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Vintage Buffet Makeover ~ Paid in Full

Don’t you just love a happy ending? I am beyond excited to share a story with you today that I know will leave you inspired. You see, this vintage buffet makeover you’re about to see is the sort of “icing on the cake” for an answer to many prayers. Let’s get this DIY part started!

Vintage Buffet Makeover Before |

If you’ve been hanging out with me over the last few years, I’ve mentioned a friend of mine, Mandy. She is not only a source to my junkin’ needs, but a great friend too. I want to give you a background on her story before I get this makeover started.

A few years ago, Mandy, saw a need in the community for obvious things that people require on a daily basis. However, she also knows (as most of us do) how wasteful a society we’ve become in many ways. While there are some who will take the time to donate to a thrift store, she wanted to become a middle-woman who would not only accept these unwanted items for free, but also find the recipient who needed it most…for free. No exchange of money, just time invested.

Mandy, her husband, Brandon, and their 8 children go out of their way to reach out to the community through their ministry Paid In Full. They receive no pay in a monetary sense, but totally devote hours upon hours of time to serving others. They also provide classes, like canning or couponing, etc. to offer a hand up, not a hand out.

Mandy Heilman of Paid in Full Ministry |


Just over a year ago Mandy found an old building that would suit their needs to minister better, instead of out of her home. You can imagine the crazy with 8 children and people constantly dropping unwanted clothing, furniture, home decor off at her home. In addition, she had hoped to make the church their home, and use the other portion as a base for her ministry.

To be honest, this building had sat empty for ages, was a hot mess, and the owner wanted a prime price for it. Mandy tried to seek out aid from different banks and kept coming up just short. The church would be on the market for a few months, then off again. In all that time, Mandy kept feeling that this church is something God had told her would be theirs. She just needed to wait.

The third time the church came up available for sale, she thought she had everything lined up and offered a sum of money only to find that a local buyer paid cash for it…and only $1K less than her offer. ugh. Talk about feeling defeat!

Well, a few months went by and Mandy got a phone call from the owner of said church. He offered her the use of the building rent free in exchange they would provide the elbow grease DIY work that building needed. {{jaw drop}} A huge answer to prayer! She wouldn’t have to sell her home to fund the costs and have use of it all for the ministry. I get goosebumps again just writing this. God is so good.

Paid in Full Ministry in Ashland, OH |


Enter in this vintage buffet makeover. This ol’ gal was residing inside the church for quite some time. Mandy asked me what I thought the value of it is if they were selling it in its current condition. I then offered to restore it so they could actually use it in their ministry as part of my Finding Home program (read more HERE). Her board approved to project and here I am today.

The buffet is in in pretty good shape, but definitely needs some TLC. There’s the obvious surface wear to the top and the rest. Plus, it’s missing hardware.

Damaged Vintage Buffet Top |

However, there is some structural issues going on too. At first glance, I saw the foot coming apart. Then, I found more issues that are prevalent because both of the doors are stuck.

Damaged Buffet Foot and Skirt |

On pieces like this that span a great width, many builders didn’t account for sagging in the middle. I see it often in buffets or long dressers. You can see a similar one we helped my son rebuild HERE by adding a center foot. This lack of support caused the frame of the buffet to sag, which made the doors off square.

Oh, and you gotta love the paper-lined drawers.

Vintage Buffet with Paper-Lined Open Drawer |

That paper totally reminds me of a scratchy couch and love seat my parents had in our TV room. You know the kind of ugly furniture you get because you know kids will demolish it? Yup.


First, I made necessary repairs to the missing veneer patches all over the bottom with wood filler. The doors and sides had pretty big gouges too.

Vintage Buffet with Repairs |

Then, I used my sander to remove the flaking top finish. I do believe we are looking at a beautiful mahogany veneer peeking out. mmm…

Sanding Buffet with DeWalt Random Orbit Sander |

While I couldn’t remove all the scratches without running through the veneer, I was at least able to get to a point of satisfactory. The goal in the vintage buffet makeover is to give it a mix of farmhouse, industrial, and steampunk styles. This piece will reside in the dining area and be used as a coffee bar.

