I wish I had a dime for every time I happen upon one of these traditional looking honey colored maple dressers. . . They seem to turn up quite frequently at thrift shops and on Craigslist, and often are made by great furniture makers like Ethan Allen. Constructed of solid wood, built to last, and nothing structurally wrong – just, well, dated looking. Here’s what I am talking about.
I found this particular dresser a few weeks back and decided to give it a major update. The dresser was in great condition structurally, but the finish on the top was completely peeling off. Fine by me – nothing a little sanding can’t cure. As a bonus, it came with a mirror that can be attached to the back with brackets.
I’m not a fan of this particular hardware style, so that definitely had to go. I call it Early American, but I’m not sure if that is correct. I also felt like the skirt on the bottom of the dresser gave it a very traditional feel and I wanted to update that. I decided I would remove the entire skirt and add new feet. I flipped the dresser over to see what I was working with.
I was able to unscrew the skirt and completely remove it from the body of the dresser. A few nails also held it in place – I just had to pry those off.
Here’s how the bottom of the dresser looked after the skirt was removed.
I needed a surface to attach the new feet to, so I cut pieces of 1 x 4 and glued and nailed them to the bottom sides of the dresser. I love when I can use my pneumatic nailer! I then cut a piece of 1 x 3 and added it to the front border.
After attaching the new pieces of wood to the bottom of the dresser, I added the brackets for the new feet. I picked up four of these at Lowes.
I screwed one bracket onto each corner of the dresser making sure to give myself enough room to compensate for the width of the new feet. Notice the extra holes in the corner? Yep, I initially screwed the bracket too close to the edge and had to redo it. (p.s. pay no attention to my messy workshop!).
I then simply screwed the new feet into the brackets. And here’s how the dresser looked with the four feet added.
And right side up.
I needed to cover the newly added wood on the bottom and ease the transition between the dresser and the new feet. I mitered, glued and nailed (pneumatic nailer again, woot woot!) a small piece of trim around the bottom of the dresser.
And that my friends is how to add new feet! With the structural changes complete, I moved on to the fun stuff. The top of the dresser was in sad shape, so I sanded it back to bare wood to create a smooth surface for paint. I knew I would be adding new hardware, so I filled the old hardware holes in the drawers with wood filler. I gave the rest of the dresser a light sanding and primed the entire piece. I painted the dresser with 3 coats of Benjamin Moore advance paint in a custom soft white color – sanding between each coat. I painted the mirror the same color and added D rings and wire to the back so it could be hung above the dresser. Personally, I like this look better than an attached mirror, but it can be used either way. Finally, new hardware and this guy was done.
The cup pulls are made by Williams Sonoma and are a brushed silver finish. I purchased them from D. Lawless Hardware. The knobs are also from D. Lawless Hardware.
Finally, here is a side by side photo. I think the changes are quite dramatic.
I will definitely pick up another one of these often overlooked dressers. It took a little extra work to update, but I’m pleased with the result.
Thanks for stopping by!