Some females have wedding books, saving clippings and photos of ideas to create the perfect wedding. I had an electronic house book, links and photos to things I’d put in my
first house. The idea to recess a dresser into the eaves space that was once a short closet was born from this picture I saw on Pinterest. I was starting with nothing in regards to furniture in my master suite. I really don’t like a lot of furniture, so this was the perfect solution to utilizing the empty space created when I relocated the door to this closet to my master bath linen closet.
It took several months before I found a salvage dresser that would fit in the dimensions, but I finally did on Nextdoor.com for $50. A beautiful, five-drawer dresser with dovetail drawers made by the West Michigan Furniture Co. of Holland, MI. I couldn’t find any before pics, but it was a beautifully made dresser; solid and heavy.
The first thing I needed to do was trim the overhang from the top and bottom sides. I’ve had this dresser for at least 9 mos, so I made the cuts with my circular saw before I started working with Tom Milfeld and taking classes at the Wood Shop. I butchered that dresser. Some areas I cut in too deep, some not far enough. It’s a good thing the bulk of the dresser would be recessed in the wall. I could have let it go, but I filled the gaps with wood filler and sanded down the high areas just to get it ready for paint.
This project was all about salvage, recycle, so I did not purchase the primer paint recommended by the Sherwin Williams sales clerk. I had over a 1/2 quart of their White Synthetic Shellac Primer left from the fire damaged door I bought, so I used it instead. He told me that would be over kill and he was right, as I discovered. I’ve always felt spray painting is the best option for painting furniture. Rolling/brushing creates too thick of layers if you’re not an expect and I am not. At the end that’s exactly what I got, but I’m jumping ahead.
Once the primer dried my first, bone head amateur mistake was revealed. I was in such a rush to get this project done, I did the cardinal sin in sanding. I started with 80 grit and never went higher, so my surface was rough, especially on the drawers. In hindsight I should have sanded at that step, but my first inclination was more paint would hide it, NOT.
My walls in my master are Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik, so I purchased a quart of their All Surface Enamel (recommended by the clerk) in that color and he recommended a Mohair Blend roller, which I also bought. I applied two coats of paint and at that stage absolutely hated that I had ruined such a beautiful dresser. I called my friend Joan who has a relative that paints furniture all the time. She uses scrap paint and sands lightly between two coats.
Even though I had three coats on already (primer plus two color) I decided to try the sanding in hopes it would get rid of the rough spots that were still visible. I only sanded the drawers. It helped and the fourth coat actually looked pretty good. So good I decided to drain the end of the quart can of Polycrylic. I had enough for just one coat, but at this point that dresser had five layers on it, which would come back to bite me.
The craftsmen that build that dresser left zero margin in the drawer openings. My five layers were thicker than the original stain, so when I went to test a drawer it would not close all the way. I intentionally painted the top edge of the drawer, but the bottom lip was just overage, so between the drawer edges and the opening overage I had too much build-up. I used my new chisel set to scrap the bottom of the drawers. I was hoping it would create a clean edge and it did. I thought scraping the bottom would be enough, so the next task was getting the dresser from the basement up to flights to my master.
Earlier in the week I had asked my neighbor if he’d be around on the weekend to help and he was willing, but when the day came I had the epic feeling of not wanting to fail with an audience. I didn’t know for sure if the dresser was going to fit and I didn’t want witnesses, so I tackled getting it upstairs by myself. I had the full on Jane Fonda burn working in my already too tight calves when I hit the top landing, but it inserted like a glove.
I tried the drawers again and same outcome, still too much paint, so I bought a paint scraper and scraped the paint from the top of the drawers and top/bottom of the opening. That did the trick, but it looked awful, so I decided take some dark stain (Minwax brand, but color unknown as I had poured the remnants of several different colors in one can) and stain the top edge of the drawers. That amazingly did the trick.
The next obstacle were the two front legs. I had to remove all four legs to trim off the bottom overhang. I reattached them to their original location. What I discovered was that my opening wasn’t square and the floor not level. I had used wood glue with the original screws and I needed to push the front legs back about an inch. I used my draw saw to cut through the glue and mini crowbar to left them off. Amazingly no damage.
That helped with the bottom alignment, but not the top. For that I removed the original nail-on sliders and installed adjustable, which would allow me to set the heights on each leg differently. Turned out I needed the entire dresser to tilt forward, so I made the back legs higher than the front. I also needed the front right side to be lower than the left, which meant the left rear had to be even higher to stop the dresser from rocking. Sometimes I amaze myself when my mind can sort through fixes like that.
The last step was replacing the original wood knobs with the Amerock Classic Cabinet Knobs Clear/Golden Champagne I found on Amazon. They are 8-points, just like my glass door knobs on the first floor and the bases were a perfect match to my other brass accents.
With that part 1 of the project was complete and I could finally empty the last box and bin in my floor.
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