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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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!