This project has been on our list for some time now, and I’m so thrilled it’s finally finished!
I’ve always loved this piece: it’s got a great story–plus a family connection–and it’s just the right size, shape and “look” to serve as our kitchen “island.”
[Warning: Many photos to follow…]
Here’s the story:
Back in Texas, a dear relative of Mr. Native Texan’s had rescued this beautiful dresser from a neighbor’s curbside trash. She had no use for it, but couldn’t bear to see it thrown away.
The bottom drawer was broken (see below) and missing its hardware. Other than that, the piece was structurally sound and we loved the chippy white paint.
We didn’t have a specific use for it either, but hauled it with us to our new state in hopes of finding a good spot for it in our new home.
When we bought our new home, the kitchen lacked an island. The previous owners had used a nifty cart on wheels that was just the right size for the space, but they were taking it with them.
We considered a number of options before realizing our broken, chippy white dresser was the perfect size and shape for that spot.
The only other problem was the bottom drawer’s missing hardware.
I had no clue how to find matching antique hardware, nor did we want to replace the hardware with something new and less interesting.
Plus, we really loved the chippy paint and didn’t want to repaint the piece. Removing the existing hardware would leave big brown circles of the original wood finish.
Imagine our great delight to receive a small, wooden cabinet from my parents, who’d rescued it from a rental property and had no use for it. Guess what: it had two, round, antique drawer pulls that were an almost perfect match for our existing hardware!
We removed the hardware and sold the piece–sans hardware–on Craigslist.
If you look closely at the following photo, you’ll notice the pulls on the bottom drawer are a tiny bit smaller than the pulls on the top two drawers. The difference is barely noticeable, though–I use these drawers every day and often forget that the pulls don’t match.
Oh, and the back of the dresser
I almost forgot that the back of the dresser was unpainted.
We simply took a drawer to Home Depot and had them mix up some paint to match, and then Mr. Native Texan applied a few coats to the original back side of the dresser.
It looks great!
The next problem was that we never did anything to protect the top of the dresser.
We’d contemplated cutting butcher board to fit on top, or glass, or something more durable than chippy, painted wood–but never followed through on it. We decided just to use it the way it was, and cross that bridge later if necessary.
Eventually, the paint on top of the dresser began to peel away even more, especially near the front where we use it the most.
So one night not too long ago, while Mr. Native Texan was away on a business trip, I got this urge to peel off more of the paint with my finger nails. Before I knew it, this is what I’d done:
There was no turning back now, but I’d sort of lost my steam.
Lovely, isn’t it?
We actually lived with the island like this for weeks, as there was never a good time to remove it for refinishing. Plus, we had lots of gardening projects in the works, along with a busy calendar.
Well. Finally–with the boys away at “Mimi & Papa Camp”–we found a good time to remove all the drawers and haul the dresser out to the shop.
It really didn’t take that long to sand off the rest of the paint from the top of the dresser. Then, we just wiped it clean and applied three coats of clear polyurethane.
And when I say “we” I really mean “Mr. Native Texan.” 🙂 He did a great job, don’t you think?
I love it! Time will tell as to how well the finish holds up against water and other kitchen wetness, but I think any marks it incurs will serve only to add to its charm in an aged, well-loved sort of way.
Have you refinished any special pieces?
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…