My Amazing Milk Paint Buffet Makeover

I have a few, I'm addicted to Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes and two, I'm a sucker for cool, vintage buffets (well, that's kind of a lie...I'm a sucker for anything cool and vintage! ).  I have four or maybe six buffets (two could technically be called china cabinets...LOL) in my house right now and that number changes from time to time depending on what I've purchased or sold recently.  I'm always on the hunt for something  pretty, with great lines, that is functional.  

Buffets aren't just for dining rooms anymore!! Did you know that?!  We have one in our family room that we use as a Media Cabinet.  It's perfect for our TV, cable box and DVR as well as all the cords, laptops, and other electronic accessories a modern family uses.  We also have a new buffet addition in our entryway.  It's a perfect drop off spot and storage space for the dog's leash, flashlights or anything you might need as you go out the front door.

Our newest addition was purchased on one of our local Facebook tag sale pages.  A sweet woman was selling off pieces from Great Aunt's estate.  The buffet was part of a dining set, but I just didn't have room for all of the pieces,  so she kindly sold me the buffet from the set.  It was such a beautiful piece with tons of character.  I could see past the few minor cosmetic problems and see what it could be when I was done with it.  

Well, our move happened so the buffet sat untouched for months.  Then not too long before we moved I  posted a picture of the buffet on my Facebook Group Page (if you're not already following me on Facebook please do!  I post there a lot more than here).  I asked for opinions on what I should do to the buffet.  The overwhelming answer I received was to do NOTHING at all.  One thing a picture can do, especially a not-so-great iPhone picture, is hide imperfections.  I had to do something to the top of the piece for sure.  There were a lot of water marks, scratches and blemishes on the top.  There were spots where the veneer was coming off as well on the sides, but overall it was in good condition.  However, I couldn't leave it as-is.  I knew it needed to be updated, while maintaining its beauty and character.  Guess what?  I had just the solution!!

Here's the one and only before picture I have!  Due to the fact we were in the middle of a big move, I was glad I still had the picture I posted to my Facebook page!  This picture is from our old house where the buffet had a place in the dining room.  You can see some of the water marks on the top near the typewriter.  The rest of the blemishes are hidden with 'stuff'.  

From the moment the buffet came to live at in house I knew what I wanted to do to it and where I wanted it to go in our new home.  So after we moved, the buffet sat in the basement waiting for it's turn on the makeover list.  Finally after a few weeks of waiting patiently I decided it was the buffet's turn for a facelift.  

This summer at the Haven Conference I took a workshop with Marian from Miss Mustardseed and Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect.  I had used Marian's milk paint line once before, but didn't have the best experience....only because I really had no idea what I was doing with the paint.  However, after taking the workshop and learning to use her milk paint line, Miss Mustardseeds Milk Paint, I fell in love with the whole paint line.  I was able to learn how to use the paint from the creator of the colors and the line so how could I not fall in love?!  The milk paint color choices are beautiful and they have amazing depth of color, which I knew would be perfect for my buffet project.

I picked the color Typewriter for my project, which is a dark blackish-grey or the color of a vintage typewriter.  I ordered my paint from Patty at Classic Wall Finishes and once my order arrived (which was super fast as always!) I got started painting.  

I only wanted to paint the necessary parts and leave the others natural.  I mixed up my paint, milk paint comes in a powder form.  I used 1 part water to 1 part milk paint and mixed with a whisk until I had the right consistency.  I applied two coats of milk paint to the body of the buffet and the legs.  The first coat went on and I knew I had made the right choice in color and paint.  

After my second coat of paint was dry, I gave the piece of bit of sanding with some 220 grit sandpaper only on the parts where I could see the paint chipping or I wanted to add some distressing.  Then I applied a coat of Miss Mustardseed's furniture wax.  I'm head over heels in love with this wax.  It's natural, doesn't smell gross and goes on like butter!!  The cool thing about milk paint is you don't really know what it will do on a piece.  Sometimes it gets chippy in spots and sometimes it doesn't.  If chippy isn't the look you're going for, all you need to do is add some bonding agent and no worries the paint won't chip.  It will go on in that same deep variated color with or without the bonding agent.  This time the paint gave me just what I wanted.....some chippiness in a few spots!

