oops, I did it again.

If I come across a mid-century piece while perusing Craigslist these days, and it’s a bargain price, I can’t help but feel like I may as well buy it and paint it green.

This formula has been such a great success for me lately.  Why mess with a good thing?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  And all of those other proverbs.

So when I saw this piece on Craigslist I decided to go for it.

Luckily it was a bargain, because …

a) it isn’t quite as stylish as the other three pieces I’ve done.

b) two of the knobs are broken so I’ll need a solution for that, and there are 14 knobs total so replacing all of them could be expensive.

c) the top of this piece is plastic laminate, not wood veneer.

d) buying it was a bit of a circus.

Let’s start with that last one.  When I arranged to pick it up, the seller explained that she had already moved out of the house where the dresser was still located and now she lives over an hour away.  She was selling multiple items so she wanted to find a time to meet at the house that would work for everyone so that she only had to make the drive once.  That was two other buyers, myself, plus the seller.  Have you ever tried arranging a time that works for multiple people?  Tricky at best.

But we finally all agreed on Friday evening.  Next, the seller didn’t want to actually give out her address.  I get it.  She’d just told me that the house was empty and she was probably thinking ‘oh wait a minute, should I really be giving out the address now?‘  So instead she asked me to drive to a particular intersection and then call her and she’d give me the address from there.  That ended up working out fine, but I usually like to know where I’m going before I head out.

By the way, for safety reasons I never go pick up a piece of furniture alone.  I always have Mr. Q with me.

So we made it there, we hauled the dresser up out of the basement via a very narrow staircase with low ceilings and got it loaded into our van.  It was a lovely Friday evening, so we then took the scenic route home through St. Paul rather than just take the freeway.

Once I got it home, the first thing I did with this piece was to sand the laminate top with my orbital sander, clean it well with TSP substitute and then added a thin coat of Fusion’s Ultra Grip.  Ultra Grip is intended to improve the adhesion of Fusion paint on tricky surfaces like glass, metal or laminate.  The Ultra Grip needs to dry for at least 12 hours before you add paint over it.

I want to mention here that I hear a lot of people commenting on brush strokes when using Fusion paint, especially with the Ultra Grip.  Although you can’t really see many brush strokes in that photo, when the light hits this piece at just the right angle you can definitely see them.  I’ve read lots of tips on how to minimize the brush strokes and I do my best, but they are still there.  Certainly more so than with chalk or milk paint.  I just don’t worry about them.   All three of my previous Park Bench pieces had brush strokes, and all three of them sold like hotcakes.

Next I decided to try and remove those chunky hour glass trim pieces on the two lower drawers.

I thought this piece would look sleeker and more stylish without them and I was hoping that I would be able to remove them without doing too much damage.  If they had been super glued on I might have had some trouble, but they were nailed on with double ended nails.

I didn’t know that up front though.  I used my mini pry bar to carefully start prying it off.  I gently made my way around the edges of the trim working my pry bar under it and gently lifting to see it if would come loose.

It was held in place with quite a few nails.

I pulled the nails out with pliers and then used Dixie Belle’s Brown Mud to fill the holes and smooth out some of the damage I did prying off the trim.

If you are ever considering a piece of furniture but you don’t like the trim on it, keep in mind that removing it can sometimes be an option.  I also removed some medallions that I didn’t like from a buffet I painted a while back (you can read the details here).

The rest was easy.  I painted everything in two coats of Fusion’s Park Bench.  No need for a top coat with Fusion.

I really went round and round with the knobs for this one.  Initially I didn’t want to keep any of the originals so I went to Hobby Lobby to see what they had.  Naturally they didn’t have 14 of anything, so if I’d found the perfect knob I would have had to order more.  Also, even during a 50% off sale, I would have spent at least $35 to $50 just on knobs.

Still, I brought home a few options to try on the dresser.  As it turned out, the drawer fronts on all of the curved upper drawers are really thick.  As a result, the screws on the Hobby Lobby knobs weren’t long enough to reach all the way through.  Argh.  I’m sure Ken could solve this problem by counter sinking the nuts on the back.

