the faux tiger.

I worked on a quite a few pieces of furniture during my recent blog hiatus.  I’m afraid this is a bit of a bad news/good news situation for you guys because it reminded me of how much more I can get done when I’m not spending quite so many hours editing photos and writing blog posts!  But not to worry.  I think I can find a balance between blogging and doing the actual furniture painting and that’s going to be my goal going forward so I hope you’ll stay tuned.  And of course the good news is that I’ll have lots of furniture makeovers to share with you for the next couple of weeks.

Today we’re starting with piece no. 1.

When I saw the ad for this dresser on Craigslist, I have to admit I immediately hated it.

OK, hate is a strong word.  But let’s just say I am not a fan of tiger oak.

I actually passed over the ad for this piece several times before I decided to look past the tiger oak-iness of the dresser.  I then realized that I liked the clean lines, the height, the original wood casters and the key holes.  It was a blank canvas really.

So Mr. Q and I went and picked it up.

I was just starting to prep it for its paint job when nnK (that’s new neighbor Karen, my neighbor across the street whose house is peeking out from behind the dresser in that before photo) stopped over.  She took a look at the finish and said “you realize that’s fake, right?”

Um, no.  I hadn’t really paid much attention since I wasn’t hoping for real tiger oak and in fact was trying really hard to ignore that finish and planned on painting right over it.

Sure enough, if you look closely where the finish has chipped off you can see that this is just a faux finish and underneath is a plain wood.

I’m not even sure what kind of wood it is.  But I should also have been clued in by the fact that the piece is not heavy enough to be oak.  Oak is definitely a heavier wood.

So yes, it’s a faux tiger finish.  For those of you who cringe when people paint over ‘real wood’, you can chill.  This one’s fake.

Aside from the really dried out finish, this dresser was in pretty decent shape.  All I had to do was sand it, wipe it down with TSP Substitute and start painting.  I think it took longer for me to pick a color than it did to paint it.  I debated using a grey, or even pink.  But in the end I chose Fusion’s Inglenook.

I really love this color, but I find it hard to get photos that really show the true color.  It’s a blue green that can look more blue in some light, and more green in others.  I’ve heard people describe it as a green, but I would be more inclined to call it blue.  The look of the color also depends upon the color of other items around it.  Put it next to a blue and it will look more green, and vice versa.

It’s definitely a color you should see in person and make your own judgement.

Once painted, this dresser was completely transformed but it was still a bit plain.  I wanted to add a little bit more.  So I pulled out an Iron Orchid Designs Le Fleur transfer that Mr. Q ordered for me somewhere online (I’m sorry I didn’t keep track of where this one came from, but if you google it you’ll find it at several places for less than $20).

The details on this transfer are absolutely amazing.

I’ve heard people say that they can’t justify spending the money on an IOD transfer for just one use, and I think we’ve already established that I am usually pretty frugal about such things myself.  But for less than $20 and about 30 minutes of extra labor, this adds a ton of personality to an otherwise somewhat plain piece of furniture.  When I add one of these transfers to a piece I can usually get anywhere from $50 to $75 more for the finished piece than I would have without it.  In other words, it more than pays for itself.

As you can see, I switched out the original wooden knobs that came with the dresser for some large, sparkly, clear glass knobs from D. Lawless Hardware (these are the 1 1/2″ antique clear glass knobs).

I could have just painted the wooden knobs and I think that would have looked OK.  It certainly would have been a cheaper option, but I wanted to add a little sparkle without distracting too much from the transfer so I went with clear glass.

I was having a bit of fun hanging this pair of vintage paint rollers on the wall above the dresser.

There is a story behind these.  A couple of weeks ago when my friend Meggan, the thrift doctor, and I got together for some thrifting she brought me a gift.  One of these rollers.  I burst out laughing and said ‘you aren’t going to believe this, but I already have a paint roller just like this!’

They are an exact match.  What are the chances?

So, what do you think?  Did you prefer the faux tiger?  Or is Le Fleur more your style?

If you are local and in need of a pretty piece to store things in, this dresser is for sale.  Be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

30 thoughts on “the faux tiger.

  1. Right from the start, the faux tiger oak offended my eyes, and I did think it looked really odd. I have my great-grandmother’s real tiger oak child’s dresser with mirror, and I can tell you it’s not knock-your-eyes-out looking like that one! Even so, I would like to paint it (so many gasps out there I’m sure) and always think your make-overs are spectacular, which gets me revved up to paint that old girl. So now I’m thinking she’s gonna need some bling with the transfers too! But there’s a problem with the top (some chips) and I am wondering if you could give me some advice on whether it could be repaired so the top could stay unpainted? Or perhaps you have a post that I’ve missed where you repaired a top so you could keep it unpainted? I’ll check back to see if you had time to answer this and appreciate any advice you might have.


    1. So you have some chipping veneer on the top, is that right? And you’d like to leave the top unpainted? Unfortunately no, I don’t have a solution for fixing those chips and being able to leave them unpainted. Although here’s a thought. Did you see the post about the dresser where I used old book pages to line the spots of chipped veneer (find it here)? I painted the top of that dresser, but I wonder if you could use this same technique with an unpainted top. It might be kind of fabulous. Check it out and let me know what you think.