For the rest of the buffet (the doors, drawers and decorative top piece) I applied two coats of Miss Mustardseed's hemp oil.  The hemp oil brought out all the deep tones in the wood and gave it new life.  It was exactly what this piece needed to give it a much needed update and protect it for another 100 years or so.  

Here's the finished buffet staged in my new front yard!!  

You can really see the variation and depth in the color.  It's beautiful!

The buffet is updated now and yet has all it's beautiful character still showing through.  

You can see some of the areas where the paint got a little chippy and gave it that aged look I was going for.

 On the top you can really see how the chippiness gives the piece age without looking faked or planned.  It looks like the paint has worn and aged on it's own over the years.

Here you can see that incredible depth and variation in the color.  

I have to stop and pause for a moment while I look at the breathtaking drawer details and curvy, carved legs.....OH I'm in love!!

One thing I forgot to mention was the drawer hardware.  I cleaned all the original hardware with some vinegar and baking soda and put them back on.  I thought they looked great like they were and didn't need any updating other than a good cleaning.

I'm quite thrilled with how the buffet turned out.  I know I've done my part to help it live on for many, many more years.  I posted a quick picture a couple of weeks ago on my Facebook Page and the woman I bought the buffet from was thrilled with the results.  This was what she had to say about the updated buffet,
"Melody, my great Aunt Marie would have been so pleased with the beautiful work that you created out of our families antique buffet. You left a certain authenticity and yet modernized it by your quality of work and vision.  I'm glad you posted a picture, funny enough today I was wrapping up her estate and fondly remembering her and our family's 100 year legacy. 

Thank you, I hope the next person to own it has many wonderful days with it and boy if that buffet could speak the stories it could tell!!!"

No one could have given me a better compliment on my work.  Knowing I did the piece justice and her Great Aunt would have loved the way it turned out warms my heart and makes me know all the hard work paid off.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this post.  I know I write this all the time, but I truly mean it...your comments and feedback are important to me.  I love hearing from you and also hearing about your projects.  So please keep those comments and emails coming.  

Take care and have a great week!


  1. This looks awesome! I re-did a vanity with similar lines this summer.

  2. Great job girl! I love that your kept the integrity of the piece but still updated it. You are so talented when it comes to painting furniture :)

    1.'re such a sweetie. Thank you, I'm really thrilled with how it turned out.

  3. gorgeous!!! I'm pinning this : )

  4. What a stunning job! At first I thought "Oh no, she did NOT just paint that piece black!" and then I saw what you did with it, and LOVE how creatively you painted it!! Awesome!!!!
    Cindy @ Diy beautify

    1. Thanks Cindy....I thought some people might wonder about the black. It was important to me to let the natural beauty shine through. Thank you for the kind words :-)

  5. Love this makeover! I never thought of just painting part of it!

  6. This piece turned out gorgeous!! I might have to check out the milk paints. I just wish there was a way to get the tutorial for the rest of us who didn't get to go to the conference :)

    1. Helga, if you go to the Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint website, she has lots of tutorials. Also, there are lots of tutorials out there on the web if you Google them. Using the paint isn't difficult at all, but the mixing takes a little bit of patience. I hope you give it a try.

  7. You've made a FABULOUS job of this beautiful piece of furniture, really updated it but kept it's character. LOVE it!

    Judi in the UK

  8. Gorgeous!!! This looks so much like the buffet my mother had when I was growing up. I WANT one . . . but my space is much to small. Thanks for sharing and enjoy this piece! Blessings, Patti

  9. This buffet is gorgeous! I love typewriter with wood grain. And those legs and the hardware!...To die for!

    I would love if you stopped by my blog!

  10. Beautiful!

    I love this so much that I bragged about you for Friday Favorites. I hope you stop by to see your feature.

    Have a wonderful creative week!


    1. Thank you so much for sharing this Robin! Much appreciated :-)

  11. This is so beautiful! I have to find a dresser from this era and refurb it now! I am on a mission lol. Thanks for sharing your lovely project! I would love you to hop on over to my blog and link up some great posts! its live from now until saturday!! Partying with you would be grand!
    have a rockin day

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