Now that the top is ready, I used my favorite Early American Stain to give it a fresh coat. Once that cured, I give it several coats of a satin poly.

Applying Topcoat to Buffet |


Next, I wiped everything down on on the cabinet with vinegar mixture to prep it for paint. My color choice to get the look they were after is black. Just a simple flat black that gives a sweet contrast to the stained top.

Painting Vintage Buffet Black |

Meanwhile, I washed up my brush and then gave the interior side cupboards a fun pop of color. I’m using a soft, minty green. I love a peek-a-boo effect with drawers and cupboards like this. Those deep spaces can seem like a dungeon on an old piece. Am I right? Plus, it helps refresh it for odors too.

Painting Inside Buffet |

Last, I apply a protective coat of black wax. The wax really deepens the color and adds the softest glow after buffing it.


I want to share a few more details that I tackled so that you can learn the process too. First, if you remember the buffet was missing hardware. To remedy that I chose to move all the bail pulls to the drawers in the center. That way I can add knobs to the side drawers and cabinet doors. I want a steel looking effect and bought these knobs to fill those spaces.

New Buffet Knobs in Aged Steel |

The original hardware was a mix of steel and brass, so I gave them a refreshing coat of paint with this Weathered Steel spray paint.

Weathered Steel Aged Metallic Paint by Rustoleum |

After two coats and curing time, I used Ebony Rub ‘N’ Buff to deepen the color and draw out details. See the before in front and the finish I’m after in the back?

Applying Rub 'n' Buff to Drawer Pulls |

One last tip for you. If you ever have felt-lined drawers that are a hot mess (most are), don’t fret. In most instances you can remove it in a simple manner. I am greeted by this awful purple that’s got to GO.

Felt- Lined Drawer Before |

First, flip that drawer over and using a putty knife or similar, gently break the bond of glue between those little triangular pieces and the bottom of the drawer. Slide out the drawer bottom. I realize not all drawers are built like this, so you’ll have to adapt to your own situation.

Removing Drawer Bottom |

Then, remove the felt and replace with more felt, or paper, paint it…whatever you like.


It’s finally time to see this vintage buffet makeover reveal. {{happy dance of all happy dances}}

Vintage Buffet Refinished in a Soft Black for a Farmhouse Industrial Coffee Bar by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #furniture #vintage #home #farmhouse #homedecor #coffeebar

Black Buffet Coffee Bar Top by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #farmhouse #coffee #homedecor

It’s complete and I’m so happy with the outcome. The top came out wonderfully and the cabinet finish is what I was after.

Vintage Bow Front Buffet in Black by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #farmhouse #homedecor #coffee

Paper-Lined Buffet Drawers for an Updated Look to this Vintage Buffet Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #home #homedecor #farmhouse #furniture

For added fun, I created a sign for the ministry using one of my remaining cupboard doors from my stash to end all stashes. The acrostic is of their choosing: “COFFEE – Christ Offers Forgiveness For Everyone Everywhere”. I simply put it in a design that would hopefully fit their end goals.

DIY Reclaimed Cupboard Door Coffee Sign by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #coffee #farmhouse #homedecor

DIY Industrial Farmhouse Coffee Bar Created with Vintage Buffet by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #farmhouse #homedecor #furniture #coffee

Oh! Let’s not forget the party going on in the inside. tee hee.

Peek-a-Boo Buffet Cabinets by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #farmhouse #vintage #coffee

I hope you are inspired, not just in creating your own story for your own space, but also to use your talents and gifts to help others. It’s fun and I guarantee you’ll feel awesome too.

DIY Coffee Bar Created from a Vintage Buffet Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #coffee #farmhouse #homedecor

I’ve set up a fund account to help raise funds for their cause. You know how I feel about helping others and this is an easy way anyone can help. My goal is $200 – we can do it! Click the image below for details.

