Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Little Makeover Magic

When we found this old 1930s buffet in a nearby barn, it was in desperate
need of some TLC.  As I mentioned in the previous post, most people
would have taken one look at the piece, given it its last rights
and put it to rest. 

But, here at the cottage, we're always up for a good challenge! 

We knew it was from the 30s, not just from the overall style, but
because we found this receipt stuck (basically glued) to the inside of the
 piece with caked on grime. 

I was delighted that we could salvage as much of it as we did.

We started the whole transformation process with a thorough
 cleaning—usually one of my jobs.  It's amazing the difference it makes just removing
years of layered on dirt from something! 

Then the Yankee assessed what repairs were necessary
to ensure structural integrity.

As is so often the case, he and I spent a few weeks tossing ideas to and fro,
trying to come up with a design that would enhance the best features of this
tired old guy, while still maintaining his vintage character.

Then, one lovely spring day,
as I was admiring the beautiful blossoms on our
flowering cherry tree…

the Yankee called me out to his workshop, to show me what he had been
working on and to get my input—not that he needs it. He is
quite creative all on his own!

Now mind you, when he called me to his shop, this piece had not yet undergone
its magical transformation.  It still looked exactly the way
 it did when we found it—only about ten pounds lighter
with all the dirt and grime removed.

He was just eager to show me the design he had conjured up for the
back of the piece.  He held up a blank piece of wood—without paint or appliqué—
with only the cut out design for the back you see detailed in this photo.

Take a good look at the flowing curves of it!  It was at
 that very moment, the piece officially became female. 

Look at the first image again, and compare it to the one just above.  Notice how plain
the back was originally.  The overall form of the piece was dull and
blocky—definitely a guy!  But, that one new design element
was the stimulus to change everything!

Right away, I knew what she had to be!  With the curvy legs and now a
curvy top to match…she had to be French.  I suggested that we paint her a lovely
shade of French blue. 

That's usually another one of my designated assignments for our projects—
choosing the color and finish.

We both felt that a light distressing, here and there, would be a wonderful
addition.  I wanted to play up her little imperfections–—the small pieces of missing veneer,
 the tiny chips out of the wood.  To me, little nicks, here and there,
 add character to vintage items! 

With all those enhancements, she was destined to be
 aged to perfection!

Then we started playing around with appliqués.  The Yankee pulled several
large and a number of small ones from the stash.  We began putting them together,
like pieces to a puzzle, to create
various unique patterns.

You would have thought we were a pair of toddlers, the way we were swiping
each other's pieces to use in our own creations.
It was really quite fun!

We thought it might be a good idea to cut a couple of the larger
appliqués apart to create some new designs.  As it turned out, that was exactly what we
 needed to get the look we were trying to achieve.

The photo above, and the one here below, shows the end result of cutting a few
 appliqués apart and reconnecting them.

Once all the basic design elements had been chosen, it was time
 for the Yankee to work his magic.

Occasionally, I would venture out to the shop to check the progress.  On one
such visit, the Yankee excitedly shared an idea he had come up with
for the buffet.

I'll give you a little peek. Can you guess what his idea was?

This lovely old buffet-turned-wine-cabinet is just one
example of how you can use a vintage item
 in a modern way.


Don't you just love the graceful curves of the decorative touches
she was given? She radiates such sweet cottage charm now...
but with a French flair.

We think she turned out magnifique!
What do you think?
Joining Sally's Blue Monday, Diane's 2nd Time Around Tuesday,
Kimba's Do It Yourself Day.


  1. Sooooooo pretty - I adore it !

  2. She's Beautiful!! What a great idea turning it into a wine cabinet.

  3. This is husband usually has a hard time seeing what I see in a piece, this is amazing. Love it!

  4. Just beautiful! I love that you work on this together. The color, the appliques, and that you turned it into something you can use are all wonderful!

  5. I just love, love the color and the designs that have been put on, wow it is such a useable piece now, so pretty...great job...I am a new follower of yours and i will be back to see more treasures....come for a visit...Phyllis

  6. This really turned out sweet!
    Very cute.
    Glad I got to see your treasure,
    d from homehaven

  7. You and the Yankee make a good team; what a good job! Happy Blue Monday.

  8. Hi.....I think it turned out great. I love it.

    Happy Blue Monday.

    Barb ♥

  9. Stunning transformation! I love that you saw the French in that old side board. Just gorgeous!

  10. Hi Liz, thanks for you sweet comment. I came back over to follow you and see you have my button very kind. Thank you.

    Happy Monday, again. :-)

    Barb ♥

    Chic, shabby and blue, just the way I like it. Enjoy.
    Happy Blue Monday and he's a keeper, your Yankee lol
    Love Claudie

  12. Oh this piece is just exquisite. The appliques really added that extra punch to the piece. The french blue is a very good choice with the little distressing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Do you not enjoy breathing new life into something thought to be gone? That is wonderful. Smashing! Much love to you this week, Cherie

  14. You and the Yankee are a great team! This turned out wonderfully!

  15. Wow you did a great job.

    Bunk Bed Bliss for blue monday!

    By the way, I just followed your blog.

  16. The buffet is beautiful. What a great find and transformation! I want it!!!

  17. Oh I love this one, excellent transformation! Thanks for sharing!

    BlueMonday:Poster at school

  18. Jumping up and down clapping like a 2 yr old that you were able to redo this and make it BEAUTIFUL!!!! Soooo what I would have done - not to your perfection but I would have tried I LOVE IT!!!

  19. I love the color and what an awesome makeover you all gave it!

  20. Just beautiful. Your husband must be a very good woodworker! The back is just perfect. She looks superb in that color too.

  21. That is neat. I want one in my dining room.

  22. It is fabulous, and I have to agree with the other comments - you and your Yankee DO make a great team!


  23. Absolutely gorgeous! I am completely jealous of that piece of furniture!

  24. OMG I absolutely adore that cabinet. You and the yankee are very creative and what a beautiful color you chose.

  25. I love it! I also love the blue color you painted the cabinet.


  26. Lovely makeover job on your 2nd time treasure.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a Blessed rest of the week,

  27. What a great job and I enjoyed the description of the process and the pictures.

  28. I just adore this...what a fabulous makeover. I could tell from the 1st photo that it had potential!

  29. That turned out absolutely gorgeous!! I especially love how your curved the wood to fit perfectly around the decorative piece. Stunning!

  30. Turned out gorgeous! I love the color! Fabulous piece!


  31. What a lovely piece! You did a beautiful job on it too.

  32. Oh I'm lovin' it here.

    I singed up to follow so I will not miss as thing!


    barbara jean

  33. It looks gorgeous! I looove the paint color and all the details. Great job!

  34. That piece is GORGEOUS!!! Great transformation!

  35. Vrai magnifique! What a find! And your refinishing just sets off the 'bones'.

  36. love the bench. i'd love it even more in my entry way! ha!

    welcome to blogdom.

  37. Wow, that is gorgeous.
    Very beautiful. I love the color!

  38. Hi there! I found you via Kathy's blog, Creative Home Expressions. She was right. I LOVE what you guys did to this piece. It is really lovely now and I'm sure will be loved again for a very long time.

    My Desert Cottage

  39. Hi! I'm coming over from Creative Home Expressions. What an awesome idea for a way to reuse this piece. It turned out so pretty (and functional!). Have a good day.


Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to comment.