I have a backlog of projects to show you, and I am starting right in the middle with this dresser, which was my husband’s before we got married, and still is:
|This is not our bedroom.|
It is unfinished pine, well-used, serviceable, but really Nothing Special. I have been trying to find him a dresser more befitting the Man of the House ever since we got married, but have not yet come upon that elusive Handsome Chest of Drawers in My Price Range.
It was rather beat up, as well-used unfinished furniture tends to be (especially after you move it around a few times), and I confess that when I last rearranged our bedroom, I had stuck it in the closet:
|This, on the other hand, is our bedroom. I just looked too hard at the odd door/doorway situation and got very confused. The closet door is behind the other one.|
It’s a big closet, and he didn’t really mind, but still. I felt a little bad about that.
Someday, I told myself, I will find him a nicer dresser, and that can go out in the room. And then I’ll paint this one and use it for Pippo.
But of course, that hasn’t happened yet, and he’s been making do with this dinky little dresser in the closet.
Lately, though, I’ve been trying to just get things done. (It’s more like Get Things Done, actually. I’m trying that hard!)
I usually tend to sit on ideas and mull them over and plan them in theory and wait for just the right moment… it’s DIY committment anxiety. I’m trying to get over it, since the perfect circumstances rarely come together (especially with an energetic toddler in tow) and a mostly-good project is better than no project at all! (On those occasions when that isn’t true, the good news is that most projects can be undone, or at least redone.)
So as soon as I put Pippo down for his morning nap the day the Lt left for the field a few weeks ago, I marched into that closet, dumped out all the drawers into a laundry basket, and hauled the dresser downstairs and into the garage.
Apparently I didn’t take pictures of the process, but believe me: it was nothing special. I sanded the whole thing down (it didn’t require too much, since there was no finish on it to start with), slapped on a coat of pre-stain (since it was raw pine — it helps the stain absorb more evenly), another of stain, and then a few coats of polyurethane. I just got a little bit done every naptime, and it worked great.
|I don’t have “in progress” photos, but I do have a picture of my baby napping!|
(The most confusing part was figuring out how much of the drawers to stain, which required some googling, consulting of the insides of the drawers in our other furniture, and asking my sister-in-law. In the end, I stained the fronts, sides (which you see when you pull the drawer out) and top edges of the inside. But not the inside of the drawer where you put the clothes. I am happy with my decision.)
The most exciting part was that I did it all with supplies I already had in the garage! That’s right, world: I have done enough projects that now I can refinish a dresser without buying anything new. I have arrived. (And I am a nerd.)
Actually, the most exciting part is the knobs. I am inordinately proud of these knobs.
A long time ago I came across this post, in which she described making homemade decorative knobs by painting a ceramic knob with acrylic paint, then finishing it with some glossy polyurethane. (You should click through the link and see the pretty blue and white knob she made — it looks like Delft pottery!) I’ve been wanting to try it ever since, but haven’t had the opportunity. This was it.
Trouble was, I took inventory of our paint, and here’s what we had: white spray primer (almost empty), bright green and bright red spray paint, and gold acrylic. And zero dainty little paintbrushes. I couldn’t figure out how to make that work, and I was determined not to go to the store.
I did a quick phone consult with my mom, though, and she suggested decoupaging some paper on them — brilliant! I dug through my pretty papers, and found the perfect thing. It’s wrapping paper left over from last Christmas (I got it at World Market), and it had these fancy ornaments as part of the design that were just the right size to cover the top of the knobs.
I whipped out that gold acrylic paint (perfect!) and used it on the entire knob. Then I carefully cut out the ornaments and Mod Podged them on. A few topcoats of Mod Podge, a few of polyurethane, and we were good to go.
|Applying the polyurethane and letting them dry was a little tricky, but this worked well.|
They remind me of those beautiful knobs you find at Anthropologie, but they didn’t cost $8+ each.
|Ain’t she a beauty?|
Banished to the closet no more; it’s now the first thing you see when you come in the room!
|This is not the view from the door, but it is the view that disguises the very bare wall behind the dresser. It’s on my list.|
And of course, it’s not perfect. I’m not entirely happy with how the stain turned out: it was gel stain, which I hadn’t used before (it was from a project of the Lt’s that is also on my list of things to show you), and I think I left it on too long. I put on a coat and wiped part of it off after a few minutes, but it wasn’t as dark as I wanted it to be so I decided to leave it on a little longer. But then the baby woke up and it just never got wiped off. It could be more even (not that you can really tell in this picture).
And the dresser is still really not a Man of the House Dresser — for one thing, he needs more room for his socks! (Men who wear thick boot socks every day need lots of room in their sock drawer.)
But you know what? It’s great! I Got It Done, it’s so much better than before, and my husband loved it. I hadn’t told him I was going to do it, so I got to surprise him when he got home. His reaction was most gratifying: he opened the drawers one by one, declared it “absolutely perfect” and asked where I had found it (he didn’t recognize his old dresser). Then he asked where I had bought the knobs. And then he oohed and aahed in a very appreciative way. He’s a good appreciator.
Someday, maybe I’ll come upon that perfect Man of the House dresser. But for now we’re making do with something a little more special, and I am continuing to chip away at my DIY commitment anxiety. Do you suffer from it, too?