In the Spring of 2010 my cousin’s wife Marybeth visited me from Michigan. We worked for a couple of days making a headboard bench for her. Marybeth hand delivered this dresser to me that had belonged to my mom. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I figured it should definitely stay in the family. I decided to paint it. However jamie asked me not to. What’s a mom to do with this dresser makeover?
It was definitely in need of some TLC.
Someone had mistreated this little lady. I’m not naming names, but I think he’s been known to impersonate Santa on occasion.
LOVE the legs!
I also love the smaller details,
even the hardware!
Her legs were a little wobbly.
There was some separation going on.
This little lady needs some glue and clamping.
Because the dresser is a good size, I had to be creative with the clamps.
I used some scrap shutter slats to protect the little lady from getting any more dings or dents.
I felt it was best to glue and clamp all of the loose joints at one time.
Then time got away from me. Summer 2010 came and it was too hot to work on this dresser, then winter set in and it was too cold. Spring came and went AGAIN, and then another summer. Enough is enough! Jamie convinced me that mammaw’s dresser needed to be refinished, not painted.
So, that is when I decided this: if it's a family piece, treat it with respect and let it live it's life in the full beauty it deserves. If it's a curb find, all bets are off, and I will generally take the easy road with paint.
I am not a huge fan of stripping furniture. It’s a LOT of work. I generally do 1 project a year. I broke that rule because I did my tickled pink kitchen table and this dresser.
I used this Zip Strip Paint And Finish Remover . It worked really well. IF you use this type of stuff, use caution! I wore gloves and safety goggles at all times.
There was some broken trim. I tried to replace it, but I couldn’t find anything that worked.
I very carefully removed it. There was a little glue involved, but mostly it was held in place by small tack nails.
I sanded the finish off of the small drawer fronts so that I could remove the line that was left by the trim.
I used the Zip Strip on this drawer instead of sanding it.
I think that aforementioned Santa liked to paint model cars ??? I tried to sand the paint out of the bottom of the drawer, but that didn’t work. I ended up using the Zip Strip.
Here’s the little lady all stripped down to her birthday suit.
She’s ready for her new outfit.
The dark stain I’ve used in recent years has been Dark Walnut. I started to use it again, but it has just a hint of red. I really wanted to return this little lady to her original state which was a very dark brown, nearly light black.
This post has been long enough. I haven’t actually taken any “after” photos. I want jamie to see it in real life before she sees it on the ole blog. She will be visiting this weekend, and will get to see her mammaw’s dresser all gussied up. However, the little lady is still in storage. I plan to put it in jamie’s old room, which will now be the guest room. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some more pictures next week.
updated to add:
See Mammaw's Dresser in my new Guest Room.
I felt like I couldn’t have a blog post about mammaw’s dresser without a picture of my mom.
While we’re at it, let’s have one with mammaw and jamie (Christmas 1984)
Have you refinished anything lately? Do you find refinishing furniture to be enjoyable?
see more refinished furniture projects here
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.