Shabby cottage chic desk and dresser

Found this little desk and three drawer chest at a recent estate sale.

Of course, it was the color that first caught my eye when I saw this little desk from across the room.  Alas, the top was a real MESS!  Cheap plywood that had cracked, stained and peeling paint, but not the kind that you can leave ‘as is’.  Still, the price was right so I bought it.  (and the drawer innards were nice and CLEAN!)

SCORE!!  Another piece in ‘my color’!?!  woo-hoo!  Ah, but wait!  Once I put my reading glasses on I could see that it had been very POORLY painted aqua over a medium green pain; which still showed in several places.  Still, it was nice and sturdy.  The backing was in good shape and the drawers were clean!


The chest was pretty ‘grimey’ and  required a good scrubbing; and those drawer pulls HAD to go.  The pulls were screwed on, which usually means an easy removal; but these had been painted over more than once, so simply removing the screws did not do the job.  I had to WHACK them really hard with a hammer to get them off.

Not all of the stain and grime came off when I washed it, so it was time for the orbital sander.  I was HOPING that I could ‘just sand it’ and leave it this color.  Nope.  This, and the desk were going to HAVE to be painted.  I opted to paint them both white.

The top to the desk turned out just perfect!  Just the right amount of each color, white, aqua and wood showing after I distressed it.

As I am in the habit of doing, I painted the backside also.  It really only takes a few more seconds to do this when you are repainting items; and it gives the purchaser a lot more flexibility on placement of the item, as they won’t HAVE to place it with the back to a wall.


Distressing brought out just the right amount of the original aqua paint along the edges and ‘here and there’.  I recycled some old metal drawer pulls that I had on hand.  The insides of the drawers were completely painted the same aqua as the desk, but the bottoms were a bit scratched up.  I glued some pretty wrapping paper to the bottom of the drawers.

Distressing the chest was a bit more difficult.  Usually I can just ‘sand away’ and not have to pay very close attention and it will turn out fine.  However, the aqua color was a very LIGHT coat of paint, and if I sanded too hard of too much, I went clear through to the green coat of paint.  A little bit of the green showing through wasn’t too bad, but I wanted more of the aqua to show.  At one point, I almost decided to just repaint the whole thing turquoise!  But then I decided to ‘give it a shot’ at selling with the bits of green showing, before I went to all the extra work of painting it a second time.  I used the same vintage metal drawer pulls for the dresser and I did for the desk.

You can really see the green around the edges of the top of the chest.  That little ‘reddish’ mark near the center of the top of the chest had been a ‘blob of paint’ that had to be sanded down.  Apparently the top had been RED at one time, and sanding went down to that coat on this one little spot.  SO, I may well have to paint this chest a second time.

But for now, it’s in my booth at Stars Antique Mall priced at $59.00.  The smaller size of this chest make it perfect for a child’s dresser and/or a bed-side chest for an adult’s room.

As is the desk; which is $49.00.  That aqua cute bow back chair is also $49.00.

While I had the white paint out, I painted up a couple of wood slat picnic baskets that I’ve had for a while.

The smaller square basket with the BEE on top is $24.00.

The bigger, dark brown one with EAT on the top is $29.00.

P1320918The shabby apple basket is $15.00.

P1320951White metal birdcage (decorative use only; it does NOT open!) is $ 25.00.

Upcycled candle chandelier is $29.00.  Made using old white metal garden edge fencing; with five frosted glass hanging jars for tea light candles or battery tea lights.

I’ve recently added a LOT more vintage milk glass dishes!  Look at that adorable little espresso cup and saucer!!  I’ve got LOTS of regular coffee’tea cups and saucers and creamers and sugar bowls.  Perfect for an elegant bridal shower.  Lots of vases too!

I also just took in a nice collection of vintage Taylor, Smith and Taylor ‘Boutonnier’ dishes.  I had been collecting these for myself for quite some time; and finally decided that I just didn’t have room for them.  It’s not a complete set.  But there are a lot of cups and saucers and dessert size plates.

P1320947Stop by soon and see what’s new!!  Don’t let the construction on the side street scare you away.  (they tore down the boys and girls club and are putting is a high rise condo building!)  There is still plenty of parking; actually MORE than what was available before on some days!!

Another dresser

I saw this dresser on ‘half price day’ at the thrift store last week but couldn’t buy it because I had already loaded up inventory for stocking at Stars in the back of my car and didn’t have ROOM for it.  

I was headed that way on the NEXT ‘half price day’ and decided to check and see if it was still there; although I really didn’t expect it would be.  LO and behold it WAS still there.  I think the lack of drawer pulls worked in my favor, making it undesirable to others.

A little bit of cracked and peeling paint at the bottom of the inset on the sides (above) And the top was pretty damaged in spots. 

But the drawers were lined and VERY CLEAN!  I can ‘fix up’ just about ANYTHING on the outside, but if it has ICKY drawer innards; I usually PASS!  

Since I was already ‘out and about’ I made another thrift stop and found these awesome vintage PORCELAIN drawer pulls.  Hmmmmmm  WHAT could I use those for?!?!?

Underneath the sagey green paint was some white, the the original walnut stain. I wanted to get all the green sanded off, but gave up after an hour of sanding.

I got most of it off the TOP and the drawers, but not the rest.

Still, I got enough of the old paint sanded off that I didn’t need to apply primer before painting.

And here she is with those vintage porcelain drawer pulls with the ‘backsplashes’. (or whatever those things behind the knobs are called!)  I’ve actually never seen these for KNOBS; but see them often for drawer pulls with handles.

The center metal pieces were REALLY tarnished and icky and would NOT come clean; so I gave them a little black paint.  

I’m in a NON-distressing mood lately!  I left the child’s chairs undistressed, and now this dresser.  I decided that with the knobs being so interesting, and the raised legs and pretty detail on the front legs . . . 

 . . .and the inset side panels, that it really didn’t NEED distressing.  And the distressing would actually DETRACT from the features that make this dresser so pretty and unique.

She’ll be going to Stars as soon as I have room for her.  Tomorrow is ‘booth overhaul day’ and with Michael’s help I’ll be changing around BOTH booths big time!