Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Trash To Treasure Series! Ugly Duckling Dresser turned into Dove Grey Beauty!

This was a piece of furniture I acquired as a partial trade toward a refinishing job I completed fairly recently.  The dresser had good bones (frame and panel sides and a solid top and drawers) but the finish was badly scratched and there were enough holes (30, in all!) on the drawer fronts to make it look like it had been part of the set for the movie, Scarface.  The one thing it had going for it though (besides the good bones) was the interesting, faceted drawer fronts.  I wasn't sure what I would do with it but I knew it was an ugly duckling just waiting to be turned into a swan.

I planned to refinish this and put it up for sale but I had a client who came to see another dresser I had and she liked this one so much (ugly duckling and all) that she purchased it before it was even completed and had me finish it to her specifications.  I sanded this over a few days (did I mention it was REALLY badly scratched?) and plugged up all the "bullet" holes.  I then mixed the dove grey paint (just enough for this one piece so, it will never be replicated exactly again).  It was then primed, painted a few coats, all by hand, over a few days and then I hand applied different colored pigments to give it an aged, burnished look.  It was then waxed, by hand, using a mixture of wax and pigment to give it another layer of color and then distressed.  The distressing revealed layers of paint below that ranged from mahogany stain to a navy blue to a bright taxi cab yellow underneath.  The resulting finish is multi-layered, giving this a patina that looks like it has been in the family for ages.

But what about hardware?  We thought about Glass handles from Anthropologie but it would probably require two per drawer (ten, total).  The handles could have easily cost as much as the dresser itself so, my client, wanting to stay within her budget, asked me if I could come up with a more economical solution.  So, I did: leather handles.  I had some leftover, metallic silver, leather that I purchased to make some guitar straps a few years ago.  I used that to make five leather handles like you might see on a vintage piece of luggage.  I made loops from the same leather and nailed them in for a secure yet modern solution to expensive, store bought hardware.

Devising a final look for this piece was challenging as I didn't know what it looked like originally but it helps to have a client that's open to suggestions, willing to try something new and trusts in your vision--even if you don't know what that is right away (thanks, Sandra)!

Enjoy your new (vintage) dresser!

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