Can you ever have too many projects to do? If working on them gives you joy, I think the answer is no. Between work, classes, chores, friends and family obligations, I feel like I never have free time to spend on my hobbies. But when I do, I spend it gardening and doing projects for our house. These aren’t things I need to do, but doing them makes me happy and takes my mind off everyday stress. My husband and I have had a very, very tough year. So that means it’s more important than ever for me to make time for the things that bring me joy.

Case in point: this buffet table. We’ve been slowly working on finishing our basement. When we’re done, it will hopefully be a suite with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette. I was on the lookout for months for a buffet table to serve as the kitchenette. Since I didn’t want to spend much money, I was looking on Craigslist and thrift stores for a used one, but not having any luck. Then one day we were driving down the street and I saw what looked like a buffet table on the curb. I was so intrigued I had D stop the car so I could look at it! It was in rough shape and it was missing a few parts, but it was solid and exactly what I was looking for. D was skeptical, but I had a plan and brought it home with us.

My plan was to paint it and get a new tabletop for it. I couldn’t decide what kind of top I wanted, so D suggested making our own butcher block top. At first I was resistant to the idea. Making one ourselves seemed like too much work and money. D said he could make it easily, so I trusted him. In the end, I’m glad I did because it turned out a lot nicer than anything we could have bought ready-made. Step by step, here’s how I rehabbed this buffet table:

  1. Sanding

The table clearly had a couple layers of paint and varnish on it from owners past. Thankfully, someone else had already started sanding most of it off so the hardest part was done. I just wanted to make sure all the dirt and residue was gone and smooth it so it was ready to paint. I used an orbital sander on most of it, and sanded the smaller parts by hand. I used a small piece of sandpaper for the dowels on each side, and the beveled sides of the drawers.

  1. Priming

I decided to use spray paint for the finished product, so I needed to prime it. We had a can of leftover primer from another project, so I decided to use that. I wish I had gone with the spray primer that was supposed to go with the spray paint instead. The primer I used was oil based and very thick, and it added a texture I didn’t want. So once the whole thing was primed, I had to sand it again to smooth it out. If you try this, I would strongly recommend using spray primer if you’re going to use spray paint.


  1. Painting

I decided to go with black semi-gloss spray paint to give the table an elegant look. I used about two cans of Rustoleum Painter’s Touch for this. It had great coverage and was easy to use. I love how it turned out! But be careful, this stuff gets everywhere. Make sure you use eye protection and a dust mask or respirator while you’re spraying!


  1. Butcher Block top

D made a butcher block top out of several 1×2” boards. He cut them down to size, then glued them together. After it dried, he trimmed it some more and sanded it down. Once that was done, we used one coat of Danish oil to warm up the color a little. Then we put on a few coats of polyurethane to protect it and give it a nice shine. If you want to try making this yourself, head over to D’s blog for more detailed steps and pictures.

  1. Finishing touches

We attached the butcher block top using wood glue and small L shaped brackets. Then the fun part: knobs! I picked up these beautiful ceramic painted knobs at World Market. They have a great selection of interesting hardware that’s also affordable. These knobs were around $5 each. I think they add a nice pop of color to the piece. We screwed them into the existing holes and voila! It was all done!

Though it took me over a month to finish, I only put in about 5 hours of work on the project. I’m very happy with how it turned out, and I can’t wait to see how it looks in our finished basement!