Empire Dresser Makeover Using Fabric

Hello!  I hope everyone is ready for some fun!  

I found this dresser right after we moved to our new home in Illinois.  Our neighborhood was having a garage sale and when I spied this piece I had to have it.  One problem was I didn't see the piece in person, but rather online.  The hubby went and picked it up and then brought it home for me.   When we pulled it out of the back of the SUV, my heart sank a little.  It wasn't in the best of shape and I was so overwhelmed with moving I knew this piece was going to the bottom of the to-do pile.  

The laundry list of things that needed to be fixed with this beautiful empire dresser:

1.  There was no back to the dresser
                               2.  All the drawers needed to be taken apart and regaled
                                              3. There were tons of gouges in the wood that needed to be filled
                                           4. The veneer was REALLY peeling on 2 of the larger drawers
                         5.  The dresser was missing the right part of the leg 

Basically, there were a lot of things wrong with this dresser, but I still loved it and knew it could be beautiful again.  

Here's a picture of a few of the problem areas.

I had originally thought I would leave the top and stain it dark.  I planned on putting this dresser in my office and wanted to paint the body white and have a beautiful stained top.  Well, that idea was quickly kicked to the curb when I started sanding the top.  The entire top was a thin piece of veneer and in the middle it had been taped down.  It was something I hadn't seen before.  I decided it would be best to just paint the entire piece.

Now about that leg that was missing.  Empire pieces have rounded parts on the front of the leg.  This piece just happened to be missing the entire half circle on the front of the leg.  I started to plan out how to fix it and came up with the idea to use scrap wood I had on hand.  I found two pieces of scrap wood, cut them to the right width, then glued them together and clamped them together for a couple of days.  That was the easy part!  Then I had to figure out how to make a semi-circle out of a rectangle.  I traced out the shape by using the other leg as a template.  Then I took the wood piece over to the mitre saw and started taking pieces off until I had a crude semi-circle.  Last thing I did was sand the wood down into the shape I needed.  

OK, so honestly the hubby thought my idea was insane.  Secretly in the back of my mind I was worried too and his worry made mine even worse.   So I just did it....I decided it would work and it did!!!  I have to say to date, this is one of my proudest DIY moments.

Here's the leg all fixed, sanded, glued and filled.

This is the other leg, so in comparison, that's not bad at all!!  Pat on the back for me!  

My next challenge was the peeling veneer.  I looked on the web for ideas on how to remove peeling veneer and tried two options...neither one worked.  Then I thought, "OK why not just fill all the holes and gouges from the peeling veneer with wood filler?"  Well, the reason you don't do that is it doesn't work.  There was no way to fill the holes without removing all the veneer.  I decided the best thing to do was sand.  I got some 60 grit sand paper and sanded for a very long time.  I got all the veneer off one of the 6 drawers, then the HUGE light bulb went off above my blond head!!!  Don't remove it, cover it silly!!  So that's what I did.  I decoupaged fabric to the drawers using Mod Podge!

Applying fabric to the drawers was something I'd never done and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Now because I was sort of winging this whole thing, I don't have any in-progress pics.  However, I will tell you what I did.  I had bought my fabric a couple of weeks prior from Hobby Lobby for another project in the office so I used what I had.  

First I measured and cut out the fabric I needed for each drawer.  Once I had the fabric cut, I put a thick coat of Mod Podge on each drawer, then laid the fabric over the drawer.  I pushed it down into the glue, then made sure the edges were getting enough Mod Podge.  Once the fabric was attached, I applied a coat of Mod Podge on top of the fabric.  After the coat of glue was dry, I applied another coat.  About an hour later, the glue was dry and I cut off the excess fabric with some sharp scissors.  For the hardware, I used an Exacto knife and cut an X in the fabric to make the holes for knobs.   The biggest concern here is make sure you have enough Mod Podge on the edges to insure your fabric stays put.

For the body of the dresser I used Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan decorative paint in Old White and Pure White.  I didn't want the dresser to be too stark white, but I also didn't want it to be too creamy.  I did a half and half mix of both color to get there perfect color. 

