the société dresser.

I’m pretty sure Mr. Q and I purchased this dresser via Craigslist way back in early spring and it has been hanging out in my carriage house ever since.

It was in quite good shape.  At some point someone refinished it complete with a shiny poly topcoat.  If you know me at all, you know I’m not a fan of shiny and I’m not a big fan of the heavy grain of oak either.

I was in the mood to work with Fusion paint when I started this dresser, so I prepped the piece by scuff sanding it lightly, and then cleaned it with some TSP substitute before painting on two coats of Fusion’s Limestone.  Limestone is the warmest of the Fusion whites.

Once dry, I sanded the edges to distress.  Here is a close up of the mirror to give you a better idea of what that looks like.

To feed my current addiction, I added an Iron Orchid Designs transfer to the drawer fronts and the mirror frame.

In hindsight this dresser would have been pretty with sparkly glass knobs, but I opted to keep the hardware that came with it since I had all of the pieces.

This dresser has pin and cove dovetailing.

I’ve talked about this kind of dovetailing before.  Pin and cove dovetails were only used for a short time, from around 1870 to 1890 or so, and they were only used in the U.S. and Canada.  They never caught on in Europe.  Although I’m sure that the dresser itself dates back that far, I don’t think the hardware does.  I think this is reproduction hardware because it’s very flimsy and light.  Older drawer pulls like these were much heavier and thicker.

You may have noticed in the past that I often split up mirrors and dressers.  I find that dressers tend to be a little more versatile without a mirror.  You can use it as a changing table, or as a TV stand, or as a buffet.  But this time I kept the mirror.  The dresser just has so much more personality with the mirror in place.  It even looks amazing without any staging at all.

But since it’s way more fun to add some fab vintage props, I added my apron strings chair from Tuesday as well as the other ‘apron strings’ colored items.  I also added a few of my Limelight hydrangeas which are starting to turn a little pink for fall.

And I set it all up in the driveway for a photo shoot.

Sometimes I wonder if people driving by my house notice that I always seems to have furniture in the driveway.

Here’s the official ‘before & after’, what do you think?

This dresser is for sale locally.  If interested, please check my ‘available for local sale’ tab for more details.

34 thoughts on “the société dresser.

  1. Wow. So beautiful Quandie! You have such an eye for choosing the right color. I struggle with that so much when painting furniture. Love this and I am gonna bite the bullet and get some iron orchid transfers. They are so fab!


    1. Thanks Dagmar! And I really enjoyed checking out your blog this morning. You have some great posts. (Everybody: if you click on Dagmar’s name in green above there is a link that will take you to her blog, you should check it out!)


  2. I love that you kept the mirror on this piece. Everything about it is beautiful. Some lucky person is going to snatch that right up. I just wish I lived closer!


  3. Love it all. The dresser, beveled mirror, dress, hydrangeas and the unfinished chair. My oldest daughter has a piece with pin and cove dovetailing. I love that it’s so unusual. I’ve only stumbled across one other piece with that dovetailing. It’s beautiful.


    1. Thanks Maureen! I’ve done a few pieces with pin and cove, probably because it was used a lot for Eastlake pieces from that time period and I seem to be really drawn to Eastlake. I love that it’s such an easy way to date furniture too.


  4. Ok, I think I have posted a comment everyday this week! I usually do not comment that much, but you are killing me with so much awesomeness that I can not help it! I have found myself reading your blog before work each day if you have posted, and only one other blog I read has me doing that! I am really loving those transfers. I am glad to hear that you leave some pieces behind because they are too good to paint. I have pieces that have such a good patina that they should be left alone. On the other hand, we had collected a lot of oak furniture when it was hot in the eighties and early nineties, and still have it. Similar finishes like this dresser that I would love to paint!


    1. Yeah, I am really not fond of that 80’s oak. Or really oak in general. I love to cover it up with some paint 😉 And thank you very much for your comment Shelly, and feel free to keep ’em coming. It’s comments that make this whole blogging thing worthwhile!


  5. Well I have to admit that piece was beautiful before but it is sensational now. Are you going to keep it for yourself?I wish I lived closer Love to Mom….Betty fro You know where.


