Gray and Walnut Mid Century Dresser

By Christina, Owner at Phoenix Restoration

When I stumble across a good piece of furniture on Craigslist or Offer Up - I make and offer - schedule a viewing - and pick it up (and I NEVER flake). In the case of this makeover, the dresser found me. Someone on Craigslist contacted me after seeing my work and asked if I wanted to buy their dresser to refinish because they were preparing to move to Hawaii and had to sell all of their belongings. I'm always a little leery of the "do you want to buy my furniture?" messages I receive because if someone stumbles upon my website in the process of  researching the value of whatever furniture they're trying to sell, the likelihood of us being on the same page about what I would actually pay for their furniture is next to nothing. I recently had someone do this and they wanted $800 for their dresser because they saw it on ebay. I had to explain that I could not resell it, refinished, for $800. 

This seller of this dresser was different. I wasn't crazy excited about the style of the furniture and the fact that there was no maker's mark. Also, it was located about an hour away. I hesitated about offering, but somehow we came to agree that I would pay $100 and they would drive it all the way to my house to drop it off. A deal I couldn't refuse. 

The drop off occured in during the very busy refinishing season of 2016 when I was working my painting business about 20 hours per week. My garage was jam packed with furniture, but we squeezed this in and I got to work on it right away. 

I decided I would do a reverse gray/walnut combo because the wood grain on the top of the dresser was gorgeous. I sanded back the old finish to bare wood. This took a while, but I didn't feel like dealing with paint stripper. I removed the drawers and roughed up the surface to prepare for paint. I primed the drawer fronts with shellac based primer, sanded smooth, and applied 2 coats of Seagull Gray followed by 2 coats of satin high performance poly. 

For the frame of the dresser, I used Antique walnut gel stain followed by satin polyurethane. 

All products were sprayed. 

This was one of those rare projects where nothing when horribly wrong and it only took a couple of days, start to finish, to makoever this dresser. Once it was for sale, it sold pretty quickly and went to the home of a local family decorating their nursery. I'm pretty sure most of my furniture ends up in a nursery. :)

Project Category

Products Used

Seagull Gray Milk Pain
Satin High Performance Poly
Antique Walnut Gel Stain

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