never look a gift horse in the mouth.

A while back my sister-in-law Tracy texted and asked if I wanted a dresser that was ‘free to a good home.’  She included a picture.  I’ll admit, I didn’t immediately love it.  It seemed uninspiring and maybe a bit too traditional for me, and it was hard to see the details on my phone.  But hey, it was free!  So I said yes.

gift horse before

And before you think I am insulting my sister-in-law, I have to point out that she works in a senior care facility and this was a piece from her work, not from her own home.

When we got there to pick it up, she told me that I could also have the matching nightstand if I wanted it.  Sure, why not?  In for a penny, in for a pound.

gift horse nightstand before

I decided to start with the nightstand since it was small.  I pulled out my Fusion paint in a color called Inglenook that I hadn’t tried yet.  I lightly sanded the whole piece, and then I painted two coats of Inglenook on the outside.  I painted the interior in Fusion’s Limestone for some contrast.  That took three coats to get good solid coverage.

Nightstand painted in Fusion's Inglenook

Once I got a closer look at the hardware on these pieces, I decided I had to keep it.  It has great detail.  I added some gold Rub ‘n Buff to spruce it up.

I put the hardware back on, and I was bedazzled.  Truly.  This was one of those amazing transformations.  I’ll admit, I did not see it coming.  The piece went from really traditional (like something that my mother would have in her house) to really pretty and very French.  I hadn’t even noticed the French-ness, but it definitely came out with the paint job.

french nightstand

Before I continue on to the dresser, I have to tell you about that suitcase.  I came home from work one night and there it was on my porch.  I don’t know how it got there.  I must have had a visit from the vintage suitcase fairy!  So I threw it into the photo shoot.  In hindsight, maybe it was a weird addition to the photo.  If you are my vintage suitcase fairy let me know so I can thank you properly!

I had originally been planning to paint the dresser in a pale grey, but having seen how gorgeous the Inglenook was, I had to go with that again.

french dresser

Have I mentioned, by the way, that this thing is ginormous?  It is nearly 6′ wide!

There are four different types of hardware on this guy.  The drawer pull on the top middle drawer matches the nightstand and is the most detailed.

gold hardware 1

My reader Victoria calls these “mock key knobs”, which makes sense since it’s supposed to look like a key that has been inserted into a lock.  These are some pretty gorgeous mock key knobs, right?

The two smaller side drawers have a very simplified version of the mock key knob.

gold hardware 2

The lower drawers have regular drawer pulls rather than mock key knobs.

gold drawer pulls

But they also have a faux keyhole in the middle of each drawer.  When I pulled these off I found that the original manufacturers (I assume) had put a little piece of black electrical tape behind the opening on these escutcheons to make it look like there was really a keyhole behind them.  I decided black electrical tape just did not cut it for me, so I added old book pages behind them instead.

french keyhole

I love adding these kinds of details to my pieces.  I don’t know if anyone even notices them, but I hope they do.

If you’ve ever used Rub ‘n Buff, you probably know that you just put a little on your finger, rub it on, and once dry, buff to shine (hence the name).  After doing all of these pieces of hardware, I had one seriously gold finger … which was ironic because there was a Bond film festival on TV while I was working on these and I watched Goldfinger not just once, but twice in one day (well, OK, I did nap through some of it the 2nd time around).  Ahhh, Connery at his finest.  But seriously, how did they get a character named Pussy Galore past the censors in 1965?

Anyway, I staged both of these piece simply with some Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas, some Rachel Ashwell books and one of my favorite vintage clocks.

vanilla strawberry

Both of these pieces are available if anyone out there wants to add a little je ne se quoi to their home.  Local sales (Twin Cities area) only I’m afraid.  It could never be cost effective to ship these!  The larger dresser is $295 and the nightstand is $95.  Sorry, these pieces are already sold!  As I suspected, they went really quick at these prices.

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65 thoughts on “never look a gift horse in the mouth.

      1. Hi! Was just using the last of my shellac can and thought I would order the Tough Coat you mentioned in an earlier post. Is that MMS Tough Coat that is meant as a top coat? But it also serves to block bleed thru?

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      2. I used Tough Coat to cover mahogany bleed through (see conversation in this thread somewhere). The brand that makes it is Homestead House. They market both Fusion products and Miss Mustard Seed products. I am pretty sure they are the same product with different labels. I bought what I could get locally. Mine was the Fusion and it said it was semi-gloss, but it did not really seem shiny. Anyway, I painted over the pink bleed-thru, waited for it to dry, and then repainted. It worked.

        Good luck. – Teri B.