But before resorting to that I decided to revisit the original knobs.  First I spruced them up a bit with some of Prima Marketing’s Mettalique wax in Vintage Gold.  Then I moved some knobs around and added new knobs to the just the bottom drawers.  I think it works.

Oh, oops, you can see I didn’t paint the underside of that overhang at the top.  But I promise, you will never even see that in person unless you decide to lie on the floor.

So there you have it, another quick mid-century makeover.

 I’ve decided to hang on to this piece until the paint cures just to be on the safe side.  I don’t always do that, but since this one is plastic laminate on the top I think it will be more susceptible to scratching until it cures.  The Fusion paint takes approximately 21 days to cure.  So I’ll list it for sale in a couple of weeks and then we’ll just have to see if my Park Bench green mid-century modern selling streak continues!

37 thoughts on “oops, I did it again.

  1. The pickup story was so fun, you need to compile these into a ‘Quandies Adventure Stories’ journal! Sounds like the beginning of a spy thriller. Fusion Park Bench is such a pretty saturated color, it makes everything happy. I love the finished piece, I wouldn’t have thought to remove the carved sections, but it works. The knobs work great together. Another success!


    1. There are only two circumstances where I will paint the back. Number one: if the back is meant to be finished, usually in the case of desks that can be floated in a room instead of up against a wall. Number two: if it’s a smoky piece and I need to seal it to minimize the odor. Otherwise no. Seems like a waste of time and paint to me. Plus oftentimes the backs of pieces are where you can really see the age, or they have labels or other identification marks that I don’t want to cover up.


  2. I never would have thought to just rearrange the knobs and add different ones to the bottom. Good thinking right there! This is a beautiful color and reminds me that we are overdue for some Spring here in Minnesota!


  3. Love the makeover as usual! I come to your blog first-always! Thanks for the tip on ultra grip. I’ve passed up laminate topped furniture because I didn’t think it’d paint well. No more! And removal of trim…awesome! Sometimes there is just too much!


    1. Thanks for visiting me first Toia! I love that! Yep, you can paint laminate. Just give it a little extra attention in the way of sanding, adding ultra grip, and handling the piece with extra care until it cures.


  4. Ok. I really have never liked MCM pieces of furniture, but I have to say, the ones that you have been painting green are looking pretty good! I definitely like the dresser better with those hourglass wood pieces removed. Could you have used milk paint with ultra grip on the piece? Would that have made a difference in the brush strokes?


    1. I could have used milk paint with bonding agent on this piece and it would have stuck. But the bonding agent is an acrylic product, very similar to the Ultra Grip. I’m not sure if I would get less brush strokes with milk paint and bonding agent than I did with the Ultra Grip and Fusion. Hard to say for sure.


  5. You are definitely the Pied Piper of MCM saves. But I cannot get enough of these in that green. My first response was what in the heck were they thinking with those trim pieces. Great idea to remove them. Hardware mix is fab just love it!


    1. I know, right? Those trim pieces just looked weirdly out of place to me. They didn’t even really line up properly with the vertical trim between the drawers above them. Just odd.


    1. I really love those knobs. They are one of the pricier knobs from Hobby Lobby though. Even at 50% off it didn’t make sense to buy 14 of them. But I do think it works to have them just on the bottom drawers.


  6. Oh this is absolutely stunning. You have really done it this time. Could you not possibly move to Wasaga Beach,Ontario. Canada.? With that piece.Mom and Sis could come too.


  7. Linda, that piece turned out stunning! You should get a great price for it…one of a kind, for sure! Love the story. Craigslist sellers can always be interesting…but then, that’s how I was so fortunate to meet you, acquire a few beautiful pieces of home furnishings, learn techniques of painting furniture and reading your fun, enjoyable blog!


    1. I have met several of my best customers via Craigslist transactions! In general the people that come to my house to buy a piece are kindred spirits. After all, if they like my furniture enough to want to buy a piece, they must have a similar style to mine! Sellers on the other hand … well, that’s a different story. I’m one of the good ones 😉


  8. It really does look better without the hourglass pieces. I like the knobs on the bottom too. I’m sure this one will sell just as fast.


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