a tropical island.

This poor dresser has been wasting away out in the carriage house all winter.

island before

 Somehow its plain straight lines just weren’t inspiring me.

But I have made a commitment to get to all of the pieces that are waiting for me out there, and this one was next up on the list.  It is a great example of how my plans change as I begin working on a piece.  My original plan was to paint it grey with white horizontal stripes on the drawers, much like this inspiration photo from pinterest.

sophiasdecor dresser

I was going to use Fusion paint, because I knew that would handle the taping of the lines quite well.

I even ran to Hobby Lobby and bought some really pretty crystal knobs that I thought would work well with this rather more formal look.  However, while picking up those knobs, I also grabbed some glass pulls just to see how I liked them on this piece.  Since it already had two holes for each pull, I thought maybe, just maybe, the glass pulls would work.

Sure enough, they were exactly the right size.  To me, glass drawer pulls give a very ‘vintage farmhouse’ feel to a piece, which meant I had to change gears and go with milk paint.  Also, after taking a closer look at the dresser, I decided it would be the perfect piece for stripping the top and refinishing it with my favorite wax for that, the Cece Caldwell Aging Cream.

All that remained was to pick a color.  I debated several Miss Mustard Seed colors, but in the end I realized I was kind of bored with the “out of the bag” colors.  I needed something custom mixed.  I went to my favorite place for inspiration, pinterest.  I keep a pin board for MMS colors and I try to pin custom color examples whenever I see them.  I considered using a color that Dear Emmeline created called Eucalyptus.  It is a mix of Boxwood and Ironstone.  But I wanted more blue in my color.  Then I saw a dresser painted by Abbe Doll and decided it was perfect!  A mix of 3 parts Luckett’s Green to 2 parts French Enamel, and I just happened to have plenty of both colors.  I don’t think that she named her color, so I’m calling it Tropical Island.  It’s a beautiful shade of blue green, like the waters surrounding a tropical island.

tropical island dresser title

And since I was on a roll with the whole ‘island’ thing, I decided to turn the dresser into a kitchen island!

Ken and I worked together to add new casters.  Why new?  I wanted them to be functional.  The vintage casters tend to look pretty, but you wouldn’t really want to roll your pieces around on them too much.  These larger casters also added the perfect amount of height to bring the top up to counter top height.

I staged the piece in my own kitchen first to see how it would look.  I thought it would be perfect to take photos in the early morning when the light is flooding in.  I forgot to factor in that the light would be flooding in behind the island.

kitchen island

Hmmm.  Not the best plan.  Although I like that you can now easily picture this piece as an island.  And since it is intended to ‘float’ in the room like this, I did paint the back.

kitchen island back

You can see that I added a little hook to the side for hanging a towel.

kitchen island hook

In the end I hauled the tropical kitchen island out to the photo cottage to take advantage of better lighting.  I staged it with a lovely French ironstone bowl and some other pretty vintage kitchen items.

kitchen island stagingkitchen island staging 2

As is typical with MMS milk paint, there is some slight color variation in the paint.  You can really see it more clearly in this close up.  The drawers are a little more green than the body of the dresser.  But in this case, the drawers are all the same, and I think this look works on this piece.

kitchen island close up

After having the island in place in our own kitchen, Mr. Q and I have decided we really don’t have room for a kitchen island.  So, this one is for sale?  How about you, do you have space to fill in your kitchen?

kitchen island collage

18 thoughts on “a tropical island.

  1. Very pretty. Perfect for an island. I love my kitchen but I’ve always kind of regretted not having a kitchen large enough for an island especially when I see beautiful pieces like this. The handles are perfect too.


  2. Really pretty! The color has such a vintage vibe to it, the pulls are the perfect match. Aging cream? I’ve never heard of it, did you strip and then rub it on? Did you use a stain?


    1. “Aging Cream” is basically Cece Caldwell’s version of dark wax. It is a warm brown color, as opposed to Miss Mustard’s dark wax which is more black. That’s why I like it on bare wood. I didn’t use a stain. I just stripped the varnish off, sanded lightly to smooth out the grain, and then rubbed the wax on. After about 20 minutes or so, I buff it with a clean cloth. Easy, peasy.


    1. Hi Sarah! I haven’t listed it on CL yet. I usually try to put pieces on the blog first, thus giving first dibs to my blog readers. I’ll email you, and if you are interested you can email me back for more details.


  3. Ooh! Fabulous color! I’ve pinned a couple of your custom paint color recipes, so I’m adding this one to the lot. Love the variation in the drawers – so pretty!


    1. Part of the reason I ‘staged’ it in my own kitchen was to determine whether or not we could make it work, so I know how you feel. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the space!


      1. I should clarify, if our kitchen was its own room, it would work in the kitchen (IMHO as the one who cooks). However, our kitchen is also the central pathway in our house, and as such we really need an unobstructed path, so “no go” on the island. 😦


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