A while back my number one craigslist spotter, nnK, forwarded an ad to me for two ‘bureaus’. We’re pretty sure that these didn’t get snatched up more quickly because they were only called ‘bureaus’. The ad said nothing about ‘dressers’, or ‘chest of drawers’, or ‘credenza’, or ‘midcentury modern’. If any of those keywords had been used, I’m sure these would have been long gone. But I don’t think there are too many people out there searching for ‘bureaus’ these days.
As happy as I was to get the opportunity to make these mine, some serious sweat equity went into acquiring them. We had to call in the big guns. Mr. Q’s friend Gene that is. He is the guy we call when there is going to be some heavy lifting. In this case, these two bureaus were in the attic of a typical 1940’s style bungalow. In other words, up a very narrow staircase with a turn at the top. Yikes! The seller had been sure to tell me that I had to bring my own manpower to get them out of there, so I did. Mr. Q and his friend were real troopers getting these babies into the truck!
I only took a ‘before’ shot of one, but I have two and they are identical. I’m fairly certain that the owner of these bought them new, tucked them up in the finished attic and has used them for storage for 50 years or so. She mentioned that she had lived in the house since the 60’s. They weren’t in terrible shape, but slightly beat up from years of use. The finish was also very dried out.
I had actually been hanging onto this pair until my sister got here. Why? I decided to play dueling bureaus with her (insert music here)! Since she is living with me for two months until her new apartment is ready, I decided to put her to work as my apprentice. Her first assignment was to work side by side with me, with each of us making over one of these. I let her pick her own colors, and I picked mine. I decided we should work in Fusion paint because it is the easiest to use, and no topcoat is required!
To begin with, we stripped the flat raised fronts of our drawers. Once stripped, we sanded them lightly and then used Varathane’s Dark Walnut gel stain on them. Once dry, we each added two coats of Minwax Wipe on Poly in satin. Then, after sanding the rest of the piece lightly, Debbie painted hers in Liberty and I painted mine in Ash.
Here is the Ash.
Doesn’t the wood just look so much richer in this darker stain?
And here is the Liberty.
Now, I have to tell you, my sister has never done this before! She’s never stripped or painted furniture. Ever. And she did this. All by herself. Granted, I showed her the ropes and gave her some tips along the way. Still, if she can do it, so can you! So if you are someone who has been reading my blog for a while and thinking about trying some furniture refinishing on your own, dive in! As Nike says, just do it!
Debbie is very proud of her first furniture makeover ever! She is well on her way to finishing her next project, her $10 table and benches, so stay tuned to see those soon.