Saturday, August 3, 2013

A sweet dresser for baby

Remember how I was swooning over this lovely dresser?

In the photo it looked great in its natural state, but up close it had its issues. Either way, a dark stain wasn't right for this sweet baby girl's nursery.

Friends, meet Lexi. Her Grandma (my aunt) bought the vintage dresser and asked me to spruce it up in a bright white to coordinate with the rest of the nursery decor. Here's what it looked like after I was finished with the makeover.

Slightly different, huh? Painted or not, I love all the sculptural details of this dresser, from the scalloped apron to the scalloped thingy on top (what do you call that?). Let's not forget about the turned legs -- that are on casters, my favorite! Below, you can see detail of the design along the front vertical rails. Ah ... why doesn't furniture get made like this any more?

The drop pulls are original to the piece, and I'm in love with them myself, but Lexi's mommy wanted something a little different and fresher for the room. She bought some plain wooden knobs and painted them a bright pink to coordinate with the crib drawer knobs. Here's a panoramic shot of little Lexi's room, with the dresser on the left wall.

Even though I was skeptical at first about painting the dresser, we were able to hide its flaws with paint, and the original dark tone would have stood out like a sore thumb next to the other decor in the room.

I hope it works well for Baby Lexi and her parents for many years! With such a classic shape and color, a simple change-out of the knobs can help the dresser evolve with their needs as time goes on.

Here's the obligatory before and after shot:

Although I was happy to get back to furniture spraying, during this project I was reminded of how much of a pain it is to spray large pieces a really light color like white. In my basement workroom, there is no air filter, so there are particles floating in the air at all times, especially after sanding and since I live in a home with 4 cats. (Even though the cats were not allowed in the basement once the project was underway.) I was constantly picking or sanding hairs and dust out of the white paint, and especially out of the layers of Polycrilic. If the paint were darker, nobody would have ever noticed.

On a less whiny note, I am happy to be working with HomeRight, who provided me one of their new FinishMax Fine Finish HVLP Sprayers. My old Wagner sprayer was clogged up, and as much as Gail raves about the FinishMax, I had been dying to try it out for months.

While my new FinishMax was being shipped, I really needed to get going on the dresser, so I managed to get my Wagner sprayer unclogged and put the coats of paint on with it. (Please note this is nothing against Wagner ... I had left paint in it for months, so it took a little finessing but now it's working just fine again.)

The new FinishMax arrived just in time for the Polycrilic stage. All was going well until I sprayed on what I thought would be my second-to-last coat of poly. When I came down to do the final coat, I found that I had several really bad drips that had dried. Dried drips are the worst because they are so hard to sand out without ruining the layers of paint underneath. To make a long story short, the real problem was me trying to work without enough light, and not realizing I was concentrating the sprayer too long in one area on the dresser. Sprayers are awesome, but you have to watch what you're doing. Note to self: Need another tripod work light so both sides of a piece are illuminated equally in my otherwise dark basement workroom. After much sanding and some touch-up repainting, the last couple layers of poly went on well with the FinishMax, and I'm excited to use it again on my next project.

If you use a sprayer, I'd love for you to share in the comments what tips you use to achieve a good finish. Patience and a watchful eye are key in my book!



  1. It turned out gorgeous - I've done a couple of those dressers too - for nurseries!
    Have never used a sprayer - I hand paint everything with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint :)
    Beautiful makeover for a beautiful little girl
    Her room is soooo sweet!

  2. Thanks for giving the HomeRight Finish Max a try on this project. I'm sorry that you ended up with drips. Hopefully your next project will go smoother.
    The dresser turned out great and looks perfect in this room.


  3. Ohhh this is a lovely piece! And agree, I would have kept the old knobs as they really are gorgeous but the whole room looks so sweet and perfect for a baby girl :) No advice on a sprayer as I don't have one but I tend to do all my work outside - which is great for ventilation but not so great when the weather doesn't cooperate! xxx

  4. It's gorgeous! We have a sprayer but definitely haven't perfected using it on furniture yet either!
    Kelly @ View Along the Way

  5. What a lovely job! I tried a sprayer once and took it back. I didn't have very good luck with it not dripping and never got an even spray. Yours looks pretty great in these pictures!

  6. oooh Hollie! what a baby girl. and that nursery is adorable. the new dresser goes perfectly in there. never used Poly in my sprayer. I can't believe you use it indoors. I'm scared too because of a gas dryer and a gas water heater and a gas furnace. I think I must be addicted to spraying furniture, because just reading your post I want to go spray something. lol
    beautiful job on that dresser!

  7. This looks awesome! I always kick myself for taking the time to spray at night when the lighting is poor. It never works out and I end up sanding in the morning. So, I guess both of us need to get another tripod work light. :)

  8. Looks Great!! I feel for your teething problems - I thought I was the only one - when jobs that should be straight forward end up a drama because of the 'unexpected or just plain annoying!! So frusturating!!


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