this furniture is permanized.

So here’s the truth.  July was a complete bust as far as selling furniture is concerned.  I sold one piece in the entire month, and that was a small table that sold at Reclaiming Beautiful.

I’m not gonna lie, lack of sales is the biggest drain on my creativity.  Sounds mundane and prosaic to depend upon sales for the motivation to get creative, but that’s just how it works for me.

I also tend to start questioning the entire thing when nothing is selling.  Should I give up on the furniture painting hobby completely?  Or am I just painting the wrong pieces?  Is vintage farmhouse style out already?  Should I switch over to entirely mid-mod?  Maybe it’s my color choices.  Should I forget about shades of blue and move on to green?  Should I just paint everything black?


I suspect the answer is a combination of things, but mostly the fact that July is typically just a slow month for furniture sales.  People are spending time at the cabin or taking family vacations, not decorating.

Nonetheless, I decided to make a concerted effort to add a few more mid mod pieces to my line up because the mid-century stuff was selling really well for me for earlier this year.  My friend Sue forwarded a Craigslist ad to me for a 3-piece mid mod bedroom suite, so I contacted the seller and made arrangements to pick it up.

This past weekend I got started on the headboard and the tall dresser.

I wonder how many of you are looking at those photos and thinking yuck!

I have to admit, after I brought these home and took a proper look at them I was sort of thinking I’d made a mistake too.

But paint can perform miracles.  You’ll see.

Although I’m normally not a fan of matching suites of furniture for any room, I decided to keep these two pieces together and paint them as a pair.  I was thinking they’d be perfect for a kid’s room.  They have a bit of a masculine feel to me, so I chose to paint them in Fusion’s Ash (thank you to Fusion for supplying me with the paint).

Let’s just jump right to the ‘after’ and then I’ll share the details of how I got there.

Amazing difference, right?

And here is my little secret.  This makeover was incredibly simple.  I prepped the pieces by removing the hardware, sanding them lightly, cleaning them with Krud Kutter Kitchen Degreaser, and then rinsing with clear water.  Once they dried out, I started with one coat of the Ash.  I almost could have gotten away with just one coat but there were a couple of spots that needed some additional touch up so I added a 2nd coat of paint.

The beauty of Fusion Mineral Paint is that it doesn’t require a top coat.  There is no additional step after prep and painting.  Ta da, you are done.  Well, unless you count putting the hardware back on.

Once the Ash was dry, I taped off the inner cubbies on either side of the headboard and painted them with Fusion’s Mustard.

I know not everyone loves Mustard, although it does pair beautifully with this dark grey (and corn dogs), so I only painted the two sides.  The sliding doors can be pushed to each side creating a solid dark grey piece.

Or, slide the doors to the middle for that pop of Mustard.

I took that photo from a fairly low position which makes those holes for electrical wires look kind of obvious.  In person they aren’t noticeable at all.  They do make it convenient for an alarm clock and a phone charging station though.

The beauty of the sliding doors is that you can move them around any way you like.

The dresser is also painted in Ash.  The insides of the drawers were in pristine condition and there was no need to line them, or paint them Mustard.  Maybe that’s because this dresser was permanized by the world’s largest furniture manufacturer!

Ha!  I don’t know what ‘permanized’ means, but I suspect the real reason that the drawers are so clean inside is because they were all lined with paper.  Not sticky, gross, contact paper but just sheets of loose paper that came right out.  Nice!

 Have you noticed that the knobs and pulls on this piece look just a little bit different in the ‘after’ photos?  Scroll back up and check them out again in the ‘before’ photo.  See?  They were a bright, shiny gold.

To tone them down a bit I sanded them to give them some tooth, and then I coated them with Prima Marketing’s art alchemy Metallique wax in Bronze Age.

This color looks gorgeous next to the dark grey and gives the hardware a more industrialized or masculine look.

I’ve got some of this wax to give away, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I’ll try to get it on the schedule for next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for that post.

By the way, the forest fires out west were creating a bit of a haze for us here in Minnesota last Saturday morning when I took these photos.  We were under an air quality alert and that haze definitely affected the quality of the light in my photos.

Anyway, there you have it.  A mid mod makeover that took about one day to accomplish.

Now let’s see if it sells!

If any of you local readers need a mid-mod dresser and headboard, be sure to check my available for local sale page for more details.

48 thoughts on “this furniture is permanized.

  1. I admit it. I was thinking “yuck.” I’m not big on mid mod, and I think my aunt had that headboard in a blond wood–I wasn’t fond of it even back then. But, man oh man, do these ever look good in their masculine update! And I love the pop of mustard! Very well done!


    1. If you remember back, I had a similar headboard back in the day. In fact, I believe there is a picture of you on that bed here on the blog (here it is!), ha! But, I’ve never been a fan of them either. I was very pleasantly surprised by how nice this one turned out with its new paint job 🙂


  2. Oh the July and August dry spell. I get so discouraged when nothing sells, too! I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised in September, October and November when school is back in session, people go back to decorating. Our antique mall has an online site that uploads our daily sales and you access it and enter your store and booth number to see what you sold. Well according to the site I didn’t sell one thing on Saturday or Sunday. What!!? I keep checking cause there might be a glitch… But I think it was because this is tax free weekend for back to school sales and it rained all weekend, that’s what I tell myself. But it still is a major bummer. Don’t worry, your furniture will sell, it is so well done and your choices of furniture style and paint colors are impeccable.


    1. Thank you so much Laura! And I’m glad to hear that it’s not just me with this dry spell! Things have improved marginally in August, I’ve sold 3 pieces so far. So fingers crossed that it’s going to continue to improve.


