Tall Dresser means a New Skill

First, happy new year! I apologize for being gone for so long! I found myself enjoying Christmas and then a fun, warm vacation at Disney World with my family. Upon returning, I have been busy refinishing two dressers and I finally have something to share with you!

This dresser is part of the three-piece set that Mary brought to me. The set belonged to her grandmother and she and her husband have been using it in their master bedroom. However, all three pieces needed some love. The first I finished was the vanity. Details of this redesign can be found here.


This tall dresser was up next. It had a lot of wear on the top, broken trim detail on the drawer front and broken veneer on the sides.




Another issue was that several of the brass pulls were broken. I did a quick online search and found a company in North Carolina that repairs vintage hardware. Mary sent the four broken pulls to them and they came back good as new! I only had to clean them up with Brasso.



The other issue was the broken veneer on the sides. I cut the veneer above where it was peeling off and where it was still on solidly. I filled the area with DAP PlasticWood, my favorite wood filler.


It doesn’t look good at this stage, but once it is sanded and painted you can’t even tell the damage existed.


The original plan was to paint this (and the third dresser yet to be done) entirely in the same Annie Sloan Country Gray as the vanity. But in talking to Mary, we decided to make a change to the plan and stain the top of the dressers. I have stained the tops of my own furniture pieces, but have yet to offer it as a service to my clients. Mary was willing to be my guinea pig client and trusted me to stain the dresser top.

I sanded the dresser top with my orbital sander. (Challenging and messy to do in the garage with freezing temperatures!) I wiped down with a tack cloth to collect all the dust and then stained the top in General Finishes Java Gel Stain. I lightly sanded in between applications and applied three coats of the gel stain for full coverage.

I order all of my paints from Trish of The Purple Painted Lady. When I had a question about which top coat to use for this project she answered my phone call, suggested which top coat to order and wonderfully answered all my questions. (Love her!) I decided upon General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Satin. To make me love her even more — Trish suggested I try a new applicator that she was just stocking in her shop and she said she would send one my way free of charge. Seriously — if you want to buy any and all things related to refinishing furniture, shop at The Purple Painted Lady. They are an amazing small business that I am happy to support!

Below is a picture of me applying the GF High Performance Top Coat with the new applicator. As suggested on the General Finishes website, I put a cut up piece of nylons over the applicator. The top coat went on smoothly and evenly. After each coat dried thoroughly, I sanded lightly with 600 grit sandpaper in between each of the three coats.


I love both the General Finishes Java Gel and the High Performance Top Coat! The final result is a beautifully stained dresser top! A lovely compliment to the painted body.


Lastly, I painted the body and drawers in Annie Sloan Country Grey and lightly distressed. I staged with part of my collection of sheep art. My husband and I have an affinity for sheep art.


Mary and I are so excited about this dresser and I look forward to completing the final dresser to this heirloom set next!



I am also excited to now offer stained tops to other clients! It’s always fun to add to my furniture redesigning skills! Drop me an email if I can help you restore a cherished piece of your furniture!

… Kristin

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