Two summers ago, I found two very similar dressers at two separate garage sales. They were very close in shape, and both had bubbling, peeling and missing veneer. Most people would pass them by, but one was offered to me for free (!) and the other was marked $2, and since they were both very sturdy, I decided to see what I could do with them. The summer I bought them (2014), I set about removing all the bubbling veneer. (Of course, I failed to take before photos. So sad.) Today, after reading about the process of repairing veneer in The Furniture Bible (a seriously amazing book that I reference all the time), I might try to fix it. But at the time, I wanted to see what was underneath and just get rid of all the damaged veneer. I peeled off all the veneer that was already detached, and then left wet towels on the veneer that was still attached, until it was pliable enough to scrape off with a putty knife. Working between G’s newborn sleeping schedule and other projects, the veneer removal took me most of July and August. I didn’t touch them again until the end of this summer (2015), when I set about filling all the holes left by nails that held the veneer in place and what I think was minor termite damage on one of the dressers. I also repaired some minor structural issues with the drawer supports inside the dressers. I then sanded all the drawers and both dresser frames with an electric sander until they were relatively smooth. I did notice that the wood under the veneer had a much more rustic appearance, with a more visible grain, than the smooth look of the veneer. This is fine with me, and I actually really like how the wood contrasts with the graceful details of the dressers. This fall, I primed both dressers with my favorite Kilz latex primer.
Then, I painted one Glidden’s Royal Navy in a flat finish, and the other in Valspar’s Wet Pavement in a satin finish.
The one I painted with Wet Pavement is currently sitting in what will be the new baby’s room (once the rug and wallpaper are gone, etc etc!), and I’m undecided about what to do with it. I love the pretty turned legs in the front and the simple lines on the sides.
The navy dresser got dressed up with some brass ring pulls from Lowe’s and is currently serving as extra storage in our dining room. I’m not sure exactly where this one will end up either, but I am having fun styling lots of green plants and brass accessories against the deep navy at the moment.
And, here are the before and afters: