old hinges were kind of like two "backs" put together that allowed the doors to open.  The six that I bought this morning would not let the door open.  Ok

It was getting close to time for me to pick up Kanin so I thought I would just run back to Home Depot and exchange the hinges, buy the pulls and buy some new black puddy to fill in the new holes.  I drove all of the way to Home Depot and realized that I had forgotten my wallet.  I didn't think they would exchange anything without an i.d. and a lot of the times stores will just credit back the card that you used to purchase.  

Back home to get my wallet and then on to pick up Kanin.  I took Kanin with me to pick up the stuff and realized that there were NO hinges like what I needed.  By this time I had been working on this buffet for almost 3 full days.  I was very frustrated and overwhelmed.  I just decided to grab some spray paint and spray them black. 

Finally, after a very, very long and stressful day.  The buffet is finished.  It is beautiful and I love it.

I hope she would have been proud of me.

I forgot to the put the costs down:

1 can of Valspar primer $20.98
1 can of Valspar semi-gloss paint $24.47
2 3" brushes $2.72
1 1" brush $3.79
1 can of spray paint $5.19
3 knobs $8.91
Puddy $2.97
3 Magnet catches $2.94
7 handles $20.93

GRAND TOTAL:  $92.90


  1. I love it!!!! It HAD to cause you this much trouble so that you would not only remember the buffet, but the hard work put into it! You will cherish it forever!! Great job :)

  2. Looks fabulous! Way better than before!

  3. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems it should be, is it? But the end result is worth it...it looks wonderful!

  4. Oh my goodness, what an amazing job you did! Poor you with all the running around and frustration!

    We have a hutch that my in-laws gave to me that seriously needs to be redone...any tips?