The Gray Dresser: Curbside Trash to Penthouse Glamour

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

Since I’ve owned this dresser, I have had such a range of feelings for it… First, sadness… then hope… then discouragement… then apathy… then apprehension… then hope… then frustration… then hope… then relief and satisfaction.  And now a little pride.

I remember distinctly one warm day back in September.  I was heading to a somewhat unfamiliar area to look at a small dresser that I saw on Craigslist and I had my mother and two boys in the SUV with me.  I took a wrong turn and ended up in a semi-ghetto area.  (You know the kind of neighborhood!)  Then on the side of the curb I saw this huge, sad, ugly dresser.  I cannot even imagine what kind of hideously 80’s bedroom decor this was once a part of.  It looked like someone had just thrown it out there because all of the drawers were out and one was busted on two of its sides, and the metal track was bent.  But I immediately fell in love with the doors!

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

Since I was just starting out in blogging and low on funds for projects (aren’t we all budget conscious these days?) the idea of a free dresser to experiment with (even in its terrible condition) was SO exciting.  Much to my mother’s dismay and embarrassment, she got out and helped me quickly attempt to load it up… thankfully a man was driving by and jumped out to help us.

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

We did finally end up making it to look at the Craigslist dresser, but needless to say, it did not compare to my newly acquired curbside treasure.  I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse that I see so much potential in old ugly furniture!

First I started working on the broken drawer.  Wood glue, clamps, and several nails did the trick – and a swift hammer straightened out the track.  Then I started to paint it (the same pale gray as my armoire) but I didn’t get very far.  The dresser was disgustingly filthy, there were a million little grooves on the doors, and I got discouraged.

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

Then the cold weather came and I found myself spending less time in the garage and more time inside doing crafts or smaller painting projects.  I got bored with the dresser because of the slow progress, which was my own fault.  Things got piled on it and I forgot about it for a few months.

With spring’s arrival and renewed optimism, I decided I had to finally finish this dresser.  It was taking up way too much room and I was sick of looking at it partially finished.  Have you ever had a project that seemed to take forever?

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

I did a lot of sanding and painted it with about billion coats of gray, especially on the doors which seemed to lose the paint in all its grooves.  Then I decided to paint the handles with Valspar glossy black spray paint (3 coats of black followed by a spray protectant) and painted the inside of the drawers black also.  When it was all done, I added about 4 coats of matte soft touch polyurethane.

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

To me, it gives off a little “French luxury” vibe, or a little throwback Hollywood glamour.

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

 C’est magnifique, non?

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

I also added some trim to the sides where the wood was damaged at the bottom.  It was so easy to do and adds some extra detail.

The Gray Dresser Makeover by Girl in the Garage.  This was someone's ugly broken trash before it was repaired and painted- what a beauty now!

 As perfect as it would look in my bedroom with the armoire, I took it to my booth this weekend.  I hope someone buys it who loves it as much as I do!  Do you ever get emotionally attached to your furniture, especially things that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on?  I don’t ever plan to spend 9 months repairing and painting a dresser again, that’s for sure!

Jen

Miss any of my recent posts?  Catch up here:

Upcycled Antique Sewing Drawers

Fabric Garland and Bunting Tutorial

The Good Life: Overcoming Fear to Reach Success

Featured on The Humble Brag

49 Comments on The Gray Dresser: Curbside Trash to Penthouse Glamour

  1. Bev

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 10, 2013)

    This dresser is gorgeous! You did a fabulous job with it and have reason to be proud. I find your blog so full of feelings I experience, and such a joy to read each day. I find encouragement in your posts, most of all. While you are miles ahead of me in making over pieces, you are an Inspiration for me too! Someday I will be in your position, getting a booth and making it look lovely and having fun doing what we do!! Thank you for sharing this today ;) Can’t wait to see what you write about next!

    Bev @ Give me a paintbrush
    Bev recently posted…Hot Mess!My Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 10, 2013)

      Thanks Bev! That’s so sweet. :) I’m just learning as I go… it’s always fun to experiment with new pieces and see how they’ll turn out!

      Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 10, 2013)

      Thank you Lisa. :) Actually I just rented a booth space last weekend (June 1st) to start selling my pieces; my house and garage were overflowing with them! You can read more about it here: http://girlinthegarage.net/2013/06/big-announcement-booth-space

      Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 10, 2013)

      Thanks Adrianne- Hopefully someone else will agree and snatch it up quickly. ;)

      Reply
  2. Dria @ Dio

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 10, 2013)

    Wow you did an incredible job, your dresser is stunning!! Loved reading your journey with this dresser!
    Dria @ Dio recently posted…Word Cloud – am I the last to know about this?My Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 10, 2013)

      Thank you so much Dria. Yes this piece had a bit of a story! I’m so glad that it’s finally finished.

