Saturday, January 9, 2010

Restoration Project #1

So, I mentioned a little restoration project in my resolutions post, so I thought I'd post some before and after shots of the dresser. This was my Grandma Martindale's. After she passed away, it ended up with my Uncle Kim. Then it got passed on to his daughter Courtney and sometime last year she no longer had room for it, so she called and asked if I wanted it and the matching vanity. HECK YEAH! I'm kind of nostalgic, so I was thrilled to get something that belonged to Grandma.

I think I've been blessed to be able to see potential. Some people would look at the sorry state this thing was in and banish it to a life of servitude in a hidden closet somewhere full of other forgotten stuff. Or maybe to a landfill, or the woodpile...but not I! No, I knew from the moment I got this little diamond in the rough, that it was destined for greatness. It's taken it's place in that hidden closet full of forgotten stuff until this week, when I finally got the gumption to rescue it from its anonymity. I haven't quite made it to the vanity yet--now that I know how much work it is, I'll make sure I have nothing else to do for 3 days before starting on it. Also, better ventilation. I'm pretty sure I've been high for the last week--which wasn't altogether horrible until the headaches started...but I digress.
This was the result of the stripper I put on it. Nasty stuff I tell ya. Oh, and just so ya know. It burns. Bad. I had to use a toothpick and a needle to scrape everything out from between those little ridges.

This was after the first coat of stripper. I got down to the original finish which was very exciting!

This is after I got all the original varnish off and sanded it down to reveal the natural wood veneer. I was surprised to find the pattern on the drawer faces. I thought it was beautiful!

And of course, the (almost) finished product. Originally the drawers had no knobs, but after many reincarnations, holes were drilled to accommodate some. Now I need to do a little searching for ones I think are just right and will do the dresser justice.

Through this process I learned some valuable lessons:

1. You have to see the end from the beginning, even if the picture isn't entirely clear.
2. Restoration is a difficult process. It requires attention to detail which is especially hard for me.
3. There are no shortcuts if you want to truly restore something.
4. There are always surprises along the way. Good and bad.
5. The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.
6. What was truly restored surpassed my capacity to envision initially.
7. The result is worth the effort.


Fiddlefish said...

It doesn't even look like it could have been the old white dresser. My goodness -- the wood grain is absolutely GORGEOUS! Great job, Amanda!

liz said...

Very impressive project -- I always think I'll do something like this, but often give up when I realize how involved it is. I wanted to pop over and tell you I appreciated your comment on my blog. I feel like I've met you before, maybe around the time Brian and Jill got married? Also, I love the movie Some Kind of Wonderful and think your nickname is so fun. Thanks for bothering to comment -- you're right that a comment from a stranger feels like high praise.

Kate said...

It is beautiful Amanda, pop into some antique stores and I bet you will find some nobs that go with it. Take a picture of the dresser with you, the antiques dealers might be able to tell you what era it is from and help you find something that would have been used then. Or, maybe you already know the era.