Buffet Love

I am a woman with a weakness (OK, maybe a few).

I just can't quit ya


But I remain unapologetic.

I can not say No to a good buffet.  Just can’t even turn my back and play hard to get.  I am a weak-willed, pathetic example of a modern woman: and I love it!!

I started painting about 2 1/2 years ago.  I just enjoy painting.  It’s relaxing for me. Growing up in England, our family’s version of ‘Spring Cleaning’ was painting and wallpapering the house.  So it’s always been a part of me.  When it dawned on me that there was a slight chance that I could get paid to paint – well, I was all over that like a rash!

I started off doing small pieces.  Actually, the first piece I did for myself was a Union Jack coffee table (it was just before the Olympics in England, and I wanted to feel connected with the Motherland).   Once I started to sell things, I did small pieces: tables, nightstands etc.  Nothing hard, nothing too inspiring – actually, truth be told.  But then I found an antique buffet.  With lots of veneer damage.  And I figured ‘Why not?’.  I bought it from Goodwill.  I started painting with the idea that I didn’t want to ‘wood fill’ a piece to death.  If it had flaws, then I was going to try and embrace them.  I don’t like the idea of trying to make something perfect, when it isn’t.  Pieces of furniture have stories to tell, and so it seems a little sad to remove those signs.  So this buffet is a great example of loving what you have. Look at that shine!  Buffed up like she’s been going to Golds Gym for a year!!  Blue Dark Stain Buffet

{On a side note, things have greatly changed in the land of the thrift stores, even just over the last two years.  I ‘get’ that all most  some of the profit goes to empower those in need; but their pricing structure has gone a little cray-cray.   I used to go to Goodwill several times a week, it was the store ‘Where everyone knows your name’ (much to the embarrassment of my children).  I could find buffets for around $100.  Those days are gone.  Sigh.  I hardly ever go into the big thrift stores now because I can’t afford to.  I usually get most of my pieces off Craigslist or Estate sales, but I haven’t painted a buffet for months and months}.

I seriously need a buffet-fix soon.

I think the problem with buffets, is that most are dark and heavy looking, and they don’t fit into today’s decor.  But there is true beauty in an antique buffet.  In the past, I think people associated them with old person furniture.  You know, it reminds them of Granny Agnes’ furniture (and she always smelled funny and had chin hair).

* For legal purposes, I do NOT personally know anyone by the name of Granny Agnes.

Let me show you some of my other buffets.  Maybe you’ll love some, maybe you’ll hate some. But hopefully, you will be so inspired that you’ll want to refinish yours – or – you will run out and find me a buffet to paint!!! Gosh darn it! I need one!

This is my ‘Happy’ buffet.  Beautiful Arles and Old White ASCP.  I love this one.  This one lives in Portland.  Lisa, her owner, told me that when she looks at it she feels ‘happy’. Hence the very unoriginal name.  ‘Happy’ – not Lisa.  *For legal purposes, I think that Lisa is a lovely name.  When I saw this buffet I, instantly, knew that it had to be Arles.  One

I like the idea of having the buffet for a while, and then figuring out what colors to paint it. This one was a custom piece.  The lady had sent me a photo of her living room and color of her walls.   It was going against a dark brown wall, with a big window overlooking fields     and sky and she wanted something to ‘POP!’.  Teal Paris Grey Buffet

This is another custom buffet.  Dora, my client,  gave me a lot of freedom to choose the colors.  I wanted to focus on the Craftsman style – very earthy colors.  Olive/Primer Red/Chateau Grey Chalk Paint, with Modern Masters Copper/patina finish.  Delish!


This is Kathy’s buffet (again another custom piece).  Kathy wanted a ‘Statement’ piece and she wanted a bold green.  After (OK, so ‘technically’ this is more of a dresser, than a buffet.  But I wanted to sneak it in to this post because I love it so much.  Maybe you won’t notice that it’s a dresser.  I dunno).  Again, this is ASCP with Modern Masters Bronze/Patina. Sometimes you just have to go crazy, and mix stuff up.  Life is too short, not to.

On to something completely different.  Another custom piece!  This buffet  lives in a Design Studio in downtown Portland.  They had huge photographs of colored balloons on the main white wall, and they wanted me to paint this buffet white.  Sometimes,  simple is all you need.  The features of this piece just speak for themselves.  Front

In complete contrast, this gorgeous piece I call the Grimm buffet. Graphite  Graphite (with Indian Ink added) and dark wax.  This is the buffet that NBC’s Grimm  set designers rented from me, before I sold it.  I like to call that moment of time ‘ my nanosecond of fame’.  Although, clearly I am seriously stretching that nanosecond out for as long as I can.  It featured in the Christmas show last year.  The setting was a French chateau.  You actually got to see, probably 7/8 inch of it on set.  But, it was a SPECTACULAR 7/8 inches.  I could have sold this buffet a gazillion times.  See, sometimes less is more.

FrontThis one is a compete change for me.  It was the first time I had used Louis Blue chalk paint. I’m not a huge fan of it, by itself.  It’s a little too ‘baby blue’ for me.  But – if you pair it with a glaze, it’s gorgeous!  On this I used General Finishes Winter White glaze (awesomeness).  It just adds a beautiful gleam to the piece.

BuffetThis one was an accident, of sorts.  I wanted to do a really crisp looking buffet.  I wanted teal and white.   So I mixed a custom teal (usually it’s Florence and Provence)  and paired it with Old White.  It was quite hideous.  Just Whoa!! too much, turn it down, mate!  So I started messing with colors, and actually fell in love with this combo: Teal and Versailles – who knew?

