White + Wood Chest

July 26, 2012

It’s a habit that can never be broken, and that is my constant need to visit to thrift stores in search of cool pieces.  Four out of five times I walk away empty handed after seeing a lot of junk, but last week was a gold mine at my local St. Vincent de Paul.  On the floor were no less than five pieces I would have loved to buy, including a beautiful French buffet plus a few fab armoires.  At one point, I heard two college girls discussing a six drawer dresser and they said “We can prime and paint this, I saw it on a blog” which made me feel proud of us DIY bloggers!  I departed with my favorite find, a fab little mid century style chest, and since it was 50% off day, it cost me $20 bucks.

I thought this little chest of drawers would be absolute perfection for my hub’s office – for storing extra office supplies.  Matt has his own small real estate office and all of the furniture is dark wood, but he’s a dude and he likes it that way so I don’t mess with that preference.  But I couldn’t pass up this perfectly sized piece that screamed “make me wonderful” so I brought it home and gave it a facelift.

He used to give me the hand pinching the top of the nose plus creased forehead combo when I brought beat up stuff home years ago – but no more.  I snuck this revamped piece into his office while he was out on an inspection and then got an email three hours later when he returned that read “LOVE it.”   Mission totally accomplished.

I’m a big big fan of the wood + white combo (hello, these tables and these shelves) so again I’m up to my old tricks.  I was inspired by this mod Austin Dresser by DucDuc and all the wood/white combinations – check out the reverse too!  The real wood drawers on this particular piece were just too amazing to cover up, but the laminate faux wood grain top?  Um, no.  Goodbye and good riddance.


As you know it’s easy to paint laminate (remember this unit and this credenza) as long as you use the right primer, but I thought it a crime to paint the beautiful real wood drawers, so those we’re revived with one of my favorite tools for sprucing up wood.

Here are the players:

I used Glidden’s ‘Muslin White’ latex paint leftover from the window seat; Floetrol, an additive I love; Zinsser primer (we’re pretty tight); some Restor-A-Finish, and clear furniture wax protectant.

First, the drawers and hardware were removed.  The drawers were great shape, so they were given two treatments of Howard’s Restor-A-Finish.  The outside got a coat of Zinsser spray primer and two coats of paint mixed with Floetrol.  I’ve mentioned it before, Floetrol is a great product for conditioning latex paint giving you longer open time to minimize drag and brush strokes.


I work quickly and with thin coats, my theory is two (or even three) thin coats is better than one thick coat – keep it thin to avoid drips and don’t worry about full coverage the first time around, it always takes two.   Also be sure to work in cooler temperatures, frustrating I know for those who live in humid or hot climates, but 55 to 70 degrees is really the ideal temperature for painting furniture with latex paint.  Be sure to use a great brush, Purdys are my favorite!

With white paint, these days I pretty much stick with clear wax as a protectant to avoid any yellowing.  I apply it with an old washcloth and buff it with a homemade soft cloth – two coats, then allow it to dry for a day.

Before and after:


I love this inlay pattern in the wood…

… and dramatic contrast!

Matt has a collection of some very cool old things like this antique radio he found on Ebay years ago and some vintage maps he had framed.

Now every time I walk into his office, I’ll say with a wink “Nice chest”  – ha!



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