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The One That Didn’t Get Away

Every now and then, a woman just needs a good furniture makeover.  This dresser is one of them.

Right away I need to clarify that, so far, this one isn’t for sale, simply because….well….I’m not ready to let it go yet.

From the wavy drawer fronts to the scrolled pulls, not to mention the stripes all around, I can’t quite bear to part with her yet.  And I’m sorry.

This dresser was sitting outside one of those garage sales held by a couple who lived in the same house for 40 years.  The same house in Fairbanks, ALASKA, for 40 years.  You can only imagine the oddities I discovered, as well as the treasures.

The kind, old man told me he’d have to take $15 for this dresser because “She’s real solid wood throughout.”  Well, I could certainly understand that (shriek!), and proceeded to empathize with him as we loaded up my Suburban.

But the paint job!  Someone had taken at least a gallon of oil-based paint and coated the entire piece top to bottom, hardware and all.  It appeared they may not have bothered to remove the drawers, and definitely had no qualms about brush strokes, old stickers, etc.  Oh, it was awful. 

Here’s a closeup after I managed to pry off one of the drawer pulls.  See, I was not exaggerating on this poor paint job.  Such a travesty.

Now, are you ready for the gross picture?  I promise it’s nothing that was alive.  If you look closely, you can make out all those beautiful drawer pulls beneath globs of stripper and coats of paint.  I let them soak in stripper for an hour before I took a wire brush to them to scour paint from every nook and cranny.

I ended up extensively sanding the drawers and body with my electric mouse sander until the surfaces were somewhat smooth again.  There was no way I could’ve removed all the old paint without stripping the entire piece, and I wasn’t willing to put that much time into it when I knew I would just paint it anyway.

In an effort to semi-camouflage the errant painting underneath my own, I opted to paint stripes on the drawer fronts, top, and along the sides…to draw the eye away from any imperfections in the surfaces.

I used a custom-mixed gray chalk paint from leftovers I already owned, and used SW Wool Skein for the stripes.  The two colors ended up looking so soft together and gave the piece a sophisticated elegance.  I like to think I rescued it from its shame and humiliation.

So really, after going through an event together as transformational as this extreme makeover, this dresser and I have bonded emotionally the way you do when weathering hard times with those you love.  To let her go now would simply be another betrayal in her life, and I don’t think she’s quite strong enough for that yet.  We all must do our part.


Reader Interactions


  1. Titia Emrich says

    Very pretty 🙂
    Stripper is great, but I've found with hardware like this placing it in a container filled with white vinegar and leaving overnight allows the paint to simply wipe away. I'm not kidding, save your fingers and your sanity! But having said that, you did well, and I'm sure this will be snapped up in no time 🙂

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