It was a horrid sight really, and even I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle it. But yet I kept going back to peek at it all blistering brown and disregarded. I couldn't shake it.
Finally, I caved. I warily forked over the eight bucks it was now marked down to prior to pitching it out the door and left dragging it in tow to home.
Well, it had such great structure, which was what drew me to it in the first place, so I decided a perfect kitchen island it would make. Except I have a thing about chucking drawers. I don't like to. Especially when there is absolutely nothing wrong with them as in this case. I began to apply a strong chemical stripper and slowly began the extremely tedious task of removing the crusty paint job that enshrouded this humble dresser.
I did this outside in open air because it required many many slatherings of stripper and hours of scraping. That was what finalized my decision to ditch a drawer for a shelf space. To alleviate any further stripping trauma. I had to whittle through seven, uh huh, seven layers of thick paint to get to the bare wood.
In my mind, I wanted a thick top that extended out from the sides a bit and the back more for seating at stools. I ordered a couple of wrought iron corbels to use as decorative supports. I still had no top to add. I went to the lumber yard and bought a few ten feet long slabs of something and was very excited to use those to create the top. I wanted rustic barn wood, but these would do.
Then I got intimidated with how to actually make the top and attach it to the dresser/isalnd. It sat in my kitchen with a table cloth over it for nearly a year.
An antique desk I had picked up had endured some warping and was no longer suitable for refinishing so.....epiphany! If I couldn't refinish, I could certainly repurpose.
I would remove the top from that desk, shuck the veneer off, and use it for the top. Simple as that. Never. Measurements were ideal, and off it came and under the knife it went. The putty knife, that is. I chiseled away for several hours over two days. At one point my knife gouged beneath the veneer which was brutally adhered and a divot appeared. I saved the little chip to reattach later. But then it happened again. Great. My beautiful top was not stripping very smoothly and this meant excruciatingly slow and agonizing veneer removal. My knuckles were already quite scraped and slashed from rubbing on the rough wood splints as I worked my way around the slab.
Epiphany again. I liked the gouges. I honestly thought they were wonderful. Especially for a rustic barn wood look. I began to gouge out areas a bit here and bit there. Oh my heavens it was old wood perfection. I sanded the slab to smooth out the gouges and make them look chic. Like they had developed over years of weathered exposure. I was truly in love with the result.
I was so thrilled, I immediately stained it a medium chestnut color and slapped it on top of the dresser for a look-see. My heart dropped in my chest. It was perfect in every way except the stain did not do the look justice. I had to think about how to achieve the barn wood look I wanted and make it cohesive in my kitchen with dark granite and warm chestnut cherry cabinets. The colors were too similar and it just looked blah to me.
I brought up four different stain tones and began to play with ideas in my head. Well, that only lasts a short stint for me because I am far too anxious to see the outcome. I grabbed a very deep brown and began swiping over the medium brown. Wow. What a difference. It was exactly what I wanted. The top now had depth and character and stood apart from the cabinets while complementing them and the counters. I added extra slops of it to certain areas and it looked just like old wood that has survived some serious circumstances.
Then I tried a semi-gloss poly but the glare off it from the sun made it so I couldn't look into the kitchen without slamming my eyes shut. So a satin finish took over.
Now I needed knobs. I tried about fifteen combinations of various knobs and did not care for any. While scrounging for others, I came across some tear drop pulls that I had removed from another piece a while back. I painted them satin nickel and paired them with black crystal knobs for the drawers and it was handle heaven.
I attached bead board to the back where the stools would be placed because come on, we all need to look good coming and going right? Lest I forget, I painted the body in one of my ultimate favorite neutral colors, accessible beige.
I still need to complete the shelf area with either wood or tile. I am still debating the final design decision. In the meantime, here it is, no longer decrepit, but a definite delight: