A while back my husband and I bought a distressed property that was just chock a block full of stuff. Most of it was junk, which is why it got left behind, but not everything. There was a late 1940’s oak desk that was pretty much trashed, but the drawers were salvageable, and a 1950’s blondewood dresser that was almost entirely trashed except for one drawer and some nifty zinc handles. There are other pieces, but they are still works in progress. I don’t blog nearly as often as I should, so I thought I would do a quick write up of those pieces at least, though probably as separate entries.
The first project was the blondewood dresser drawer. The dresser itself was super water damaged; so much so that I was able to push it over with my foot and it fell apart. The one drawer was protected, so it was mostly intact structurally, just gross.
I really, really LOVED the styling. Those chevron handles had me, but the strip through the middle of the drawers that still had a tad of silver paint? Practically screamed the space age aesthetic. It was a shame that I could not salvage the whole thing because I’m pretty sure it would have made an amazing guest room dresser, or even a visually interesting entertainment center.
The first thing I did was drag it into my dungeon workshop and clean it up with a stiff brush and some Lysol. The black mold was a tad concerning, but the wood was dry, and after it got a good cleaning and a few days to dry, I sprayed it down with bleach and gave it some more time to dry out.
After it was cleaned, and dried, I pulled some of the loose veneer off if it was broken. If it was whole, just loose, I glued it back down, and glued the corners since they were true dovetail corners. After the glue dried, I taped off the interior and the stripe.
The handles were removed and polished with superfine steel wool for a few weeks. I chose to paint the interior of the box and the strip with oil based Rustoleum aluminum paint.
This paint was designed and created for painting rusty chain link fences. It is hard core paint, but I chose it for the metallic nature. I’ve tried silver acrylic paint and it is never what I’m looking for. I’ve used this paint many, many times (we had farms as a child- you haven’t lived until you have been on top of a tin roof in July painting it) and know that it has a great coverage and lasts for a very long time. It isn’t as easy to clean up as acrylic, but that is hardly a reason to not use an oil-based paint. For some things, it is just the best product to use.
It took a while to dry, being in the dungeon, so I spent a few weeks deciding what color to paint the outside. I wanted an avocado green or a burnt umber but the peanut gallery kind of gave me stink face over those choices. I finally ended up with a super bright yellow Rustoleum acrylic paint, because I knew that the exterior mold was going to take multiple coats to smother, and the oil based would take too long to dry between coats. OF COURSE nothing travels in a linear path and I had to do touch ups, deal with paint spills and all sorts of other maladies that plague all projects, but that is just the upcycle/recycle life.
The plan was to make it a small bookshelf/end table piece, so I went to a hardware store and found these round, fat, cylindrical legs to go on it (for some reason when I saw them they made me think of a rocket) and painted those silver as well. Once all the paint was dry, touch ups completed, and handles replaces, it turned out rather nice, I think. My husband said it looks like an old school television console with the legs I put on it and the silver interior looking like screen glow. I’m rather pleased with it. It went from trash to useful furniture with the application of elbow grease, glue, and paint.
Please feel free to tell me what you think in the comments below, or post photos/links of your own upcycle projects. I always love seeing what other people are up to! I’ll post the desk drawer coffee table next.
I have all these wonderful 1950’s vacuum tubes that came out of an ancient television that I’m trying to figure out how to turn into a light fixture. I’ll write that up as soon as I figure it out. They are amazing looking, that is for sure! So many projects, so little time!