 For the top of dresser I used a new to me brand of paint called Blackberry House Paint, Country Girl Color Collection in Iron Skillet.  Iron Skillet is a great black!  I found the paint at an antique store in Franklin Tennessee this summer on vacation with the hubby.  

My last step was to apply a coat of Annie Sloan clear soft wax and attach the new Hobby Lobby hardware.  I love these drawer pulls!  They're a beautiful mercury glass and they really give the piece that WOW factor.

And here she is!!!

Here's that leg I partially rebuilt!!  

I get a lot of questions about where I get the items I use to stage my pictures.  Here's a source guide for what's on the dresser top:

1. Follow That Dream print (Hobby Lobby on sale 50% off,  $12.49)
2. Gold framed print (Art Crate http://www.artcrate.co)
3. Marble horse book ends (Goodwill $4 for both)
4.  Brass mirror tray (Goodwill $2)
5. Small brass urn (Goodwill $1.49)
6. White 'wood' lamp (Home Goods $40)
7. Old books, misc locations all less than $.50

This dresser was a lot of fun and a good challenge for me.  It's always nerve wracking to do something for the first time, but the two firsts on this project went off without a hitch and that doesn't happen very often!

  Now, all that's left is to finish my office.  The office is painted now, but I have a big project I need to start, another first for me, before I can put the final touches on the room.  I'm excited about having my 'girls only' space to work in.

I love hearing from you, so keep those comments and emails coming!  Also, I post a lot to Facebook, so if you're not following me there you can follow me by clicking here.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Furniture Feature Fridays

Paint Color Makes A Big Impact

This is a quick post, but an important one!  It dawned on me today, as I was putting rooms back together after having them painted, what a huge difference a can of paint can make to the feeling of a room.  I've mentioned before just how much I don't like the color that every room in our house is painted.  It's not that it's a bad color, it's just the fact that EVERY room is the exact same camel color....even the garage!  For me, color is important in a room it sets the tone of the room.  If I don't like the color, then I'm not going to enjoy spending time in there.  

This fact was very evident this week when the painter finished the hubby's office. The hubby didn't really love the color in his office, but he said he could live with it....it didn't really bother him.  However, when the painter was finished and he walked into the room, he couldn't believe how the whole feeling in his office changed.  The room went from being a boring cardboard box to a warm and cozy room we both want to spend time in.  

Often times we think a color will be fine if we just leave it be.  Maybe we'll grow to like it?  However, a can of paint on the walls is an inexpensive way of changing the entire feel of a room.  The hubby's office looked fine with the camel walls, but with the new Kendall Charcoal walls, the room feels full of life and personality.  It's a bit moody as well.  This room went from bland and boring in seven hours.

The board and batten wall really POPS now against the darker walls.  Once the rest of the office is finished you'll be able to see there are two huge walls of windows in this room, so there's a lot of light flooding in all day long.  Before the camel color walls were washed out by all the light, but now during the day the room still feels warm and cozy.  It's a big room and it needed a dark color to give it some zip.

I love it when my vision for a room comes together.  Now that the walls are painted the darker Kendall Charcoal, it looks and feels exactly how I envisioned it when we bought the house.  It's a manly room the hubby can work in and feel at home in.  This color is a very versatile neutral so anytime we want to swap out the hits of red in the room, we can easily do that.

Is there a room in your home that you've put off painting because you think it's good enough for now?  I'm telling you, go out and buy a can of paint and spend a day putting it on the walls.  Then stand back and look at all your hard work and you'll say "WHY did I wait so long?"  

I want to hear from you!  What room in your house have you put off painting?  Is there a room in your home that's painted a color you're just 'tolerating'?  

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

The Finished Guest Bedroom, Vintage And On A Budget!

