Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | September 1, 2012

Craigs List Dresser Make Over

With all the drama it took to find and remodel this dresser – this could be a TV series called, Practical Meets Pretty!

In my search for vintage dressers in an “affordable” price range I took a different tact. Instead of just searching the Craig’s List for sales, I filled out a “Dresser Wanted” that brought a number of inquiries. Two of them turned out quite nicely and I will definitely try that tact again.

I ended up buying this large dresser and a lovely vintage 1940’s dresser with original hardware (more about this vintage walnut dresser in a future blog after its makeover.)

This dresser highlighted in today’s post is a name brand – Young American by Stanley – and likely a circa 1970’s or so piece. But it is solid oak, heavy and finished up very nicely. The huge drawers look almost brand new inside; no smells, no cracks or scratches. And the price was very reasonable.  I feel that this piece has tremendous possibilities as a TV credenza because it is long, heavy and sturdy.

Dresser completed (in the pole barn as I was alone. Sorry!)

My dear husband spent quite a lot of time in the woodshop working on the top and left side, which apparently had been oiled-stained. First he stripped it, then scraped it slowly and carefully with dull chisel and then sanded quite heavily with both an orbital and a finishing sander.

The dresser (above and below) “before” with odd wood filled areas.

I sealed the exterior top and side with Zinsser and then painted it with two coats of ASCP Graphite and waxed in soft dark wax. I normally don’t do one-tone painting as it is just not my style (this is the first time actually). But this piece is more modern than most of my work and seemed to call for a cleaner more streamlined look than my typical vintage painting projects.

I added modern black and white Hobby Lobby drawer handles after filling the two top drawer holes and re-drilled them to fit my black and white handles.

The Hobby Lobby drawer pulls I added.

The decorative center carving had, for some odd reason been wood filled over, but my dear husband was able to use his Dremmel tool to clean the paint or wood filler out. He says that was a LOT of work. I left the carving alone, just painting it over to “low light it” rather than highlight it as I did not want a too “busy” look.

I can see this piece being used in a bedroom as a dresser or as a TV cabinet under a flat screen TV. Or maybe even a buffet in the dining room with its super roomy drawers.

Like most of my hand painted, hand-rubbed finished work, this piece is for sale and will be sent to my South Haven Consignment shop, Transformation Art Barn. Contact me for additional details.

Dresser Dimensions: 44” long X 30”tall X 18″ deep

Delivering this dresser to Transformations Art Barn, 81 Blue Star Highway in South Haven, MI today. It is now available for sale. Contact Sandy Haga, owner/artist. To get more details go to their Facebook page at or

As always thanks for reading!

Small House / Big Sky Donna

My hand-painted furniture transformations and handmade papers can be purchased at the following three West Michigan locations:

1)      ALLEGAN, MI: Allegan Baker Studios, 148 Mill District Road, Allegan, MI 49010. Contact 269-903-6883, or

2)      GLEN, MI Farmhouse Chic, 6998 114th Ave., Glen, MI. The shop is located in the old Glen fire station next door to the Conklin Real Estate office. From South Haven, take Blue Star Highway North to 114th Ave. (the main four corners in Glen) and turn right. The shop is on your right hand side. To e-mail shop contact farmhousechic6996@yahoocom or call cell: 616-403-4576.

3)      SOUTH HAVEN, MI Transformations Art Barn, 81 Blue Star Highway, South Haven, MI 49090, 269-214-4147. More details can be found on their Facebook page at or

My furniture pieces are painted with either Annie Sloan or CeCe Caldwell’s eco-friendly chalk paint and protected with multiple coats of soft wax. Some are hand-distressed for a gently aged, shabby-chic look; some are dry brushed for an antiqued, one-of-a-kind feel. Both paints are 100% Natural and biodegradable without VOC’s or harmful chemicals.

Keep in mind that vintage or antique furniture transformations may have nicks, bumps or slight imperfections. This is part of their character and charm and I embrace their diversity, beauty and character.  Please understand that handcrafted products are likely to have slight variations in color, texture or finish.

If you desire “perfect” and new  than transformed furniture is probably not your thing, But it is mine!



  1. I am from Michigan too! I LOVE how this turned out! What kind of paint did you use?

    • I used Annie Sloan chalk paint and AS dark wax. Are you familiar with this product? Wonderful paint! She has a website too.

      Cece Caldwell is similar chalk paint an also is wonderful stuff too.

      What part of Michigan? I am in SW MI/Allegan County near the lake shore of South Haven, but inland 17 miles.


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