Ever see a dresser wear a tuxedo?
On to the final piece of furniture to make my home complete: a dresser for the master bedroom. I’m more than a little tired of living out of plastic tubs. Eleven months have passed since my big move to Aurora, Ontario, and I’m ready to be completely unpacked.
I bought this dresser two decades ago for $100 at a yard sale. It had been in a neighbour’s basement for years and smelled like it. A good scrub with Murphy’s Soap didn’t help much. But I used it for years, and eventually the musty smell dissipated. At the same time, my cats scratched the hell out of the top. Oh, no!
In 2010, for reasons, it was relegated to the shed, then in 2018, it moved, along with everything else I owned, to my new home in Aurora. The dresser ended up in my unfinished basement workshop. The musty odour resurfaced, and all the cat litter and coffee grounds in the world didn’t help! Yikes!
So I turn, of course, to Upcyclers Anonymous, the awesome Facebook group with all the answers. “Paint it with Kilz,” they advised. “But you have to paint every crevice.”
So I buy a quart of Kilz before Christmas and set it atop the dresser. But I wouldn’t start on it for seven more months! I wanted to practice before I tackled the China Cabinet and the Vintage Dresser. So I began with a few small pieces, attempting bigger and more valuable pieces over the past nine months.
Finally, in June, I’m ready to start on the dresser. First, I take out the drawers, remove the hardware and start to paint. At that time, I had decided I’d paint it grey. I’d read you can tint primer, and people achieve all sorts of paint colours by mixing, so I tried mixing dark grey chalk paint with the Kilz. It worked, but it was a lot more like peanut butter than paint. I asked on list and apparently what I’d done is mixed Things That Should Not Be Mixed. Oops. So I let it sit a couple more months.
In August, I finally had a plan. I’d dress my dresser in a tux. Why not? The colour scheme of my house is black and white and grey with “pops” of colour, so it should fit nicely. I removed the cupboard doors, along with the rest of the hardware. Now I’m using Kilz without trying to tint it. The drawers take a couple of coats to cover the grey folly. (By now you know the sanding and prepping is implied, right?)
I carefully pried off the decorative spirals on either side… OMG! They were affixed using SQUARE NAILS! It’s then I realized that the piece was really old and probably would have been valuable if some previous owner hadn’t hammered it together with big nails and huge screws, not to mention painting the entire thing dark brown. By then, I’d already begun painting it, so I had little choice but to carry on.
My nearby nephew helped me lift the dresser sans drawers, doors and hardware out the basement walk-out and into the back garden. That’s where I sand, prep, and spray. There’s a white square in the grass to prove it.
One quart can of Kilz should do it, right? But back to Home Depot I go for can #2. Then again a half-hour later for can #3. Huh. But it got into every crevice.
Then I decided for the rest of the project (which would be Benjamin Moore Pearl White and Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black), I wanted to move it to the front of the house. It had to go upstairs eventually, so that made sense. I wondered if I could move it by myself. It’s a big sucker, but I got out my industrial-strength dolly and heaved. I began rolling it up the hill. I worried that if I lost control, it would run me over, so instead of pushing, I pulled. I got partway up the damp lawn and… my boots slipped on the wet grass and down I went. But I didn’t let go and no damage was done to either the dresser or me. So I carried on, and eventually transfererd it from the dolly to the two four-wheeled carts.
I finished painting the outside, got my neighbour to help me lift it into the house. Then it sat awkwardly in the front hall for a couple of days till both my nephews were available to haul it upstairs. They got shrimp and steak for their pains.
I put three coats of Polyacrylic on the top while I finished up the drawers and doors. I knew there’d be issues with the drawers sticking, and wouldn’t have painted it if I hadn’t had to, but after having some success rubbing both sides with a candle, I went to Canadian Tire and bought a silicone lubricant that didn’t seem to smell too badly. I would have used WD-40, but it stinks. (I once used it on a dress zipper and it smelled for-evah!) I haven’t used the lubricant yet; I will tomorrow morning to give it maximum time to air out before I sleep there again. I didn’t realize the uneven door knobs would be so noticeable. The cupboard doors had always been uneven, but when the whole thing was painted dark brown, it wasn’t quite so glaring. I’m going to have to address that at some point, but right now, I just love my tuxedo dresser. Don’t you?