One of the fun things about my little furniture restyling hobby is that friends and family tend to offer me their cast off furniture. Often it’s either me or the Goodwill (or possibly the dumpster as my friend Terri mentioned with the Parisian table).
You’d think that ‘free’ pieces are always good, but that’s not necessarily the case. In the past I’ve taken on free furniture and wound up spending far more time on a piece than it’s worth. Time is the one commodity that I can not get more of so I tend to be a bit stingy with mine.
So way back last winter when my friend Nan asked me if I wanted this mid-century modern blonde dresser I hesitated a little. It’s doesn’t look too bad from this angle …
But here’s what the top and sides looked like …
Yikes! Leopard print wallpaper!
I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be to remove that stuff. But I decided to take it home anyway. And that lead to a lot of procrastination on my part. Like about 9 months of procrastination. It’s a big piece and it was taking up a huge chunk of floor space in my workshop, but yet it just sat there all summer.
I was determined to get it done during my recent stay-cation and yet even so, I put it off until the last two days. It may not even have gotten done then, except I pulled the old Tom Sawyer ‘painting the fence’ trick. You know that one, right? You convince people that the work you’re doing is so much fun that they just have to join in.
Mr. Q and I pulled the dresser out into the yard and then I coerced my sister into helping me strip off that wallpaper. Once she and I got started, nnK and Ken’s wife Arlene both came over. Once they saw how much fun we were having, they were drawn in as well. Soon all 4 of us were attacking that wallpaper. We had it off in no time! We found that just getting the paper wet and then using a scraper did the trick. It came off in small pieces, but eventually we got it all off.
Once we had the wallpaper off, it was a simple job to sand the dresser down a bit and paint it. Sort of.
I started with the gorgeous mint color on the body of the dresser and the two outer columns of drawers. This is Dixie Belle’s Mint Julep, by the way.
Then I ran into some trouble on that center column of drawers that I painted in Annie Sloans’ Old White. The finish bled through the white. A lot. But, no worries, I added a coat of Rachel Ashwell Clear Primer and tried again. That did the trick.
I thought it was a bit odd that the finish only bled through the white paint, and not the mint. Sure enough, when I inspected more closely I found that there were just a couple of small bleed thru spots on the top of the dresser too, so I handled the top in the same way. A coat of clear primer followed by another coat of Mint Julep.
I finished with Annie Sloan clear wax. I chose that brand of wax because once buffed it has a little more sheen than some of the others. I like a little more shine on mid mod pieces.
Since my sister was still hanging out after we got the wallpaper off, she also helped me polish up the drawer pulls with some Brasso. They cleaned up quite nicely.
I love being able to retain the original hardware on mid-century pieces especially. They usually add so much character and this dresser was no exception.
I think this piece would work beautifully in a nursery. It’s a great height to function as a changing table, it has tons of storage and it can be transitioned into a dresser down the road. Check out my ‘available for local sale’ tab for more info if you’re in the market for some mid mod mint.
The clean lines of mid-century pieces appeal to me more and more these days. How about you? Mid-century modern, yes or no?