The guest bedroom has been a project I've been working on for months.  When we moved into our new house at the end of April, we knew we would need to get our guest bedroom done ASAP.  We had been on vacation with one of my longest and dearest friends, Tara and her family to Mexico and while we were there, had talked about the whole family coming to visit at the beginning of August.  I had a deadline and I knew I needed to get this room finished so they'd have a place to sleep.  I hurriedly started to get the room ready, but then got a reprieve when unfortunately Tara's family's plans changed and their trip was cancelled.  Once this happened, the guest bedroom was put on the back burner......for months. It became another dumping ground for things without a home. 

When I first started working on the room, I had an idea of what I wanted the bed to look like.  I wanted a reclaimed wood headboard for the king size bed. I did some research and found a place locally that sold reclaimed barn wood.  We went and checked their options out and found just what we needed to get the bed project underway.

Here's a pic of the fun place we bought the wood.

I didn't get a picture of all the wood they had...lets just say they have a wonderful selection!   I want those guys doors!  This place has so much selection they recently move to a larger building a few doors down. It's old wood and 'stuff' heaven! 

We ended up buying reclaimed cedar fencing boards that were once home at a farm.  The boards were cedar, which is great because, bugs don't like cedar and it doesn't smell old or musty at all.  We brought the wood home and it was a family affair getting it all cleaned for "project reclaimed wood headboard"!  Hunter scrubbed the wood with a wire brush and soapy water, while the hubby and I sorted through the pieces we wanted to use.  

I thought I had pictures of the in-process steps, but unfortunately I don't!  I can tell you one thing for sure....this project was very easy and simple.  All we did was attach two 1X2 boards to the studs in the wall.  We measured out where we wanted the headboard to go and then drilled the two boards into the studs.  For each fence board we cut off the ends with a mitre saw so all the ends would look similar.  Once we were done, we took them upstairs to the guest bedroom and attached them with screws to the 1X2's attached to the studs.  This headboard is sturdy and isn't going anywhere!

Here's how it looked when we were part of the way done. 

We got the head board done and then it sat and waited for a few months before I got to work on the rest of the room.  It was the project that ended up on the bottom of the 'to-do' list.  We knew we weren't having guests anytime soon, so why rush?  

You usually only see the pretty finished room pictures on the blog,  so here's a special treat for you!  Here you can see how the room looked for a very long time before it was finished.  It was a huge mess and that meant it sat with the door closed most days.  Which is sad, I love the light in this room.  

Don't you want to sleep in that cozy bed?!  HAHAHAHA

This last week, I made the guest bedroom my main priority.  Not because I'm expecting guests (I wish!), but I just really wanted to vacuum and dust this room and finally get it organized.  It was starting to bug me having this room not done and hanging over my head.  

 In the pics above you'll notice a difference from the next pictures, other then the fact the room is a bit more organized and the bedding is different, the headboard looks different.  After it was done, I kept looking at it thinking, "Hmmm this needs something."  I wanted the wood to have a bit more uniform look so I thought about white washing it with some paint I had on hand.  This week I went in and applied some watered down American Paint Company Paint in Home Base to the wood.  I just wiped it on with a wet rag, then pulled it off with the same rag....easy! I like it a lot better now.  

Here's the guest bedroom done and ready for some guests!  

Now before you think I went out and bought everything just for this room, think again!  I only bought a few things brand new like the dust ruffle and the two white shams on the bed.  The other items I either already had or bought vintage.  My goal for this room was for everything to be as inexpensive as possible.  

One thing the room will be getting in the VERY near future is new paint on the walls.  This is that same cardboard box color we have all over the house and are slowly removing one room at a time.  As I'm writing this, our painter is here painting our offices...thank you Edward!!!

One this side of the room, I wanted to give our guests a place to do their hair, makeup, or do some work.  I think it's important to have a space like that in a guest bedroom.  I found this adorable porcelain top table/desk with chrome legs at a local Goodwill for a whopping $6.99!!  Can you believe that?!  The table is in just about perfect condition too!  All it needed was a good cleaning.

