It’s been quite some time since I did a proper before and after furniture makeover post. I got my camera sensor cleaned about a month ago, and it seems like ever since, my photography has been off. My pictures aren’t coming out the way they did before, so I think something may be wrong with either the camera or me. It’s quite possibly the latter because I’ve never claimed to be a photography master. That, combined with a bit of pressure to produce furniture pieces, has kept me from documenting makeovers from start to finish. It feels good to be back at it again after such a long hiatus.
The subject of this makeover is a gorgeous depression era dresser that I snagged from a local antique market. The vendor was having a huge sale and I couldn’t believe what I was able to purchase this piece for!
I almost couldn’t believe it. The construction of the dresser was solid. It didn’t wobble and all of the drawers slide in and out fine. The only “problems” were missing pieces of decorative trim (but they weren’t really an issue for me.) Anything cosmetic can be fixed with paint. This particular photo was taken with my iPhone over at my parent’s house. I had to store the dresser in their dining room until I could make room in my apartment to work on it and the lighting was horrible that day.
Here’s a close up of that gorgeous, yet incomplete, trim.
Half of the decorative trim work was also missing from the bottom scallop, so I gently pried it off with my hammer and screwdriver.
The ghostly shadow of what was once there had me laughing a bit. I also removed all of the bead trim around the top scallop. There were too many pieces missing to warrant keeping it all.
So long fellas. You’ve done well.
I went back and forth on the color that I wanted to use on this piece. Specifically, I was torn between Miss Mustard Seed’s Trophy and Bergere.
Trophy is March’s Color of the Month. It’s a true gray and the depression dresser in the collage below was my inspiration (minus the stripes).
Bergere, on the other hand, is a smoky blue gray that is simply stunning to work with. I recently sold a china cabinet that was painted in Bergere, and it received so many compliments that I wondered if I should go with this winning color again.
I could envision both colors looking fabulous on this piece, so in lieu of my indecisiveness, I started refinishing the wood top instead. Once that was completed, I figured it would help me decide what to do for the bottom.
My normal process for refinishing wood tops on dressers and tables has been described on my blog post about refinishing wood. You can read all about it here. The top of my dresser only needed one application of CitriStrip. I had two reallystubborn spots that never completely stripped. I’m not sure why, but they’re small enough that it didn’t hold me back.
I mixed up equal parts Curio and Typewriter and watered them down with 2 parts water to make this custom stain. I painted it on and wiped it back with a rag. It took two applications total to achieve this rich shade.
As you can tell, I decided on Bergere for the final color! Once I saw how rich and dark the top painted/stained up, I was sold on the blue gray that is Bergere.
Before I started painting, I had scuffed the dresser really well to ensure that the Milk Paint would adhere. I was open to chippiness, but I didn’t want a ton, so I cleaned the piece well with odorless mineral spirits and went to town scuffing it. Looking back, I probably over-scuffed because the Milk Paint soaked in like it does on raw wood, but I wanted to be safe on this one.
In the end, there were a few chippy spots, but they were welcomed.
When it came to staging this piece, I went for simple. This piece is pretty all by itself and I didn’t think it needed lots of decorations, so I hung my burlap wreath that I made above the dresser and that was it.
I kept the original hardware on the drawers. They give it that quintessential depression era feel. It has gorgeous scalloped ring pulls.
The knobs are typical for the style of this piece.
I went around the edges with 100 grit sandpaper to give it more of an older feel.
Milk Paint distresses in such an authentic looking manner, don’t you think? That’s one of my favorite aspects of using this type of paint (among others).
I’m obsessed with how the top turned out too. I sealed everything (top included) with 100% natural Hemp Oil. Using a technique called “wet sanding”, I applied the Hemp Oil with a brush and used 400 grit sandpaper to work it in and sand at the same time. The result is a surface that feels like butter. You can read more about wet sanding in my tutorial I wrote for the MMS Milk Paint blog here.
Doesn’t it look like a chocolate bar? You can barely see the stubborn spots in the top right and left hand corners. They didn’t stain up as dark as the rest of the top, but you can’t notice them unless you’re really looking up close. Besides me, who really does that anyway?
It feels good to post a proper furniture makeover again, despite the difficulties with my camera and choosing a color. To purchase the products I used on this makeover, visit my booth downstairs at Morgantown Market or find your local MMS Milk Paint retailer here.
I’ll be taking the dresser over to Morgantown in the Marshmallow this afternoon. It’s available for $250 if you are interested!