Sunday, June 5, 2011

From Forgotten to Fabulous

What a great weekend! Of course, by great, I mean it rained all day Saturday so we finally got the spindles in on my staircase. If you have seen my Numbered Staircase post you will notice that while we have a lovely banister, there's just a big 'ol open space underneath it. It was like that when we bought the house and we didn't know how to fix it. But, since we have become super DIYers we have tackled all kinds of projects and this one has been on my list for a very long time. I have to prime and paint them, but I will be sure to share.

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!


Linking Up Here – Come join the parties!

66 comments:

  1. Love, love, love! I was just thinking about doing a chalkboard project like that. Now I need to.

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  2. AH!!! I LOVE IT! So great, and I love what you did with the panels! Seriously long lost sisters. Isn't is amazing how to different people can turn the same piece into something completely different. Gorgeous. Posting to FB!!

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  3. Wow, talk about turning an ugly duck into a swan! The chalkboard paint panels are genius. I love what you did with the paint finish, it really is lovely and so shabby chic! Excellent job!

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  4. GORGEOUS!! I love the chalkboard paint. Adds the perfect touch! Great job.
    Taña

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  5. Very nice! I have never stripped furniture and am gathering every tip I can! Thanks for the step by step tutorial!
    Beth

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  6. Ohhhhh my gosh! I am totally drooling! I LOVE it! I am SO SO SO glad you stopped by my blog so I could find yours! I can't wait to be inspired by you!
    Jaime from Crafty Scrappy Happy

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  7. That is amazing. You rock~ Thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

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  8. What an amazing transformation! She is a real beauty now. Adding the chalkboard paint was the crowning touch.

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  9. I love this! What talent!The chalkboard paint is a great touch!!( Trouble posting comments to your blog )Have a great week! Sunny109
    http://porchsittintimeforscooby.blogspot.com/2011/02/family-time-clock-project.html

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  10. I love the way you took it from drab to fab in just 4 days...great job. And I love your idea for labeling the drawers, I need one of those for my husband....lol

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  11. Hi! Following from the newbie party. Love this! I've got a new blog, too, and I just started my own weekly link party each Wednesday. Would love to have you drop by & link up! :)

    Ginger
    gingersnapcrafts.blogspot.com

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  12. I just love how it looks , its perfect you did an amazing job, i love it!!

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  13. oh man was that ugly!!! but now it is awesome and sooo cool! you really worked for this one and it came out amazing!

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  14. That looks so good. I loved the way it looked after you stripped it with touches of white and that wonderful green showing, too. Love the blackboard paint on the drawer fronts. Thanks for joining WUW.

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  15. Awesome free find. Awesome chalkboard drawers. Awesome everything! This is so lovely. Something you can definitely pass on to your kids one day!

    So glad I stopped by! Following you now. Hope you follow me too!

    Emily
    http://lovelybeasts.blogspot.com/

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  16. How very beautiful! The transformation is amazing...Glad I saw you on Boogieboard Cottage.
    Jane (artfully graced)

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  17. Fabulous! Just Fabulous! - Cassie @ Rustic Raspberry

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  18. Stopping by through Catch A Glimpse! Incredible makeover! I love the chalkboard idea.

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  19. Oh, it looks fabulous!! I LOVE IT!
    Thanks so much for linking up to this week's Catch a Glimpse party! I'll be featuring it tomorrow.

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  20. It's beautiful. You did an amazing job of making it come alive!

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  21. OMG! I love this! The chalkboard paint is such a great idea!

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  22. What a beautiful transformation! It turned out awesome

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  23. ok I am loving this little piece!! great job!!!

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  24. Wow, love everything about this piece, down to every detail. This is so great!!!
    ladeedacreations.com

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  25. Looks awesome. I used a similar technique with craft paint on a dresser recently. It's so fun experimenting, isn't it? Glad to have found your blog. I'm trying to follow, but Google is giving me problems. I'll keep on tryin'!
    Pop over for a visit sometime.
    xoxo,
    Kim

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  26. Brilliant! I love this piece! I'm going to feature it today on my site. Thanks for sharing!
    Jen
    Scissors & Spatulas

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  27. I seen your link over MMS & had to see what an amazing treasure you now have up close! Fabulous!!

