August 15, 2010

A revealing post

This has been quite an adventure, this furniture renovation project!  As with most “first times” the learning curve was high and the hurdles were many. 

It all started with an innocent browse through kijiji, if there is such a thing as an “innocent” browse :).  To tell the truth, I have to stay away from kijiji most days because I will ALWAYS find something that I need to have.  I am usually able to control my “urge to splurge”, but this time, I lost and kijiji won!  But if you had come across this beauty, you would have snapped it up too – gee I’m glad I beat you to it!  Because the result is GORGEOUS!!!

Just to prolong the reveal, I’ll take you through my adventures.  Of course, you could always just scroll to the end of the post, but you wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, would you?

Lets start at the beginning:

Unfortunately the kijiji picture was out of focus, and I didn’t think to take a photo before I started the project with the hardware, but here is the pre-sanding picture:


I fell in love with the form and detail of this dresser.  As you know, I am a huge fan of anything celtic in nature, so the detail on the front sides won me over!

This dresser was accompanied by a bedside table in the same design and a mirror, which was made to match, but doesn’t really (that’s another project I’m still contemplating).  I paid $150 for all three pieces.  The dresser and bedside table were made by a company called “Drexel” in 1956 and are SOLID wood and VERY heavy!  The drawers are all dovetailed and have solid wood bottoms.  There is even solid wood between each row of drawers.  It is one well built piece of furniture.

IMG_2693IMG_2689 The dresser had a couple of areas that required attention.  First was missing veneer on the feet.   Then there were several deep scratches on the top and on the bottom drawer on the right side.  The bedside table had some minor scratches and no damage on the veneer.

Last December (“Yes, December”, she said sheepishly) I set up the pieces on my patio and sanded them all in preparation for painting. 

Next I had to wait for the warmer weather – and a *sigh* cleaned up garage.  Well, hubby is as much a procrastinator as I am (and just a little bit of a hoarder - just a bit *rolling eyes*), along with being a very busy fellow, so this didn’t happen until Easter. 

And then, we started renovating our upper floor including the bedroom where the dresser would reside.  Summer hit and we seemed to have NO free time at all.  Seriously people, how does that happen???  (Note to selves – learn to say “NO”!)

Finally, in mid July all the stars were aligned and I could finally start my project.  I set everything up in the garage, tarped off a section and covered anything that could get damaged by paint overspray. 

First off, I had to deal with the damage to the dresser.  Sanding had helped some of the scratches, but it also resulted in some uneven surfaces.  Also, thanks to Design Ties’ Kelly, I had decided to switch the middle set of drawers to a single pull rather than the bail handles on the original piece, so the original holes needed to be closed up.

Armed with a tube of Lepage’s Interior Tinted Wood Filler and a putty knife, I went to work and here’s how they looked when I was done:

IMG_3406 IMG_3408 IMG_3404

More sanding and I was ready to paint.  As I reported here I chose a creamy base colour and an antique wash of a gold colour.  And in this post I told you about my infatuation with my new paint spray gun, which hasn’t abated by one iota!

The initial coat of paint using a “paint and primer in one” product was a great experience, but the result was very disappointing. Here’s a peek:

IMG_3411 IMG_3412 IMG_3416

The problem was I had sanded through the stain layer to the raw wood, resulting with the stain bleeding through the paint.  Back to the Home Improvement store I went (with the car on autopilot by now) and based on a recommendation from one of my hubby’s employees I picked up B.I.N. primer and sealer from Zinsser, and sprayed all of the pieces one more time. 

Success!  No more bleeding stain.  One more coat of the base colour, CIL’s Antique White, and we were back in business!  I sanded and sprayed the tops of both pieces one final time to get a smooth finish and I was ready to do my antique glaze.

I combined my glaze colour, CIL’s Brown Bag, with Behr’s Faux Glaze product, gathered my cheesecloth rags, pulled up hubbys rolling mechanic’s seat and set to work.  Here are the steps I used to achieve my antique finish:
  1. Using a clean paint brush and clean water, brush the area with water
  2. Using a separate paint brush and your glaze mixture, cover the same area with glaze
  3. Using a clean cheesecloth rag, rub the area in a circular fashion (where possible) until you achieve the coverage and colour you are looking for
  4. Move to the next area and repeat steps 1-3
In my case, I was looking for a light glaze over the solid areas, with more colour and definition in the detailed areas.  In these areas, I used more than one coat of the glaze.  It’s best to be lighter in your first coat.  You can always reapply a second coat if you need more definition.

Next on the agenda was the hardware.  This is the hardware that was on the piece:


Most of the hardware in the bedroom is pewter, so first I searched for new pewter hardware that was a little less ornate.  There are three different sized hardware pieces on the dresser and bedside table, 3”, 3 1/2” and 4”.  Finding 3” hardware wasn’t an issue, but the variety of hardware in other sizes was extremely low.  I did find some online, but at price tags of $12-15 each, I thought I’d try to refinish the ones I had.   I may revisit the hardware later, but for now, I went with what I had.

