I had been keeping an eye on the Craigslist ad for this dresser for at least a month. I thought it had potential, but at $100, it was overpriced (which is why it sat on Craigslist for so long). I finally decided to send the seller a lower offer and they agreed to my price.
When Mr. Q and I arrived to pick it up, the seller told me that she’d had it posted for $200 originally and it never sold. She’d ultimately realized that she really just wanted it out of her garage, so that’s why she lowered the price to $100 and then further agreed to my even lower offer. The implication being that it was worth way more and I was getting a heck of deal.
Some people seem to think that anything that is more than 80 years old is a valuable antique. Not true. Condition is everything in the world of antiques, and this dresser was in pretty poor condition. Starting with the fact that at some time in its life someone cut the sides off the top. I assume they needed to fit it into some narrow space and the only way to accomplish that was to trim it down a little. In addition, just check out this alligator-ed finish …
On top of that, the knobs on the top drawers were completely bent and misshapen, the drawers were hard to open, and there were paint drips all over the top. And did I mention that it was positively filthy and obviously had been in that garage for quite some time?
But I bought it anyway. I could see it still had potential, just not $100 worth of potential and certainly not $200 worth!
To get started, I sanded it down just slightly and then cleaned it with vinegar water. Next I sanded down the sides of the drawers (where they sit on the glides) and then rubbed a block of canning wax over them so they would glide more easily. Then I once again used my ‘perfect chipping method‘ and added some Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish (you can also use Miss Mustard 100% beeswax) in spots that I wanted to chip.
Choosing to go with milk paint on this dresser was a no-brainer. Milk paint and alligator are the perfect pair. The tricky part was deciding on a color. Since I’d gotten several comments recently from readers who love seeing more color and are bored with white, I thought it would be fun to go more colorful with this one. I wasn’t in the mood for any of the straight up milk paint colors I had on hand though, so I decided to create my own.
Now I’ll just go ahead and apologize right now to those of you who might want to try and recreate this color. Not that you can’t do it, but it will require three different colors and two different brands of milk paint because this color is a mix of equals parts Homestead House Loyalist, Homestead House Upper Canada Green and Miss Mustard Seed Kitchen Scale.
I think I’ll call this color Blue Alligator.
And see what I mean about milk paint and alligator? Such an awesome effect.
I’m not sure any of my photos do justice to Blue Alligator, and I don’t think I can adequately describe how it differs from straight up Kitchen Scale. It has a little more green than Kitchen Scale (thanks to the Upper Canada Green), and it’s a little more muted (thanks to the Loyalist), and it’s a little bit lighter.
And I have to tell you, I loved this color so much I painted two more things with it. A chalkboard and another piece that you’ll be seeing in the next week or two.
Painting this piece ended up being the easy part. Two quick coats and it was done.
Next came the exciting part. I pulled out another of my Iron Orchid Designs transfers. This is the larger version of the same design I used on my green window last week. In fact, this transfer was actually too large to use on this dresser ‘as is’, so I cut it apart and just used the sections that worked. If you look closely you’ll see that my dresser is a mishmash of various pieces of it. I did each layer (top, middle, bottom) of drawers separately.
According to the Iron Orchid Designs YouTube videos, you can put any typical top coat over their transfers. So I went ahead and waxed the dresser with Homestead House furniture wax next.
Finally, I found some knobs in my stash for the top two drawers. They looked a bit too new next to the original drawer pulls though, so I decided to try a new technique on them and added a copper patina. I’m going to post about that process in more detail later this week, so be sure to check back for that.
So now, what do you think? Is this thing just gorgeous or what?
Wouldn’t this dresser be amazing in a potting shed?
I could also see it working perfectly as a small buffet in a dining room.
It actually looks pretty much perfect right in that spot on my front three season porch.
But I’m not planning to keep it.
Of course, if it doesn’t sell … well, let’s just say I won’t be crying in my coffee.
For now though, this dresser is for sale, so if you are local and need a gorgeous dresser be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ tab.