Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tutorial: Overhauling a down-on-its-luck dresser

I realize now I have been in metamorphosis.  A metamorphosis that my Sugar couldn't be happier about! 
 He would say, "It's been a long time coming."  I do admit to a few screams and kicks along the way.  However, I can say, and with just a tad of resignation, that I have turned from my prodigal, spend thrift ways and morphed FRUGAL.

Now don't get me wrong.  I've never been one to spend excessively.  Now that I think about it, have actually never had the opportunity.  In college I lived financial aid/loan check to financial aid/loan check.  Combining incomes when marrying allowed for a bit of breathing room.  But along came the children close on the heels of the "I do's" and any self-respecting parent would agree, the rest is history!  The money that is! :)

Since Punk's birth on September 9, 2008, she has shared our bedroom.  This was decided on for two reasons: 1) We have a three bedroom house and didn't want to throw an infant in on Miss Gracie whose middle-of-the-night feedings would surely interrupt her beauty sleep.  2) Last child we plan on having...  Enough said??? ;)  So Sugar set her crib up in an empty corner (decorating seems to be a continual work-in-progress for me!) while I put her clothes in baskets to stash away under the crib: easy to pull out when needed.  As for the headbands, wipes, baby lotion, etc., we attached an "organizer" to the side of the crib that corralled it all and satisfied the ocd in me. ;)

 I do realize it's not the most attractive set-up.  Especially when comparing to mySamuelson and Miss Gracie's elaborately decorated rooms.  However, as I've repeated many times since Punk graced our lives, and what I consider my new mantra, "That 3rd child, blessing though she is, has changed my entire life!"  Unbelievable for those who knew me pre-Punk days, but have arrived at a place where I'm o.k. with "not perfect", "a little disorganized" and "out-of-place".  "O.k" up to a point that is!    

The inevitable has now happened and Punk is exercising her developing, large gross motor skills in the attempt to escape!  It will not be long before the glorious crib days are over and we're pulling out Miss Gracie's old toddler bed; Have to mention here that it's DARLING!  It has a canopy that hangs over the four posts...  But I digress. :)

O.k., o.k.  On with the tutorial! 

Taking into consideration the lengthy intro above (my alter ego is a storyteller), I found myself (well, actually, Punkl has) in dire need of a dresser.  Miss Gracie's room is average size, about 10x11.  However, besides her double bed, long, squat dresser, a rocking chair, nightstand, and of course bookshelf (certifiable bookworm here!), I have to fit in a toddler bed and another dresser!  Another long and squat wouldn't fit with the little space I had left to work with.  It would have to be an upright: tall and thin.  Checked with a local furniture store (Haverty's); Good quality furniture, but not high-end.   

$850.00 for a large, upright dresser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! embellishments, no inlaid gold or marble.  Just a white, unadorned, simple but graceful dresser.

The newly-adopted frugal instict kicked in and the wheels began to turn.  I knew most consignment stores carried dressers.  And anyone who consigns knows it's all a matter of timing when looking for a particular item.  I started with a very good friend's consignment and was tickled pink to run across not one, but two upright dressers!  Since I had already decided to cut a path to save as much as possible, was no longer "cornered" into finding a white dresser.  Actually, was now looking for a good, solid dresser whose appearance mattered not, for I would need to overhaul it anyway to match Miss Gracie's dresser.

I went with the larger upright given the closet in their room is small and bursting at the seams with their Sunday dresses: leaving no room for any other clothing.


A mere $75.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After unloading this solid monster myself (Sugar seems to disappear when these jobs crop up), I immediately went to work.

First, I removed the handles from the drawers.

Though classic and antiquated...

not suitable for the color scheme or dress & toile theme of the room.

However, they are tucked away for use in some future endeavor.  Waste not want not! :)

I filled the holes the handles left behind with "Wood Filler".  Very inexpensive: a few dollars at Lowes.

30 minutes later, when it had dried, I sanded it down with fine grade sand paper.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to sand it down level with the surrounding wood for a smooth, uniform finish.  Even the smallest nodule (e.g. imperfection) is visible when the paint goes on.

Then the first coat of Kilz (a paint primer) went on with Sugar nipping at its drying heels with the drill.  Have determined that most men, whether handymen or not, can't resist a power tool! 
 [Aside: Drilling the new holes for the new handles can be done before applying the Kilz.  The order in these two steps are just a matter of preference.}

Once those holes for the hardware were drilled, I added another coat of Kilz to the drawers.  However, I neglected to include the dresser itself.  Don't even ask.  I have no idea why I would do that.  Take this as a wonderful learning opportunity from my mistake mishap. ;)  Subsequently the drawers took just 3 coats of paint, while the dresser itself took 7 (I think).  I quit counting after the fourth coat at 3 a.m! 

Lastlly, the new handles went on, wrapping up the project. (You can imagine my relief that Lowes still carried the flower handles I had bought a few years earlier when I switched out the handles on Miss Gracie's dresser!) 


{BTW, that small dark spot in the lower right corner of the bottom drawer is a chip in the wood.  It was there when I bought it.}

Dresser     $75.00
          Flower Handles     $40.00                      
                                                                  (12 in all)
    Misc.     $25.00
                                                     (Wood filler, Kilz, 
                                                      paint, paint brush,  
TOTAL: $140.00

 $850.00 - $140.00 
= $710.00

I'd say it was time and money well spent...

wouldn't you???


  1. I love it! You have inspired me to "do it yourself" (or myself, I should say).

  2. LoVe IT! lOvE IT! love it!!!

  3. Love it Melissa! I am so impressed and inspired!

  4. LOVE this! I'm into 2 dresser jobs right now.

  5. This project turned out to be GORGEOUS!! I absolutely ♥♥♥♥♥♥ the cute! You make me feel empowered to do this myself, as I have an old dresser I saved from being trashed that is old-looking, but solid as a rock! =) �Gracias, se�ora! ;)

  6. Great job on that! I'm planning to paint mine white too :)


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