Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dresser re-finish

After we began redecorating the front room I decided I needed a dresser or sofa table of some sort to fit behind the front door. I wanted something I could use for storage, but also something that would add some 'pretty' to the room.

I had very specific dimensions in mind, since the area I wanted to place the furniture was boxed in by 3 walls.
I started searching on Craigslist and, looking for something that would work, knowing that I would probably be refinishing whatever piece I found.

After less than a week of searching I found a dresser that would fit almost perfectly. The wood was ugly, the handles were shiney brass, and the bottom drawer had been broken pretty badly and not repaired well.
On the plus side, it was just $50 and lived in a nice neighborhood not too far from my house. So I hopped in the truck and after seeing it, hauled it home.

That night I ripped off the hardware, tore out the drawers and started sanding like crazy. I brought the bottom drawer in the house and puttied the Hell out of it.
Then I remembered I'd forgotten to take a "before" picture. Oops. I'm new to the chronicling part of my projects, and often forget to take pictures along the way.

The next day I sanded down the putty on the drawer and added more, then I prepared to begin painting.

This all happened back in May, and Tessa was still in school at the time. Asher (understandably) doesn't really like being left in the house while I work in the garage, but it wasn't nice enough for him to play I decided to move the dresser into the laundry/mud room off the garage. The dresser is a large, heavy piece of furniture that I can't really move myself, but I figured I could sort of "walk" it up the stairs and into the house.
There are 5 stairs from the garage into the house. When I had the bottom of the dresser on the second stair and the top of the dresser on the landing I re-thought my plan and came to the conclusion that it hadn't been a very good one. Unfortunately, I had little choice but to keep going.
One more stair up and I had a flashback to a reoccuring nightmare in which I am crushed by a piece of furniture. This was a recovered memory - until just that moment I didn't realize I'd ever had such a dream, or else I wouldn't have started such a silly move on my own. At that point I said out loud "this is how I die"
Asher - who was alternating between watching me and Micky Mouse - heard and said "what, mommy?"
So I answered "Not now. Another piece of furniture, another day."

All in all it took me about 20 minutes to move the dresser into the laundry room. Once i had it firmly wedged in at the top I grabbed the camera.

Here's the worst part.
After I had the dresser in the laundry room I began to paint it with a special product I'd purchased called milk paint. Milk paint has a unique finish that I thought would be perfect for the piece. It's very color rich and it has a flat, non-reflective sheen that I really like. Plus, it's really fun to use - you mix a powder with water and have complete control over how thick the paint is and how well it covers.
Unfortunately, it didn't work on this. I've only used Milk Paint on unfinished furniture, never on furniture that had a finish on it that had been sanded off. Not sure it that was the difference, or if I screwed it up some other way, but the paint just sort of sat on top of the wood. When it dried it flaked off at a touch. Not good.
My back up plan was spray paint.
Since the dresser was inside I had to drape the entire room with drop cloths - floor to ceiling. The fumes were sort of awful. Luckily, it was very nice, cool weather, and I was able to open every door and window in the house to air it out.

The project was a bit of a comedy of errors, but the finished result is perfection - exactly what I was looking for. The drawers are all full of fabric and patterns - just the storage I needed :)


Anonymous said...

SO cute! You've got a gift!


Fawn said...

I love seeing dresser transformations. I've got one sitting in my dining room, waiting for me to gather up my courage and begin. Looks like yours was quite a journey, but worth it! It looks great!

Shanty2Chic said...

You did such a great job... It turned out awesome!!


Better After said...

I love furniture redos! You did a great job. :)

Ashley said...

That dresser turned out great!! Is the hardware on the dresser what originally came on the dresser or did you buy new drawer pulls? They fit the dresser perfectly!

Emily said...

Wow! The before and after is amazing! I have a dresser thats very similar to this that I've had for like 20 years. Its all kinds of banged up and gouged and scratched...
This is exactly the inspiration that I need to get off my hiney and just re-do it already!
Yours turned out beautifully by the way!!!

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