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Century Old Dresser Makeover

Hi friends!

It's been a while since I've shown you a furniture makeover and I thought this would be a perfect dresser to show you. When I refinish furniture, it is for usually resale but there are times that I do become attached. Yes, furniture is like puppies! I spend so much time with them, sanding, fixing and restoring that they always find a way into my heart. Now, most of the time I will go ahead and sell them, even when I want to keep them and there are times that I have sold something that later down the road, I still wish I would had kept. This dresser however, was the last piece of furniture that I refinished to sell in our shop this last Fall at Daisies and Olives Antique Mall, but as you know, I decided to take a different approach in selling my projects than in the mall. It had been in the shop for the last two weeks when it was time to close the booth and it hadn't sold yet. Once I had it home, I knew it was there to stay. I moved it into my son's room and it is in it's forever home.

A fun story about this dresser is how I found it. I was coming home from the high school, after picking up my daughter a few years ago and a house on the route home was having this HUGE yard sale. I slowly passed by with my head crooked to the side longingly to see all the pieces of furniture and spot any treasure. My daughter who normally doesn't like to shop with me for furniture, says, "Are you going to kill us looking at it all in the car or are you going to go back?" A single U-turn later, I'm sitting in front of the yard sale, when one piece of furniture in the yard caught my eye. I race over to the lawn like a crazy woman and patiently wait for the guy who is obviously in charge of the sale, while he finishes with another customer. There wasn't a price tag on the dresser and it was full of stuff in every drawer. I quickly assessed the damage but noticed it had good bones, and came to the conclusion that if it was under $75, which I doubted, it was going home with me for sure. When I ask the guy the price, he looks at me and without hesitation says,"$10 bucks, little lady!" Now, I'm sure my jaw dropped to the floor and I waited a full 30 seconds to ask again, because I swore I had misunderstood him. He could barely get the word "dollars" out of his mouth before I was whipping out my money and saying, "I'll take it!" He laughed, and yelled at some young men to come help unload the drawers and help me put it in the car. One of the casters feel off somewhere in the lawn on the way to my car, but after a few minutes, we found it and I felt like I needed to 'haul it out of there' before someone figured out that they had just given it away!

While I was excited to get the dresser, it set in my garage for a long time before I actually got a chance to work on it. I knew with the amount of work it needed, it would take some time to make it just right. It had chunks missing, surface scratches and stains, uneven drawers, casters that needed to be reset and a lot of sanding to make it look beautiful again. But, "It was only $10!" :) At one time this would have been a real beaut. And it always makes me wonder how people can trash a nice piece of furniture like this, but as I always say, "Another's person's trash is another girls treasure!" Here is a look at the before pics:

As you can see, it was pretty rough and dirty! The first thing we did was clean the dresser with a little TSP, which you can find in your home improvement stores. It works great for deep cleaning. It is especially good for tile and grout. Just make sure you rinse it really well after.

The next step in the restoration was sanding to get some of the surface scratches off of the dresser and remove the gloss finish, in order to get the best results for painting. I left some of the stain on the edges were I planned to distress it. I planned on painting this dresser as opposed to re-staining it, so I didn't need to finish it all down to the bare wood. Sometimes I will sand the top down to the bare wood just to make sure it as smooth as it can be. Usually it's the tops of the dressers that have a lot of the wear and tear.

We also spray painted the inside surface area of the drawers to give it a fresh new look. The interior of the drawers were in pretty good shape, but rather than have to sand and re-stain, we chose to paint them out with Black Walnut from Rustoleum.

After the surfaces are all smooth, we filled the chunks of wood missing with some wood filler that can be sanded and painted. I allowed this to dry about an hour before sanding those filled parts and wiping it down to remove all of the sanded particles.

At this point, we were ready to paint. I did however, want to fix the uneven drawers and my sweet hubby, Garrett, helped with this part of the project. It's better to tackle this part before you paint just so you don't ruin your paint job after it's all perfect. We basically had to re-attach the wooden drawer slides and sand some of the edges for a smoother slide.

We also had to drill new holes for the new hardware as they were so different from the original. Again, you want to make sure you do this step before you paint.

Now, for the fun part of picking the color. I chose this dark and moody gray to emphasis the bulkiness of the piece and pull out the detail of the legs. I wanted to change the hardware to compliment the dainty metal casters on the legs, which are my favorite part! I chose these black metal drawer pulls that I picked up from Target. I ended up spending about $50 for two of the 6-drawer pull packages but I think it was worth the expense. Remember that I only paid $10 for the entire piece, so in total, I spent approximately $65 with the cost of the paint.

After applying two coats of paint, distressing the piece and applying a soft furniture wax, this baby was ready for her debut! What do you think?

I'm so glad I kept this piece for my home. I'm sure you noticed the fall decor in the pics as that is when these pics were taken but I will be sharing it's new spot and new updated pics next time. My son's bedroom got a refresh with paint and new wall decor that I can't wait to show you too! We used blue paint for an accent wall that ties into some of the blues throughout the rest of the house.

I hope you enjoyed this DIY restoration project! You can find more restoration projects in my project gallery page here! When you click on a picture that has a tutorial it will take you to that blog post.

Thanks for joining me today and I hope you had fun!

Until next time....



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