Sep 20, 2011

Wash & Wax (Dresser Refinishing) - Part One

Our current house is smaller than our last one.  According to the specs we have 400 extra square feet, but trust me, it's smaller.  Don't you hate that they don't include the basement area in that calculation?  Our last basement was h-u-u-u-u-ge.  With so many closets and storage cubby holes.  The builder (and original owner) had even built a pull-out shelving unit for under the stairs.  It was two-sided and held all of our nails & screws & miscellaneous spare parts like light bulbs, and still had room for all of my paint & stain cans, brushes, rollers, and all the other painting paraphernalia.  I've searched but I can't find a picture of it.

So our new (we've been here 2.5 years but it still feels new) house is seriously lacking in storage space.  Even the bedrooms seem smaller.  The guest room has just enough space for a queen-sized bed and a dresser.  The dresser had been in my family as long as I can remember - a 6-drawer oak behemoth that took up a lot of space.  It was originally a part of a set - highboy, bed frame, and dresser with mirror - but the pieces have all be split up and who knows where the others are now.

We didn't need such a large dresser in there.  It was just an invitation to hoard.  I would use the drawers to store shorts, tank tops, sweaters, jeans I might wear again some day, little fiddly-bobs I couldn't figure out where else to store - you get the picture. 

I had something else in mind - 4 drawers, low profile, raised up off of the floor, made of wood that could be painted or stained. 

Something like this:

Or this:

This one is perfect:

But unfortunately I couldn't find a used one on craigslist or kijiji, and can you believe the prices for new? Anywhere up to $1500!  Do you know the things I could buy with $1500?  That's two tickets to Hawaii.  Or a week at an AI in the caribbean. Or 500 bags of stale cheetos.  Mmmm, stale cheetos.

My sister can attest to how hard I searched for a dresser.  I think I dragged her through every used furniture store in the area.  And I'm sure she got tired of me turning my nose up at everything we found.  Too tall.  Too wide.  Too fancy. Wrong material.  Just call me Goldilocks.  I had to keep looking until it was just right. 

We ended up at Goodwill late in the day and I was getting tired.  We found this one - not exactly what I was looking for but she convinced me it would work.  It did have the profile I was looking for.  It was a little taller than what I wanted but it definitely took up less floor space. Did I mention I was tired?

Paint Wash Dresser Refinishing

 Don't you love the stickers?  

And the fabulous orange/yellow hue?

Paint Wash Dresser Refinishing

But I had faith I could turn it into something I'd love. 

So we dragged it home and I got to work.

Poor Tom.  I took over his garage for weeks.  First I had to pick and scrape all of those stickers off.  Then I had to remove the finish.  First I started with the belt sander and 80 grit paper.  Not too much as I have trouble controlling that thing.  Then I palm sanded with 100 and 150 grits. I sanded and sanded and sanded.  

I found out that the entire dresser was made up of different kinds of wood.  Maybe all pine, but some of it smelled like cedar.  One of the drawer fronts even had a completely different wood-grain pattern. 

Paint Wash Dresser Refinishing

 Thank you Ikea for using up your leftover scraps to make my dresser! 

 But I was really pleased with the look so far. 
Something about unfinished wood makes me giddy.

Paint Wash Dresser Refinishing

A thin layer of putty on any dents and a quick re-sanding, and we were ready for the next step...


Chris said...

I love what you did with the dresser. I wanted to ask if you remember how much you paid for the item? I'm trying to purchase a similar item, but was unable to find it on

BarbSteadman said...

I bought it at Goodwill for $50-60. Kind of expensive but it was the closest to what I was looking for so I snatched it up. I hope you find one!

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