DIY: Brother Dresser

A couple months ago I bought a pair of dressers from Goodwill. I only needed one,  but they matched, and it was thirty dollars for two of them. It was a deal too amazing to pass up. I call them Brother and Sister Dresser. I refinished Sister Dresser right away. She lives in our bedroom facing our bed.

Here she is:

Devin and I both love her dearly. She has helped keep the bedroom much cleaner and she fits right in… and she looks ‘fancy’. You can’t tell from the photo, but the dresser’s body is stained Ebony, the drawers are painteda creamy gold color (which I already had on hand, it  is the base color of the wall in our room) and the hardware is original, just freshened up with a little Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Spray Paint.

Brother, however, has spent several months in the Garage, looking like this:

Clearly unloved. I’ve been hesitant to fix it up because I am not sure where he will go. Devin convinced me that Brother could live happily in his closet, so, armed with the motivation to clean out the garage, and just generally accomplish something, I got started.

I have a folder of really great dresser rehabs, and I took a look at those…

Pinned Image    love!   Pinned Image   Pinned Image

Found on Pinterest  from,0,0#2, and

But they were all a bit girly for a man’s closet. I moved on to really wanting to incorporate Scrabble letters into the new piece, but Devin hated that idea and, well, I like to play Scrabble and wasn’t ready to give up the game for the sake of interesting furniture. So I decided to make Brother match Sister. I already had all the supplies on hand, and the first time was successful, so why not?

Step 1: I used my trusty handheld sander to sand the whole thing down. I used 60 grit sandpaper. Looks better already, doesn’t it?

Step 2: I wiped it clean.

Step 3: I applied the first coat of stain to the body of the dresser. I did my best to create a thin and even coat.

Step 4: After about 15-20 I wiped it down to get excess stain off. (Confession: I forgot this step a couple times. It turned out ok though.)

Step 5: After the stain set, I used 220 grit sandpaper and sanded it down by hand (Another Confession: I didn’t so this on Sister, I didn’t read the instructions properly, and I felt the stain was more even initially, but it could just be a fluke. Do you have experience  with this?)

Repeat 2-5 as many times as necessary. Sister got 4 coats of stain. Bother got 6. Sister is a little browner around the edges. Brother is so black he almost looks painted. I prefer Sister. Devin prefers Brother. To each his own.

Step 6: Paint the drawer faces. I used as brush to get the paint in the nooks and crannies and a 3″ roller to evenly distribute the paint. I like the texture of the roller better. (I am not sure of the color I used- but this is the sticker on the can, hope it helps)

Repeat 6 as many times as necessary. I put two coats of paint.

Step 7: Coat body and drawers with Polyurethane.

Step 8: Once the Polyurethane dried, I sanded it with 220 grit sand paper by hand again.

Step 9: Wipe Clean

Repeat 7 through 9 as many times as necessary. I gave the body two coats and the drawers only got one coat. More coats= Glossier finish. After the last coat do not sand it. 

There I am putting the last coat of polyurethane on. You can see the garage door is closed. I wouldn’t recommend this course of action if it’s avoidable. But opening the garage door might have woken the baby, so I took much chances with the toxic fumes.

I gave the old hardware new life back when I was working on Sister. But, it was easy. I first put a coat of metal primer on the hardware. Then I used Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Spray Paint. Once the first coat dried, I turned the pull parts over and used the oil rubbed bronze again.

I waited a little over 24 hours, then I recruited some big strong men to move the dresser and it’s bits in to our room. I put all together and here it is:

OK there’s a tiny bit of it…. I’m trying to add to the drama of the big reveal… Can you feel a little tingling in the air?

All right, here is the whole shebang:

He looks exactly like Sister, but taller and skinnier. I would really have liked to produced something completely unique and exciting, but he works. Devin loves him. He’s now refusing to put him in his closet because “something so beautiful should be out for the world to see.”  Uhhh, I appreciate the compliment, but the last time I checked, the world was not in our bedroom. (Well, technically, maybe it will be once this gets posted… but not the point) I can see right through that one, so clean out your closet, my dear! (Sorry, didn’t mean to get catty on the blog.)

Obviously Brother’s story is not over… he’ll still be moved, but he’s out of the garage and into our lives!





2 thoughts on “DIY: Brother Dresser

  1. Pingback: Reader Vote: What looks best? | The Schmitt House

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