      Reply
  3. Lisa Clarke

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 10, 2013)

    This reminds me of my parents’ old furniture set. I love what you’ve done with it – white really transforms the whole thing into something soooo not ugly!
    Lisa Clarke recently posted…I Like My Skirts Fast and Cheap, 2.0My Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 10, 2013)

      Lisa, I agree- light colors make everything seem so fresh and updated. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 11, 2013)

    Gorgeous piece Jen! I can totally relate….I’ve had several like this. I few I wanted to just throw the towel in on! ;) But ended up finished and loving them. Thanks so much for sharing it on Project Inspire{d}. :) Pinned!
    Nancy
    Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule recently posted…“Guest Post Fun” Series ~ Meet Gwen from The Bold AbodeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 11, 2013)

      Thank you Nancy! You’ve had some pretty awesome pieces yourself; hard work and determination usually achieves better results right? :)

      Reply
  5. Amy @ StowandTellU

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 11, 2013)

    Simply gorgeous, Jen!! I’ve got a few pieces half done, myself, I better to working on them. Pinning ~ Amy
    Amy @ StowandTellU recently posted…Linking Up To It’s a Steal at Inspiration CafeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 11, 2013)

      Thanks, Amy! Half finished is better than where you started. ;)

      Reply
  6. Lara

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 11, 2013)

    WOW – the dresser looks amazing! And yes, I have Way Too Many projects that have gotten offtrack and now just sit… sad and unfinished. I must say your dresser has given me hope and inspires me to get back to work! I have questions — what “booth” are you talking about? in a shop? oooohhh, would LOVE to see/shop!

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 11, 2013)

      Thank you Lara, that’s so kind of you to say! Actually I just rented a booth space at the beginning of this month – you can read more about it here: http://girlinthegarage.net/2013/06/big-announcement-booth-space It has several more items there now than in the photos when I first set up.

      Reply
  7. Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 11, 2013)

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! And the fact that it was FREE makes it even better! Pinned! I popped over from Lil’ Luna–thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)
    Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog recently posted…Mini IKEA Hack {Dish Towel Tote Bag}My Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 11, 2013)

      Thank you so much, Abby! Glad you stopped by!

      Reply
  8. Trisha D.

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 12, 2013)

    Just stopped over from Dria’s (http://diohomeimprovements.com/) Facebook post. I’m always drawn to classic Black and White.

    I’ll have to take a look around and become your latest reader!

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 12, 2013)

      Thanks so much Trisha – Glad to have you visiting! :)

      Reply
  9. Ruth@LivingWellSpendingLess

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 13, 2013)

    Hi Jen! I hopped over from Sugar Bee Crafts – you should totally be proud of how this dresser turned out. Drab to fab – it looks awesome!

    We would love for you to link this up with us at Living Well Spending Less! You can link up any of your thrifty projects each Thursday – we would love to have you join us! http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/category/thrifty-thursday/
    Ruth@LivingWellSpendingLess recently posted…Thrifty Thursday {Week 15}My Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 13, 2013)

      Ruth, thank you so much! I am pretty proud of it. (blushing) :) I just stopped by your party and linked up- thanks for the invite!

      Reply
  10. Julie @ This Gal Cooks

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 13, 2013)

    This dresser is beautiful! Good pick on the hardware! It goes perfect with the dresser.

    Stopping by from Happy Hour Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Julie @ This Gal Cooks recently posted…Chicken Enchilada PizzaMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Kathryn

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 13, 2013)

    I swear my parents have the same dresser! It looks so much better in grey! So pretty!
    Kathryn recently posted…Playschool Graduation and Teacher GiftsMy Profile

    Reply
  12. pam♥

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 14, 2013)

    è assolutamente perfetto, bellissimo!!!!!

