I sent Mr. Q to pick up a dresser from someone selling on Craigslist a few weeks ago, and while there he texted me to ask if I wanted a second dresser that the guy had for sale. There was a bit of miscommunication and after some texting back and forth, he ended up buying the 2nd dresser without my having seen a photo of it.
On the plus side, he only paid an additional $15 or so for it because that was all the cash he had on hand. On the minus side, it’s a fairly cheaply constructed piece of furniture. It also needed a few repairs before I could paint it, and it’s fairly nondescript. Definitely not my usual style.
But, what the heck, Mr. Q bought it, so I may as well do what I can with it, right?
First I called up my favorite handyman/neighbor, Ken. He was busy counting his hockey pucks (no lie, he collects hockey pucks and has been working on rearranging them in his custom made display rack lately), but he was willing to take a break from the pucks and help me out with this dresser. We worked together on shoring up the drawers that were falling apart, replacing missing drawer stops, grinding down stops that were rubbing on the drawer bottoms and adding some glides that were missing.
The rest was easy. I sanded it lightly, vacuumed away the dust and wiped it down with a damp rag. Then I painted it in two coats of Dixie Belle’s French Linen.
French Linen is one of those chameleon like colors that totally changes depending on the lighting and the colors around it. It’s a muddy grey-brown with a tiny hint of a lavender undertone. I didn’t see the lavender while painting the piece in the artificial lighting of my piano room after dark, but once I pulled the piece in front of my white wall on a bright, sunny day I could see it.
Once the paint dried, I added re.design with prima’s Carte Postale transfer.
It was the perfect fit for the front of this dresser, and I also love how it looks over the French Linen.
As for the knobs … well, I thought about replacing them with glass knobs. That certainly would have been pretty. But I would have needed to order them (I usually order them by the dozen from D Lawless Hardware). Plus, there are 10 knobs on this dresser and I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest any more money in it.
So instead I cleaned up the original wood knobs using Dixie Belle’s No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut because that didn’t cost anything.
After I took that photo above, I made a small mistake. I started to wax the knobs before they were fully dry. The wax ending up taking off some of the stain giving me a lighter color as you’ll see in a minute. I rather liked the result, so I went with it. But this is something to keep in mind. This is an oil based product and takes longer to dry than the typical products I work with (6 to 8 hours according to the label).
The wooden knobs give this piece a totally different look than glass knobs would have, don’t you think?
I suspect this decision will have a polarizing effect on you guys. Some of you will love it, some of you will hate it, but there probably won’t be many in between.
So, here’s the thing about this dresser. Although it has been repaired to make it as functional as possible, and I have done what I can to improve the look of it, in the end you know what they say, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
No matter what I do to it, it won’t become a high quality, well constructed piece of furniture. I can’t charge top dollar for this piece no matter how pretty it is.
But it definitely is pretty.
So is it worthwhile to spend 6 or 7 hours on repairs and finishing, add a $30 transfer, plus another $15 or so worth of paint and wax on a piece like this?
Well, it can be. In this case it will work out because I only paid $15 for the dresser. My handyman Ken works for wine and some occasional profit sharing, and I have nothing more important to do with my time (although Ken could have been counting hockey pucks instead). In addition, both Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima send me their product for free. So yes, for me this piece was totally worthwhile.
But for you that might not be the case. My advice is to always try to find higher quality pieces of furniture to work on. They are out there, and you may pay a little more than $15 for them, but they will be more worthy of your time. In the end you’ll have a beautiful piece of furniture that is also well constructed.
Then again, if you’re on a budget and just want something pretty for the kid’s room, or the laundry room, or the potting shed … this dresser might be perfect for you!
As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the supplies used in the attempt to turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse.
If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.