This is the story of a sad dresser, painted yellow and blue, hobbled together with mismatched pieces. It is what I call the Frankenstein dresser.
I live in an old farmhouse that has seen its share of upgrades; which stopped somewhere in the 1950’s. Layers of wallpaper, single-pane windows, school tile floors, you name it – this house has it. We’ve been slowly updating the house to make it more energy-efficient and modern.
The kitchen is an area that needs a lot of attention. I’ve painted the walls and cabinets, changed hardware, and made other small changes to make it more stylish.
DIY Dresser Makeover
One recent addition is the DIY dresser I transformed into a buffet. This piece of furniture is my new favorite. It fits the style of the house (farmhouse) with a modern vibe.
I found the piece at a local antique shop. It caught my eye immediately. Great details, lines, dovetail drawers, and a piece I could visualize as something fabulous. And score — it was on clearance!
I brought it home and started to sand off the chalk paint. Now, I’m not a fan of chalk paint. I don’t care for the finish, don’t want to wax a piece of furniture, and I don’t care for the texture. It’s a personal preference – I know many people love the look and have fantastic results.
Unveiling The Truth
This is what I uncovered as I sanded the chalk paint off. Frankenstein emerged.
Clearly the top two drawer faces were from an entirely different piece of furniture. From what I can tell, it looks like a large cabinet door or drawer face was placed on the two drawer and sawed in half. Whatever the case, the veneer is very ugly.
Decision to paint the bottom portion of the dresser was made at this moment. I had to cover up that ugly, mismatched veneer.
In addition, all of the drawer bottoms were coming out of their frames and were very flimsy. I sent those to my cousin-in-law (aka Master Woodworking Jedi) to reinforce and strengthen them to hold heavy items.
Staining and Painting
After sanding the front legs, it was also clear they are not original. They are pine while the rest of the peace is a lovely hardwood. Decision to paint, confirmed. The Frankenstin dresser, cobbled together with random pieces of furniture, was about to become a cohesive piece.
I knew when I purchased the dresser, the decorative elements were add-ons. That is ok because I think they add a femininity to the piece.
The pulls are a very pretty brass and cleaned up nicely with a polishing of Brass-O.
After sanding (coarse, medium, fine, ultra fine), I stained the top a beautiful walnut. I prefer dark stains and the walnut seemed the best choice for this vintage piece.
I didn’t mind some of the imperfections on the top. I think they add to the character of the piece.
I finished the top with a terrific product called . It is very easy to use. Simply wipe it on with a rag. Sand when dry. Wipe on another coat. Sand. Wipe on another coat. Done. It is that simple! The finish is a nice satin seal that enhances the woods grain and color.
The bottom frame and drawers received 2 coats of Kilz 2 primer. I wanted to make sure any stains or lingering chalk paint were blocked.
On the bottom, I decided to go with a pretty antique white. The color I chose was a Clark & Kensington latex satin called Linen. Love this paint color. It is not a pure white but not yellow ish. It is a pretty option. I have a great local Ace where I purchase all of my paint. The paint department staff is knowledgable and very helpful. This is key when taking on painting projects. You really need to find people who are experienced and offer good advice.
The bottom received 3 coats of this paint. The paint has a very creamy, silky texture that makes painting easy and smooth. It is not too thin nor goes on thick. Rather is has the perfect thickness to cover and spread smoothly.
Finally, I topped the paint with two coats of Varathane Polyurethane Semi-Gloss Interior. I wanted something a bit durable and wasn’t sure the would work well with a painted surface. The great thing about this sealer is that it is not sticky, goes on smoothly, and cleans up with soap and water. Of course, use a good brush to put on the top coat. A sponge or inexpensive brush will ruin the finish and destroy your hard work.
Now this DIY dresser is transformed into a buffet that sits proudly in my dining area / kitchen. It holds my china (yes, I’m from the generation that still chose wedding china), bar ware, placemats, and tablecloths. I love this piece. It’s chic, functional, and adds to the farmhouse look.
Have you found any pieces that were Frankensteins waiting for a makeover? I’d love to hear about them! Share on Instagram with the hashtag #furnituresave and @frenchrobin.