Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dresser Up!

I can't help trying to be witty with blog posts - I really cant. (key word "trying"). I was also reminded today that I can't help correcting people when they get dates and details wrong. I don't MEAN to be the verbal highlighter, but I just can't keep it in! I'm not even an editor. Or a writer.

What I AM, is really into trying new DIY and craft ideas. Over the past 4 months or so (?) Dwayne and I finally did something I've always wanted to do. Refinished a piece of furniture! We picked up this awesome dresser/hutch at MCC for a steal with big dreams of refinishing it and putting it in the kitchen under the window. It was just the right size and in good shape! Easy, right? welll...

I really regret not taking enough "before" pictures, because you really don't get the full glory of its natural state from the two instagram shots below:

It has 9 drawers and was a nice cherry red stain (ew!) with awesome farmhouse knocker knobs, which it turns out, are very hard to replace! They don't make knobs like they used to...with 2 holes 1.75 inches apart...

The trim pieces on the drawers were one of our favourite features of the dresser, but it turns out they make sanding a bit more difficult. So lesson number one was that sanding is HARD. And also, don't sand too hard because sometimes what looks like real wood is actually a veneer... (the top got worn down a bit too far in some places). We used a belt sander for some parts, a hand sander for others, and even did it by hand for the detailed pieces. Before starting I learned to always sand with the grain, and start with a heavier paper then finish with a finer one to smooth it down.

Once we had it all sanded down we picked out some stain! We went for promising sounding Ebony, in spite of how hard it was to see the samples at home depot, which they have nailed up high and out of reach. We just guessed at a brand, basically based on the colour choices. We picked up a top coat as well, and some rags and brushes.

The we got back to work! This was the funnest part, because it was EASY compared to sanding. Lesson number two was if you leave your furniture outside while staining, be sure to wipe off the collection of pollen and dust that collects before starting a new coat...(it all worked out lol).

On to lesson number three! um...the top coat says to sand in between layers, but that might actually take your stain off...so just go with one layer and write a blog post in a year about how it held up.

Lesson number four, which could have come earlier, is that knobs are actually quite hard to find. There are lots of options, but if you're dealing with two holes, you'll find that standard sizes these days aren't the same as they used to be. But, shopping online is definitely your best bet, and you may end up with an awesome knob that just barely works. Use Ship Happens, it will save you exactly 16 dollars in shipping.

Lesson number five? what is it? Refinishing projects are WORTH IT! we saved money, did something together, and have a one of a kind piece that fits exactly what we needed!

Lesson number six: anything you leave on the ground is considered fair game during kitten play time. (which is basically all the time)


  1. That looks AWESOME Laura! I LOVE refinishing pieces of furniture...when I get the time :P It's super rewarding and almost always looks 10x more unique than buying it. I love your knobs. I'll have to remember that supplier. :)

    1. Thanks! I agree, so much cooler looking than our ikea stuff, even if it does have a few problem spots lol..! I actually got the Amerock knobs from Simply Knobs and Pulls (http://www.simplyknobsandpulls.com/amerock/finger-pulls/satin-nickel/1593-G10/) but shipped them to Ship Happens, which is a fantastic service right over the border which saves you on shipping. It works because I live 15 minutes from the border!

  2. I may need you to come over and consult on my refinishing project. You're basically an expert now!