Thursday, March 21, 2013

Great Grandma's Dresser and the Girls Room

I got a taste of what it's like to refinish paint a family heirloom. It was a little bit of that sickening feeling of "if they only knew they'd be rolling in their grave." 

This was my Great Grandma Zeller's dresser (minus the drawers). My Great Grandma Zeller died at the very rich age of 102. I was twelve or thirteen when she died and remember her well...not fondly...but well. 

She was a crab. I don't think in my entire adolescent life I ever saw her smile. She had a permanent scowl on her face. What I remember of her were her hammer toes, nilla wafers, dollar bills and her frown. She was so spiteful all the time, that we tease my Aunt (who is a Zeller) that she will one day be "Grandma Zeller." The name itself is synonymous with crankiness.

When she died, I inherited her bedroom furniture which included this low dresser and another highboy. I've had these pieces for so long, I don't even remember what I used before them. This furniture traveled to my husband's (then fiancee's) first apartment during college. Then, they made it to our first house together in the Master Bedroom. They were moved again to our Glendora house and used in the girls nursery. This was the changing table for three plus years. At some point in the mix, we spent a fair amount of money to have it refinished. 

Since then, I ran out of room, sent it to my mom and dad's house for a couple of years and have more recently decided that I wanted to try to incorporate it back into our house.

Unfortunately, I couldn't live with the antique orange color any longer and decided that if I am going to keep this, it had to be refinished.

I stripped the top to refinish with a dark walnut wood stain. 

The base got a
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in custom color mix of 1 oz. Old White to .25 oz Scandinvian pink with .25 oz of Antoinette (I still can't believe I painted this pink). 

I love it so much better than it was, though I don't think even this would make my Great Grandma Zeller smile.

I kept the handles on the bottom drawers but added new diamond cut crystal glass knobs on the top ones. 

It's very girly for my girls bedroom makeover.

The top is gorgeous. I feel like this wood color draws out the beauty of the wood!

And, since I mixed my own color, I know exactly how much paint it took. A total of 3 1/2 oz. for the entire piece. That's not even two shots! Can you believe that?

You can get a glimpse of how the makeover is coming along by peeking in the mirror. 

The finishing details are coming together.

Fluffy throw pillows for the bed.

Some fake hydrangeas for now, until my real ones bloom and I can dry them out and put them in here.

I should have finished pictures by the end of the weekend. All that's left to do is hang the chandelier! 

Can't wait to show it off!

Until then...


  1. The dresser looks beautiful! I love how the top! I have not yet braved painting any of my inherited furniture...maybe someday. Can't wait to see the finished room.

  2. Hi, I found you on MMS. I love that style of furniture and think the pink looks so pretty. Great Grandma would surely be pleased with this transformation!

  3. I'm sure your girls will be treasuring this piece for years to come and perhaps someday it will go into one of their little girls''s lovely, the color is prefect!

  4. You gave the piece a great big smile! Love the soft pink shade you custom made!

  5. The pink is brilliant on this piece! Absolutely lovely!

  6. I think it's adorable! I haven't been able to paint any of my family heirlooms, but have no trouble painting ones from my husband's family. I used to think it was guilt that made the difference. Now I realize it's because most of my family heirlooms are walnut (which I love) and in good shape, whereas his are mostly oak, in bad shape or have already been painted.

  7. Well if Grandma Zeller was so grumpy, then you've been a great granddaughter by keeping your dressers to date. How many young people would have done that. You did great. Love the pink.

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