Help Support Paid in Full Ministry of Ashland Ohio Go Fund Me |

Also, do pin and share this vintage buffet makeover to inspire others.

This vintage buffet makeover is one to see. Larissa of Prodigal Pieces gives it new life and purpose as a DIY Coffee Bar | Head to #prodigalpieces #diy #home #coffee #farmhouse #homedecor

Up next, I’ll be getting my DIY game on for some autumn decor. Stop by OVER HERE to see what I created.

Thrifted Finds for Farmhouse Fall Vignette |

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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In addition, more furniture projects like my vintage buffet makeover:

$3 Garage Sale Channel Back Chair Gets Deconstructed Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpiecesOh my! This sad looking Art Deco vanity got a new lease on life with TLC by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces. Boho Chic is the new style and looks oh so good. DIY details at Prodigal Pieces |


  1. Pam Allen says

    This buffet is extremely nice! Did you create a center leg for this one too?

    • Larissa says

      Thank you. I didn’t need to because the alterations I made remedied the problem.

  2. Jill Nelson says

    I have a full size antique bed waiting to be painted!

  3. Tamara Creel says

    Beautiful piece!
    I just bought a nice Hepplewhite dresser to redo like this.
    Such an inspirational post.
    Love it!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you. Those are gorgeous pieces too. I’m so glad you liked today’s fun.

  4. Angelina Taylor says

    I am in the process of redoing a garage sale find of a old sewing table that I wanted to do in a deep black and have the top light. I was going to try using a stain but you have inspired me to try this instead!! I love the way it looks!! thank you

    • Larissa says

      That’s awesome! I hope you have fun with your project. 😀

  5. Susan Carter says

    I enjoy seeing post of the projects you’re working on. It gives me inspiration! Yesterday I was inspecting my paint brushes. They need to be replaced. I’d love a chance at winning some new ones! Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Larissa says

      That makes what I do worth it, Susan. Thank you! Zibra brushes are the best. 😀

  6. Susie Wilcox says

    I love refinishing furniture and have several projects going right now–china cabinet, crib, and dresser. I go through brushes pretty quickly. These would up my game and make the process easier. Thanks for supporting such a wonderful ministry. Love the story behind the new building. May God bless them and you.

    • Larissa says

      Sounds like you’ll need the Zibra brushes as much as I do. Yay! Thank you for the encouraging words.

  7. Kathryn T. says

    It’s a great ministry. Mandy is a neat woman and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her these past couple of years. Thankful for her generous heart and big ideas.

  8. Arlene says

    Bless you! Looks great!

  9. Kim says

    Love. Love. Love the finished buffet. You absolutely nailed this look. Thank you for a heart that ministers to ministers.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Kim. It’s a blessing to have the ability.

  10. ColleenB.~Tx. says

    What a beautiful and great job you done on the buffet. Very classy & rich looking

    • Larissa says

      Thank you! It was exciting to see the vision come to life. yay!

  11. MIchelle O says

    I love it! I have a piece I intend to make a coffee bar. I am going to paint it the same.

  12. Mary says

    Black sure does give this beauty commanding presence Larissa. You came up with another winner.

    • Larissa says

      It’s like that little black dress we all need. Thanks, Mary!

  13. Becky says

    One word comes to mind: striking! That is a very pretty piece now! It was lovely of you to give this effort and time to a worthy ministry. ?? May many a happy cup of coffee be served up on this.

    • Larissa says

      Ooh…one of my favorite words. Tee hee! Thank you! I’m praying it does too.

  14. Micah says

    It’s beautiful! I love the black and wood combo.

  15. Amanda Corbet says

    What a beautiful buffet! I love that pop of color on the inside too!

    • Larissa says

      They just don’t make them like this anymore. Fun to work on.

  16. dianne anderson says

    Thanks for your work and inspiration.

  17. Michelle says

    I have a nightstand that just needs to be painted to finish…would love to try out these brushes on the nightstand. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Larissa says

      Sounds like a great project. I know you’ll love the Zibra brushes as I do.

