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.

Resources for this project:

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • 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.

  • Giselle Giselle 7 days ago

    I have not refinished furniture before so this may seem obvious but is there a reason you didn’t use a stripper on the top? The result is absolutely stunning!

  • Reg2772886 Reg2772886 7 days ago

    The gold is so sheer you can see the grain! What brand stain did you use for the gold?

    Also, did you use a wood filler for the holes from the removed door knobs? You did such a good job, they are not even visible! This piece is beautiful!


Join the conversation

2 of 77 comments
  • Jody Green Jody Green 7 days ago

    Your work is gorgeous! And....The styling - YES - perfect placement, LOvE it!

    A lot-o-hours on that shows. Excellent share.

  • MLH MLH 5 days ago

    You never to cease to amaze me with your creations! Your work is beautiful!