Waterfall Buffet with a French Twist

There is nothing in the world that makes a mama more proud than to see their child succeed. I have 6 children, all of which are my treasures and bring such joy. Not only are they fun, but are showing my my hard work and love is paying off. My oldest son has done many projects of his own with much success. Today, he is taking this waterfall buffet and giving it a French twist. Check it out.

Antique Waterfall Buffet Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Mr I., like the rest of my kids, are building up a savings. Generally, when I get a free piece of furniture I give it to them and they take turns making them over. Also, they purchase their own project pieces based on my suggestions to sell for the savings. You see my kids projects in this collection of posts.

In this case, Mr I. decided to purchase two Art Deco buffets from a gentleman. This one is the first, so stay tuned for #2!

The term “waterfall” refers to that top design that looks like the veneer is cascading over the front of the buffet. This was always been one of my favorite styles to work with. You can see them in these posts.

The damage to this waterfall buffet was minimal, but still needed tending to. There was chipped veneer on both sides, chemical stains, and a few gouges here and there. The best part was that all the Bakelite pulls were present and that all the hardware functions as it should. Deciphering all that is half the fun, right?

Damaged Top of Art Deco Buffet | prodigalpieces.com

Inside Top Drawer of Waterfall Buffet | prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products we love to use too. (see full disclosure)


To get started, Mr. I made any necessary patches using wood filler. I would say he had a fair amount to repair, but nothing horrendous. Then, he used my sander to refinish all the wood surfaces he wanted to showcase the wood.

Young Man Sanding Art Decor Sideboard | prodigalpieces.com

He’s after a wood/paint combination, which is one of my favorites and his too. For the paint part, he chose to use one of my classic favorites, Antique White. My arsenal of Zibra paint brushes came to the rescue with the stubby brush tackling the faces of the cabinet.

Using Zibra Brushes to Paint Art Deco Buffet | prodigalpieces.com

Mr. I agrees with me that these brushes make such a difference in an awesome finish. His favorite is the square brush for getting the small details in without getting it on the refinished wood.

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

While the cabinet was curing, he tackled painting the pulls. They have the original Bakelite marble piece, but the metal was lacking serious lustre. They were fair game as they weren’t brass or anything fancy. He taped off the Bakelite he wanted to save and then painted the metal using Heirloom White by RustOleum.

RustOleum Heirloom White for Buffet Pulls | prodigalpieces.com

Last, but not least, we finished the wood surfaces he was able to save. Since he liked the look I gave my French Country vanity I did not long ago (see HERE), he wanted to do the same effect. This is using a white wax to accentuate the grain, but you can use a whitewash with paint like I did too.

Using White Wax to Create Aged Appeal on Art Deco Buffet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

One last touch we added was to stencil to create a bit of drama. We all need a little drama in our lives, don’t we? tee hee hee.


Here it is all done with a bit of help from mama.

Art Deco Waterfall Buffet with French Script Details by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

French Script Stencil on Vintage Waterfall Buffet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I seriously am in love with this piece. From the washed wood to the French script…swoon!! That stencil has been one of my favorites on many pieces and you can see why. The script reads:

I adore you my darling, my heart
I love you very much My angel, you are my love
You are the love of my life

Vintage Art Deco Buffet features French Script by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Wouldn’t you say Mr. I rocked it? I had to help a bit because of time constraints with school and sports, but he totally took the reigns on this one.

French Vignette with Thrifted Finds on Refinished Waterfall Buffet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Inside Vintage Art Deco Buffet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I’m an even more proud of the fact that he decided to donate to a military family for our Finding Home program. What a blessing!

Antique Art Deco Waterfall Buffet Available at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

As I always say…our goal is to inspire you to give DIY a try. Ya never know what you can do until you give it a go. Do pin and share to inspire others to make their house their home.

Art Deco never looked so good! This vintage waterfall buffets gets a French twist makeover by a teen. Come see how it's done at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Up next, it’s Trash to Treasure Tuesday and I’m finally getting to give another of these curbside gems a new look. See the first one HERE and the main door in this post.Salvaged Door Before (AKA Trashure) | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

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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More of my son’s work like this waterfall buffet:

Worn Down Vintage Buffet Gets New Lease on Life by Teenage Boy | Furniture Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comCreate a Faux French Grain Sack Table with Tape and Paint - Let a teenager show you how! by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

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  • Debrashoppeno5

    I think you have a family business in the making. Mr. I did a fabulous job.

