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


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

  1. Bev
    June 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm (2 years ago)

    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
      June 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm (2 years ago)

      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
      June 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
    • Jen
      June 10, 2013 at 10:54 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
  2. Lisa Clarke
    June 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm (2 years ago)

    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
      June 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
    • Jen
      June 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
    • Jen
      June 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
  3. Lara
    June 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm (2 years ago)

    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
      June 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
  4. Trisha D.
    June 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm (2 years ago)

    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
      June 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
  5. Ruth@LivingWellSpendingLess
    June 13, 2013 at 10:23 am (2 years ago)

    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
      June 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm (2 years ago)

      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
  6. Julie @ This Gal Cooks
    June 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm (2 years ago)

    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
  7. pam♥
    June 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm (2 years ago)

    è assolutamente perfetto, bellissimo!!!!!

    Reply
  8. Jamie
    June 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm (2 years ago)

    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
  9. Tania
    June 15, 2013 at 9:07 am (2 years ago)

    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
  10. Jen @ Migonis Home
    June 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm (2 years ago)

    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
  11. Susan
    June 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm (2 years ago)

    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
      June 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm (2 years ago)

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

      Reply
    • Jen
      June 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much Lauren! 😉

      Reply
  12. iris
    July 1, 2013 at 9:51 am (2 years ago)

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

    Reply
  13. MK
    July 18, 2013 at 10:20 pm (2 years ago)

    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
  14. Kara
    September 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm (2 years ago)

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

    Reply
  15. Louise
    May 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm (1 year ago)

    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
      May 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm (1 year ago)

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

      Reply
  16. Trista
    July 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm (1 year ago)

    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

    Reply
    • Jen
      July 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm (1 year ago)

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

      Reply
  17. kathy marez
    July 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm (1 year ago)

    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
  18. SONJA
    July 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm (1 week ago)

    hi would you mind sharing the colour of paint you used?

    Reply
    • Jen
      July 24, 2015 at 10:13 pm (1 week ago)

      Hi Sonja, I’m sorry but I did this project a couple years ago and I don’t know the name of the paint color anymore. If you’re looking for a light gray I would suggest checking Paris Grey which is made by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Hope that helps :)

      Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on The Gray Dresser: Curbside Trash to Penthouse Glamour

  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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