Build a wall buffet for a functional and stylish addition to your dining room.

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You've heard me say it a million times: If you can't build out, build up. That's exactly what we did with one of the walls in the dining room of the Christopher Lowell Showcase House. We built vertical columns with antique beams that join the columns together, creating the kind of architectural feeling that was needed. Plus, it added much needed storage. We also coated the wood with Flexall to give it the same hand-plastered look as the walls. This technique made the structure look as though it had been part of the original architecture of the house.

Materials:

  • 4-foot by 8-foot sheets of 3/4-inch plywood
  • wood screws
  • toggle bolts
  • large "L" brackets
  • table saw
  • safety glasses
  • Flexall
  • trowel
  • measuring tape

Instructions:

  1. For each column construct a three-sided plywood box from the 3/4-inch plywood, with the desired height, width and depth. Ours were approximately 6 inches wide and deep. Since our ceilings are very tall, we built individual columns and sandwiched the horizontal beams in between.
  2. Be sure to anchor the columns to the studs in the wall, or use toggle bolts that expand behind the drywall to anchor them.
  3. On the face of the column, spread Flexall in a thin coat along the plywood front. Do not attach the face of the column until after the Flexall finish has been applied. If desired, eliminate the Flexall application and finish the plywood with paint to match the existing walls.
  4. After it has dried, attach the board to the column with wood screws and apply more Flexall on the sides and edges to blend the column pieces together and make them look authentic.
  5. For a true built-in look, remove the baseboard from the wall, cut it into pieces to match the width of the columns and attach it to the base of the columns.

We created this very traditional Spanish look using beams from Conklin's catalog — the dining room looks fabulous! We added a sideboard area, a storage cabinet and lots of opportunity for merchandising. In addition, we dressed the buffet with a beautiful round gold-leafed mirror that reflects the entire dining room.