In the Navy! Transforming Big's New (to him) Dresser & Desk

Big has outgrown his dresser.  We bought it at Overstock.com a few years ago, and it was part of a child-sized set of furniture (headboard, nightstand and dresser with mirror).  As he has gotten bigger (sniffle), so have his clothes.  So the hunt was on for new furniture for him.  A few months ago, I happened upon a desk and dresser on Craigslist that I could not resist: beautiful, solid wood furniture for a song. The seller had a huge 7 drawer dresser and a desk for sale and was willing to part with both for $65 (total - not each!).  I high-tailed it over there, picked them up and brought them home.  The bones of these pieces were absolutely terrific: solid wood construction, dove-tail joinery on the drawers, great lines and tons of space.  But the aesthetics, well ... take a look at this:



I could see past the flaws in the finish and knew that with a few coats of primer and navy blue paint, new hardware and a lot of hard work and time, they would go from drab to fab and my little boy would adore them.  I was totally inspired by the seriously swoon-worthy furniture revamps that one of my favorite blogger-buddies, Erin from her fab blog Richmond Thrifter, does all the time (Erin did a guest blog for us back in our Mid-Summer Swoon week!)  

First, I took out the drawers and took off all of the hardware.  Here is a close up of the dresser's hardware.  Kind of odd, no?


I noticed the desk had little panels on the fronts of the dressers, which screamed 1970s to me.  I took my crowbar and gently pried them off so the drawers would be nice and flat.



Once the panels on the desk drawers were gone, I filled all the holes where the old hardware was with wood putty, because I wasn't sure if the holes would work with the new stuff.  Then I had a little construction to do.  The desk was missing a support piece between the legs.  I happened to have a 2x2 on hand from my failed door-desk project, so I just used my saw to cut the 2x2 down to size, sanded it nice and smooth and then screwed it onto the legs.  You can see it here: it's much lighter than the rest of the desk:


Next, I sanded the pieces.  I cleaned them up and used a coat of oil based primer - my favorite brand: Zinsser Cover Stain Primer (it's the best. Really).


Next up: paint!  I chose Naval by Sherwin Williams matched to Valspar's paint.  I love Sherwin Williams. I do.  But we live less than 5 minutes from Lowe's and I've had great luck with Valspar paints.  Three coats later and the pieces were looking good!  I will warn you: if you ever have a paint color matched be sure to hand over the paint number too.  I told the guy at Lowe's "Naval" and he typed in "Navel" - like the orange.  He handed me a gallon of neon orange paint.  Thank goodness for the Oops shelf.  Hopefully someone will need a gallon of bright orange paint in semi-gloss.  [note: I'm not sure what possessed me to get a full gallon of paint.  I barely put a dent in it ... double oops].  Here are the pieces before I put them back together. 




Finally, hardware.  I needed a lot of it, with 7 drawers on the dresser and 4 drawers on the desk.  I found some great satin nickel pulls at Lowe's.  I found 10 for $20 (in a contractor pack - 3-inch pulls).   I went with a simple satin nickel oblong knob from Lowe's on the small desk drawer to break things up (at $3). Unfortunately, the old hardware holes on the large drawers did not work with the 3-inch pulls - so rather than drive myself crazy, I went back to Lowe's and picked up four 4-inch pulls for an additional $12.  Ta da!   They totally transform the dresser, don't you think?



And finally, here is the furniture in place in Big's room!  So nice right?  I still have a lot to do in here, like add artwork and a mirror, but that will happen soon!




I need a desk chair for him and he's getting a full sized bed and headboard soon enough.  His room is really coming together.  And now this means I can paint over his old dresser and put it in the guest room!  All told, I spent about $130 on these two pieces ($65 for the furniture, $35 for the hardware and $30 for the paint: and of that, I still have some hardware left and, um, 3/4 gallon of the navy blue paint) - not bad!  Here's one last before and after so you can compare:

Desk - Before


Desk - After


Dresser - Before


Dresser - After


Do you love to paint furniture like I do?  Isn't it so gratifying to take something sad and shabby and breathe new life into it?  Let's swap stories!

See you swoon,

7 comments:

  1. What an awesome transformation! It doesn't even look like the same furniture. I love your ability to see beyond old tired furniture and turn it into something great! :)

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  2. Wow!! Both pieces look awesome! Well done, my friend!

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  3. These look amazing! The color is perfect and I love the new handles. What a steal!

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  4. Wow Shanna, they both look awesome!! You are a painting goddess :) Love how they tie together with O's room!

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  5. Wow that is looking great. What a change you must be so happy.

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  6. Thanks for all the props, guys! I am so happy with the end result.

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  7. I love that--the color is stunning!

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