  18. Toia says

    This buffet turned out lovely! Best of luck to Mandy and her crew! I know they’ll love the brushes!

  19. Kathy E. says

    My new Zibra brushes would be used on an old chest of drawers. I’d love to paint it black with a wood finish just like this piece! Your sign is so perfect for your friend and what a blessing she is to so many others! Heading to GoFundMe now!

    • Larissa says

      How fun! I’d love to see it when you’re done, Kathy. Woot! I had fun creating and am eager to see how God uses it all. Thank you for the donation too!

  20. Shelly says

    The older I get, I meet and hear of people who have hearts of gold and it’s contagious…what a glorious thing!

  21. Patty Martinez says

    This piece is beautiful! It is perfect for the coffee station, lots of storage, and yet it looks like a piece with versatile uses. Thank you for the opportunity to help get the church ready for ministry. Love being part of the body of Christ!!

    • Larissa says

      awww…thank you, Patty. I am so excited to see this grow and grow. You are a blessing!

  22. carol clark says

    i have this antique telephone and i would paint it

  23. Marie says

    Beautiful, inspiring story and I’m happy to help. I’m sure the ministry is going to be thrilled with the gorgeous makeover you gave their buffet, and the sign. Such a wonderful gathering spot you created with this coffee bar.

    • Larissa says

      I can’t say enough how excited I am to take part. Thank you for the support, Marie! Hugs!

  24. Sharri says

    Another beautiful makeover!!

  25. Shellie Boss says

    Such a great story so I donated.

  26. Fran says

    Beautiful piece! God bless you for all you do to help others <3

  27. Laura says

    The “sideboard-dresser” is beautiful. Black and wood tones go so well together. It looks like the Zibra brushes work well with your techniques. I have never used Zibra brushes but would love to try them. An avid reader in Palm Springs.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you. I’m excited they have the buffet for full use now. 🙂 Yay!

  28. CeCe says

    The buffet is gorgeous! I’m glad the top was left natural – so pretty1

  29. Audra says

    Very pretty. Love that you kept the top wood.
    I would us the brushes on a buffet in my dining room.

  30. Gail Reeves says

    Absolutely beautiful! God bless you for your ministry. Love the story of how God is working in Mandy’s Paid In Full ministry as well. I’m sure this piece will serve the “best” coffee in town. Love the sign too! I am currently working on several pieces for my niece and love your inspirations.

    • Larissa says

      You are such a blessing to us too! Thank you, Gail for such love and kindness. I hope you have fun in your own DIY adventures!

  31. Constance Colvin says

    Larissa! You put us all to shame!

  32. Constance Colvin says

    I’d paint my kids’ old toy chest!

  33. Deb says

    Beautiful! I can’t wait to paint my buffet!

  34. Melissa Jones says

    This is beautiful and for a great cause! I have this same buffet and now I know what color I want to paint it. I just need those awesome Zibra brushes.

    • Larissa says

      I’m tickled to hear you think so , Melissa. Thank you!

  35. Alison S says

    I have a dresser I would like to paint. I love this makeover!

  36. Mary Kaiser says

    Beautiful job in transforming the buffet. It turned out great. If I win a set of the Zibra brushes I am going to paint anything and every thing. Thanks for having the give away!!

  37. Jeanette says

    You are an angel. That’s all there is to it. What a servant’s heart you have.
    Love this story!

    • Larissa says

      I don’t know about that, but I have fun trying! hee hee. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Jeanette.

  38. Susan says

    Well Larisa you did it again! You brought out the swan in the ugly duckling! I’m so glad that so many people will enjoy the beautiful buffet at your friends ministry. God bless you!

    • Larissa says

      Susan, that’s so sweet of you to say. Thank you for that virtual hug. I’m excited to see Paid in Full grow and grow.

  39. Mary Loveland says

    Hi Larissa, wonderful story, thanks for sharing. The buffet turned out so well! It looks sophisticated and will be very practical for those folks, job well done.

