silver linings.

I confess I have a bit of a back up of unpainted furniture lingering in my Carriage House.  Luckily, we had to purchase a new truck for Mr. Q last summer and we decided to go with something bigger than our old Ford Ranger (to be able to haul more furniture, naturally) and the F150 we bought doesn’t actually fit in the Carriage House.  We didn’t think ahead about that part, and now Mr. Q is stuck parking outside and cleaning snow off his vehicle all winter long.  But on the bright side, I now have one side of the building to store furniture in.  Silver linings, right?

This may be a slippery slope though; I have found myself filling it up with future projects!

I was planning to take a much needed break from painting after my vacation, but my plans for this past Saturday fell through at the last minute and I ended up with some time on my hands.  The moment was right to break out the supplies and get some painting done!

So, Mr. Q and I hauled this dresser into the house.

German dresser before

First off, I had the mirror for it.  I just removed it before I took the ‘before’ photo to do some repairs to the frame.

If you look closely, can you see how badly damaged the veneer is on the two big drawers?  Wait, here is a close up photo …

german dresser before close up

It didn’t take me long to realize that the veneer on those two drawers couldn’t be saved at all.  It obviously really dried out at some point and splintered all over the place.  Someone had tried to repair it with a lot of glue, but it just wasn’t going to cut it.  So I removed the drawer pulls and that bit of trim on the upper drawer, and then sent them off for a date with Ken and his belt sander.  Ken sanded the veneer completely off down to the wood underneath.  He was worried I wouldn’t be able to make the drawers look good afterwards, but he underestimates the power of paint and a good stencil!

dresser painted with MMS milk paint in Typewriter


OK, let’s talk details.  when I took the mirror apart I realized that there were some spots near the bottom that had lost their silvering.  Remember the ‘old black magic‘ dresser I painted late last summer?  That had a mirror in similar condition, and I lined it with old book pages.  I knew that technique would also be perfect on this dresser, which then led to my choice to paint it black.  So, it is painted with MMS milk paint in Typewriter.  I did not get any chipping on this piece, and I did not use a bonding agent.  I think the existing finish was just so dry that the paint nearly behaved as it would on bare wood.  I used hemp oil for my topcoat.

silver linings close up

I used pages from the old German book I recently purchased at Carver Junk Co to line the mirror, and that led to my decision to use a German stencil as well.  I’ve been dying to use a new stencil I purchased recently, but it’s in French for one thing, and for another it translates to “friends and family gather here”, which just seems wrong for a dresser that will likely go in a bedroom.  Kind of … wrong, right?  So I had to go with my old German standby.

silver linings stencil close up

It is one that I have been using for a couple of years, and funny enough “Donau” is German for Danube.  And Worth an der Donau is a town on the banks of the Danube, 22 km east of Regensburg, which means I sailed right past it on my trip.  Unfortunately, it was probably dark out when we passed by.  Isn’t it a small world?

You’d think from the photos that I stenciled this using a white paint, but actually it is Martha Stewart craft paint in Gray Wolf and it’s fairly dark.


I swear.  It really is this color.  The contrast with the black just makes it appear much lighter.  Check the first full on picture of the dresser for a better representation of how it looks.  Keep this in mind if you plan to stencil on black.  White has far too much contrast.

One last detail, I replaced all of the knobs on this piece with some vintage black glass knobs that I had on hand.  I had planned to keep the original hardware, but when I removed the knobs on the upper drawers, I found that two of them were missing their back plates.  Thus, you couldn’t tighten them up without them sinking into the holes they were in.  While digging around in my stash for replacements, I came across these black knobs and had enough for the whole piece.

silver linings knobs

At 34″ tall and about 40″ wide, this dresser is actually rather more petite in person than it looks in the photos, although the mirror adds another 37″ to the overall height.

silver linings b and a

If you need a black dresser with a little German flair, this one is for sale.  Leave me a comment if you are interested and I’ll get back to you.  Sorry, this one is sold.

27 thoughts on “silver linings.

  1. Another lovely piece of furniture saved from the dump. It is fresh, current, and beautiful again in a way that a new owner can use and admire. If it could speak, I’m sure it would thank you profusely.


  2. I am very fond of this stencil prefect choice for this dresser. I love how you are giving this era of furniture which have become so sad and forlorn a charming new look. Thanks for explaining the color selection of the stencil paint I would have not considered how stark white would look and to be honest could not tell it wasn’t white. Thumbs up Quandie!


    1. I am always surprised how light that stencil color ends up looking on black, so I wanted to be sure and share that tip with everyone. It looks a little more natural than white would, I think.


  3. If I lived closer, I would be interested in the dresser….it’s so me! I have German folks on my maternal side..they are near and dear to my Germanish heart! I love the glass knobs, they are just gorgeous! Love the clear ones too! ..


    1. Well this would be the perfect dresser for you! And if you bought it, I could say “danke”, which is about the only German I picked up on my recent trip there (I wish I was better with languages!) There is a little story behind the knobs. I bought them at a garage sale from a guy who had removed them all from the kitchen in his 40’s bungalow. I didn’t have the heart to ask him what he put in their place, probably something from IKEA. I’ve used them on several different pieces over time, and am just about to the end of them. You can also see them on a couple of these Jonas Bros. dressers. Thanks for your comment Andrea!


  4. I just came across this post on Pinterest, the dresser is lovely. I wonder if you could assist me in a search for either a French Script Stencil or a French Script transfer? I am painting an antique dresser black and I planned on using a stencil and painting it with either silver or white or using a transfer again in silver or white. I have not been able to find either. Any chance you could give me a direction? I have looked at Pima, Amazon, IOD at least 2 months searching Pinterest. Any help or direction I would really appreciate.
    Nancy B. 😎


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