The really big news is that I finished what has to be one of my favourite projects of all time. Last Monday I shared that day's curb find. It was badly broken on one side, painted in a hideous combination of baked beans brown and silly putty beige and it weighed a ton. May I present once again for your viewing pleasure... The Ugly Brown Dresser... brace yourselves, it's pretty bad.
Ugh. What's the complete opposite of "swoon"? I knew I could get the paint off, and fix the side but what really stumped me were those strange panels on the front. I really had no idea what to do with this baby. The very next day when I was blog surfing I found Sarah's Treasure Chest - it could be my dresser's long lost sister! Sarah's is stunning and I loved what she had done with it but I was still stumped. I just kept staring at those panels and it finally hit me - I would make them the highlight of the whole piece.
I started by stripping off the paint. I try to avoid sanding wood whenever possible (other than distressing of course!) Sanding takes off the patina that builds up over time and makes wood look and feel old and authentic. So I got out my large can of Circa 1850 Paint & Stain Remover - I apply it with an old paint brush, let it do its thing (you will see the paint start to bubble up and peel) and then scrape it off. I collect the scraped off paint in a pie plate and toss it into a plastic bag. I only ever strip furniture outside so I wait all winter to get back into refinishing mode. I have tried the eco versions of paint stripper but with a real hit and miss result and if it's a miss, the paint doesn't come off and the stripper is almost impossible to remove. So I generally stick with the 1850.
The paint was old and crispy so most of it came off pretty easily - I discovered that the dresser had one been painted white and the front panels were green. The white was very cooperative and came off nicely, the green? Not so much. I didn't worry about it too much since I was planning on completely covering the piece in a creamy white paint.
Though I was planning on painting the dresser, I wanted all that brown and beige paint off - it was oil based and glossy and would have been hard to cover nicely, Also, all the nice detail on the piece was almost completely filled in with three coats of paint. The 1850 took everything out nicely and I used an old sandpaper sponge to brush the remnants out of the grooves.
I love the curve detail on the top drawer! All three drawers have a working lock mechanism intact and the top two drawers have the brass inset in the keyhole. No keys though - lucky I don't own anything valuable...
So Saturday afternoon, spindles are done and I am dying to get back to that dresser. I knew I wanted a creamy white all over but I didn't have any on hand. I mixed up a bunch of my old craft paint to a creamy white and headed outside. Funny thing was, when I sat down to start painting, I couldn't do it.
The beautiful warm wood was calling to me. I knew I didn't want to leave it natural but I couldn't imagine it all covered up. I started to picture something found in the basement of an old French bakery and I wanted it to look really worked in.
I settled on a light coat all over with a dry brush technique, finished the piece, let it dry and then came back to give it a gentle sanding in all directions until I was happy with the look.
The handles it arrived with were cute, but too small and I didn't want anything to distract from the final look. I had a set of knobs that I picked up at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore
and I painted those with the same creamy white colour, with a bit of bright green brushed on and antiqued with a bit of brown paint - I put a coat of wax on top to give it a lustre.
Now, for the best part - remember when I said I was picturing an old, working piece of furniture with the front panels as the focal point? What is more attention grabbing than chalkboard paint? I brushed on one coat with an old brush and as soon as it was dry, used a fine sandpaper sponge to distress it - hello old green paint! Every time I send one of my kids to get something out of a drawer they ask, "which drawer?" so I thought my idea was very inspired indeed! I had originally planned to paint on the words and distress a bit, but then I realized that was silly - this way I can use it anywhere I want for years to come...
I used Minwax clear furniture wax - this was my first time using wax and I am totally smitten. I love the finish and it gives it the perfect amount of lustre without an all-over sameness - very authentic.
My house is light-challenged so I wasn't able to get a shot of it where it lives now - right in front of my bay window in the dining room - but here it is! Abandoned on a curb, she turned her life around in four days and is now very well loved and living a better life in my dining room.
And I love her so! I am absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out. It's really almost like a thick stained look rather than a painted look, but I love the way the old paint patches show through ...
... and that green paint peeking through the black is divine.
Free dresser, old craft paint, $2 worth of paint remover, $1 worth of furniture wax, and $1 for the knobs. I would say the total project cost is about $4.
I don't know the history of this piece but I know her future will involve me staring at her adoringly!
Miss Mustard Seed Skip To My Lou Polly Want a CrafterIt’s So Very CheriUnder the Table & DreamingCherished Treasures C.R.A.F.T CraftomaniacKeeping It Simple Handy Man Crafty Woman's Boogieboard CottageSomewhat Simple Flamingo Toes I Heart Nap Time Polish the StarsDittle DattleSugar Bee CraftsDIY by Design Vintage WannaBee Sassy Sites Ladybug Blessings Running With Glitter Domestically Speaking Blue Cricket Design Savvy Southern Style Primitive and Proper Debbie Doo’s Elements Interiors The Trendy Treehouse A Creative Princess Lil Luna Somewhat Simple The Shabby Chic Cottage Catch a Glimpse 36th Avenue Romantic Home Chic On A ShoestringSimply DesigningThe Shabby NestRemodelaholicMy Simple Homelife A Little KnickKnackWhipperberryThe Girl CreativeFunky Junk InteriorsIt’s a Crafty LifeBubbly Nature CreationsTouch of YellowSisters of the Wild WestA Bowl Full of Lemons Designer Garden Goodbye City, Hello Suburbs Redoux Restore Interiors Whisperwood Cottage