    • Larissa says

      My pleasure, Mary. I love that word…sophisticated. yay! Thank you for the compliment.

  40. Tammy Guthrie says

    Love the contrast in colors on this buffet. Thank you for sharing the backstory on your friend Mandy.

    • Larissa says

      It is my pleasure to share, Tammy. It’s hard not to get excited when you see God moving. 😉

  41. Tracey says

    I love reading about your furniture transformations. And the colour contrast is amazing. Thank you for sharing the story.

    • Larissa says

      It truly is such a joy for me to share. Thank you, Tracey. 🙂

  42. Dale Cundy says

    You really outdid yourself on this buffet! This piece is so elegant yet could fit in with most any decor. ?

    • Larissa says

      Thanks, Dale! It was a doozey with all the issues, but I’m glad it will have long life in the ministry they’re offering. Yay!

  43. Cheryl Atkinson says

    Larissa, this story gave me goose bumps because God is So Good! It is in His way and His timing. I am so happy for Mandy and her family and ministry. God has truly blessed them. Every time i hear just how he works makes my cry. Not because I am sad but because i’m happy. What you do is also a service to Him. You are such a wonderful woman who loves the Lord and that, my friend, is why i follow you.

    • Larissa says

      I know exactly what you mean, Cheryl. He is an amazing creator, redeemer, and friend. What a blessing it is to help others in any way we can. Sending you hugs!

  44. Tracy says

    Amazing job! I love your COFFEE sign. Mandy sounds like an incredible person.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you! I was excited to put their catchy slogan into a reality. I truly hope many are blessed.

  45. Amy Mercier says

    Absolutely love your talent, everything is so beautiful.

  46. Lisa says

    I have a similar buffet that I got from family a long time ago that definitely needs this project! Two quick questions, since I don’t have your level of expertise (but I am learning from your posts!). When you say “vinegar mixture,” what is in that mixture besides vinegar and how does that prepare it for paint? Second, you mention “black wax” but no brand. I have never used colored wax before and it’s so critical to the look, I would love to know what to buy! We all need a Mandy in our lives! Thank you!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Lisa. Yes, we sure need more Mandy & Family’s. 🙂 I use a 1:1 vinegar/water ratio to clean the grime off the wood so that the paint will have more tooth. I use this black wax most often, but there are others too.

  47. Diana says

    What a beautiful piece, and a beautiful story!

  48. Evelyn says

    I love this effort to give back to your community and helping others to do so too.
    Thank you!

    • Larissa says

      It is so exciting to be a part of something making a difference. Thanks, Evelyn!

  49. Cassandra D says

    The table in the room.

  50. Chris Davis says

    Your friend sounds amazing. I’ve been mulling over an idea somewhat like that myself lately.

    • Larissa says

      That’s wonderful, Chris! I’m sure it would be a blessing.

  51. Sonya Allstun says

    I would have to go on the hunt for that perfect piece at yard sales and local thrift stores. Need to find just the right piece for a dresser.

  52. JeanieQ says

    Have you ever used the refinishing product that’s designed to refinish Mahogany? I’ve been refinishing furniture for over 40 years and Mahogany was always a failure to just get the original look back. Then about 6 years ago I bought some refinisher designed for Mahogany only. It was like a miracle. It worked so great and was so easy. I bought some to refinish a 4′ shelving unit for my mom. I kept thinking “Well it looks good now, but when it dries and cures it will turn to looking like a dried up mess”. But it never did. I know your into painted finishes and so am I, but I saw you were sanding the top of this buffet to get the original look back, so I thought I’d ask. I believe the product I used was Foresby. Sorry is that spelling is not correct.

    • Larissa says

      I typically use a basic hemp, linseed, or tung oil for original mahogany restoration. In this instance I was using what I wanted to create the look they were after. I have had Foresby before but haven’t used it in years. It’s a tried and true method for sure.

  53. JeanieQ says

    Oh, I forgot to mention that the buffet looks great!

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