I always like to eat my dessert first, so I’m going to share the good stuff first. This morning we woke up too early (6:45am is too early for my kids), wrapped the kiddos in blankets and stuffed them in the car. Then we went to Donut Palace… the BEST place in town to buy baked-fresh-daily donuts. I always get the apple fritter and a thing of milk because the apple fritter has real chunks of cooked apples in it and its HUGE, so I eat until I’m stuffed then I have the rest around 11 when I’m hungry again. So the goal was to be at an estate sale that sounded amazing by 7:30, which is when they opened.
You guys. It was the best estate sale! If I had tons of money I would have spent it all! I seriously had to control myself and I’m already regretting not buying more. They had cases of old blue Mason jars with zinc lids for $6 (12 in a case). They had all kinds of old, great condition furniture that was out of my budget (some of it was a great price, but we don’t have room for more big furniture right now). They had every possible collectible antique thing you can think of. And it was super crowded. In the basement was 2 smaller church pews that needed a little work for only $5 a piece! But alas, I ended up getting a vintage space heater, a couple unique looking mason jars, some rolling pins (I don’t know why I love them so much!), a wooden tool crate (is that what they are called?), and a cute end/accent table.
We went to several other garage sales, but didn’t find much. There was another that had tons of antique tools and newspapers and a type-set and all kinds of neat things, but I had strict orders to only buy things that we were going to sell, and no more buying home decorations (the hubs)! So, I ended up with another little end table, and we called it a day. Lesson learned: Don’t go for more than 2 hours with kiddos in the car! They were all whiney and crabby by 10:30 and that was no fun.
In the above pictures you can see the wing chairs that were GIVEN to me by a great from of mine! I’m gonna do the chair slipcover tutorial by Miss Mustard Seed here within the next couple months using her recommended drop cloths. I’m both excited to try it and dreading it. I’m thinking to invite my mom out to visit, so she can help me/watch my kids while I work. I WISH I lived closer to family and you all that have family to help you out in a pinch, you are so blessed!
Ok, now on to this wonderful/horrible dresser I found a couple weeks ago.
Hand-built walnut dresser, from circa 1850’s (I think), with A SECRET DRAWER, keyholes, and a key(!). (The picture below was taken after I had removed a couple drawers to start working on)
It didn’t have a back really, had warped drawer fronts, cracks and loose parts all over, and the drawers wouldn’t close very well.
VERY STINKY (notice the cheap air fresheners on top in the picture above?) and horribly stained drawer insides as well as the top slab of wood, which I didn’t find out till after I removed all the paint. 🙁
I bought it at a garage sale, haggled the price down because of the condition, but it was dark in the garage and I really had no idea what I was getting into. But I keep telling myself it was worth it because 1- I learned a lot about repairing furniture and 2- IT HAS A SECRET DRAWER!
I worked on it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then I took Friday off to catch up on life. It’s still not all the way done. I still need to wax it and the knobs I ordered haven’t arrived yet. I don’t normally ordered knobs, but these are special, so I’m going to wait to tell you about them when I do the final reveal!
Here are some awful pictures of when I started working on it.
Oh my gosh you guys, I hated doing this! Chemical stripper only took off 1 1/2 layers of paint. And I sanded like crazy to get down to the wood, but then stopped because I realized the paint was probably painted over 50 years ago and had lead in it. Probably not a good idea to inhale that dust. So a friend of mine lent me his cabinet scrapers. They made the job SO much easier with no dust or chips flying everywhere.
Here you can see, the side piece of wood that is supposed to hold the drawer in place, was completely broken off. I had to replace that.
This is the secret drawer. It sits behind the small top middle drawer. The wood slats that the drawers slide in and out on, were NOT attached to anything, because most of the back was missing. I had to replace the back and then line those pieces of wood up perfectly so the drawers would slide in and out smoothly, then with Bruno’s help, I nailed them into place.
This corner was missing. I had to fill it, with SEVERAL layers of walnut wood filler to eventually match the other side. My goal was to stain the top and I felt and still feel that whoever buys this (I might keep it) will have to accept the imperfections of this dresser, so even though looking closely you might notice the corner is not real wood, it is not readily apparent because of how dark I ended up staining the top. I used 4-5 stain treatments of Minwax Ebony, and you can barely notice the staining on top and the repaired portion.
This was the most depressing thing to look at. But I told myself if it was still obvious after the coats of ebony stain, I would just paint it Graphite.
Next week I’ll share the reveal and show how I repaired the rest of the dresser.
Lesson Learned: If buying something to re-sell, DO NOT buy a piece (not matter how charming and old it is) that requires tons of time in repairs. I feel like Napoleon Dynamite when he is handed a jar of coins for sorting chickens all day, and after counting them realizes, “That’s like a dollar an hour!”