Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Painted Dresser

Painting an Antique Dresser

When I was deciding what to do with my dresser, Frances Schultz, author of the Bee Cottage column in House Beautiful  and the charming blog francesshultz.com, graciously answered my request for advice and suggested I start with a painted tray and something tall, like Staffordshire dogs, which I had never seen in real before.  Finally, I found a tray at the Woods Gallery in Gibsons, BC.

Painted Tray

Painted with Buffleheads, ocean ducks which winter here on Canada's west coast, are some of my husband's favourite birds.  I think the background might be Benjamin Moore's Misted Fern, and an exact match with the bedside lamps.  I decided to go with Georgian Green (HC-115), which is a close match to the curtains and also the same colour I have painted other pieces of furniture in the living room and front hall. I was trying to create flow, now that I am starting to understand what it means in a house. ( I know what it means in writing.)  Also, thedecorologist.com had featured a home where several pieces of furniture were painted the same turquoise, and that inspired me.

Here, again, is the before:
Original Oak Dresser

I washed it, sanded it just lightly so the old stain wouldn't 'bleed' as I had been warned, and applied Fresh Start, then two coats of Benjamin Moore's Advance, which is designed for furniture and dries very hard. I chose semi-gloss first, but found the shine on the old fashioned grey-green and bit strange, so I sanded again and painted on another coat with satin finish.  I am happy now. I put the old brass hardware back on.  Here it is:
Painted Dresser
I bought the lamp at Redfish in Sechelt, BC, and realize I need an orchid to balance it on the other side. 

I find I appreciate the curves of the shape more now, and also some of the carved details:

I was very nervous about painting this dresser, which, as I mentioned, had sat unchanged in our bedroom for almost twenty-five years after we found it, but now I am glad that it balances the other dark furniture in the room (the bed, side tables, and desk.) I will write about the desk another time.

In one of my favourite non-poetry books, The Perfectly Imperfect Home, Deborah Needleman writes about accidental furniture: "Accidental furniture pieces are those things that just happen to attache themselves to you-things you never meant to acquire and maybe don't even love. But there they are, and there they have been, with you for quite some time." While we were looking for useful furniture, lurking around in my grandpa's basement all those years ago, I don't think we ever suspected we'd have that dresser for so long. Now, with just a bit of paint, it is a piece of furniture I love, both useful and beautiful, which is what I hope everything in my house would be.

No comments: