Monday, January 30, 2017

Art Deco Dresser Reno

Today I'm really excited to share this Art Deco dresser makeover. I found this beauty on the street while driving to work. I had passed it two days in a row, always surprised to find it still standing on the curb. On day three I finally decided to pull over and give the dresser a closer inspection. What's so wrong with this dresser? I thought, inspecting it closely. It didn't smell. Check! Its drawers all closed properly. Check!! And it had ALL of its vintage bakelite handles. Check and SOLD!!! I strategically angled it into my trunk (luckily it isn't very heavy) and drove off, excited about my new find.
Now that I look back at the before photo, I realize why it was ignored. The first impression wasn't pretty, mainly because the veneer was peeling off the drawer fronts. But if you could look past that, the Art Deco design elements were awesome.
My lovely friend and consultant, Laura, recently bought a lovely studio apartment in an old Art Deco building in downtown San Francisco. When I toured the building with her, one tenant gave us a peek at his apartment. He had restored the interior with Art Deco features and decor from the 1940's. Laura and I were inspired, and when I found this dresser, I thought it would be perfect for her new place.
I started the renovation by removing the old veneer from the drawer fronts. Most of the veneer could just be peeled off with with a metal painter's tool. I covered stickier parts of the drawer fronts with a moist towel and ironed on top. This helped to soften the remaining glue so I could remove the veneer easier. I used wood putty to fill in some of the gouges in the wood, then sanded down the drawers to a smooth finish. I also sanded the entire piece, coated it with danish oil, and covered it with a polycrylic finish.
The drawer design was the real fun part. I considered various designs, but settled on one that combined the colors in Laura's space with the bold geometric forms that are a staple of the Art Deco style. I first painted the drawers with a pink base color that I mixed from a selection of Annie Sloan Chalk paints. I created stencils of my design with card stock and traced the outline on the drawer fronts. I used yellow Frogtape to outline the design and painted the interior a light blue that I custom mixed. Mixing custom colors is easy with chalk paint, and I recommend it for creating unique colors that you cannot buy ready-made.
I used a Gold Sharpie paint pen and a ruler to draw the line details on the drawers.
This paint pen matches the Devine Gold Paint from Target, which I used to paint the larger gold details on the drawer. How convenient!
I finished the drawers with a coat of Polycrylic and re-attached the bakelite handles. By the way, how sweet are the original bakelite handles? Bakelite is an early plastic that has gained popularity with collectors, especially jewelry collectors. I love how this rusty orange color compliments the blue and pink paint.
I lined the drawers with a removable wallpaper from Target. It has a gold and white geometric design that suits the style of the drawer fronts.
When styling the dresser, I strategically threw my wedding heels on the floor since they have a similar color story to the dresser. I like the composition of these heels, and my painting of old heels above the dresser.
So there you have it. I'm eager to deliver the dresser to its new home this week. I think it will fit right in with the spirit of the Art Deco building. Let me know what you think of my design.