Meet Helena- Old Dresser, New Life

It was time. Time to get back to one of my true loves. Refurbishing furniture.

It just so happened that I had the perfect project and motivation. A friend of mine had just separated from her husband and an abusive situation and along with her 3 young boys moved into her own place. Dividing up the already slim household had left my friend with very little in the way of furniture or household items. When I asked her what things she needed, she mentioned needing a kitchen island. Extra workspace and storage was a necessity in her small kitchen.

A few days later, I came across this dresser at a thrift store:


A dresser in a sad state of affairs, but sturdy and the right size and shape for an island or buffet. I bought it, brought it home and got to work. All surfaces got a light sanding and fill with wood putty as needed. As the surfaces were fairly glossy, I chose to prime first. Whenever I am in process of refurbishing a piece of furniture, it always speaks to me. It tells me what color it wants to be, and I listen. The personality of the piece begins to show up as I work and by the end, it has a name.

In this case, the dresser told me that it needed to be red. It just so happened I had the perfect color red already. Two coats of red paint followed the primer and I topped the paint with a clear coat to protect it from a busy household. The pulls which were originally brass, were sprayed with primer and topped with oil rubbed bronze. The edges were sanded to give them a bit of a distressed look.

The best part of the update to this dresser was the addition of the pallet wood top. I cut planks to go across the top of the dresser and then used construction adhesive and screws to attach them to the existing top of the dresser. The planks got a good sanding, a dark stain and 3 coats of Varathane to keep the top easy to clean. She turned out beautifully.



My friend was thrilled with her new buffet. She might have even teared up a bit. It was a perfect fit for her dining room, and it just so happened that she had another piece of furniture this EXACT same color red. I had no idea. This was such a fun project for me and I enjoyed being able to bless my friend.

By the way- the dresser-come-buffet’s name? Helena.

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