We were so fortunate that when we bought our 100 year old home, a couple years ago now, (boy, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long already!) even though prior to our purchasing it, the property had gone through several owners in the past 15 years, and even back to the bank once or twice, but with all that, still, pretty much all of the original trim and details had been maintained very well. (except the kitchen and bathroom which had been ‘updated’ in the 70’s) The built-in in the dining room is original to the house, but needed some detailing, so here is what I did with the built-in buffet details…
Here’s what the dining room looked like when we first bought this house.
The light fixture was from the 70’s or 80’s, the wallpaper wasn’t my taste and I felt a little too ‘formal’ for this handsome room, and years ago some of the original knobs on the built-in buffet had been replaced with a bit ‘fancier’ style.
But for the most part, the room was in wonderful condition. And I mean really, I’d prefer to paint the room with my own color selections and do those little things to it to make it reflect our personal taste anyway.
All of the trim in the room , (the whole house, actually) I painted a soft white color, but decided that the built-in buffet would look nice painted a contrasting color. So coordinating with the rest of the room’s new color palette, I opted for a dark gray color for the buffet.
The ‘not original’ hardware needed a change too… The bottom doors still had their original hardware to give me a clue for picking out the rest. Those original hardware knobs were very plain, simple and utilitarian looking… totally in keeping with the era of the home’s age. So here’s what I found to coordinate with those:
Now the two large center drawers are the bronze bin pulls with a square backplate design, and for the two flanking small drawers on each side are small rectangle single pulls. Amazingly, this new hardware was not expensive, nor was it special order. I found it at Menard’s in stock! and I think it coordinates with the original knobs so well, one would think they were all original!
Inside the back of the built-in buffet is a recessed panel that looked like it needed a mirror. I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a built in mirror there, but who knows, maybe at one point there was and it got broken or something… My initial plan was to use silver leaf and apply it to the back inside that recessed area, but instead…
I happened upon this cute panelled mirror with beveled edges and opted for it and the hanging lanterns flanking it.
Once the buffet was painted the darker color, it felt sort of ‘squatty’ in the room. I’m sure it was because the obvious contrast now from the light walls and the dark built-in, accentuated the size of the buffet in comparison to the wall height.
After messing around with several choices, like adding architectural pieces to the top of it, I opted for the super easy and very traditional display of plates across the top, (well in this case, actually antique soup bowls).
It did take some careful measuring to get the plate hangers hung on the wall in just the right spot so that the bowls look like they are just resting on the top of the buffet trim piece.
The top trim piece on the very top of the buffet is actually 2 1/4″ deep, so it’s a great size for these shallow soup bowls to visually ‘rest’ on.
From the floor looking up, at least, they look like they are resting on it.
up on a ladder you can see that they aren’t quite touching the top piece of trim of the buffet.
The simple, yet effective changes to the built-in buffet details really do make a world of difference. From the ‘style apropriate’ hardware, the dark gray paint color, the mirror and lanterns in the back wall, and the bowls added along the top trim piece, all make up for built-in buffet details that set this original piece of woodwork apart in the room.
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