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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