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      3. Teri’s got it. The only thing that I would add is that the Tough Coat isn’t really designed for this purpose (it is meant as a finishing top coat, but then so is shellac!), and I have found that sometimes it takes more than one coat of the Tough Coat to seal a really dark stain (see this post). But I have used it successfully on bleeders! And it is not stinky and easy clean up with soap and water.

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  1. These are so gorgeous Quandie! Love the color. Someone will snatch this up i predict. What a perfect guest room set! I have got to try this paint.

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  2. Wow, what a great transformation. That color is perfection and the rub ‘n buff makes such a difference. Love the keyhole detail. You rock, Goldfinger!

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  3. This color really wakes up the detail in the dresser and nightstand, and relieves the visual weight of the pieces. Love the book pages behind the keyhole. Gorgeous transformation!

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  4. Enchanting – Quandie and you know I love the strong lines of these pieces. The fluting on the legs and the hardware is fabulous!

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    1. You’d think I would see it coming at this point (after having painted so many pieces of furniture), but I really was surprised by how lovely these are with paint.

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  5. I would love the dresser and nightstand – I saw one just like it on Craigslist for $300 unpainted! (just the dresser) It is exactly what I need for my master bedroom update. But alas, the drive from Texas is just a weensy bit too far for me. But it’s now my inspiration! Beautiful as usual.

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    1. I was able to price these lower since I got them for free. They are really well constructed, quality pieces of furniture, and now they are gorgeous as well. They will be a total bargain for some lucky buyer! I wish it could be you 😉

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  6. Wow that turned out amazing. I can usually see beyond what it is and what it can be. But this one blew me away. What a transformation. You inspire me. Thank you

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  7. I really, really love these! If I lived anywhere near you I would not be able to resist the dresser, honestly. Love the color and everything and your bookpage keyholes. I would have nowhere to put it, but who cares about such a tiny detail, right? 😉

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    1. I know what you mean! I really looked around my own house for a spot for this one. I even considered using it in my dining room as a buffet, but I have another piece in mind for the spot and I decided to stick with that one.

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  8. I just yesterday discovered Fusion paint. I bought it locally in Osseo. I put one coat on last night and was a little concerned about how thinly it went on. This morning it looks transparent. I don’t mind the idea of three coats, but I think I read 4 hours between coats? Let me know how you like painting with this paint. The color you chose was gorgeous.

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    1. Are you using white? Over a dark wood? I definitely did need 3 coats of the white for this piece, but with any brand of white paint I always need more coats. The Inglenook is just two coats, and the coverage is perfect. Last night I painted a different piece in Fusion’s Laurentien (a deeper aqua) and it also took just two coats. As far as drying time, I think that depends on the weather. Last night it was really gorgeous outside, low 70’s and no humidity, slightly breezy and the paint dried really quickly. There was probably only an hour between coats for me. However, last Sunday when I was painting it was really humid outside and it was probably closer to 3 hours. My sister was painting a piece in chalk paint right beside me and that was taking a long time to dry as well. I think you really just need the paint to be dry, and the drying time can vary depending on conditions, so the “4 hour” rule is kind of a worst case scenario thing. As far as how I like painting with Fusion, I love how it flows off the brush. Very smooth. I really love not having to wax a piece afterwards (no top coat required). I like that it becomes washable after 21 days of curing time, so very durable. They have some gorgeous colors, which is always one of the biggest factors for me. Inglenook, Laurentien, Ash and Bedford are all gorgeous. I have some Buttermilk Cream that I’m looking forward to trying on something soon. What I don’t like about it is that you have to distress it right away (if you are going to distress), and it distresses more like a latex paint (rather than chalk or milk paint). Hard to describe, but if you’ve ever distressed latex you’ll know what I mean. Not to say it can’t be done, and I felt like these two pieces distressed beautifully. But you’ll want to do it before the paint cures too much. It gets harder and harder to remove. But that also means it’s very durable in the long run too, which is a good thing. Finally, I think the finish is just a tad shinier and “newer” looking than a waxed finish. This is OK for some pieces, but when I’m going for a chippy farmhouse look I’ll always use milk paint!

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      1. Wow, what a great synopsis! Yes, I am using one of the whites. Since my china closet is mahogany, I wanted to check for bleeding, and can’t do that well with white (it all looks pink on first coat), so I chalkpainted the first coat in a dark color. No bleeding, yea! The reason I went for the Fusion is because this is my own china closet, and I cannot afford the cure time for the wax before I put all my dishes back in. So for now, I am just doing the inside with Fusion. I know what you mean about the distressing. I actually asked before I bought it if it distressed like latex. What you said about the drying time was helpful. Yes, last night was perfect drying conditions, but even though it felt dry immediately, never having experience with this paint, I went to bed rather than put on a second coat.

