Serpentine Dresser: Trashy to Classy


Hello again, dear friend!  Today’s new project – an antique serpentine dresser makeover – is what you’d call trashy to classy.

My sweet mom found the listing on one of those yard sale apps, and we ended up rescuing it from the back of an old shed in the middle of winter.  I’m pretty certain most people would’ve been scared off by its awful condition, but I was dead set on finally getting to work on a serpentine dresser.  They’re so hard to find around here, and usually very expensive!

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

**Today is Furniture Fixer Uppers day with four of my blogging friends, so be sure to take a look at their projects at the end of this post.  Also, this post contains some affiliate links so you can easily find the products I use and recommend.  Here is a list of all of my favorite products for refinishing furniture.

It’s at least 100 years old, and it was definitely showing its age – scratches galore, broken and missing hardware, stuck/broken drawers, broken wood casters, and layers of dirt and grime from years sitting unused.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

After looooooottsss of cleaning, I passed the project over to my handsome Guy in the Garage (whose birthday is today! Happy Birthday, Babe! xo) to give it a good sanding all over with our random orbit sander.  

This is not a great pic, but you can get an idea of how it looked after sanding.  The wood actually came out kind of blotchy all over, except the top was in beautiful condition!  Go figure.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

You can see the top a little better in the photo below.  We opted to just re-stain it and then paint the rest of the serpentine dresser.

Mr. GITG used Minwax stain in Espresso and then Varathane matte crystal clear polyurethane as a topcoat.  You can see how it turned out further down in this post.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

Inside, the bottoms of the drawers were all warped and damaged.  Mr. GITG took on the task of cutting new pieces by using the old ones as a guide, and I painted them so they wouldn’t just look like new unfinished wood.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

TIP:  Rub candle wax on the bottoms of drawers for smoother sliding.

Since I was painting this a light color, primer was a necessity.  It got two coats of my favorite Zinsser BIN primer and then a couple coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.  Then it was distressed with 220 grit sandpaper and finally protected with clear wax.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

The old casters were replaced with shiny new ones from D. Lawless Hardware.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

Lastly, it got new feminine ceramic knobs from Hobby Lobby, and was finished just in time for my most recent market.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

I love how much better you can see the curves now and the keyholes aren’t invisible anymore either!  Such a versatile, charming piece.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

Below you can really see the newly stained top and the new painted panel inside the drawer.

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

Here’s a reminder of how this antique serpentine dresser looked before, with a handy pinnable graphic:

Antique serpentine dresser makeover - DIY tutorial with new stain and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Girl in the Garage

And its been a while, so here’s a booth update!  The dresser didn’t sell at the market, so here it is in my booth, sitting pretty:

Girl in the Garage antique booth space - Antiques on Main, Crown Point, Indiana

Here are a few more photos to get a better look (some of these items are no longer available):

Girl in the Garage antique booth space - Antiques on Main, Crown Point, Indiana

If you’re looking for advice for starting your own booth, visit this popular post I wrote a while back: Thinking about renting an antique booth to sell your goods?

Girl in the Garage antique booth space - Antiques on Main, Crown Point, Indiana

If you ever want to come visit, my booth is in Antiques on Main in Crown Point, Indiana, and they’re open 7 days/week.

Girl in the Garage antique booth space - Antiques on Main, Crown Point, Indiana

My next market will be Fetching Market in Lansing, IL, on Sept. 7-8th.  Hope to see you there!

Fetching Market - Lansing, IL

Now it’s time for the Furniture Fixer Uppers girls…

Furniture Fixer Uppers

Below are the Before photos – visit the links underneath to see the After and learn how they did it:
Furniture Fixer Uppers - July 20181.  Confessions of a Serial DIYer
2.  Prodigal Pieces
3.  The Interior Frugalista
4.  Just the Woods
5.  Petticoat Junktion

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on Serpentine Dresser: Trashy to Classy

  1. Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces
    July 26, 2018 at 5:19 am (3 months ago)

    Kudos to the two of you to making that sad piece shine again. Looks fantastic!

    Reply
  2. Denise
    July 26, 2018 at 8:18 am (3 months ago)

    Beautiful makeover Jen! Your booth looks chock full of amazing pieces too!

    Reply
  3. Marcie Lovett
    July 26, 2018 at 10:24 am (3 months ago)

    So beautiful, Jen! Who would believe how it started? Everything in the booth looks fabulous.

    Reply
  4. Marie-The Interior Frugalista
    July 26, 2018 at 11:39 am (3 months ago)

    What a fabulous find, Jen! Serpentine dressers are so hard to find here without spending an arm and a leg. This really is a trashy to classy makeover and I’m sure it’ll sell quickly.

    Reply
  5. kandice kullmann
    July 26, 2018 at 11:46 am (3 months ago)

    you have to love those old dressers with great bones! love the update, its so pretty now!

    Reply
  6. Tami
    July 26, 2018 at 4:12 pm (3 months ago)

    Score on this one. You did such a beautiful job reviving it!

    Reply
  7. Barbara
    July 26, 2018 at 6:15 pm (3 months ago)

    That turned out absolutely beautifully! Way to go – I’d say your did an expert job. Love the stained top and the drawer pulls! Stunning.

    Reply
  8. Jerri
    July 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm (3 months ago)

    Beautiful transformation

    Reply
  9. Rose Lefebvre
    July 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm (3 months ago)

    Gosh, I would not have given it a second look to try what you did! You made it into an amazing piece!!

    Reply
  10. Julie Briones
    July 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm (3 months ago)

    Lovely makeover! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Kathy Owen
    July 27, 2018 at 2:33 pm (3 months ago)

    Definitely classy now. Love it!

    Reply
  12. Christy James
    July 28, 2018 at 5:59 pm (3 months ago)

    SO much better and that wood on top is gorgeous now! I’m surprised it didn’t sell! XO

    Reply
  13. MaryJean
    July 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm (3 months ago)

    I love the dresser! It looks great! I also would love to bring my things to a booth. Unfortunately, in Western NY there isn’t any place that I wouldn’t have to man myself. I don’t want that. Although I’m thinking of working out a deal with someone that does have a spot and wouldn’t mind adding my stuff for a %. Or maybe doing a one day rental. You’re very lucky.

    Reply
  14. Shene
    July 29, 2018 at 8:47 am (3 months ago)

    OMG! I have one identical to yours. Mine is in great shape. I have been trying to decide if I should paint it for years. After seeing yours I know mine needs to be painted. I haven’t noticed the key holes in years. Thanks for giving me the push to paint a antique.

    Reply

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