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  28. o.m.g. you are some kind of genius. would have NEVER thought to do the chalkboard panels on those drawers. seriously ----- GENIUS. :)

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  29. Oh my gosh this is fabulous! I would love to have you share this at my party this weekend so I can feature it next week!
    http://designergarden.blogspot.com/p/where-i-link-up.html

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  30. This is really cute. How the heck did you see this when it was in it's original form I will never know. I love the detail of the drawer pulls too. Very nice and so much better after! I found you on The 36th Avenue's Let's Party # 5 list. Creative people inspire me and this project is an example so I decided to follow you to see what else you will do. I hope you will follow me back http://talesfrommyjournal.blogspot.com I can be found in facebook too http://www.facebook.com/DeniseMartin.LillaRose and twitter @DeniseLillaRose If you like/follow me there I will do the same for you. When you stop by my blog, please check out my kind of fashion (hair jewelry).

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  31. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how this turned out! Please stop by www.laughloveandcraft.com and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party.

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  32. That is pretty darn spectacular! And great price tag!

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  33. That is an awesome job on that dresser!!! Love the chalk board paint idea!!!! I'm your newest follower. Hope you can visit me sometime soon!

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  34. This is so darn cute and love the chalkboard additions! What a great piece!! :)

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  35. What a find! And what a fab makeover. Love the chalkboard paint touches! Coming over from Frugal Friday and your newest follower!

    Jeanine

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  36. Love this! I can't believe the before and after! Love the chalkboard paint also, I featured you on my Friday 5 here:
    http://modernwivelyhood.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-friday-5_10.html
    Thanks for sharing!

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  37. Hey, I am your 100th follower. I love this project. Great work!!!

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  38. Beautiful! Gorgeous!! I love it!!! Lesa

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  39. Wow! I've never seen a piece like this, and I simply adore it! Chalkboard paint? Who knew! This is the cutest chest I've seen in quite a while! And such an amazing transformation, too, from hideous brown blob to fantasticness!

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  40. I'D Love to feature this on my next revival monday. i think its beautiful.. could'nt find your email... please let me know if this would be ok'lauren

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  41. What a transformation! It looks beautiful. I love the shabby chic style. You've really shown that unwanted and abandoned dresser some love!

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  42. Wow! Wow! Wow! What a KILLER makeover!!! :-D

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  43. Super makeover!! LOVE it! I love the chalkboard paint on the panels. A wonderful idea!

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  44. Well you now have a fabulous piece of furniture. Your hard work paid off and creative talents show. The piece is Fine.
    Kathy

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  45. This is an amazing transformation. I am looking forward to seeing what else you come up with. I am a new follower and I love your site. All the best!

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  46. This turned out GREAT! I love how heavily distressed it is.

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  47. I really like this piece. It turned out great!

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  48. This came out great. Thanks for stopping by to add this to our Wicked Awesome Wednesday party!

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  49. This looks so GREAT! I just want to let you know that I'll be featuring your dresser at my blog sometime tonight. Thank you for sharing it at my link party ;)

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  50. This is one of the best transformations I've seen! You certainly saw the potential in it, because when I first looked at it my immediate thought was "eewww", but you've done an incredible job and now it looks spectacularly stunning! I love it. I came over from The 36th Avenue :)

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  51. Beautiful. It is so beautiful. What an awesome transformation and I checked out your stairs post. too cute! I am now your newest follower:>

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  52. I love the knob choice! I would love it if you'd share this at my party WorkShop Wednesday! It would be a nice addition to the party!

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  53. Way to cute! The chalkboard front was such a fantastic idea! Your filling up my pinterest!

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  54. I LOVE it! Gorgeous! That was a lot of work for you but it turned out beautifully!!!

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  55. This is soooo perfect!!! Those chalkboard panels just kill me. :) I am so glad you linked up to Think Pink Sundays! I featured you today!! :) http://www.flamingotoes.com/2011/06/crush-of-the-week-think-pink-features-10/

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  56. I love this! I would love to feature this on Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle. Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button. Thanks!

    http://reuseandupcycle.blogspot.com

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  57. WOW!!! Superb job!!!! I can hardly believe the before and after!! Well Done!

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  58. I adore this dresser revamp! I have posted a link to it on my site.

    www.thegunnysack.com

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