the reluctant seller.

I am just starting to recover from the head cold from hell.  Yep, it was so bad it made me swear.  It also made me miss 3 days from the day job, and quite honestly I shouldn’t have even gone back in on day 4, but it was Friday and I had some things I really needed to take care of before the weekend.  I warned all of my co-workers to keep their distance and wash their hands frequently.  I hope they listened because I wouldn’t wish this particular virus on anyone.

Fortunately, I had this next dresser already finished before illness struck.  I just hadn’t been able to get any photos of it yet.  I finally felt well enough yesterday to pull together a photo session, and the weather cooperated by providing some sunshine.  Bonus!


But let’s go back and start at the beginning.  I found this dresser on Craigslist a while ago.  Before I continue on with the rest of this post, I have to share a little story with you.  I have a friend who tried online dating after her divorce (this was quite a few years ago).  She had an interesting strategy.  She decided that taking several weeks or more to get to know someone via email was a waste of time, why not just meet them right away because you’ll know instantly whether or not they are worth spending more time on.  And let me tell you, she ended up with some very entertaining stories about the men she met and instantly knew were very wrong for her.  I kept telling her that she should write a book, it would have been hysterical.  And by the way, her strategy worked.  She is now engaged to a very nice man and living happily ever after.

Well, the tables have turned and now she keeps telling me that I should write a book about Craigslist transactions.  I definitely meet some characters.  The seller of this dresser falls into the category that I like to call the ‘reluctant seller’.  There are two kinds of reluctant sellers.  First there are the people who are selling a ‘family heirloom.’  They don’t want to keep it themselves, but they want to sell it to someone who will cherish it properly.  You can usually spot them right away because they say something like “this belonged to my great grandmother Ruth, it has been in our family for three generations, but I just don’t have room for it …”  They definitely do not want to hear that you are going to paint it, or really alter it in any way whatsoever.  When dealing with those sellers I usually just play along.  What they don’t know won’t hurt them.  They can rest easy in the knowledge that their family heirloom has gone to a good home.

But there is a second type of reluctant seller that is sometimes even trickier to deal with.  This is the seller who can’t be bothered with the actual transaction.  They post their item on Craigslist, but then when it comes to setting up a time to meet with you and exchange the goods for the cash, they can’t be pinned down to a date and time.  You contact them and they say “I’m going to be out of town for the next week, I’ll get back to you.”  Then you finally hear back and set up a time, say Sunday at 3 pm, and they agree but they don’t actually give you their address.  Then you don’t hear from them again until Sunday at 7 pm when they text and say “sorry, I got tied up.”  And then that happens again the next time too.  I can be a little more flexible than most buyers since I don’t need something ‘right away’, but it’s still frustrating.  However, after about 3 weeks of this, I did finally pin this seller down and Mr. Q and I went and picked up this dresser.


It probably didn’t take you long to see why I wanted this one.  Yep, the mirror frame.  I’m going to make another chalkboard shelf out of it.

But in the meantime while that project was over at Ken’s workshop, I decided to do a quick Fusion paint job on the dresser.  The dresser without its mirror was pretty much a ‘plain Jane’ except for the vintage drawer pulls and key hole escutcheons, which are gorgeous, so I decided to add some interest with a two-toned paint job in neutral colors.  I pulled out my Fusion paints in Algonquin, Putty, Limestone and Casement.  I felt like the Algonquin was just a bit darker than I wanted and the Putty was a bit lighter, so I started mixing.  When mixing colors I’ll often paint them on a craft stick (a larger version of a popsicle stick) to see how they look when they dry.  I picked up a package of 100 of these sticks at Hobby Lobby and they really come in handy for this.


I write the color mix on each stick.  You can see the Algonquin at the bottom is fairly dark while the Putty at the top is quite light.  Even the Algonquin mixed with the Putty was darker than I wanted.  But the Algonquin mixed with Casement was just right.  Likewise, the Casement itself was too bright of a white on its own, so I ended up going with a combo of Limestone and Casement for the white (that’s the stick that is under the Casement stick).

And ta da, here is the finished dresser.


Adding the wide stripe down the middle helps draw more focus to the hardware, don’t you agree?  For reference, scroll back up to the ‘before’ photo, you barely even notice the hardware right?

Now it steals the show.


I would have loved to strip the top of the dresser and go with a waxed wood top, but there was some unattractive damage that would have been hard to camouflage.  It looks as though someone set a container of some sort of bad chemical down on the dresser in a couple of spots.

Whatever it was ate right through the finish and even into the wood a bit.  So I felt like paint would be the best choice for me here.  I could also have gotten out a heavy duty belt sander and taken the wood down until the marks were gone, but that’s just not my style.  The truth is, I’m afraid of belt sanders.  Before painting though, I sanded the spots down by hand and covered them with a couple of coats of Tough Coat Sealer just in case something might want to try and bleed through my paint.

This next photo is a bit misleading as it seems like you can’t see this damage any more at all, but in reality if you catch the light just right you can still see the indentations in the wood.  It is fairly well disguised though.


I’m always drawn to the sides of dresser when they are paneled in some fashion (rather than just being a solid flat piece).


I struggled with finding a spot for this photo shoot.  I knew the horizontal stripes on my walls would compete with the vertical stripe on the dresser.  Unfortunately, I have very few options for winter photos.  The photo cottage is snowed in.  So I tried to distract the eye with lots of layers.


Player piano music, an old cupboard door, a gold frame, my grandpa’s water color, a lamp and a stack of books are all lending more vertical and horizontal lines.

Did they do the trick?


