updating an old dresser

One of my more popular posts from years ago was when I painted a sweet vintage dresser from white to mustard yellow.  French Pale Gold by Behr, to be exact.  It was a total statement piece, and generally stood in our entryway, so it was a bright sunny welcome to everyone!  I love that dresser.  It was one of the very first pieces I got garage sale-ing when we first got married.  It was a dark cream color and I painted it white, because I was deep into the shabby chic thing (those over-used words now make me cringe), and I painted everything white.  Then chipped off some of the paint, of course.


The dresser has bounced from house to house and room to room.   Once we moved to our current house, it was a chance for me to figure out what my design aesthetic really was.  It had been changing over time, and my previous house hadn’t really been reflecting that for awhile.  In this new house, it’s been a time of slowly discovering what I love for my home.  And French Pale Gold was not it anymore.

Give me all the woods, creams, whites (am I going shabby chic again?!), black, grey (nope, definitely not shabby chic), and then pile loads of texture on top of that.  Yes, thats more of the direction I’m heading.  So that meant I either was going to repaint the dresser AGAIN, or strip it.  So I stripped it!  I had no idea the condition or quality of the wood underneath, whether the top would be melamine or veneer or solid wood.  But I knew if it was really bad, a couple coats of white paint would cover a multitude of sins.


My dad helped, of course.  He always helps.  I rarely start a project unless he’s visiting (my parents live with us about a week out of every month), so naturally, I waited for his help and expertise.  I knew he had stripped furniture in the past, so I was relying on his experience.  It totally paid off!  He suggested using a citrus based stripper called Citristrip from Home Depot.  (Definitely get the 1/2 gallon size rather than the quart because it takes a couple applications.)  The stuff was amazing!  The paint bubbled up and after testing a couple spots and waiting longer, it came off really easily.  We used flat scrapers and for the indented areas and curves, we used a wire bristle disc on a drill.  After the majority of the paint was off, we sanded it down and cleaned it off.



There is still a little bit of paint pocketed deep in some spots, but I am totally ok with that.  I love a little imperfection.


And that is all!  I really should give at least the top a clear coat to protect it, but I really love the way the wood looks now, but as soon as it is wet (like it would be with a clear coat, it had a strong reddish/pinkish tint, which I didn’t love.  So I’m keeping it raw.  In the picture below, you can see how i=different the woods are between the drawers and the trim, but I actually really love t!


The next dilemma was what to do about the handles.  We lived with blue tape handles for about 6 months, which got a little annoying immediately.  The previous handles were original to the piece and super ornate and dated.  I really wanted to find a mix of all the styles I love: Warm woods, vintage shape, and modern handles.  The problem was that there are 9 drawers, and 3 different handle sizes.  After lots of searching, I realized I’d have to come up with my own solution because I couldn’t find coordinating handles to fit the various opening sizes I had.

The center 3 drawers just needed knobs – easy fix.  I found these great brass knobs on a trip to Target (where I find everything I never knew I needed!).


Then I had to devise some pulls that could vary in size, depending on the hole spacing on each of the drawers.  I have seen some leather handles lately that I love, so I decided to try to make them on my own.  I ordered a long strip of 1″ wide leather.  It came raw, which means it was undyed, so I experiemented with some old shoe polishes I had on hand.  The dye soaked in quickly and was such a quick project.  I rubbed on the polish, buffed it in, and haven’t had any issues with the color coming off at all.  I had enough leather to experiment with the length a little, and made a size that was just big enough to comfortable fit my hand in without sticking out too far.  I have a leather punch leftover from my old business, and it comes in handy pretty often.  If you don’t happen to have one, you can always use a hammer and thick nail to punch holes in leather.



Then I went to Home Depot and found some screws long enough to fit through the leather and the drawer, with just a tiny bit left to screw on a nut on the inside of the drawer.  I found brass screws that looked great, although I was really hoping to find some with a cool hex shape – no luck.



The total cost of the whole project, stripping and adding hardware, was maybe $55 (the Citristrip isn’t cheap, but worth it).  Not too bad!

Yes, Please: Target

If you’re like me, you go into Target with a list in hand, and walk out with a whole lot more than what was on your list!  We’ll call it a blessing and a curse ;)

There are times when I’m in a hurry and I can get in and out with mostly just the things on my list.  I love seeing what other people buy, so I thought you might, too!

pink cardigan

I have this cocoon cardigan and love it!  It runs a little large – I have a an XS and it’s roomy.  The pink is the prettiest blush color and super flattering.

Now on to the homegoods…

black herringbone wrapping paper

I grabbed a roll of this Hearth & Hand black herringbone wrapping paper after Christmas and love that I can also use it year round!  It definitely worked well with my Christmas decor this year, but it could be great for birthdays as well with just a few bright pompoms on top!

stoneware pitcher

This simple stoneware pitcher was under the tree for me this year.  There’s a good chance I bought it for myself…  I’ve been keeping it in the middle of our dining table, holding a few eucalyptus branches (sprigs?).  Its simple and modern, and just really pretty at a great price!

As you may know, we’re in a rental until we build our next home (more on that later).  I have put off  updating anything in this house for so long because its temporary and I’d rather wait until we’re in the next house before I purchase anything home-y.  Then I decided that was stupid.  I have been completely uninspired living here, and have decided after 2 years, I am finally going to do something about it!  Our bathrooms (we have 2 identical ones – upstairs and downstairs), are blah and boring, and our old, dingy towels and bath mats weren’t doing them any favors.  So off to Target I went.

target bath rug For my bathroom, that I share with Sean and Silas, I went with this bath mat (above).  I just read a review (I bought it in store, and we’ve already used it) that said the grey bleeds quite a bit into the white – darn!  I’ll try to wash it in cold and see how it does…

We already had these dark grey towels and a white shower curtain.

For the girls’ bathroom, which is also the main bathroom in the house, I went with something a little sweeter and softer.

pink and white bath mat

I chose this bath mat.  Unfortunately, its fluffier than our last bath mat and doesn’t fit under the door that opens on to it – grrr!  So it looks like I have another project to add to my list: trim the bottom of bathroom door.

macrame shower curtain

And this shower curtain.  The macrame details are even prettier in person!

My mother-in-law just gave us new white towels, so they are going in the girls’ bathroom for now.  I plan on painting both bathrooms soon because the pale lemon-lime that they are now is killing me slowly. #deathbybadwallcolor

pink pillow

pink tassel pillow

I also got a couple new pillows for our couches (here and here).  Clearing the house of all the sparkly Christmas decor leaves the space feeling a bit blah, and adding in a couple pillows with a bit of color did the trick!

wool area rug

I also just ordered this rug for our living room, and I’ll let you know if it works out!

You can get 20% off most home items with code HOMEREFRESH – woohoo! (offer expires 1/18)

So what’s your favorite find at Target lately?  Are you more of an in-store shopper or online?