    Reply
  13. Mrs. Handyverger

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 14, 2013)

    Stunning! I absolutely love it. What a labor of love, though, with all the little details! Beautiful job. :)

    Stopping by from DIY by Design!
    Mrs. Handyverger recently posted…Landscape Overhaul – Front Porch GardenMy Profile

    Reply
  14. Jamie

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 14, 2013)

    Wow! I think we’ve all seen ugly dressers like that one. You’ve done an amazing job!! Thank you so much for sharing at Give Me The Goods Monday!
    Jamie @ Better With Age
    Jamie recently posted…Father’s Day Round UpMy Profile

    Reply
  15. Tania

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 15, 2013)

    I love it, so beautiful! I would have been embarrassed too, but would have braved it too get my hands on that! :o)

    Tania
    Tania recently posted…Entry Table MakeoverMy Profile

    Reply
  16. Tanya

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 17, 2013)

    Your dresser is gorgeous Jen! Thank you so much for sharing her at the Pretty Things party :)

    xo, Tanya
    twelveOeight
    Tanya recently posted…Pretty Things Link Party {25} And An Announcement!!My Profile

    Reply
  17. Angela @ CreativeBlossoming.com

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 20, 2013)

    Such a beautiful piece of furniture. Your makeover really did it justice! Great job & go you for finishing it! I too know that feeling.
    Angela @ CreativeBlossoming.com recently posted…How I Created My Sacred SpaceMy Profile

    Reply
  18. Jen @ Migonis Home

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 21, 2013)

    LOVE THIS!!! I just found you via the Before and After link up party! You had such a great vision… and seriously, who in their right mind would have that piece of furniture without painting it!?!?!

    Reply
  19. Susan

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (June 21, 2013)

    I loved seeing this. I found and bought the matching armoire at my local Salvation Army in MI. I thought the doors where awesome as well! They may have come from that same 80’s bedroom. Mines the yin to your yang, I painted it black. I love seeing what it would look like if I ever wanted to repaint it white. Great job!!

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 22, 2013)

      That sounds awesome- I would love to see the matching armoire! I bet it’s gorgeous.

      Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (June 25, 2013)

      Thanks so much Lauren! ;)

      Reply
  20. iris

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (July 1, 2013)

    This came out amazingly beautiful!!
    iris recently posted…Wedding DoilyMy Profile

    Reply
  21. MK

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (July 18, 2013)

    I bought a tall chest-of-drawers with the exact same design from Salvation Army. It may have come from the same bedroom b/c it had some loose wood, heavy wear, and one of the metal drawer tracks was completely off (it was there but it wasn’t attached). My college daughter said, “Oooooh, Mom, why did you buy that ugly thing?” I painted it lime green to go with the teal, aqua, & lime green fabric in my craft room. May sound crazy, but it is the definition of a “pop of color” & now my daughter wants it for herself (not happening). It looks so fun and I only paid $25 for it. Not free, but $25 is ok!

    Reply
  22. Kara

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (September 2, 2013)

    Oh my goodness! This is gorgeous!!! You did such an amazing job!

    Reply
  23. Louise

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (May 25, 2014)

    Oh, my gosh, that is just BEAUTIFUL! And the black hardware just pops against the light gray. Paint is such a magical substance. I love how it just transforms things.

    I have an old dresser in my garage that I have partially redone. It isn’t fancy, and had water damage, but it will make great storage for my craft room. I replaced the damaged side, and now it needs paint. I’ve been working on other projects, though, so there it sits.
    Louise recently posted…Closet Reorganization Continued, and a Rant About DoorsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (May 25, 2014)

      Thank you so much Louise – good luck finishing your dresser!

      Reply
  24. Trista

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (July 1, 2014)

    Drop dead gorgeous! And I had to laugh at your story. My husband was horrified that I snagged a sweet mirror from the Goodwill drop off castoffs. “You’re supposed to leave things, not trade them!” LOL!
    Trista recently posted…July 4th Candle HoldersMy Profile

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    • Jen

      Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
      (July 4, 2014)

      Thank you! LOL – that sounds like something my husband would say! :)

      Reply
  25. kathy marez

    Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/girlint4/public_html/wp-content/themes/Lynette/includes/modules.php on line 361
    (July 3, 2014)

    Just love how you turned that poor, unloved dresser into something trendy and pretty. I’m sure it will fine a new home, where it will be cherished as is its due. Lots of good storage and still a lot of life left in this beauty. Always enjoy seeing you bring new life and purpose to tired old furniture. So nice when you compare to what you will find in retail stores these days.

    Reply

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  1. […] was a wrong turn that brought this dresser into Jen’s (aka Girl In the Garage) life.  ”On the side of the curb I saw this huge, sad, ugly dresser.  I cannot even imagine […]

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