Friday, May 9, 2014

From Dresser To Entertainment Center

We've lived in our house for over 10 years, and have had the same cheap entertainment center since moving in.  For a long time, I've been keeping my eye out for the perfect old dresser to refinish and turn into the entertainment center in our living room.  I frequent our local ReStore and love to go on "Spin the Wheel Wednesday" when you get to spin the wheel and get a discount between 5%-40% off your purchase.  A couple months ago, on a Wednesday, I ran in and found the store almost empty...standing all alone, was this gem.

It had a $40 price tag, was solid wood, had a variety of drawer sizes, three drawers behind the doors, and I knew immediately that it was coming home with me.  I texted my husband a picture to get his opinion, and when he hadn't responded within 60 seconds, I made the executive decision to buy it.  My daughter spun the wheel, landed on 20% off, and after tax paid $36 for what I knew was going to be a great addition to my living room.

There were lots of things little things I wanted to change on the dresser.  First, I got rid of the top two drawers (I painted the inside), removed the piece of wood that they slide on (I have no idea what the technical term for that piece is), and pulled out the drawer stoppers at the very back on the inside.  Next, I took the hinges off the doors and all the hardware off the drawers.  That led to a whole other list of tasks that I hadn't anticipated, and I'll talk more on that later.  I don't usually sand furniture I work on, because it isn't necessary with the chalk paint I use, but there were some areas that needed it.  I have a Skil Octo sander that my husband bought me for Christmas, and it is pretty fantastic. I personally don't like my furniture to have the weathered/distressed look, so I like to patch dents and scratches.  There were plenty of those on this dresser to take care of.  I use the Elmer's Wood Filler and love it. 

You know when you have grand plans, and you picture everything in your head, and things work out exactly as you visioned them?  No?  Oh, yeah, me either.  I had originally planned on doing several things on this project, that I learned through trial and error, weren't going to work out like I thought they would.  I had a vision of a purple dresser, with metallic silver doors, that looked absolutely fabulous.  I knew the second that I started painting the doors that I was going to hate it, but thought maybe if I finished painting them, I'd actually love it.  Nope, I hated them even more than I thought I would.  For some reason, the only thing I could think of when I looked at them next to the purple paint I chose for the dresser, was Medieval Times restaurant/show thing.  I've never been there, but I am pretty sure that what I had created was what their decor looks like.  Anyway, the silver doors were short lived.  

Of all the paint I've tried with my chalk paint recipe (used hereherehere, and here), my favorite is the Glidden brand from Wal-Mart.  I get it in an eggshell finish, and the most important part is to get the kind without primer added to it.  The color I used was Deep Amethyst and then I put a coat of satin polyurethane after it had dried for extra protection.  It looks darker in person than in the picture below.  

I painted the inside and the sides of the drawers, which probably wasn't completely necessary.  I wasn't going to originally, but then I kept picturing my kids leaving the drawers open and seeing the ugly brown wood, and my obsessive compulsive tendencies got the best of me.  It was a total drag, and took a lot of extra time.  My husband dared to ask at one point, why I was painting the insides of the drawers, and in my head I just pictured myself punching him right in the face.  I didn't, and I tried to explain myself without freaking out. True love I tell you.  My five year old daughter and her friends also decided to stack all the drawers on top of the dresser in the middle of my project, which led to me having to sand and repaint the top.  I totally could have done without that as well.  

Every time I do a project, I hit some point where I get really frustrated about how things are going.  This project had several of those times, but I powered through.  One of the frustrations came from the original hardware that I removed. I have no idea how old the dresser is, but "antique" parts is what one expert I consulted told me I had on my hands.  I had hoped to just purchase new knobs, drawer pulls, and hinges for the doors, spend five minutes putting them on, and call it good.  No.Such.Luck.  Two of the drawers had handles, and two had knobs.  When I removed the knobs, for some reason they had an extra hole drilled for a little plug on the knob to go into.  I patched that, sanded them, and moved on to the other drawers.  I measured the distance between the holes for the drawer pulls, only to find that they were 4.5" apart, and there aren't pulls made in that width anymore.  Fine, fine, patch both those holes, sand, and then measure and drill a new hole for a different type of knob.  The hinges weren't something that I could replace.  They don't make anything even remotely close to the originals, and the only choice I had was to refinish them.  I ended up spray painting them black, and also hand painting the screws after I put the doors back on.  I found knobs that I loved at Hobby Lobby, then had to go buy different screws for them because the ones they came with weren't long enough.   While I was looking for the screws, a man came up behind me and said "You know, you can just find a good looking guy to do that for you."  I censored myself, responded with something much less horrible than what I was thinking, found the screws I wanted, and left the store.  I'm far from helpless, and am still shaking my head over what an idiot that guy was.  

I am incredibly happy with the final result.  I think one thing I love so much about doing projects, is seeing it all come together and appreciating the heck out of my hard work.  I love having a piece of furniture that no one else has, and that is 100% my vision and style.  I love bright colors, and little details, and I'm able to incorporate whatever I want into my projects.  Makes all the frustration worth it in the end.

 I got the owls at TJ Maxx and the bird cage at Hobby Lobby.  I absolutely love them!

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