I searched the Home Improvement stores for spray paint in pewter.  Nothing.  Not one can of “Pewter” spray paint.  Can you believe that?  The closest I could find was a Stainless Steel finish from Tremclad.  I tested the colour and finish on the hardware from the middle set of drawers that I wouldn’t be using.  Here’s the result…



Pleasantly surprised, I sprayed all of the pieces:


For the centre drawers, I found a drawer pull that was a close match to the existing and had a celtic flair and sprayed them in the same colour.


And now….FINALLY…. the dresser project is complete!  Here, in photos, is the transformation (drum roll please):


After the first coat of “paint and primer”.


The bedside table after the B.I.N. Primer-Sealer coat.


After the antique glaze finish and in place in my bedroom.


And finally, the completed piece with hardware installed. 


IMG_3592   IMG_3580 IMG_3583   IMG_3588    IMG_3587

The pillows on the top of the dresser are from a giveaway I won over on the Kerrisdale Design blog.  They are a perfect fit for my new bedroom!

Next step is a piece of glass for the top of the dresser and I need to address the “mirror” issue.  But, that’s a subject for another post.  Right now, I’m heading upstairs to have another quick glimpse of my new dresser *sigh* ….

I am linking up this transformation to
Please take some time to head over to these great blogs to check out what other awesome bloggers have been up to!


  1. Love it . . . great job! It really is such a pretty piece!

  2. It looks gorgeous! That style of dresser is the kind I always love, and have picked up a few of over the years...totally classic and elegant. You did a great job.


    PS so fun to see the pillows in your room! I think they look great with everything so far!

  3. It looks beautiful! Well worth all the work! Congrats on a great transformation!

  4. Very pretty, I love the details in this piece. Great job!

  5. What a labor of love, it looks gorgeous. You couldn't buy that kind of quality these days without spending half a fortune - the way the drawers fit flush and not in front of the frame. Love the handles too. Great job.

  6. Oh, it's beautiful!!
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  7. Great job Donna! I can certainly relate to things taking longer than you had hoped. The end result is well worth the wait - looks great!

  8. I love the way the light paint brings out the detail of the Celtic inspired design! Hard work pays off.

  9. wow wow wow wow wow!! this is SO fantastic!!

  10. It's is so beautiful Donna! I would keep going up to look at it... the detail really pops now - I'm sure the old owners would regret having sold it if they could see it now!

  11. wow!! what a transformation, you did a great job or does that dh stand for darling husband?? if so,
    tell him what a great job he did, it looks really lovely,
    blessings, Nellie

  12. What a gorgeous dresser! The lines are so beautiful and the transformation is fantastic!

  13. Lovely. Really! Well worth the effort for sure. :)

  14. Beautiful job! I love the curves of those drawers. I recently repainted a dresser so I know what a chore that can be! Great job getting into all the nooks and crannies.

  15. One word -- FABU!!!! OK, and a few more words... absolutely amazing transformation!! And I want those pillows!!! :-)

    You really did a fantastic job making the dresser over. And I'm so happy you went with knobs on the center drawers -- hope you're happy with that decision too!!

    As Perez Hilton would say... AMAZEBALLS!!!! (No idea why that popped into my head!!)


  16. I LOVE this transformation!! You did an amazing job Donna! And it's so awesome that you found an amazing sprayer. I just might copy you and get one for myself. The pillows you won are fabulous, congrats!!

  17. Yowza! You did a wonderful job! This looks much better than any furniture I've ever done. Terrific!

  18. I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the new Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :) My hope is to share many of the fabulous projects I see everyday with the vast CG audience. I hope you will not only stop by and subscribe to CG, but will tell your friends about the new category! Hope you see some traffic from it!

    Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

    If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

  19. WOW - great job - doesn't matter how long it took to get there - you did it! you should be proud of your accomplishment :-) will this be a new business venture :-)

  20. You refer to CIL several times regarding the glaze and paint you use, what is CIL and how do you use it with the glaze, what proportion.

  21. Wow! That piece is stunning.


  22. I really like how this turned out. Great job!

  23. Great dresser and beautiful result. Just a tiny bit of info. I "pewterized" a couple of things (ornate wood mirror frame, hardware, and some curtain rods) with a "Pewter Spray kit". Spray on silver and brush on/wipe off black. Came in a kit all together. :-)

  24. What a fantastic transformation!!!! Great job!!!

  25. goooorgeous! Love the transformation....What a beautiful piece of furniture, and now you've breathed new life into it! Lovely!

  26. What a transformation! I love the white paint and the 'new' hardware.

  27. Yes, amazing from the before and after pictures. This piece is phenom... the lines and the detail have just come to life with the new paint job. Great find!
    Nicely nicely done.


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