Grammy’s Dresser

April 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm (Decorative Painting)

Let me say right up front, if you believe that one must perfectly preserve furniture, don’t read this blog.  A few years ago when I was helping to clear out my dear Grammy’s house, there was a dresser in one of the upstairs bedrooms.  It was wedged under the eaves beside the window.  It was dark, stained and scarred AND it smelled like mothballs.  It was balky and weighty and no one had room for it.  I brought it home and sat it in my basement.  It’s been there for about 4 years. I thought I had a “before” picture.  I will need to look further.  However, I have lots of “afters.”

The first thing I did was to clean the dresser with soap and water.  It was really dirty.  I let it dry overnight and then stole darling DannyO’s orbital sander from his workshop and sanded away.  I re-wet the surface to bring any wood grain to the surface and sanded again.  I wiped the dresser down really well.  I took an old white candle and rubbed it onto the places I wanted to distress.  I then, without priming, rolled Benjamin Moore’s semi-gloss “antique yellow” on to the whole dresser ~~ 2 coats.  The next day I started sanding.  The parts that had the candle wax on peeled right off.  There were places where I obviously didn’t sand well enough (the first stain was probably oil-based) and the paint peeled off too.  At first I was panicked and thought perhaps I needed to start all over again.  However, the look grew on me (although it isn’t DannyO’s favorite style of furniture 🙂  ).  I then free-handed a design on the top of the dresser and drawers and side.  It took me about 3 days to complete the decorative painting treatment.  I then sanded a bit more and put 2 coats of wax (Trewax) on the whole project.


I’m not finished decorating the top… adding as I live with the dresser
The bottom drawer
Corner ~~ decorated 🙂

The top drawer

I am confident that if Grammy would see it she would say, “Melodye it is bee-uu-tiii-ful!”  even if she hated it 🙂 What do you think?  Do you like this look??  It is very primitive and while lots of pieces in a room would overwhelm it, one piece makes a statement!  If you click on the pictures, they will show larger.

As an aside, the topiary I made for the top of the dresser uses a flower pot I culled from Grandma Amelia’s basement ~~ full-circle.  I like it when things have meaning 🙂



  1. Amanda said,

    love love love this Melodye!! I’m going to start bringing all of my old furniture to you from now on. There are just going to be random dressers, bookcases, etc. coming with me to choir practice from now on 🙂

  2. Esther said,

    i think gram would love it, it really has tons of character now. Kind of reminds me of old toy boxes for some reason 🙂

  3. Kariann said,

    It is lovely! Nice work.

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