Monday, August 10, 2015

DIY Nursery Dresser Restoration

Thirty something years ago, my husband's parents purchased a bedroom set for him (and possibly his siblings). That bedroom set lived a wonderful life until last year when I decided that I needed to convert our guest bedroom/storage room (which has only been used by 3 visitors in 4 years) into my home office. Working from home was becoming very difficult in our over-cluttered den.

So, I took the liberty (with the permission of my husband of course and his family members), to donate the furniture to Good Will. The only piece that remained was this dresser (lightly sanded and hardware removed):

Looking back, I feel pretty selfish in admitting that the dresser was only saved because it "lived" in our dog room and not our guest bedroom. We primarily used it to store all of our pet essentials and a few other random items. I'm afraid that if the dresser was also in our guest room, it's life with the Ganey family would have been over (because of the newest Ganey member - me! donating it) .... okay, guilt trip over.

When we started planning for our nursery room, I realized how little storage we had for all of the baby things that would be soon to come. Our linen closet is pretty full - and we only have ONE in the entire house. So, I decided that finding a way to include the dresser and its large, spacious drawers was a better idea than donating it. HAPPY LIFE = MORE STORAGE? ha.

First I had to decide what exactly I wanted the color of our nursery furniture to be in order to try and match the dresser to the new decor. So, we decided on an "espresso" finish for our new nursery furniture:

Then, I searched Pinterest for weeks until I found a restoration idea that:
a - was cute and mature enough for a baby to grow into as a child
b - had a old/worn look to it so it wouldn't feel like I was trying to match the new furniture exactly (I didn't want it to feel "matchy-matchy")
c - (most importantly) I thought I could handle with my lack of restoration experience

So, I ended up with this Pinterest goal:

Although the style of my dresser was much different, I felt like the dark top would match our new espresso nursery furniture and the chalky, white bottom would lighten up the room with all of our other dark furniture. Plus, this was gender neutral for our future children :)

Okay now for a little brag fest ... my mother is the DIY queen. She personally taught me that you can literally fix, restore, and clean anything to make it look ALMOST exactly the way you want to. Her and my father took on many home remodel projects over the last 25 years and I've always been proud of what they can accomplish - and what they have forced me to learn. I am incredibly lucky to have TWO families (Saravias and Ganeys) that have taught both my husband and I that we can do and fix just about anything ourselves with our own two hands (even if you have enough money to pay someone, you have enough confidence to do it yourself).... and we both think that is a very important thing to teach our children. /brag over

So first, she sanded everything down and it really brought out the natural grain from the wood. I didn't realize that all of the texture that was living underneath the 30 year-old clear coat that was previously on there.

Then, she stained the top of the dresser dark brown, she gave it multiple coats since that natural wood absorbed basically all of the stain that she applied the first time.

She applied two coats of the chalky white paint that I found from my Pinterest-inspired dresser.

And the last step was to apply the clear finish so that the paint and stain would be protected for another (hopefully) 30 years. And we ended up with this as our finish product... !

Although its not exactly as old and worn as the original Pinterest-inspired dresser - I really love how it turned out. You'll have to look at it closely in person to really tell the grain detail (which is my favorite part, the wood is not as smooth as the picture makes it seem). Although I may go back and distress the paint a little more with some sand paper, I don't think I'll be adding a "glaze" or anything else to make it look more like the other. The dark spots in the original actually make the dresser appear dirty to me, and I'm sure in time with children... that will occur naturally :)

Here is where I purchased the paint color - it was called "old white"

Oh, and we used the original hardware, Mami cleaned it and painted it "shiny" brown - paint purchased at Michael's.

Disclaimer: My mother (Mami) did almost all of the work associated with this dresser restoration project. Brad (my husband) did a little bit of sanding when the dresser was first taken apart and I did all of the supervising and planning :) my project team members are very hard-working individuals who did their best to please their pregnant daughter/wife <3

Stephanie, Project Manager

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