Vintage Empire Dresser Meets Mint Chocolate Chip

When I stepped back from my glaze work (the brown finish) on this dresser, my stomach began to growl. I think the chocolaty-brown glaze over my Persian Blue milk paint turned this piece into a green mint-chocolate-chip dream and it made me have nothing but ice cream on my brain.

I’m joking.

Kind of.

I scored this piece off a Facebook garage sale group from a kind man who owns a moving company. When I saw his photo, I was hoping to restore it with a dark java stain, but I ended up painting it because the veneer wasn’t in the best of shape (this is what happens when you buy furniture in the dark).

-Funny side note, I picked this dresser up at 9:00 p.m., but right before that my GPS led me to  his neighbor’s home. When I asked his neighbors how much I owed them for the dresser, they looked at me like I was a CRAZY woman. -_-

So, I really did want to restore it originally. But once I looked at the piece in the light, I realized it wasn’t going to happen. Sometimes, it’s okay when our ideas crash around us; because the challenge the crash creates makes us dig a little deeper into our creativity to find a solution. Which I did!

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Twin Barrel Chairs Get a Makeover

It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted, but I haven’t retired my paint brush. In the last couple months, I’ve had family in town for 3 weeks, visited family in Texas for 2 weeks, bought a car, traveled home -had 2 weeks to finish up jobs and pack my entire house, left my home spotless, and, in the last week, moved from Mississippi to Maryland. I’ve been scrubbing my rental house and shifting through half-empty boxes looking for essentials since then. Life has been full, and crazy, and exhausting, and fun.  As I sit here, I have 6 pieces of furniture in my garage in the process of being painted and upholstered, but it’s too rainy and cold to work. This southern girl had to dig up clothes warm enough for 50 degree days in late May.

I know I didn’t owe you an explanation of where I’ve been, that rant was for myself. Alas, I’ve been so excited for the blogs to come. Photos of furniture so ready to greet the world wide web and to inspire and delight my fellow furniture fanatics. Meet these two, I would guess circa 1970s, barrel-style chairs. This restoration was definitely the love-hate kind. Between the spindles and the diamond tufting, I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest piece I’ve worked on. But man-oh-man it was worth it.

Here are some before pictures. As you’re looking through these pictures, imagine crusty velvet, cat hair and crumbs in the creases, and the slight musty smell I was exposed to. As you’re imagining that, try to picture the potential just lurking in these two chairs to become fun accent pieces for an at-home office.


These chairs were everything but clean. Greasy wood, dusty, dirty material -spiders and all.


Would you have picked these up at a garage sale?


The velvety material had once been a rusty red color.


Surprisingly comfortable with a back pillow and gas mask!


I primed and painted two of these chairs with Rust-Oleum Linen White Chalked Paint, added a layer of General Finishes (GF) High Performance Top Coat, glazed with GF Van Dyke Brown, and finished with two more layers of the GF Top Coat! I upholstered the cushions and recovered each button to match. With a little TLC, here is the final outcome! (My client picked out back pillows that I didn’t have for the photos, but know were the perfect addition!)


I love the mix of the linen white and browns. Perfectly feminine and rustic.


Glazing is an art that I always panic during. I am, after all, covering fresh paint with a black or brown glaze and it’s this crazy mixed-emotion moment of sadness and pure joy as I wipe off the excess to reveal a new, distressed look that adds even more quality, character, and depth than I could imagine! I breathe a sigh of relief every time.




And the final shot.


I’m so happy with the way this pair of barrel chairs turned out. I wrote this because I was in desperate need of inspiration as I picked up a pair of hideous, and I mean hideous, chairs at an estate sale this morning that need my attention. It’s never ending around here! As always, don’t give up on your ugly furniture, send it to me or DIY!

Thanks for reading,



A Nursery for Noah

I’m so excited to finally be able to blog about the three pieces of nursery furniture I got to upcycle for, what will soon be, baby Noah’s nursery! I was given the opportunity to work for an Air Force couple who are excitingly getting ready to welcome their firstborn into the world. I love that they had a vision to take used furniture and a special piece they had picked up overseas to create a nursery that was functional and fit their needs. I mean, why not save some money and re-purpose old items?  The fun thing is that none of the items matched or were the same style. But after everything was painted with General Finishes (GF) Driftwood Milk Paint and glazed with GF Winter White, the pieces came together like they belonged the whole time!

Since this wonderful little family is bringing home their baby to a small farm, we agreed a more rustic, farmhouse finish would be the perfect, natural, addition to the nursery. Using a glaze was the way to go because it gave me the two-tone look and character I wanted to create.

I worked on the dresser and its mirror (converting the top drawer to a shelf), a bench/side table (which, I found out, is actually an old telephone seat) and a crib. I didn’t take before pictures of the crib because it wasn’t set up; however, it turned out so cute I’ll throw in an after picture just for you!

So first, here are the before pictures of the dresser and mirror! (that’s also the crib in the background)


This dresser had 3 layers of paint over its original finish… for whatever reason, joy escapes me when I think how long it took to sand the top and the mirror! But the hard work, blistered hands, and layers of dust in my hair were WELL worth it.


I’m sorry… but this dusty-flat brown? What were the previous owners thinking?


After layers of paint and a lot of time and hard work, I would call this upcycle a complete success!


Excuse me while I pat myself on the back, but I had the brilliant idea of using the bottom of the top drawer as the material to build my shelf. <– now that is re-purposing at its best! 


Doesn’t the stain make the mirror pop? I’m so thankful I stained it instead of painting it. I think it’s just what was needed to pull the two pieces together. Can’t wait to see it on the wall in the nursery!


The top turned out so smooth. I was totally wishing I had some baskets full of baby goodies to photograph to get the full look but since I don’t, you’ll have to use your imagination!


I have a very happy heart over the dresser (which is intended to serve as a changing table with baskets of cloth diapers and other baby goodies on the shelf) and its handsome mirror!

This next piece is what I will call the bench, for simplicity’s sake. It’s funky and I love it! As I was painting I kept having day dreams about little Noah tying his shoes here, or swinging his chubby toddler legs back and forth as he plays in his room. I think this piece will serve its purpose for Noah and any other siblings who may come along after him!




The top of the end table and the bench were sanded and stained. Everything else was art. Fair warning, if you decided to use a glaze be prepared to practice patience. It takes a while to get it just right.


I feel as if this piece transformed from ordinary to AWESOME. I love the turn around. The solid wood was beautiful and after a lot of sanding the new stain shines brightly! The knobs were spray painted bronze and painted with a protective clear coat to prevent any scratching.


And, lastly, the crib!


I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures as much as I did. I realize the finished product is like my baby, so I’m a bit obsessive, but seriously, isn’t it cute?!

I also hope you feel inspired to pull together some random furniture in your house and turn into a space that works together to create the feeling you want! If you need advice, feel free to comment!