Before and After: A Banged-Up Mid-Century Buffet Gets a Smart Update

published Oct 17, 2020
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About this before & after
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Before: damaged wood sideboard

The tiny details of your home don’t always get nearly as much recognition as they deserve. It could be the color of your pulls in the kitchen, the perfect Instagram-worthy collection of products sitting on your vanity, or perhaps a fresh coat of paint on a console like Marybeth Dierkes did.

This wood mid-century modern buffet was being tossed out with the trash when Marybeth found it—and while the drawer fronts were in pretty good shape, the frame was more heavily damaged with water stains and peeling veneer. But Marybeth had the feeling that despite all that, it had potential to be quite beautiful again.

“I love a challenge, especially a well made mid-century piece,” says Marybeth. “The fact that somebody was going to send it to the landfill made me determined to make the piece functional.”

After a difficult veneer stripping process that involved many hot towels to effectively pull it off, she sanded the piece down and took it apart to work on the painting and staining. Marybeth used gray chalky finish paint (Behr’s Tweed Coat Interior Chalk Decorative Paint) for the sides—which help hide the old damage—and a walnut stain (Minwax’s Dark Walnut Wood Finish) to give the mahogany wood front a new life. Once put back together, the buffet was unrecognizable.

Marybeth also happened upon a treasure chest moment during the project. After cleaning off the buffet’s soiled pulls, she discovered that the hardware was actually golden in color. Restoring the original finish brought more personality to the final piece. The project resulted in a piece that embraced the mid-century character of the piece while also helping it achieve a new life beyond the landfill.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.