      1. Hey Linda,
        Sometimes you can just tear off the veneer/ remove it , and the wood underneath just needs a little stain if it looks like a decent wood. I have just slowly pried off the veneer carefully with a putty knife.If the remaining wood is good , go with stain or it looks too awful you can just paint the top of needed.


      2. Dang! I thought for sure you would come up with a McGiver fix for the top. I had to laugh when you said Unfortunately No. Thanks for the alternative reference, I’m going to check it out. Really appreciate how you explain so much as you work projects. Once again in my current post, I’ve referred readers to your wonderful blog. They’re starting to think I’m getting a kick-back!


      3. I’m assuming that you want to save the wood top (rather than strip off the veneer) and patch it in some way that will make it look as though it never chipped and use a stain or wax finish on it. In which case, I stick with my ‘unfortunately no’ answer. But let me know what you think of the book page idea. I really do think that could be a fun look for a wood top.


  2. Such a pretty color! I think the transfer is the perfect thing for it and btw, the tiger fake Oak was hideous, thanks for covering it up! It should sell fast now.


  3. I much prefer the “after.” However, as beautiful as the transfers are, they often have mistakes in French used. It’s a picky thing for me, but would never buy a piece or use a transfer with grammatical errors.

    La fleur….maybe you could correct it?


    1. Oh my goodness! Well, as you can tell I don’t know a word of French. I have a stencil that says something along the lines of “family and friends gather here” in French and I’ve seen people use this stencil on headboards or bedroom dressers and I’ve always thought that was a bit off as well. Although maybe their family and friends do gather in the bedroom 😉


  4. Beautiful! I love the plain lines of this dresser. I prefer the painted dresser. Not a fan of tiger oak. I think people really like it or really don’t.


    1. Yep, that pretty much seems to be the consensus. I’m sure there are some tiger oak fans out there somewhere, but chances are they definitely don’t follow my blog 😉


  5. I have to say nnK was pretty good to spot the fake finish. And I’m in the “it looks hideous” with the faux tiger stripes group. Wonder how long it took that person to paint it that way? Anyway…love the redo…as soon as I saw the stencil thing had roses, I thought how pretty it would also look on the new pink. Great transformation!


  6. Another wow!!! I just Iove those transfers! That color is gorgeous! I would love to have this piece! If I was able to buy every one of your pieces that I love, I would be able to fill a warehouse! I am already wall to wall furniture! Starting to weed out some, too crowded, but I love furniture! 😃


  7. It’s beautiful…………and I love pink. I have two vintage guests of drawers in my bedroom in different shades of pale pink with waxed natural wood tops. Gorgeous.


    1. So funny, I was in the home decor section of our local Target store (I’m guessing you don’t have Target down under) over my lunch hour and I ran into a friend. We were standing among a whole bunch of pink (see the pink stuff here) and she happened to say that she was so over pink. But clearly pink is making a big comeback. I think the popularity of pink waned a bit after the Rachel Ashwell/Shabby Chic period, but it’s coming back in more of a mid-century sort of way. I love it paired with gold like they’ve done in the Target collection. And your different shades of pink with waxed natural wood tops (my favorite way to finish a wood top!) sounds gorgeous.


  8. Ah nope no faux tiger thank you very much. On the other hand that is an absolutely great color you went with. I am very partial to these transfers they are a nice touch especially with the glass knobs for a more feminine look. I also think this is piece that could hold it’s own without the transer keeping the original knobs particularly with those wood casters a nod to the masculine. I am definitely drawn to this style or era of furniture.
    Love the paint roller story. Meggan definitely “gets” you. You seem to have a non collection of of very thoughtful friends. 😉


  9. Ha! I didn’t have time to sit down yesterday and I definitely like to savor your posts. Love the staging on this one! 🙂 I still can’t believe you had the exact same roller. What are the chances?! (I suppose better than most with our similar tastes) I’m definitely on the “paint the tiger” train, but my real question is “What would Betty do?” 😉 Great color, fresh for the New Year!


  10. I’m excited to tell you that i bought Fusion paint today! You can give yourself a pat on the back cause it’s due to the great job you’ve done showcasing it;) I’m painting my sisters staircase and I’m very excited not to have to do a topcoat on it!


    1. Oh my gosh, I think I have to nominate you for the sister of the year award for painting your sister’s staircase for her. I wonder if my sister is reading. My staircase could sure use a fresh coat of paint, hint, hint 😉 Just keep in mind that Fusion needs to cure for 21 days or so before it is fully durable. I’m not sure what part of the stairs you are painting but just make sure your sister knows to treat it a little bit delicately until the paint is cured.


  11. I am still always in awe of what a difference a coat of paint makes 😉 This piece is no exception. It’s GORGEOUS! One of my fave colours too 🙂 Well done.


    1. Thanks Petra! I’ve been painting furniture for a long time and yet I too am still amazing sometimes at what a difference a coat of paint makes! It so fun to see the transformation 🙂


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