Two-toned Facelift

4 Materials
4 Hours

What can you do to update a fabulous old dresser? Give it a facelift!
My friend had been given this dresser by her mother and it had served her well for many years but it was looking a little tired and in need of some love! She asked me if I could help her out and I was so happy to do so and be trusted with such a beautiful piece of furniture history! We discussed what look my friend was hoping for and decided to go with a two-toned look! The results were better than either of us had hoped for!
This is the top of the was in pretty used and tired condition! Fortunately, with some sand paper (150 grit) and my hand-held palm sander, I was able to get this old finish off with a little bit of old-fashioned elbow grease!
Here is the dresser sanded and ready to be taken inside! I used my palm sander for the top,the sides and the drawers to prep it for a new finish. The other parts, that were to be painted, received a light scuff sanding with 220 grit sandpaper by hand. My cat was thinking it already looked better!
For the bulk of the project, we had decided on staining it dark. I went with General Finishes Java Gel Stain and applied it with a lint-free rag. I applied this to the top, the drawers and the side panels of the dresser.
After the stain had dried overnight, it was time to tape off those areas so that I could paint the "body" of the dresser! I prefer to use Frog Tape as it is very good at keeping paint from seeping under the edge. Another trick to keeping paint from seeping under your tape is to dry brush the edge of what you are painting and the edge of the tape and let that dry for a few minutes - it will seal the edge and keep everything clean!
My friend and I decided to keep it classic and went with General Finishes Milk Paint in Antique White. The result really is beautiful! These older pieces have such quality workmanship that is difficult to find in modern made furniture.
Isn't she a stunner! My friend was so pleased and I was blessed to be a part of giving this dresser with all its fabulous lines and hardware, new life!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Carole Bisby
    on Jan 25, 2020

    I am in love with this, just beautiful. Question is it hard to get the gel stain to attach to the other stain even though you did a light sanding? Thanks and I will wait for your answer also is the smell of the gel stain bad?

    • Katy | Rancho La Flor
      on Jan 26, 2020

      It is not difficult - this product is truly wonderful to work with. There is a smell but it is not like a regular stain smell and is not pervasive to the area it is applied in. I actually like the smell and I don’t enjoy regular stain smell.

  • Dl.5660408
    on Jan 25, 2020

    It’s beautiful! Do you know what kind of wood it was made of?

    • Jacx
      on Jan 28, 2020

      It is mahogany w mahogany veneer. I have this piece in a chest of drawers. Veneer got a bad rap for a bit but fine pieces were made that way to show case the grain. Only oak doesn't seem to be done w veneer. What most people don't realize is that all that grain on oak was filled. When a piece is stripped the filler gets removed so most of use don't see the pieces like they used to be.

      Older veneers were quite thick, it makes replacing them difficult, if a chip is missing.

  • Brandi Kelley Tyson
    on Jan 26, 2020

    Quick question. Did you use anything to clean up the hardware?

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