Mid Century Modern Buffet Makeover

Project:  Mid Century Modern Buffet Makeover

Painted by:  Tracy Rogers, Black Dog Products, California

Paint Colors:  

  • Base color & drawer fronts – Clean Canvas
  • Right drawer – Black Dog

Paint Recipes:   Sage, Bittersweet, Tan

  • Sage Recipe = 1 part Go Green + 1 part Baby I’m Amaized + 1 part Dog Bone + 1/2 part Black Dog
  • Bittersweet Recipe = 1 part I Need a Bandage, 1 part Caution Dogs at Work, 1 part Appalachian Sunset
  • Tan Recipe = 1 part Dirt, 1 part Baby I’m Amaized, 1 part Clean Canvas

Top Coat: Show Dog Topcoat, Satin

Hardware: Rustoleum Universal Matte Metallic spray paint in Copper, Rustoleum Satin Clear Enamel (topcoat)

Purchase Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint here

From Tracy:

Here’s another Craigslist gem – a “blonde” MCM buffet that I scored for $50. These light-colored modern pieces were super popular back in their day and are fairly easy to find now as people downsize, update, or sell off estate furnishings. As common and available as they are right now, this one made me stop in my tracks. Why?


Once I spotted those authentic atomic-era drawer pulls, it was all over. I jumped in my car and drove 35 miles to claim it. The finish was worn and a bit dirty, but the piece had good bones and superior construction, so done deal.

For the transformation, I knew I had to do something fun and bold – a tasteful, conservative approach was not going to do this baby and her cool knobs any justice. After searching for ideas online I found a fabulous multicolor, designer Italian piece with a $10K price tag that got the wheels spinning. From there, I envisioned a Mondrian-esque, color-block design that would serve to showcase the hardware in all its glory. Then I got busy.

You would think the lighter wood would be less likely to bleed through paint, but it’s been my experience that the opposite is true. I’ve had more trouble with bleed on the blonde pieces than just about any other. Because of that, I knew I would need to prime and applied two coats of white primer after thoroughly cleaning and sanding the entire piece.

Then, a weird thing happened – to my shock and dismay, some of the veneer across the top of the buffet lifted and bubbled up under the primer. It had been sanded completely smooth before I started, and then somehow the primer drew all its little uglies to the surface. I had never seen that before.

So, now what? I did the only thing I could do. I got out my scraper and removed all the loose veneer. The scraping left some large, gaping, splintered areas and at this point I was wondering if it was even salvageable. I went ahead and filled the bare areas with Bondo Wood Filler and then sanded until completely flat and smooth. It worked. I reprimed and then painted the entire piece white.

I should mention that I have since discovered that some bloggers say they intentionally prime first and then do the veneer repair work for exactly that reason – the primer brings up all of the problem areas so that you can spot them better. I swear I learn something new every time! Anyway, glad it worked out.

From there, I tested different color mixes until I came up with the palette I wanted for the design. I also attached color chips to the different drawer and cabinet fronts and moved them around trying out different placement combinations. Since I wanted a more abstract feel, I applied the white and sage to two panels each and the other colors on just one panel each for some randomness. Otherwise, it could have ended up looking more like “patchwork” instead of color-block, if that makes sense.

I mixed up the red, sage and tan colors and painted the drawer and cabinet fronts. I applied two coats of each, plus three coats of Satin Show Dog topcoat on the whole piece (five coats on the top for extra protection).

Throughout the process I also worked on the hardware, thoroughly cleaning the grime and tarnish away. Once clean, I spray painted them with several light coats of metallic matte copper paint, then applied a couple coats of a clear topcoat. The matte copper looks great with just about any palette.

The inside of the drawers and cabinets were dirty from 70+ years of use but were otherwise in excellent shape. After a thorough cleaning, I applied wood conditioner throughout and they look brand new. Lastly, I removed the nasty old green felt from the partitioned cutlery drawer and replaced it with all-new black felt lining.

The lesson here? Let the piece speak to you and don’t be afraid to make bold color and style choices when you feel it!


If you’re thinking about doing a color block, choosing a palette is the fun part – below are the colors I used, but it can be any you like.

Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint is a water-based, low VOC, matte finish paint originally developed for our custom design shop. Our goal was to create a safe and easy-to-use paint that is customizable for our, and now your, furniture projects. Made in small batches in the USA, our paint line includes 16 pre-mixed colors, including a true black and white, affording you the ability to mix custom tints and shades. There is no limit to the colors you can create. Black Dog Furniture Paint dries to a velvety, matte finish and can be used on a multitude of surfaces, including glass, metal, wood, and ceramics. Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint can be applied over paint, varnish, lacquer, or poly. Apply the paint to a clean surface using either the brush of your choice or a paint sprayer. Easily create distressed effects, washes, or bright, bold, contemporary finishes with our expandable palette.

When your project is completed, don’t forget to protect it with one of our topcoats. Guard Dog and Show Dog are water-based, interior Poly/Acrylic topcoats designed as durable final finishes for Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint. Both topcoats can be applied by brush or sprayer, build quickly, and are self-leveling. We recommend Show Dog for use over white and pastel and colors as it will not amber. Both Guard Dog and Show Dog are available in matte and satin sheens.

Established in 1999, Black Dog Salvage is a prominent architectural salvage company based in Roanoke, Virginia, and is the home of the DIY Network television show, Salvage Dawgs. Specializing in saving valuable architectural pieces of history from the landfill, the main retail showroom and nearby receiving warehouse are filled with architectural antiques, home furnishings, regional art, and custom designs. Extensions of the Black Dog Brand include Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint, The Stone House at Black Dog Salvage, and The Dog Bowl at Black Dog Salvage.

Salvage Dawgs chronicles the adventures and creativity of Black Dog Architectural Salvage, a Roanoke, Virginia-based architectural salvage business established in 1999. Praised for the humorous, family-friendly banter amongst the team, a suspenseful approach to presenting the salvage process and useful information about how to reuse the items they find, Salvage Dawgs has proven to be an engaging and entertaining television show that the whole family can enjoy.  Owned by Discovery Inc., all eleven seasons and 143 episodes are available via streaming and on demand.

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