From Buffet to Bouffant

Hairstylist wins notice for her fashionable upcycling project

Savannah Wallin and her award-winning work station.
Photo by Colby Rabon

Finding hair on Savannah Wallin’s antique buffet table is no big deal. Actually, it’s to be expected, considering she repurposed the table to be a hairstylist’s workstation — and, in the process, scored an award in the 9th Annual ReStore ReUse Contest, sponsored by Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

“One of my favorite things to do is to go to my local Habitat with my family, my mama, and find hidden treasures to bring back to life,” says the Mars Hill resident. “To tell you the truth, I love crafting anything.”

After finding out about the contest on Facebook, Wallin started gathering the materials she needed to make the transformation. Knowing the goal was to reuse and repurpose as much as possible, she found a worn buffet table ($125) and mirror ($30) from the new ReStore in Weaverville, and a stylist’s hair chair ($35) from Asheville’s main ReStore on Meadow Road. 

The buffet in its “before” state.

Wallin got a little help from her husband, a general contractor, to cut out the hole for the sink and install the plumbing. As the winner in the contest’s “Live/Work Space” category, she received a $200 gift card and notice via the ReStore’s e-mailed newsletter and social-media platforms.

“I definitely did my fair share of the lifting,” says Wallin with a laugh. She’s also well-versed in refinishing, transforming the piece in multiple layers for a fashionable antiqued look with an industrial edge: “I painted the base of this piece with Annie Sloan chalk paint in pure white. For the top, I used Krylon chalk spray paint in Anvil Gray, and then I covered the entire buffet from top to bottom in Annie Sloan black wax to seal everything.”

And voilà, she now has the chicest workstation a home hairstylist could ask for. “My husband and I recently added an addition onto our home, and he surprised me with a space that I could make into my own hair room,” she says. Although Wallin is not running a business, she styles hair for family and friends. Her specialty is brides, and she’s about to launch a series of video tutorials on her Instagram page (the subject: styling updos). “My friends and family think it’s really beautiful. They really love my new space.”

Savannah Wallin refinished the piece in a French Country look, and her husband plumbed it for a sink.
Photo by Colby Rabon

This year, there were more than 70 entries in seven categories, all of which required a predominant use of old stuff. “The goal was to highlight the unique and creative ways people were reusing materials, often in ways that differed from their original purpose — the dresser missing a drawer, or the door that doesn’t function as a door anymore,” explains Habitat for Humanity Communications Associate Klesa Ausherman. “The ReUse contest also served to shine a positive light on shopping and buying secondhand reused materials, rather than buying new.” The sale of items from the local ReStores benefit Habitat’s mission of building affordable housing for qualifying families; the nonprofit also offers home-repair services for eligible low-income homeowners.

“Habitat for Humanity really gives back to the community,” Wallin says. “When I shop there, it’s like a treasure hunt — it’s always exciting to see what special finds they have. I really enjoy making old things new and loved again.”

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore (33 Meadow Road) and ReStore Weaverville (61 Weaver Blvd.). To see the full list of winners, including photos, visit