Tuesday, October 1, 2013

French Provincial Dresser: Fake it till you make it!

A while back I scored this not so fancy French Provincial lingerie chest off of Craigslist.  I had put an add up that I was looking for wooden furniture to refinish and a women in my very
own small town contacted me.

She only wanted $20 for it! I knew it would be a great re-do but hadn't seen it yet so I had assumed it was still in pretty good shape.  
Let's fast forward to our meeting day, mmmkay? 

I pulled up to the woman's house to find the dresser in the driveway and I got super excited...until I saw the "dent" the
woman mentioned on the phone.  DENT????!!! This was NOT a dent.  This was a gaping hole! 


I still desperately wanted it and wasn't going home empty handed.  There was a challenge waiting for me in this dresser and I'm not one to back down. Besides, I had to listen to some crazy stories from this woman before I could even haul it away.  If I had to endure that, I wasn't leaving without it! ( I really hope she doesn't read this...)

Like I said, it had some challenges in it.  Look at this mess!  Here's the breakdown of all the things wrong with it's original appearance: 

  • back leg is missing some wood veneer
  • top has huge hole
  • drawers need gluing
  • smelly :(
  • stained beyond belief
  • handles were nasty
First things first, this baby got a scrub down with some TSP.  I removed all of the handles from each drawer and almost gagged. 

Wouldn't you? 

Then I stripped the drawers down and sanded them to remove all of the old, nasty paint.

The top took some customizing to figure out how to get rid of that hole.  My solution was to use 1/8" thick Masonite board and cut it with a jigsaw to the original shape.  Once cut, I glued it on to the original top.  

The original shape was really curvy so I wasn't sure at first how to get the exact shape traced. My mom is super resourceful and always taught me that it you couldn't figure out how to do something with tools, just use your imagination but don't over-think it.  So, with that in mind, I used paper and a crayon.  Yup, straight up toddler tools.  

I placed the paper on top of the dresser and used the crayon to rub around the edges and give me a clear image of the fancy edge.  Then I cut it out and traced it onto the Masonite.

Using the jigsaw, I cut out the piece for the top and secured it.  I used wood putty around the edges to blend it in and make it look like the original (or as close as it could get) to the scalloped edge.  I'm still waiting for it to dry so I can sand it to a smooth finish. 

I also had to take care of the missing wood section on the back leg.  I used wood putty to fill that in too.  Seriously, is there anything that wood putty can't do?  

The hardware was given the old, Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint treatment and now look amazing! 

I've only gotten the drawers primed so far, but what a difference, right?!

I can't wait to see the final outcome of this dresser.  I hope it was worth all of the sweat!