Broken Down Buffet

Sarah Trop
by Sarah Trop
Sometimes repairing a furniture piece can cost more than buying something brand new and it can be more work than if you just built something from scratch. This buffet was one of those pieces. Linda reached out to us asking if we could some how make this buffet come back to life. It’s been in her family for generations and it had been living outside for quite a while so it needed MUCH love to make it usable (or even make it stand up for that matter). John looked at me like I was crazy when I said, sure we can.
Here is the buffet before. It’s not on its side because I wanted a before picture showing it at its worst, it’s on its side because the back leg was completely off so it wouldn’t even stand up.
The bottom frame was pretty much gone as was most of the bottom drawer. Veneer was peeling on the top and the sides of this piece.
John had to rebuild the drawer by cutting new sides and a base.
Then he had to rebuild the back leg sections and the bottom front of the buffet. We went with a decorative molding for the bottom of the buffet just to give it an extra pop of detailing.

On to the veneer damage. Some of the sides we replaced with all new wood.

See the new back leg, side, and back of the dresser. Oh and our dog Mel overseeing the project. lol

Then we peeled off the rest of the damaged veneer and used Bondo to repair it. This was a huge chore. Definitely not recommend for the novice upcycler. John came inside many time smelling of the stinky stuff with white hair from Bondo dust.

Then it was time to get our painting on. We used Benjamin Moore’s enamel black paint and lightly distressed it everywhere. We ended up putting new hardware on it as well.

And here is the surprising reveal!
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3 of 14 questions
  • SNichols SNichols on Oct 26, 2019

    How did you attach the new back leg? Did you have to remove the part of the old leg that connected the back and the side of the piece of furniture?

  • Jayne Jayne on Apr 03, 2020

    I have dresser with some of the veneer missing. do you have any suggestions what to do with the front section that it is missing. Sides and top need work but the veneer is in tact there

  • Mary fredrick Mary fredrick on Jan 10, 2024

    great job i guess i would have dumped half of it, did you mean to put the latice in the doors like that or was it a boo boo

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2 of 122 comments
  • Hil54074803 Hil54074803 on Jun 06, 2022

    That is an amazing restoration. I hope the lady loves it and pays you lots of money.

  • Prz48437110 Prz48437110 on Dec 09, 2022

    I just came across this post and I'm amazed at the transformation. Not only is the finish product look great, however what makes it even more amazing to me is that I just started to convert practically an identical piece to be used as our NEW bathroom vanity. I did not need to replace any veneer but I did replace about 80% of the structural wood components and kept everything original using tongue and groove construction. Now I am a handy guy, I truly enjoy doing projects like this, however I'm concern with the finish. I bought the same paint and looking to either spray or brush the finish however i can use some tips, tricks on your techniek to get that lightly distressed look.

    ...any help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.