This cute little chair, I also found at Goodwill for $2.99.  It was beat up and needed a paint job, some wood glue and filler and some new fabric on the seat.  I painted the chair with some Deco Art Chalky Finish Paint and some Annie Sloan soft wax.   The fabric on the seat  is another bargain. I bought the fabric, which is actually a drapery panel from Target for $5. I was lucky enough to get 2 panels in this grey color and one in the same fabric but cream.  

The reclaimed fence board with the hooks I purchased at a thrift store for $8 and hung a herringbone throw from Target on one of the hooks.  The art work is from an estate sale.

For inexpensive artwork above the table, I used embroidery hoops and framed some fabric I had leftover from other projects.  The embroidery hoops were about $.50 each from Goodwill.  This is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to add some interest to your walls.

I like to buy old tarnished silver tea pots to use as vases around the house.  I just love how they look full of fresh flowers.  This one I found for $1 at a thrift store.

The mirror was another Goodwill score for $3.  Every guest bedroom needs a mirror, right?  The Eiffel Tower, the books and the silver vessel are all estate sale finds.  

This cabinet I've had for a couple of years.  I bought this cute little secretary desk from an estate sale for $25 in Connecticut.  It was a terribly ugly high-gloss country blue before I painted it with some Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan in French Linen.  I upholstered the inside of the cabinet with some yellow and white fabric and added new handles.  I added a distressed number on the front for fun.  Hunter picked out the number.  Once the walls are painted a new color, the cabinet will pop off the walls a lot more.  

The cabinet works as a display place as well as a place for guests to store some clothes in the drawers.  When a guest comes, I will take put towels and toiletries inside the desk part that folds open.  Then they can use the drawers for their clothes or hang them in the closet.

This little folding side table I bought last year at an estate sale for $5.  All I did was clean it up a bit and I left it the cute green.   The owl lamp I bought a few years ago at Home Goods and the owl vase on the bottom shelf of the table is from Home Goods as well.  It's from Jonathan Adler.....He's an amazing potter!

The clock, the little plate and silver box are inexpensive vintage pieces from assorted estate sales.

The bench at the end of the bed has had a couple of different looks.  This is an old bench we've had in our master bedroom at the foot of our bed for years.  I reupholstered it using one of my drapery panels from Target.  I like how it's a place for guests to sit down and put on their shoes and I love how it ties the room together.

The pillow covers I made from the drapery panels I bought from Target and other fabrics I had leftover from other projects.  Their all the same fabrics I used in the embroidery hoops.

The mirror was a clearance score from Home Goods for $10.  I felt like the headboard needed a little bling in the middle.   It's like a little headboard crown, don't you think?

One of my favorite things to do in any room, is mix patterns.  I like to take several fabrics and make them work together.  I guarantee no one else has this same set of pillows on their bed!  

The duvet is from West Elm and was in our master bedroom for the spring before I moved it to the guest bedroom.

This side of the room is all vintage as well.  The painting of the girl I found at a thrift store for $2 and the other pieces of art were also found at flea markets or estate sales.

The cute little mid century modern yellow vinyl chair I bought at Goodwill for $6.  It was so dingy and gross, but after a very good scrubbing it now looks great!  The pillow cover is made from another $5 drapery panel from Target.  The little side table I bought for $2 at an estate sale.

I'm SO happy this room is done!!!  It feels like a huge load has been lifted from my shoulders now that one more project is off my 'need-to-finish' list.  I like how sunny and cozy this room feels. I love going in this room and lying on the bed to read a magazine.  The light is perfect during the day and it's a good sized room, but still feels warm and cozy.  The bed in here is a king size bed and there's still a lot of room to move around.

I hope this helps to show how easy it is to take lots of miscellaneous pieces, purchased at different times and places and put them all together to make a beautiful room on a budget.  Just because you're reworking or even designing a room for the first time, it doesn't mean you have to go out and buy everything brand new or spend a ton of money.  With a little bit of work and patience you can put a room together that is unique and looks collected for very little money.

I'd love to hear what you think.  Do you enjoy putting vintage pieces together?  Or do you like to buy everything brand new?  I want to hear from you!

Thank you for reading!