        There are a lot of times where I think I will like having the option of not needing a wax finish, even though I love the soft look of it. I have a campaign dresser in the line up and I won’t work with latex, especially the glossy kind (hate the smells! can’t get my technique right!), so maybe this will have the more modern look that I need. Thanks so much for your help.

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      2. Exactly … a more modern look. I think Fusion would be great on a campaign dresser. Funny, the piece my sister is working on is also a mahogany china closet. She’s using Fusion’s Champlain on the inside (a white with a greyish cast). I’ve got her using a couple coats of their Color Blocker first. The Color Blocker is cheaper than the paint (made with recycled waste pigment), so if you’re trying to go white over a dark piece it can save you some bucks. Also, I love the Fusion for the insides of cabinets because trying to wax inside there is a huge pain. So, her cabinet will be Fusion on the inside, chalk paint on the outside.

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      3. I am not enjoying this learning curve with the Fusion. I have a second coat on, and it is almost as transparent as the first. I wish I had known about the color blocker. Do you use a bristle brush, or synthetic? I switched to my Cub XL because I needed a smaller handle, but I can see every stop and start mark. I can’t decide whether to keep going or paint the next coat in white chalk paint, and save the Fusion for the top coat. The cleanup of the brushes is like cleaning latex.

        The color I am using is Casement.

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      4. Oh boy. Well, after reading your comment I popped out in the garage and put a 2nd coat of color blocker on my sister’s cabinet. Just to see if I had the same experience as you. I have to say, I’m pretty sure my sister’s piece is a bleeder. You can’t see it in the Annie Sloan French Linen that she put on the outside, but the inside is bleeding through the white of the color blocker. Are you sure that your problem is coverage related rather than bleed thru? You’ll know for sure if you try the chalk paint and get the same result. I use a Purdy synthetic brush, nothing special.

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      5. I’m pretty sure it isn’t bleedthrough, because my first layer is a dark blue chalk paint. That is what I can’t cover. When I use white chalk paint on dark wood, I usually use a gray first to get better coverage, but I had some old paints I needed to use up, and it turned out pretty dark. Maybe the next coat will even things out. I am kind of afraid that I will run out of paint. I am going to just finish the shelves first to see if I get a smooth, full coverage. I appreciate your help. I wasn’t expecting to have trouble today.

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      6. Just an FYI, if you have stain bleeding thru, dark paint does not cover it. It just disguises it. It’s still there, but you can’t see it because of the dark paint. When you put white paint over that, the stain will continue to bleed thru and now you’ll see it because of the white. I’m not saying that is what’s happening for you with this piece, but just be aware of that. It does seem odd that you aren’t getting at least decent coverage with the Fusion after two coats. Let me know how it looks after three!

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      7. I did a thorough check for bleed thru. Both shelves had some. Luckily the body had none. I bought some tough coat yesterday, so I put it on. The guy that sold it to me told me it was matte, but it was semi-gloss! oh,well. I’ll just paint over it. I really expected the whole piece to bleed, so I feel lucky. Just a few pink polka dots.

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  9. These pieces are gorgeous… I love the hardware. I use Fusion all the time and love it.. the Inglenook is a gorgeous color. I particularly noticed the suitcase and I thought it really pumped up the picture of your end table. It is a great colored suitcase and it looks perfect on it’s end in that picture! Kudos to the suitcase fairy.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning that! I wasn’t sure if the suitcase looked a little goofy on it’s side, but I liked the handle and clasps, so I wanted them to be visible. I’m glad you liked it!

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  10. I have had several episodes of having “bleeding”. It is due to the red, orange and green pigmentation in the woods. I ran into this early into my painting career and was taught by one of the best gals in the St. Louis/Belleville area. I was told that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and put a coat of Zinzer color blocker over it or it is also called “Kilz”. I was working on a dresser, nightstand and bed using milk paint! It was a nightmare! I did everything I knew how to do but it did not work. Then I called my mentor and friend who told me what she has had to do. I followed her instructions and it worked! It has worked with Fusion as well. I started using Fusion when it first came out and love it, but if you have never been properly trained, then there are a few quirks with it! You should never paint back and forth, never place a fan to increase drying, and do not place your brushes in water to sit while painting. They need to be washed out as soon as used, wrap in paper towel and set aside until next use. It is also good for your brushes! There is also a nice sealer that Fusion has come out with to seal the paint and protect the finish. I have used it on end tables, tables, and anything else my customers desire! I hope this info helps! Also, I use the same brushes that Quandie does and love them!

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    1. I’ve never tried the clear Kilz, although I see they do make one. But I’m not fond of the regular white Kilz as an undercoat if I’m using a colored paint. I’ve also been told that shellac works great, so that’s what we’re going to use on my sister’s china cupboard. I’ll keep you post how it goes.

