Dresser Redux: Reimagining A Favorite Sports Team’s Colors

When I found this dresser on Craigslist, I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. I loved the lines, and felt vaguely guilty about painting it, but I knew it would be going in our office, where there’s already a big wooden desk, and a wooden side table that I will eventually refinish, and not paint. With all that wood in mind, and with the condition of the piece being so-so — scratched up veneer that was beyond hope of refinishing — I felt secure in my decision.

When the Mister asked me what color I had in mind, I replied, “Yellow!” I had a quart of No. 2-pencil-yellow paint leftover from a bedroom nightstand redo that was never to be (I strongly suspected bedbugs were making a home in the tables, which we promptly left out front for trash collection, and which two old ladies in a truck promptly picked up, which should be a lesson to you). And he grimaced, and he said, “I like navy, and I like white.” Well, he had sort of unofficially claimed the office as his own, so I humored him. Navy and white sounded nice, and would look cool with the trim pieces. And then he admitted why: “Because of the Yankees pinstripes!” Mister Mister is Yankees fan No. 1. But I knew I could make it something that both he and I liked, so I had at it.

I started with some flat navy paint that I scored for free when the local hardware store was giving away free flat quarts of a new color line. And I had some leftover white semigloss from long ago. This was my first attempt at distressing, and I really enjoyed the process — and how it turned out! I didn’t bother priming, though I did rough up the surface a bit. I laid down a couple of coats of the navy paint and a couple of white on the trim, and then started roughing things up.

That’s when I discovered that I kinda hated how it looked when I took the sandpaper to the paint surfaces that had barely dried for 24 hours. Apparently the “worn down” effect works best after the paint has fully cured, about a week. And sandpaper isn’t the best option. But I worked the whole piece, and the edges. Then, I rubbed a coat of ebony stain and wiped it right off — now THAT looked cool.

The first rule of distressing: If you don’t like it, keep working on it. I hated how much stain I put on certain white areas. It made it look too dingy. So I just lightly painted over those areas. I also started painting some of the lower inset trim on the left and right, in white, but since it curved in a bit at the bottom, it proved difficult to make a straight line. So, navy it was. It was really liberating to not feel like I was stuck with one approach that I could easily screw up. I’m such a perfectionist, so that’s saying a lot for me.

I finished the whole thing off with some paste wax, and dipped the original brass hardware in some vinegar and salt to brighten it up.

Next up: Some drawer liners.

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