One last thing, you may be wondering if I’ve picked some winners for my wax giveaway, but I haven’t yet.  I’ll be working on that this evening and will try to notify the winners within a day or two.  Did you notice that I didn’t limit the winners to being in the US or Canada?  I just hate doing that because I want everyone to feel welcome and included on my blog.  So far I haven’t ever actually picked a winner who lived outside the United States.  In fact, the winner of my last giveaway lived less than five miles away!  And I swear to you it was totally random.  I had no idea where she lived until after I contacted her.  I’ve done a little research into international shipping costs, and yes, they are kinda high.  A bit higher than the costs quoted on my vintage postal scale …


But the shipping costs I pay to send out giveaway prizes are one small way that I can ‘pay it forward’ and say thank you for following along on my blog.  So I’m putting in every person who took the time to leave a comment (except Mr. Q because he doesn’t need any wax!) and we’ll let the chips fall where they may.

Furniture is another matter.  I only sell furniture to local buyers who can pick it up.  If you are interested in the dresser from the reluctant seller, check out my ‘available for local sale’ tab for more details.

18 thoughts on “the reluctant seller.

  1. love your Craigslist stories! Sometimes the interactions with “unusual” people add value to the purchase – kind of a bonus. As an aside, I was looking through a book of artists who salvage materials and use them for art. One in particular, had photos of his fabulous piece followed by how it all began. He used the cupboard door from one of those awful chunky furniture pieces, set fire to it (yes, a photo of a raging fire was pictured) and then salvaged it before it became ashes and made a gorgeous artwork. A rather aggressive way of distressing donchathink? Maybe you might casually mention to the heirloom sellers that you are considering a bonfire with Aunt Ruth’s most beloved piece of furniture. Please take photos of their faces.


  2. Very pretty dresser! I like the top painted, it makes the top more cohesive with the rest of the dresser. And I have had a couple of ‘interesting’ interactions with Craigslist sellers. I have a table that I am working on that was ‘free’ but only to a good home. It had peeling veneer along with dirt all over it – but the seller was very attached. Sweet old gentleman was getting a new lady roommate and her table was nicer! And last story, I just bought a beautiful chandelier for my dining room that was from a 2.8 million home in the nicest neighborhood in Dallas. I had asked if there was any ‘wiggle’ room on the price and he let me know I would be very happy with the piece (which I was). However I don’t think he expected ‘seniors’ with an old truck to pick it up and said about 5 times, if you don’t like it I would be happy to take it back and thanks for the giving me money and emptying my garage. I concluded that he was a little distressed taking money from old codgers. The chandelier is hand wrought iron, with a rust finish, locally made and beautiful. It’s a bit much for my dining room perhaps, but I love it. Oh and it was only $100, probably was in the thousands when originally purchased.


    1. Isn’t it a riot when you buy something from one of those expensive mansions?! I’ve had that pleasure a couple of times and I always get a kick out of it. You can tell that the sellers have no need whatsoever of your $100, but you’re still more than happy to hand it over because you’re still getting a bargain on an amazing piece.


  3. Another great project! I love how you accented the beautiful hardware.
    I really enjoyed your article on waxes and I am wondering if you would do an article on your favorite brushes to use for painting and waxing. I have used Purdy brushes only for chalk painting and was surprised recently to see all the recommended brushes for chalk/wax that are ’round’ (?) Does it make a difference in application? Is chalk paint suppose to be ‘scrubbed ‘ in a circular fashion? I like how my pieces have come out but I wonder if I am doing it wrong. Thanks in advance.


    1. So funny you are asking me about the round brushes. A friend of mine who has taken up furniture painting just asked me this same question last week. I have never used a round brush for painting (I use Purdy brushes for painting as well), but I do use them for waxing. I like them for waxing because I do apply the wax in a circular scrubbing sort of fashion. I can’t imagine that working well for paint though. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong Susan! If you like the results you’re getting, I say stick with it.


  4. Beautiful! I so enjoyed today’s blog. I chuckled and certainly related to your CL categories of sellers.Some of my best stuff has been in the free column and those rules apply there as well. I find myself never sharing I am going to paint over wood.I also want to say thanks for including Canadians in your give away.


    1. You’re welcome Laura! I am jealous that you get the good ‘free’ stuff on CL. I have given up on the ‘free stuff’ because I can never get there quickly enough. Usually it’s a first come, first served situation here, and I am not usually able to be first.


  5. Ahhhh … Craigslisters … I could write a book as well. I’m always reluctant to put anything in print because I also sell on Craigslist and don’t want to offend anyone. Let me know if you ever write that book … I’ll share the story of the female furniture homeowner who tried to get a Dixie dresser out of a closet with a crowbar … which just happened to be in the room. Did I think there was a chance I could die there? Yep … but I really wanted the dresser and we eventually got it out. Needless to say, Hubby no longer lets me go on furniture pickups alone! LOL p.s. Really like your dresser! So fresh looking. It will appeal to many.


  6. Good call on painting the top with the addition of the stripe and the side panels, which I love, a stained top would have been too busy. The hardware is lovely! Nice choice of colors you really do have your system down.
    Love the stories. I have only bought a few pieces off of CL. In my experience getting some people to respond as been the issue. They list it and go out of town or something. Then has been getting people to meet me so I can actually buy the item. Very similar to your experience.


    1. I think there are lots of sellers who want to sell their item, but underestimate the logistics of it all. Luckily I’m a homebody, so it tends to be fairly easy for me to set up a time for people to come and buy my pieces. I’m going to be home painting something anyway 😉


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