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Revive/Renew: Antique Dresser set

Have you ever had one of those “Holy crap, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew!” moments on a project? Well most times when that happens you can typically just write off the $30 you spent in crafting items and just walk away.

But what if you can’t? What if a craft project involves something (personally) priceless that you’d hate to walk away from?

That was the quandary I found myself in for almost a year. But by pushing through it, I’ve completed my most satisfying project yet!

IMG_3015before

I inherited my grandparent’s dresser set when I moved to CT and let me tell ya…these pieces are nice.  Solid wood…well constructed…and huge…better than anything you could find at Ikea a cheap-o boxed furniture or even Ethan Allen a higher quality furniture store nowadays for that matter. One dresser even has a hidden drawer! Sorry, no secret treasure or hidden will was found!

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IMG_3024Secret Drawer!!

Despite their quality, they had 30+ years of wear and tear and while I wanted to use them, I knew they needed to be refinished. Completely overwhelmed by that thought, I hid them away in my guest room for two years.  When I moved again, I committed that I’d finally replace my current dressers from the previously mentioned cheap-o boxed furniture store and therefore decided to take on the task of refinishing.

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Since I didn’t know where to even start I had to consult someone more knowledgable (my Dad) who could tell me all the things I needed (who knew you used steel wool to help strip furniture!). He even brought his palm sander across 5 states to give to me! I love my dad! So armed with the basic supplies and a general sense of the steps it would take (strip, sand, stain/paint, clear coat….sounds easy enough) I set myself to the task.

Why did it take almost a year to complete you ask? BECAUSE REFINISHING FURNITURE IS HARD AS CRAP!! It took me three attempts to strip all of the pieces (Did I mention there was a total of  19 drawers… all with curved fronts!?!). While staining and lacquering (which I’d reserved for the tops and drawer fronts) wasn’t too bad, painting became a nightmare and took a combination of spray and brush painting  and a partial re-stripping to get it right.

IMG_3025Before stripping

IMG_3038After stripping

There were several times I wanted to quit, but the thought of basically ruining heirlooms and such nice pieces of furniture made me keep going. After 1 year, 2 cans of stripper, several trips to home depot,  numerous cans of paint and a probably annoying number of phone calls to my Dad, I finally finished them! I learned a lot in the process, including the fact that I do not want a second career in furniture revitalization, but mainly I discovered that with a little time and research I’m capable of making beautiful things.

So here is the finished project!

I hope it inspires you all to bite off more than you can chew on your next project!

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dresser before and after 

Comments

  1. Jamila Owens says:

    Beautiful!

  2. Melissa Fortenbery says:

    Very elegant and beautiful!

  3. Wow..they came out gorgeous!

  4. You have true patience and creativity. Those traits combined yield amazing results. The furniture is beautiful. Your special touch is amazing. I would not have thought to refinish it that way. Thanks for sharing your refinishing journey.

  5. I love the “after” with the natural wood. Beautiful revamp! I too think furniture is hard but the results are typically well worth it. I think ;D

  6. Wow! That is beautiful! Such an unusual and different technique. I really like it. I know how much hard work that was because I hand sanded and re-painted a bookshelf bed and dresser one time. I will never do that again.

  7. Wow. From eyesores to gleaming, shining examples of can-do-ness. Brava, lady. Brava.

  8. wow. this came out just absolutely beautiful. i love that you kept part of it natural wood. what sort of finish did you use on the drawers? they look so glossy!

  9. I’d love to know what kind of stain and laquer you used

  10. dawn beaver says:

    Just beautiful!

  11. Deborah Echols says:

    The secret drawer! Oh my God what fun memories. Erin you did a beautiful job. Mom’s picture on the dresser is a perfect touch.

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