A Built-In Buffet — Before, No After

by Katy on January 22, 2013 · 25 comments

I am putting a full-time effort into finishing up some household projects that have been plaguing me for the past 16 years. (We bought our fixer-upper Craftsman house in 1996, although it was so nasty, we couldn’t move into it for a full year!)

The first year’s work was to just make the house habitable, and we have been working on the details ever since. As you can imagine, our motivation waxes and wanes, as does our budget. It would be fantastic to hire a contractor to take the reins, but my husband hates to pay people for stuff he can do himself. Plus, of course . . . the budget.

A lot of the work is stuff I have the skill and motivation for, such as decorating, organizational projects, painting walls and cabinets. But the carpentry, plumbing, electrical, concreting and such are not within my skill set. However, just because my husband has the higher end skills doesn’t mean he has the time. (He works 44 hours per week, plus volunteers between 10 -30 hours per week for community soccer.)

I am very excited that my brother-in-law Jason, a finish carpenter will be building the trim for our 99-year-old built-in buffet starting today. (The previous owners removed all trim throughout the first floor in order to get a streamlined look for the fake wood paneling.)

Here, take a look:

Built-in

Yeah, I’ve been looking at that for sixteen years.

For comparison, our house has a twin a few blocks away which never fell into disrepair. (The houses are like twins separated at birth, but their house was adopted by Daddy Warbucks whereas ours house was adopted by Tolkien’s Gollum.)

See?

dish cabinet suround

Yes, their built-in is differently configured and slightly fancier, but I think you can see what a difference the trim makes.

Hopefully, I’ll have satisfying after pictures within a couple of weeks, but until then you’ll just have to make do with before.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

cathy January 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

How great you have a real-life model of craftsman style right down the street. I’m excited to see the transformation! My husband is also a finish carpenter and never ceases to amaze me with his artistry, creativity and ability to fit crazy angle cuts altogether!

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Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 22, 2013 at 10:02 am

So excited for you! I had a similar hutch in my previous house, and it added a lot of charm to the dining room. I’m sure you’ll love the change, plus how nice to be able to hire (and thus support) your brother-in-law.

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Stephanie January 22, 2013 at 10:13 am

wow – what a nice inspiration piece for your after! We are in the same boat – it seems you have either time or money for these projects. We are pretty seasons DIYers at this point. We make progress on updating our house in the ‘burbs as the budget allows.
Love a nicely restored craftsman house!!

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Julie January 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

I am so happy for you Katy, to be getting your trim put up. It is going to make you so happy every time you see it. AND it’s one more thing to cross off of your list!

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Katy January 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

And hopefully people won’t come into the house and always say, “Oh, I see you’re doing work on the house!”

Katy

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Marcella January 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hi Katy, some others posted on another post that they are still only seeing the coffee table porn post when they come to your website. Same thing for me. I deleted cookies, have refreshed and done all sorts of things, but this is still happening with your blog. I had to use a twitter link to get to this post. This is only happening on this blog, not other sites I visit. I use firefox if that helps problem solve.

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Katy January 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

This is so frustrating, as I keep hearing this from different readers. I don’t know why it’s happening, and I haven’t had time to figure it out.

Katy

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Reese January 23, 2013 at 9:37 am

At work, I can see your updated posts. But at home? I can only see that darn coffee table post. I thought it was just me!

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Katy January 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

Argh!!!!!

Katy

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Beth January 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your Fiestaware collection! You have great taste! Second, do you have any before and after pics of your house (interior or exterior)? That would be neat to see. Looks like you removed paint from the built in. Did you do that all yourself or did you take some of it in to be dipped in paint remover? I also have an old Craftsman in Portland and sadly all the trim and built-ins have been painted.

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Su Mama January 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Eons ago, we stripped a built-in buffet in our 1912-ish dining room, only to discover that something like three different kinds of wood had been used in its construction. Evidently, it was intended to be painted all along. My husband had to vary the stain to get it to look like it was all the same wood!

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Kristen | The Frugal Girl January 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Ooh, how nice to have someone else do a project every once in a while!

Will the whole thing be stained when he’s done?

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Katy January 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

There will be a finish, but it won’t be as dark as the neighbor’s one.

Katy

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One Day At A Time January 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I can’t wait to see the ‘after’ of this one!!

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Lois January 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I am in awe of your patience, I could never have lasted that long looking at that. Can’t wait to see the after.

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Katy January 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Not patience, intertia. 😉

Katy

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Amanda January 23, 2013 at 8:01 am

“The previous owners removed all trim throughout the first floor in order to get a streamlined look for the fake wood paneling.” This is horrifying. *shiver*

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Katy January 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

That’s that least of what would make you shiver from how this house was when we bought it.

All the cold air returns were filled with booze and porn, some of it child porn.

Katy

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Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 23, 2013 at 10:29 am

Holy smokes! They sound like people the neighbors were happy to see the last of. I bet they (the neighbors) were thrilled to have you in the neighborhood instead. (I know I would be! 🙂 )

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Katy January 23, 2013 at 11:56 am

Let’s just say it was an easy act to follow.

Katy

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Allotment adventures with Jean January 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I’m looking forward to seeing the transformation.

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tna January 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Someone in the house was watching a movie the other day….the people drove up to see their new vacation home purchased sight unseen…it was supposed to be a horriffic sight. I was thinking..”I’d live there and be quite happy after I scrubbed it down”. I am always surprised each time I am reminded how out of sync I am with modern culture.

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Paula in the UP January 27, 2013 at 7:48 am

Love the character of your home and its possibilities, craftsman style is my fav!!

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