    1. Nope, no room at the inn. My house is chock full. Although sometimes I do swap out pieces when I find something that I really, really love. But I don’t need a mirrored dresser at my house, more’s the pity 😉


  6. Linda, that dreser is so great. I love the white – I know white pieces sell really well, so I imagine the dresser will sell quickly. I have one Iron Orchid transfer and am waiting for the right piece to come along to use it. I like your idea in the previous post to put the flat sealer over the transfer to hide the shininess (word?). It’s interesting that in your photo outdoors the apron springs chair has a brownish hue. I know it’s the light, but it is interesting how photography captures colors sometimes. I need a hydrangea bush – yours produces beautiful flowers!


    1. It was a bit of a dreary day when I took the photos for this one, so I think that is contributing to the ‘brownish hue’ on the chair. I do love using the Dead Flat over the IOD transfer. My advice is to sand it very lightly with 220 grit first, which also helps minimize the slight shine from the transfer, and then add the Dead Flat. I feel like you can barely see that ‘halo’ on the box I posted earlier this week, and that is the method I used there. On this piece I just sanded it slightly, but did not add a top coat since the Fusion doesn’t need one. And as for the hydrangea, go get yourself a Limelight. I absolutely love mine. They are show stoppers in the garden and really require almost no care.


  7. I love the dresser. I bought a quite large dresser with the same pin and cove dovetails. I didn’t realize that it was so old. It is the dresser that I have spoke about before. The one that smells awful! I have tried everything to get the smell out. My last effort was painted shellac on the inside and drawers. Helped a little but not much. Haven’t decided what to do next. My husband says, “get rid of it!” Of course I have it in his shop right now. I don’t think that it is the smell as much as it is in his way. (Haha) I maybe will try painting all the inside and outside. You did that and it worked for you. I love the limestone color that you painted yours and the IOD transfer. Maybe a good winter project?


    1. What is the smell Monica? Cigarette smoke? Mouse pee? Mothballs? Mold? Just age? I’ve used newspaper to help get rid of smoke smells and it worked fairly well. Have you tried that? If the dresser is just sitting around anyway, try the newspaper thing. Put crumpled up newspaper in the drawers, leave it there for a couple of days, pull it out and repeat. The paper absorbs the smells. I have to say, if shellac didn’t block the smell I doubt that paint will.


      1. I think that it is mouse pee. That is my guess. I have scrubbed it several times with tsp and other products. Baked it in the sun for probably 2 weeks everyday. Coffee grounds. Shellac. I was thinking of trying Zinsser primer. Is it a lost cause? What do you think?


      2. These days the only suitable solution for mouse pee in my book is replacement of the affected areas. For example, I once had Ken replace the bottom and sides of a drawer where you could see the mouse pee at the back of the drawer. Then I sealed with primer and painted over that. However, after reading something online recently about the diseases carried by mice, I’ve vowed to avoid ever bringing home another mouse pee piece. I now believe that they are not worth saving, or at least not worth it to me to work on them and risk exposure to who knows what. However, maybe your piece isn’t a total lost cause. Can you re-purpose the drawer fronts as signs?


    2. Hi Monica,
      We are antique dealers and often run into some smelly pieces. You may have already tried these suggestions, but I thought you might like to know what I do if not.
      Put rice in the drawers, lots of it. The rice absorbs the smell. It may take a while, like a year, but if it is just sitting around, try it. You can also add lots of baking soda with it.
      I have also used charcoal, like you would use in a grill. It takes a while too. You need a lot of it as well.
      I have also washed the inside drawers with bleach water. Do not use on the exterior, it may harm the wood. Now that the raw wood in the drawers are coated, it may be too late for bleach.
      There have been a few pieces that nothing works to take the smell out, and I just had to get rid of the piece! I hope this advice helps.


      1. Thank you Shelly for the information. I hate to get rid of it. It is a beautiful piece. I did try a bleach product, prior to the Shellac. I can try charcoal. Washington is a damp place! (Haha) Rice just might turn to mush. Maybe newspaper with the charcoal? It’s worth a try.


  8. I was thinking about it and I bet pin and cove was found to be easier than mortise and tenon, but not as strong, so it was eventually abandoned. I just googled it and it was as I suspected:

    New drills were mass produced making them affordable, so drilling holes in wood became much easier. Thus the process of pin and cove joinery became popular. I am guessing it is not as strong as mortise and tenon and thus was dropped as those tools became cheaper and more readily available.


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