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    2. So …I have painted a dresser for the first time with Fusion and I bought it because it had a built in top coat. I had already painted the dresser once with chalkpaint and used polyurethane on it and it was streaky. So sanded it, reprimed it used Fusion. I love the way the paint went on but I now have concerns over the matte look & its durability. Although I did not want to topcoat as this is why I bought this paint I wonder if leaving it, if it will be durable enough?

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      1. In most cases, the main purpose of the top coat is to provide protection against moisture and dirt. Once cured (after about 21 days), the Fusion is very durable when it comes to water, dirt, etc without any additional top coat. I’d say more durable than a waxed finish. You can easily wipe it down with a damp rag, or wipe up spills without them leaving a spot. This is why you don’t need a top coat with Fusion. I’m trying to guess at your connection between the matte look and durability, and am guessing that you might be concerned with fingerprints or dust showing on the matte finish. I have read that people find this to be the case with the darker colors. You can just wipe it down to eliminate the dust and fingerprints though. Just remember the curing period before scrubbing on your finish too hard. Also, don’t put really heavy items on the top until after the paint has cured, or they may leave an indentation in the paint. This is really true of all paints on the market, it just isn’t talked about much. But I totally believe your dresser will be durable enough with the Fusion paint once it cures!

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  11. Also, I forgot to praise you on your two beautiful pieces! They are just gorgeous! I do not have that color but I am going to order it along with some new ones tomorrow! The hardware on those pieces is just magnificent!

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      1. I know, right? Crazy prices! Too bad they sold, I wanted to come by and look at the paint to see how you put it on. I switched back to chalk paint today (on my china closet) and am just going to leave it unwaxed in the inside. I will burnish it with some brown paper. By the way, this morning I noticed that the whole roof of the inside was pink with bleed through. I covered it with French Linen, but it looked hideous in the dark next to the pale gray (almost white) chalk paint I put on today. I am going to have to use the Tough Coat. Although, who is going to look at the inside top anyway?

        Where do you buy your paint? I am starting to find local places after someone in Texas charged me both shipping and tax. Yikes!

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      2. Actually, the dresser will be here until Sunday. It didn’t fit in the buyer’s vehicle, so she’ll be coming back with a bigger one. Funny, my sister’s cupboard is the same, super ‘bleedy’ on the roof of inside! I was supposed to add a coat of shellac this evening, but I’m watching more James Bond instead 😉 I buy my Fusion at Farmhouse Inspired in Hudson.

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  12. Love the colour! Both pieces look beautiful. I just bought a couple pints of Fusion paint…first time using the paint, I can’t wait to paint something. I plan to paint my coffee table in Ash. Maybe you addressed this already, but a question about Fusion paint and the curing process: I’ve read that the painted pieces can take up to 3 weeks to cure. After the paint has dried, do you apply a top coat? (ie a polycrylic or wax?) Or do you just leave it as is? Btw, love your blog!

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    1. Hi Pivotsister! Thanks for your comment. As for the Fusion and the curing process, most paints (including chalk paint and milk paint) take 3 to 4 weeks to “cure”. Once a paint is cured, it has reached its maximum hardness and durability. Prior to that time a piece is more vulnerable to scratching. Also, if you place heavy items on them, you can leave an impression in the paint. So, that being said the Fusion takes 21 days to fully cure. It will dry nearly as quickly as chalk paint, and that is always dependent upon conditions, but usually 2 hours or so. It will take longer to dry if you are painting in humid conditions. And you do not need a top coat at all. You can choose to add a top coat if you want to, maybe because you like the look of a dark wax, or you want the additional shine of a poly. In addition, the Fusion manufacturer recommends adding a top coat if you heavily distress your piece. This is because the areas where you have removed the paint down to the wood will no longer be protected. If you choose to add a top coat, you can do so once the paint is dry, you don’t have to wait for it to be cured. I did not use a top coat on these pieces, but I have used a dark wax on Fusion before just to get that look (like on this painted toolbox). Best of luck with your project! I love the Ash, such a great charcoal grey!

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  13. Reblogged this on Chalk Paint in the Deux Sevres and commented:
    I thought I would share this blog with you. Sometimes you just spot something that takes your eye and have to have a further look. In this case it was a piece of furniture painted using Fusion Mineral Paint.
    I have not had a chance to browse the whole site yet but I sure if you do you will, like me, find some lovely colours and inspiration
    Rik

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    1. Thanks for giving me a shout out on your website Rik! Hope you have time to look around some more on my blog. Check out the ‘fab furniture’ tab to go directly to posts about painted furniture! Merci beaucoup 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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