From Hot Mess to Bless

7 Materials
3 Days

I like to purchase projects that have "gone wrong" because it usually means that the price is right and can make the perfect flip project. This was the case with this mid century modern credenza too. I purchased it on my local Facebook marketplace and started working on it right away.

Assess the damage

The top was in rough shape....someone has refinished it before what it seemed like some sort of lacquer that was very hard to sand down with my orbital was also previously sanded by a very low grit sandpaper which meant there were deep scratches in it...


Also had some nail polish on it just for some artistic touch...


The first step is always sanding. I went ahead and used 110, 180, 220 and finall 320 sandpaper. I tell ya This one put up a fight!!! I used much more paper on the top than I usually do because it just didn't want to come off also the deep scratch from a previous sanding job was very hard to get out.

These dressers are covered with thin wood veneer and there is only so much sanding you can do before you strip the veneer.

Unfortunately there were some spots where I stripped the veneer with sanding... but not to panic I always have a plan B.

Tape and paint
Tape and paint

Once I was done sanding the top of the dresser I was left with stripped veneer and some sort of oily stain (yuk). Since I knew black is going to be my accent color on this dresser I used the same paint and painters tape to strategically cover those spots...I chose vertical stripes.

Painters tape
Just a touch of gold

I also wanted to add just a touch of gold to brighten up the piece. The rest of the dresser (doors and sides) had the original finish on it, so it was much easier to sand those. Once everything was sanded I applied minwax penetrating stain and let it cure for a day or two.

smooth clear coat
Clear coat

Once the stain cured ( follow directions on the can) I applied semi gloss polycrylic clear coat with a brush that is used for gloss and satin finishes. You can find that info on the brushes themselves.

Once it was all done it was time to stage, take pictures and list it on the marketplace

All done

If you like this transformation follow me on Instagram @andreapalmai for real time projects, tips and tricks.

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Jan
    on Sep 16, 2020

    How did you get the hardware holes on the bottom doors to be hid so seamlessly? Filler usually still leaves a dent or spot.

    • Loretta
      on Oct 14, 2020

      Great job. Would never have imagined it was the original

  • Cristina
    on Oct 10, 2020

    what kind of oil you used?

  • Theresa jackson
    Theresa jackson
    on Oct 16, 2020

    My question is not about this piece, but I need some repair advice. I have an art deco petite corner cabinet that has varying inlaid wood striping in the doors. It needs minimal work, but the legs sustained water damage and are blackened about 2-3" up from the floor. Do you know of any way to rid wood of water stains like this or will they have to be painted? Painting is my last resort because the wood grains are all original and painting would be horrible. Any advice would be appreciated.

Join the conversation

2 of 63 comments
  • Gloria McKague
    Gloria McKague
    on Oct 15, 2020

    This is a great makeover … you made it something everyone would want .Well done!

  • Sandy
    on Nov 12, 2020

    This really isn’t my favorite style of furniture, but I could like it better with different hardware. Nice job.

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