Gray Adelaide Dresser
~A Makeover Story~
Every piece of furniture has a story! I find this especially true for the rescued pieces I refurbish. I often find myself wondering who had the piece of furniture, what they used it for, and the life it had up to the point it ended up in my hands. Sometimes the furniture piece is in good condition but just outdated or maybe it has a lot of wear and is dinged, scratched, missing hardware, etc. But perhaps my favorite part about finding a piece of furniture, is the story it still has left to tell....
and how I can help it along.
I found this particular dresser after a very long morning of garage sales. It was almost noon on a Saturday, and after trudging through several neighborhood garage sales, I was coming up with notta! I was looking for dressers, chairs, dining tables, small desks and thought I would have come away with a few of those pieces throughout the morning hunt, but sadly hadn't found anything. Disappointed and hungry, my sidekick (who is also my hubby Garrett), encouraged me to drive down one more street. In the face of defeat I conceded, albeit grudgingly, (after all hunger turns me into a raging bull), I ventured on and ended up on a secluded cul-de-sac. I was preparing to do my turn while thinking about pizza, when I noticed a dresser and a grill sitting out in front of a closed garage; slowing I noticed it had a sign attached to each. I highly expected to see a sold sign and that the weary garage sale holder had attached the sold signs awaiting the lucky customer who had snagged these fine treasures.
On closer inspection on the sign, it read, "$50", with a phone number to call if interested! "SCREECH", went my brakes!!!! Feeling as if it was too good to be true, we got out to inspect it! We tried to call the number but didn't get an answer, so left a message. We even knocked on the front door in case someone was home but no one answered, of course. Now friends.... there was no way I was going to leave that sweet dresser there and wait for a call back. "You know what I'm saying?" Searching for some "safe" place to leave $50 and load that baby up, I decided to leave the cash under the welcome mat at the front door. Our plan was to call and leave another message with the owner to let them know where they could find the cash. Just as I placed the money under the mat a SUV pulled behind my car, which was parked in front of the driveway in my haste to check out the dresser.
My first thought was that it was another customer trying to snag my treasure, which was not happenin' sista! :) But then I realized it was the homeowner and they couldn't pull into their driveway. Ha! Oops! We moved the car to let her in and then backed in on the other side to load the dresser. I told her about the money under the mat and we loaded the dresser up. In the meantime, she unloaded kids from the SUV, and out came a little blond curly headed girl around 7. She wanted to visit with us and as cute as can be, was offering other things for us to buy from them; things that mom didn't actually have for sale! LOL! I figured the dresser had been this sweet little girl's and it definitely had been well loved with lots of nicks and scratches. Overall it was a solid wood piece with great character and I was thrilled to be able to take it home and get to work on it! Here is a look at the dresser when we brought it home:
As you can see it was painted a pretty dark gray. It had a little of a metallic sheen and the glass draw pulls were really sweet even though it was missing one. The first thing I wanted to do was sand down the metallic finish flat so that I could repaint it easily and sand it enough to remove the nicks and scratches. It did have a little of a bubble on the top surface, seen below. I wasn't sure what the bubble was from but figured sanding down to the bare wood, would definitely get rid of any imperfections.
Once the top was sanded, I discovered that the "bubble in paint" was actually a patch area that someone had putty filled. Now normally, I use wood filler that can be stained or painted, but this didn't look like the kind of putty that would take stain. This concerned me because I had planned to stain the top a nice dark walnut, while painting the body and drawers gray for a nice two-tone finish.
I went ahead and stained the top to see what would happen and just like I feared, it didn't take the stain. The stain color I chose was so dark that the patch kind of stood out like a sore thumb.
I went ahead and finished painting the body and drawers, deciding that I could always paint the top instead of staining it. I was a little disappointed at this point because it was against the vision I had for how I wanted the piece to look. It was also getting late in the day and momma wanted to get this baby done! Anyway, by the time my husband got home, I was still working on finishing drawers. He looked at the stained top and said he really liked it except for that one spot! Picture me giving him an exaggerated eye roll; it kind of hurt actually! He recovered nicely to said "silly comment about the spot", to suggest that I paint the spot to match the stain. I actually hadn't thought about doing this and pondered it while I finished painting. I figured it was worth a try to faux paint it to look like wood, after all, I was thinking of repainting over the top anyway, so it couldn't hurt. And guess what? It worked! Now, I will admit that it took me a bit longer to achieve this feat than I had wanted, but it kept the look I was going for and so I was a happy camper in the end! I used a combination of a flat black acrylic paint, stain and water to make a glaze to achieve the faux wood look on the putty spot.
After the dresser was distressed using 150 grit sand paper around the edges, I used Annie Sloan's clear wax to wax the piece top to bottom! I replaced the hardware, even though the little crystal pulls were sweet, it didn't match the look I was going for in the makeover. I found some pewter drawer pulls at Target. Here is a look at the finished dresser. In sanding, I cleaned up the rounded nicked corners to be smooth and square again. When I put the final drawer in place, I was excited that this piece was ready to make new memories and that it would be just another part of it's story.
It took me 10 hours from start to finish and bedtime was 11:00 p.m. for me that night. As you can see from the detail pictures below, the faux painting looked great on the finished top since you can't see the "spot" anymore! :)
The next day, I staged the dresser in my living room and took photos for the blog. My sweet pup Chewy usually follows me around the house and stays close but for some reason, he loves when I take photos. I figured I would get one pic of him with the dresser, just for me! Once I got him to sit, it was almost like he was posing and didn't want to move. He cracks me up! I took several pics and he changed direction of his head to go along with me! He's just so adorable! I thought I would share those pics with you too, since I found them so entertaining. I hope you do too!
After the photos were taken, this little dresser was loaded up and taken to our booth space at Daisies & Olives Antique shop on Thursday. When I sell refurbished furniture in our booth, I make price tags to describe the item for sale. Sometimes I come up with fancy names for things and other times I'm pretty generic, but this time the name that came to me was Adelaide. I don't know why I thought of it, but it just seemed to fit with the look and gave it some personality, so it ended up as the Gray Adelaide Dresser. I placed it in the booth for sale and spent a few hours rearranging our little shop space while thinking that although this piece of furniture had been well "loved" before, it was once again fresh and ready to be "loved" in it's new home.
I hope you enjoyed this makeover story! I started refinishing a project for my own home last week as well. I started to reupholster my dining room chairs but after looking at the dining set, decided that it needed a makeover. The chairs are painted cream with lots of layers of latex paint that wasn't painted well. Yes, I did one of those layers, previous to all my painting experience! The crazy part is that in order to do the refurbish right, I have to take off all those layers of paint. Let me just say, it's going to be an adventure!
Until next time.....here is to all your DIY adventures!