Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Aged vs. Old: dresser makeover

Now that my frisbee season is done, I'm trying to rev up my design output. I need to get some of this furniture that's been sitting in my hallway on someone else's (lucky!) hands. So, I'm excited to share my newest piece, that I am selling! What's that? Yes, selling, so let me know if you're interested. I found it on craigslist for $20 and when James and I went to pick it up, James looked at me skeptically. "Are you sure it's worth the price?" his eyes asked me. But behind the dry and splintering wood, I knew there was something special.
As you can tell from the before pictures, the wood was not in very good condition and it was saying, "I'm old." With furniture, that's not such a good thing. I want a piece to say, "I'm aged", like well-worn leather shoes, not "old," like food you forgot about in the back of the fridge.
Here's how I decided to breathe an "aged" look back into the piece. I've been wanting to try a pattern on a piece of furniture and this was a good time for it. I sanded the dresser down to the original wood, removing the splintering wood and any remaining varnish, and then conditioned the wood. Then I drew a chevron pattern on the sides of 3 drawers(the top, middle and bottom). I taped off the chevron pattern with painter's tape. Then I stained the rest of the dresser with dark walnut.
Then I removed the tape, let the stain set, and sealed the whole dresser with a polycrylic sealer. I was hoping that the stain wouldn't bleed under the painter's tape, but a little did come through. In the future, I would seal the chevrons first with the sealer, so that they would (hopefully) not take any of the dark stain. But I don't mind the "handmade" quality of it.
I am really happy with how it turned out. It has an aged southwest vibe. I like that the dresser still shows its age, but it doesn't feel outdated.
When I was admiring my handiwork at the end, I looked more closely at a sticker inside one the the drawers. It read, "Cascade Furniture, F.S. Harmon MFG Co, Tacoma Washington." I did a little google research and found that F.S. Harmon was a large furniture manufacturer in the 1900's in Tacoma. The plant closed in 1960, telling me that this piece is probably from the 1950s or 1940s. I couldn't find out much else, but knowing a little of the history makes me like it even more. Worth $20? Oh yeah!(Remember, I'm going to sell it, so let me know if you're interested)