Gray Buffet with Antique Brass Hardware

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

This is especially true when it comes to recycling old, cast off furniture. This buffet wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world when we found it, sans some hardware and properly closing drawers:


Somebody had deposited it on the curb in Minneapolis and walked away; that’s okay because as soon as we saw it, visions of an epic upcycle danced through our heads.

It had some scratches and dings which we filled with wood putty and then sanded until smooth. B put his carpentry skills to work, fixing the drawers and doors so they operated smoothly. We sanded the entire buffet, actually—not crazily, but enough to scuff up the surface. Then came the bonding primer followed by two coats of Benjamin Moore gray paint and two coats of polyurethane. We also painted the inside for a nice, clean finish:

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The hardware was unique—so unique, it was unlikely we could find replacements for the missing handles. We weren’t crazy about the original matching white knobs, and so those were ditched altogether. We decided to use the handles only on the middle drawers and to look for something complimentary for the doors and the top drawers:


We looked no further than the website for Lee Valley. This company is amazing—it is literally a mecca for seekers of beautiful and yet affordable hardware. A jewelry store for furniture, as it were.

The original hardware on the buffet was antique brass, and the finish on the newbies needed to match this. These antique ring pulls came in a variety of sizes—we ordered the smaller size for the top drawers and the larger size for the doors. One must keep scale in mind when accessorizing!


My own dining room is too small for much more than hungry children and a beautiful banquette bench B made to compliment the farmhouse table we made together. I DO indulge in daydreams of a future dining room that will be an enormous hall with plenty of room for a piece like this AND the hungry kids.

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Rustic Blue

This antique chest of drawers was one of our Valentine’s Day thrift-store treasures. We love prowling around Minneapolis during our dates—and finding this reminded us why!


She was just so cute, with those glass knobs and petite profile—and we got her for $10 at the Salvation Army.


I knew I wanted to refinish her into something rustic and French Country; but by then, I was bored to death of chalk paint and dark wax. Also, I wanted a layered look, and I wanted a pop of color. Blue, to be exact—and I was quite stubborn in this decision. Our other pieces have been done in gray, black and white–so safe! I had it in my head that I wanted Mediterranean blue, period!


I started this project by lightly sanding the surface, and then wiping it clean. I then dry brushed a very thin layer of white paint over the entire surface. After this dried, I then dry brushed the blue all over the piece in very thin strokes. (This layer also had to dry—doing a layered look DOES require a certain amount of patience and time!). After this dried, I distressed the corners and highpoints with sandpaper, knocking the paint down to the original wood just in these areas. I wanted it to look even more old, weathered and dimensional, and so I tried a technique I’ve been dying to try—staining over paint.


I used Minwax Jacobean stain, applying it in sections, and then wiping it off with a rag. The slight patina it added to the piece was exactly what I was looking for.


I let this piece dry for a few days before applying a Minwax clear wax for a nice, protective seal.


She has a different look than the other pieces we have done, but I really do love how it turned out.