From Dated to Dynamite Dresser

Our second apartment on Tortola had this fabulous long dresser in the bedroom. It took up all of one wall, and I absolutely loved it! When we moved back home I knew I wanted a long dresser in our bedroom, so when I found a great deal on CraigsList, we bought it…. before we even decided that we were buying the house! Mom and Dad were kind enough to store it in their garage for a month or two. The dresser needed some loving though. It was one of those Broyhill French Provincial babies that it seemed like everyone had in the 80s or 90s. It looked a lot like this one, actually.

So very quickly after moving in, I sat down in front of the TV surrounded by drawers and started painting.

I had a bunch of gray paint samples from choosing the living and dining room colors, and a blue that was leftover from the TV stand.

The main frame of the dresser got a coat of the living room gray color (the medium dark one) with the lighter gray for the accents and drawer faces, while the insides of the drawers would have the pop of blue. Then I spray painted all the original hardware black.

My intention all along was to sand down the top and restain it a dark, dark brown or even black, but this was about the time I refinished the dining room table. By the time that project was done, the idea of pulling out the sander was downright repulsive! So, this is how the dresser stayed for almost a year!

It wasn’t awful. It wasn’t really good though, either. You can see all the nicks and scratches in the original finish.

Then finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to give gel stain a try. I’d seen a lot of people say they’d used it with great results, so I started reading some blog posts, and I was quite drawn to the idea of not having to strip the current finish! I spent a few minutes giving the top a light sanding. This was a really light sanding. It didn’t even take off any color – just the shiny finish.

I wiped the dust off and used a disposable sponge brush to wipe the goopy stain on. As directed, I put it on thick! The big difference between traditional stain and gel stain is that the regular stuff is meant to penetrate the wood. You spread it onto the bare wood and the color sinks in, so it works well that it’s so runny. Conversely, gel stain is meant to sit on top of the piece, so it’s much, much thicker. That’s why it can even go on over paint!

The first coat was pretty uneven, but I was okay with that. I wanted the end result to look like real stain. After a few minutes, I went back and wiped some of the excess stain off with a paper towel, which also helped with the wood grain look that I wanted. The bad news was I had to wait another 24 hours before I could put on the second coat! It went on just as easily though, with one adjustment. Rather than wiping the excess off with the paper towel (which had left scratchy looking streaks when looking from a certain angle) I used a soft rag.

Since this isn’t a use-it-everyday-must-be-well-protected kind of piece, I just sealed it with some furniture wax. I think it turned out pretty well!

Man, does that floor need to be cleaned though! Tony did that side of the room after bathroom construction was complete… apparently he wasn’t so diligent with moving the furniture and cleaning underneath! : )

The sad news is, it doesn’t look like I’ll get to keep this beauty in our room. The false wall that will have to be built to house the pocket door that we’re going to put in (We don’t currently have a door to our bedroom!) will take up too much space. We shall see, I guess!


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3 Responses to From Dated to Dynamite Dresser

  1. Nancy Clewell says:

    I love that pop of turquoise! And…yep…both my sister and I grew up with this furniture. Ah…memories!

  2. Gayle Ross says:

    I love it!

  3. Pingback: Shutter Table | A Guy, A Girl, and a Really Old House!

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