Saturday, August 22, 2009

A hole in my drawers and a makeover

That photo is a little peek at my makeover. But the story actually begins a few years back. Old houses are notorious for not having enough closet space. Our little house in the Ozarks (the one we lived in before moving to the prairie) was especially short on storage. I knew as soon as we moved into that house that we needed to find another chest of drawers for the master bedroom. I, of course, started my search at a thrift store. It was love at first sight. I spotted the chest practically the moment I stepped into the store. It was a 3 drawer, white, antique chest of drawers with chippy paint, and beautiful, curvy legs. I am a sucker for sexy legs, so I was immediately smitten. I had a smile on my face the whole way home.

When I got home I realized that my affection for those beautiful drawers might have made me underestimate what it was going to take to repair this piece of furniture. You see, there was a hole in the bottom drawer. I am not talking about a pencil sized hole, or a shoe box sized one. No, half of the bottom drawer was actually missing. I just assumed we could fix it.

I showed my husband my purchase when he got home. He laughed, right out loud, a lot. He explained that he did not have the right tools to fix the chest, and buying the tools he needed would probably cost more than just buying another chest!

I knew I was on my own with this problem now, so I just shoved a piece of cardboard over the hole. It worked at first. Since it was summer then, I just put my sweaters in the broken drawer knowing that I wouldn’t be opening the drawer much. Then gravity set in. The cardboard began to sag. Eventually the saggy cardboard jammed the drawer, and you couldn’t open it. You had to remove the drawer above the broken one, and then reach through the hole to get what you wanted. Then you had to put the other drawer back in. Finally even I had to admit that this wasn’t very practical, so I donated the chest back to the thrift store so someone with the “right tools” could fix it.

Now I had to go chest shopping again. This time I was more practical. I looked for something that had functional drawers rather than just buying for beauty. I ended up with a ho hum, ordinary, 4 drawer, boxy chest which had no sexy legs whatsoever. It is sturdy, and it does keep the clothes contained fairy well, so we moved it with us when we came to the prairie. I have never been happy with it though. That is why I decided to give it a makeover while my husband was gone. I knew that if it turned out badly I could just get rid of the evidence while he was gone.

You see, I have never done a (successful) makeover on a large piece of furniture before. I have redone some shelves and picture frames, etc., but nothing this substantial. This was my first major project.

Here is the chest of drawers before I began. You can see from this side view that it just your basic wooden chest of drawers.

My first step was to sand the piece using my little electric sander.
Next I gave it three coats of paint. I used a brush for the first two coats, and I was pretty sloppy. I actually wanted to see some of the brush strokes because I like the rough look. I used a sponge brush for the third paint job because I wanted to be sure I had good coverage for the final coat. The paint color is something in between cream and sand. I let that set overnight to dry.

Here it is in the morning before I started again.

Next I sanded the chest again. Then I brushed walnut stain all over it using a sponge brush. That turned out darker than I wanted so…..

I brushed white stain on top of that.

I didn’t brush the lighter stain over the drawer edges of the knobs though, because I wanted to keep them the darker color.

Finally this project was done. Now the chest of drawers looks like it was abused by dozens of little hands for decades, then rolled in the dirt in the barn. Perfect. That is just the look I wanted.

There are a couple of morals to this ridiculous story. The first lesson is to be sure you are not tempted by a set of sexy legs. Your clothes will fall through a giant hole in a drawer. The second lesson is to not be afraid to try painting a piece of furniture you dislike. You might be surprised at how well it turns out, because if I can do a makeover, anyone can. (It also helps to do this while hubby is away, so any major mistakes can become charitable donations.)

Have a great weekend, and I hope you get started on that long awaited project. Blessings to you.


  1. You are so funny - a great post which made me laugh out loud because I can see myself doing many of those things!!! It was all worthwhile as the chest of drawers looks great - just hope you don't need any bigger!!!

  2. Loved your post and completely relate to that except you were good in donating your antique chest to good will...I stash things in our basement thinking I'll fix that someday. (Actually I do have a small old dresser in the basement that I started stripping over 7 years ago!)

    I really love the way your makeover piece looks, very cottagey.

    Have a great day!! Jenn

  3. I love how your makeover of the chest turned out! It is beautiful...has a very prim country cottage feel about it!! You did a great job!

  4. You did a great job for your first big piece. I love the finish on it.

  5. What a great post and a fabulous makeover! Love how the chest turned out.'s never fun when you have holes in your drawers! LOL! ~~Annie

  6. Dear Rooster Party Participant,

    Just a reminder that the Rooster Party is this Friday, August 28th. I am so glad you joined and I'm really looking forward to seeing your Roosters.

    Hope you have a wonderful time!