As you can probably tell by the ‘before’ photo below, I purchased this dresser back at the end of summer when I was trying to stock up some projects for the winter.
I think we can all agree that the previous owner had made some rather unfortunate hardware decisions, but otherwise this piece didn’t look all that bad at first.
I wanted to strip the top and then wax it with a dark wax, but after stripping the top of the dresser it looked like this.
I’ve run into these black streaks before. I’m not 100% sure, but after doing some quick google research I think they might be iron oxide stains (if any of you have any insight, please share in a comment). Iron oxide stains can occur when the tannins in the wood interact with moisture and turn black over time. There are methods for removing these stains, but I didn’t think it was worth it to spend that much time and effort on this dresser. The wood just wasn’t that pretty. So, in the end I opted to just paint the whole thing.
I also found some clues to tell me this dresser was probably originally intended to be painted. In fact, it had been painted at least twice and possibly three times. Clue no. 1 is on the back side.
Isn’t that a gorgeous aqua? I know I would have loved that color!
Clue no. 2 was inside the openings for the drawers …
So it was probably also pink at one time, and maybe even white.
Whoever bought the dresser, then stripped off all of those colors and refinished it, was probably pretty disappointed in the lackluster results. But I was happy to take it back to its roots. Except I didn’t choose aqua, pink or white. At least not on the outside. Instead I chose black. More of Dixie Belle’s Caviar to be precise.
Once the paint was dry I added bits and pieces of my french laundry stencil to the drawer fronts. Once again, I’d love to share a source for this stencil but the company I purchased it from via Etsy seems to no longer be in business.
To keep the stencil subtle I used a warm, dark grey acrylic craft paint rather than a white.
Once the stencil paint was dry, I sanded lightly by hand over the entire dresser with a fine grit paper and then waxed it using Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax! in brown. I think the amount of sheen I got from this wax is just about perfect.
I ended up using clear glass knobs and drawer pulls on this dresser because I happened to have them on hand. My friend Sue gave them to me and I had just the right amount for this dresser, plus they were just the right size for the existing holes. It seemed like it was meant to be.
As a nod to the remnants of pink paint that I found inside the dresser, I painted the interiors of the drawers in Fusion’s English Rose.
I like to use Fusion paint in spots like this because it doesn’t need a topcoat, yet is still fully washable once cured. A great quality for the insides of drawers. It only took me about 20 minutes for each coat of paint (I used two) and that fabulous pop of pink when you open the drawer is a lot of bang for your buck, time wise. I generally only resort to painting the inside of drawers when they are really stained up and scary looking. These drawers had a few ink stains that needed to be covered up. In order to prevent the ink stains from bleeding through my paint I tried out the new clear sealer that Dixie Belle provided me with last month, B.O.S.S.
B.O.S.S. stands for Blocks Odors, Stains, Stops bleed-thru.
Had I wanted to block odors, or stop a reddish stain from bleeding thru I would have painted the B.O.S.S. over the entire surface. However in my case I just had a couple of stain spots that needed blocking, so I just painted two quick coats of B.O.S.S. over the stains themselves. It worked perfectly.
You might be wondering why I didn’t paint that edge of the drawer. That is because the drawer fits fairly tightly as it is. If I added paint, it would not open and close freely. Always beware of adding too much paint to the edges of your drawers when they are a tight fit. Nobody wants sticky drawers!
I staged the dresser with some of my favorites from my non-collection of vintage alarm clocks, plus one of my favorite old photos.
That photo was taken on the stoop of my grandparent’s home in South Minneapolis, but no one in the family seems to know who the people are. They look like such a fun couple though, don’t they? I imagine that it was a sunny spring day and they were on their way to a picnic at Minnehaha Falls when the photo was taken.
This was back in the day when ladies wore dresses and men wore ties on picnics in the park.
They probably had fabulous painted dressers with glass knobs too, but maybe not with french stencils on them. Their loss, right?
I gotta tell you guys, I’m kind of in love with this Dixie Belle Caviar. Lucky they sent me the big jar, because I’m going to be using a lot of this color.
The blanchisserie dresser is available while it lasts, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details!