Sunday, October 28, 2012

Labor of Love/Hate

Ok, I'm very sorry I didn't do this post before Saturday, like I promised, but I was waiting on attaching the drawer knobs, and in order to do that I had to buy a drill bit, which I didn't get around to, till yesterday!

Anyhow! Here is the before and after:

If you remember, here was the ugly in-between stage. I used metal cabinet scrapers to get to this point. I had also already removed the back piece of walnut that was sticking up on the top (had to use a hack-saw to remove the screws because they were stripped), and removed paint and stained several times the top slab. 

I cut a piece of that top chunk of walnut (that I had just removed) and used it to be the drawer support/slide. Let me say this, hardwood (different than solid wood) is extremely difficult to hammer a nail into!

I repaired the corner chunk with layers of wood filler (shaping it all the while) and sanded it to get it close to the shape of the other side. With the ebony stain, it is definitely not noticeable that it's been repaired.

The top slab of walnut was horribly stained after I removed all the layers of paint. After 4-6 (I honestly can't remember) layers of ebony stain, it finally got to the point where you can barely see the stains, and only if you look straight down and get close. I then put on 3 coats of wipe-on poly.

There was no back before.. only 1 measely slat. But I got a new piece of oak plywood at HD and stained it dark and nailed it in place. Looks tons better, no?

The drawer supports for the top row of small drawers had nothing to attach to, since there wasn't a back. So I had to carefully attach the back plywood, measure, level, and nail in place the supports. That was a 2-person job (Bruno and I).

And here is the finished product!! I'm so proud and glad it's done! I painted 2 coats of Old White on the body, making sure to paint in all directions to add texture. It already had some texture from the other paint layers, and I felt it added to the authenticity and once I dark waxed it, it brought the texture out and made it more of an artistic project for me. 

For the drawers, I did 2 coats of Duck Egg, then distressed in some areas to show the layers of paint and also the natural beautiful walnut peeking through on the edges!

Here is a close-up of the side, where you can see the awesome texture!

Secret Drawer!! Back before everyone had bank accounts (or even trusted banks), secret compartments and drawers were more common in regular furniture to hide valuable items like jewelry, important documents, and of course, money!

 Close up of the secret drawer front! Look at those charming keyholes!

These knobs were so much fun! I found a great deal on ebay for a 'lot' of vintage glass doorknobs and since I had been struggling with what to replace the huge wooden ones that were originally there, I knew I wanted to retrofit them to work on these drawers. Aren't they stunning? They are the perfect jewelry for this old old dresser!

You can see some of the layers of paint peeking through:

Cute legs with lots of character. 

For a tutorial on how to retrofit vintage door knobs to be drawer pulls go here:

Pin It!


  1. love it! it was definitely a labor of love and so worth it- so charming and full of character! love the secret drawer, too!

  2. Thank you Cassie! I agree, it is very charming!

  3. Love, love, love this dresser... especially the jewelry you selected! My great-grandmother's home was outfitted with french doors between rooms with crystal doorknobs -- just like the ones you used here. The scent of the wood and visual of the knobs take me back in time to an era when I used to visit at my much loved Nana's house.

    I just bought this piece of furniture yesterday at Chesterfield Mall. Wonderful addition to my home. Thank you for all the effort in creating this beautiful piece of art for me to cherish!! --Debby