    June 8, 2017 at 6:36 am Reply
  • Lori

    Mr I did a great job!

    June 8, 2017 at 8:21 am Reply
  • Sian

    Wow! It looks great, love the stencil.

    June 8, 2017 at 8:44 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you. It adds that special touch.

      June 8, 2017 at 9:09 am Reply
  • Becky

    Wow! Great work! This looks marvelous! All that training is paying off. : ) Can’t wait to see what you do with your “trash” next time!

    June 8, 2017 at 8:55 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m so happy to see him growing in stature and skills. Thanks from the two of us!

      June 8, 2017 at 9:10 am Reply
  • william

    hello, where cu buy the stencil

    June 8, 2017 at 9:01 am Reply
    • Larissa

      We got it from Royal Design Studios.

      June 8, 2017 at 9:10 am Reply
  • Mary

    Can I borrow Mr. I? This buffet is the bomb Larissa! I love that soft whitewashed effect that was added to the wood. And of course the stencil just takes it to the top level!

    June 8, 2017 at 9:24 am Reply
    • Larissa

      haha…he’d love Greece! Thanks so much from the two of us. 🙂

      June 8, 2017 at 10:02 am Reply
  • Sherry Stuifbergen

    I like the buffet Mr. I did! I also love how you styled it. The bust is neat. I looked in your shop to see if it was for sale. Did you find that thrifting? I love it!

    June 8, 2017 at 9:34 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! Yes, a thrifted gem my toddler found for me. Ha! It’s mine as I have always wanted one, but so many ask to purchase it. Maybe one day when I tire of David. hee hee hee.

      June 8, 2017 at 10:03 am Reply
  • Jolinda

    wow is it beautiful. I wasn’t sure about the white wash but it look terrific on the piece. Love the combination. Good job Mr. I, you should be proud.

    June 8, 2017 at 9:57 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Jolinda. He appreciates your words.

      June 8, 2017 at 10:03 am Reply
  • Gilmer Gal

    I see a furniture crafter the likes of Clint Harp in your kid’s future! He pretty much rocks

    June 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You should have seen his face when he read your comment! hahaha… Thanks, Tracy!

      June 9, 2017 at 6:01 am Reply
  • Marie|The Interior Frugalista

    Mr. I, I want you to know that I gasped out loud when I saw what you did with this waterfall buffet. You did an absolutely stunning job on this piece!!! If I lived nearby, or even in the same country, I would snap this up in a heartbeat. You, young man, are very talented like your Mama and I am wishing you a speedy and profitable sale! Mama, I know you are beaming ear-to-ear.

    June 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      aww…you are making his day, Marie. He is so tickled to read everyone’s comments. He truly did work hard and did make me a super proud mama. Thank you!

      June 9, 2017 at 6:03 am Reply
  • gwen

    i love how the antique white paint actually brings out the detail of the accents! and thanks for the vendor of the stencils!
    question: would a white pickling stain also work like the paint or the white wax?

    June 8, 2017 at 3:06 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      There’s just something about a paint/stain combo that I truly love. Thanks, Gwen! Yes, a pickling stain would do the same or just a whitewash of paint as seen here.

      June 9, 2017 at 6:04 am Reply
  • Sean Mahan

    Hi Larissa, thank you for the tutorial. I love your blog, you always make it seem so easy and simple, making my doubts disappear. Thank you again!!

    June 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm Reply
  • Christy

    That is just gorgeous now, Larissa! Mr. I did an amazing job on it!!! XOXO

    June 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      What a proud mama I am, Christy, and I know you know the feeling. Thanks for the love!

      June 12, 2017 at 4:06 pm Reply
  • Olivia- Reinvented Collection

    I love it! Mr. I did a beautiful job on this piece. You must be so very proud and should be. What a darling inspiring young man!


    July 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay! It was so fun to watch him work. Proud mama, here. 😀

      July 18, 2017 at 5:48 pm Reply
  • Suzan Hughes-Kennedy

    I have a buffet I would love to use but in my small house, the only place is to use it as a dresser. Your competition has given me hope for it. Love both your pieces. Can’t decide which one I like best. I am not found of words on things but I like this design a lot. Kudos to Mr. I.

    July 20, 2017 at 8:52 am Reply
  • Naomi

    Wow! Great job! The imaginations run wild in your house!

    March 19, 2019 at 7:50 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay! Thank you from the two of us, Naomi. 😀

      March 19, 2019 at 8:38 am Reply

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