  3. I love the mid-modern pieces that you give new life to. I am not local by any means, (Florida) but would definitely buy some of your pieces if I were. I have also learned quite a bit about refinishing and restoring from reading your blog every day and your enthusiasm and creativity, not just in furniture, but gardens, garage sales, and flea markets. I do not believe that country/farm style furniture will leave us that quick, so I am enjoying the ride while it is here. But, I am sure you will always maintain your creativity. After all, it never really leaves.


  4. Don’t take the lack of sales personally…just as you said, July is summer in full swing and peoples extra $$ are going towards vacations and trips, etc. When things get colder here in MN they will start looking at staying inside and redecorating. Your color choices are always spot on…just need the right person to see it.


  5. I love this set AND the color combo (looks like something I’d do!). If I lived there, I’d buy it for one of my boys. ❤️


  6. I totally get your thoughts about needing sales to motivate creativity. Because, after all, it’s such a reward when someone can’t wait to bring something we’ve made to their own home. And, yes, it’s hard not to take it personally. My thought on this: If Q’s things aren’t selling, no one’s is. It really is just the season and a passing thing. So hang in there with your creativity because your creations are beyond beautiful.


  7. I was hoping to get a lesson on what ‘permanized’ means but I guess it will remain a mystery to all…lol. And ya, slow sales can be discouraging for sure, I get it. But your gorgeous work doesn’t just affect the people who buy it. It inspires all of us who get to admire it online too. Hugs xo


    1. First, thank you so much for the kind words Denise! And second, you made me more curious about ‘permanized’ so I googled it. I found this info: ‘Peter E. Kroehler started out as a clerk at the Naperville Lounge Co. in 1893 and bought the company in 1903. He founded P.E. Kroehler Manufacturing Co. in Kankakee, Ill., in 1911. He merged the two companies with two other furniture manufacturers in 1915 to form Kroehler Manufacturing Co. The “Permanized” finish was advertised as moisture-proof. The company was sold in 1981.’ Which doesn’t really tell us much about what it really means. I found another source that had this to say: ‘the Mengel company coined the “permanized” term to say that their manufacturing techniques were high quality and their joints and veneers would not separate. Basically, I’m thinking that ‘permanized’ was just a catchy marketing phrase and didn’t really mean much of anything.


  8. Oh my!!! My parents had a blond set too! I thought the sliding headboard was so cool!
    I used to hide behind the headboard. The way the back was made it felt like a little hiding place and I would hide there and read and play barbies. It was given to my Grandmother, then it was sold after her death. I often wish I could find it again, it was my favorite spot!
    I don’t like mid century furniture, but that is what is selling at our antique mall. We are a college town and the students love it! Sales are always slow for us this time of year, for the reasons others mentioned, plus back to school starts early here for the children and it always slows down then. Once the end of August comes, the college kids start coming and furniture sales start to increase. There is definitely an ebb and flow to this biz! Love this set too!


    1. Yep, the millennials are loving the mid-century stuff for sure! I think a large portion of the buyers on Craigslist are in that demographic as well, and since I sell the bulk of my stuff there, it makes sense to continue in that direction. But I have to admit that I never feel as excited about working on the mid-mod pieces as I do with a great chippy farmhouse style piece!


  9. I am working on four homes right now and three of the four families are on vacation this month. Add to that back to school sales and design gets put on the back burner too. No worries it’s a temporary situation.
    You know how I used to feel about MCM but I have fallen under it’s spell.
    Probably wouldn’t use it in my home but would definitely recommend it for my younger clients. Absolutely love the pop of mustard with the ash. This is so handsome – well played.


    1. I think I’m starting to fall a bit under the spell of the mid-mod too Victoria! I really do love how this set turned out. It feels very classy to me. Wouldn’t it be amazing in a loft with brick walls and wood floors. Maybe some floor to ceiling windows 😉


  10. Wow! Love this set. I did not think I liked mid century until you have demonstrated how awesome it can be. This color choice is spot on! I bet this breaks the slow streak youre having.


  11. I love the set. It is a very smart looking set. I am beginning to change my mind about these pieces. I am kind of starting to like them. 😊


    1. Isn’t that always how it goes with these sorts of things? We hate them at first, then we think maybe they aren’t quite so bad, then we like them, then we must have them!


  12. That bed headboard takes me way back 59 years. You have done a fantastic job on the dresser has been too to hot to buy anything but a new screen door, sales will jump for you early fall. Best wishes from me, Betty


  13. Don’t take it personally, though I can understand 200% how draining it is. It was July: vacation, beach, swimming pool time 🙂 Though I love your mid-mod transformation, don’t just choose for commercial reasons. There’s that sweet spot where creativity and commercial success come together. Give yourself some time. Allthough I still think it’s just because of the July month. These are just my concerns after reading that you get more excited about chippy farmhouse.


  14. I do think the sales for older farmhouse style furniture is likely fading for many. There are always new trends and it seems that the people painting traditional or Mid Century pieces appear to be selling them. Sofas in the furniture stores appear to have modern style elements. New build homes in our area are also changing to a more sleek appearance.
    I love seeing your makeovers and still love painted furniture so I hope the trend continues and it is just change in furniture taste.


    1. Me too! I’m really not a fan of stripping, staining or varnishing furniture, so it would be a total bummer if painted furniture went out of style altogether.


  15. These are so cool! They look remarkably like the set my parents have (they also have a long, low dresser with mirror). They’re from Northern MN, so it’s very possible this was a popular style that was sold in this area. Thanks for sharing the transformation!


    1. I do have that third piece with the mirror as well, but am painting it to stand alone rather than be part of this set. And I bet you’re right that this was a popular style sold here in Minnesota! I’d say that maybe this is your parent’s exact set, but the people I bought it from had purchased it new over 50 years ago!


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