This Art Deco buffet I flipping love. ProfileCan you see my Grover in the background?  I wasn’t sure what direction to go with on this buffet.  I was just transfixed with the detailing.  My friend, Heather, the color guru from Artishandstudio told me to do a mix of Graphite/Paris Grey (what!).  It worked.  The detailing is gold mica powder mixed with clear wax.  The inside of the buffet is painted English Yellow.

 Chateau GreyThis buffet is painted with Chateau Grey.  It was an aesthetically really boring buffet, meaning that it didn’t have much detailing to work with.  Had the veneer been beautiful, it would have been able to stand by itself.  But the doors were drab, and nothing could be restored.  I painted it (I actually can’t remember what color, initially) and it didn’t sell. Usually when I paint a buffet they sell fast.  This one was unloved for quite a while.  I revisited it later, and decided to add the stencil work – just to give it something – anything! Maybe now I would add moldings to it, and go from there.  But – as soon as I stenciled it, it sold.

The longer I spend in my world of paint, the more I realize that there are certain things that shouldn’t be painted.   I know that may sound like a no paintcontradiction (a painter saying ‘don’t paint’), but truly I believe that.   I think in the beginning I used to think that EVERYTHING should be painted, and I see that trend on social media sites.    But, now I’m tending to look at things differently.  I’m learning the art of restraint.  Plus, as with most painters, my style is still evolving.   So let me clarify: what I mean is,  if you have a piece of furniture and hate the look of it  – paint it.  Do it, go crazy, and start to love your piece again. But – if you have a great solid piece of furniture and it has a beautiful natural patina, try to hold back a little.  If you need to paint it, do it so that it enhances the natural beauty of it, opposed to completely covering it up.  If you look through my pieces, you’ll see that I have a really hard time painting over beautiful veneer. Most times I can’t do it.  And the reason I can’t do it, is that I know that, no matter how long I practice, I could never improve that (unless, of course, it’s Scary Clown veneer).

scary clownI love to see stained wood and paint together. I think it’s the best of both worlds. Paint is a great medium. But it’s like make-up, a little bit brings out the best features in you.  Too much and you end up doing a ‘Baby Jane’ on your piece of furniture.  baby jane





I wish I had more photos of buffets to show you. But I don’t.  I’ve exhausted all of my buffet outlets. So yes, I own it – I am a buffet junkie.   I crave them.  One day I’ll find another.  If you have one, lucky you! Hopefully, you’ve seen something on this post that will inspire you to refinish your buffet.

If not…. Antique-buffet-table-for-sale

{insert catchy ending phrase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory

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16 thoughts on “Buffet Love

  • November 7, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Diane, I think the Betty Ford clinic has a “program” for people who can’t say no to buffets! In my neck of the woods, those buffets go for well over $100 on Craigslist, etc. You have a gold mine there in Portland and all your pieces are FAB!

    • November 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Correction, Diane. Portland HAD a gold mine full of buffets. I think I found most of them. There are non to be had (at least for a reasonable price). Most of the buffets I’ve seen for sale are around the $300-400 range. So, no room for profit. 🙁

  • November 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I’m working on one right now Diane, for my kitchen. It keeps stumping me. It has detail that I think you would love.. Maybe i’ll send you a pic and you can give me some tips and live vicariously thru mine! 😀

  • November 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Just love it – enjoyed your buffet addiction. Hopefully you won’t be cured anytime soon. Keep giving in to the call and look forward to buffet #? 🙂

  • November 8, 2014 at 12:00 am

    I’m SO Loving this Blog page of yours!!! Your sense of humor AND Addictions are a winning Combination! I have a Gorgeous Buffet that I purchased from an acquaintance about 10yrs ago..it has great bones and beautiful wood grain veneers. I’d love to paint parts of it, but I’m stumped for a color and or a combination of colors, so hoping to go with the “less is more” concept! I’d like to send you a picture of it but don’t see a place to attach it here…

    • November 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Send it to my facebook page, Jan. I’d love to see it 🙂
      Or send the buffet to me, either works.

  • November 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    #1 white one with linen fold details and my 2nd #1 pick is the one for the set of grimm

  • November 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I LOVED this blog. And even loved your buffets more. They inspired me. So thank you. Im bad about shying away from huge pieces like this…. as I think im not veey good. I’ve been painting and learning for only a year. This made me want to trust myself and jump in. Thank you.you have an amazing talent.

    • November 12, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Lisa, just jump in. Go on, I’ve got your back. You won’t fall, promise!!!
      Buffets are surprisingly easy, because they have lines to work with. If you need help, just let me know!

  • November 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I anoint you Baroness Von Buffet. My mouth is dry because I have drooled so much. I want that one, no, that one! Around here buffets used to be found on the curbs awaiting a new home. Alas, those days are long gone. Yours are works of art.

    • November 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Thank you for anointing me, Donna. I’ve been waiting for this moment 🙂 I think I have a buffet coming along to paint. I am beyond excited!!!

  • July 12, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Hello Diane. i’m new to the scene. I’ve purchased a dining room set that intimidates me. I got the whole set from a lovely older couple who were downsizing for $450. All I wanted was the Buffet but ended up with the tables and 6 chairs too. I’m scared to paint it but want to paint it. Your amazing works inspires me but i’m too chicken to make a move. If I may send you a pic maybe get some pointers from you, might help me get over my fear of ruining the buffet. I’ve watched videos on YouTube until I’ve confused myself. Please help me.


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