May 14, 2020

One Room Challenge: Wk 2 – The Untold Drama On Our Vintage Dresser

House Remodel

Well we’re on the second week of the One Room Challenge and I lost count on how many days it’s taking us to refurbish our dresser for the master bedroom (If you missed Wk 1, catch up here). It was supposed to be one of our easiest projects by just refreshing the stain and handles and updating the trim. Believe it or not we even started working on it before I signed up for the One Room Challenge then stopped for reasons listed below. Anyone else always experience stressful hiccups when it comes to DIY? Especially when you’re so limited on time – it’s the best feeling in the world….not.

But we’re not moving on to the other projects until we figure out the dresser situation-we’re so close, as frustrating as it is! And then we’re on to the fun part of our ORC + plus another secret thing we’re building that I’ll reveal in next week’s post…or not, I’m still thinking if it should be a surprise or not! EEEKKK. Let’s hope those go more smoother though.


1. Our Original Plan

Originally, I wanted the dresser to be a natural white oak color but no matter what stain we used – even just a protective coating – it made the dresser look orangey. No thanks to that. So we had to come up with something else. We mixed the two stains we purchased to try on the dresser, trying it out with different proportions – no luck with that. We then tested out on a little spot on the dresser a coat of natural stain from Varathane (which made it orange) THEN on top of that, a coat of hazelwood stain. It looked like the perfect shade as the hazelwood took away the orangey tint. We went ahead and stained the whole dresser just like that; first coat natural, second coat hazelwood. But as it turns out the only reason that it look great on our little spot where we tested was because we didn’t wait for the first coat to dry before putting on the second. When we tried this concept for the entire dresser, the first coat was already drying when we placed on the second coat of stain, resulting in a completely different color! Gray dresser anyone? Meh, no thanks. It looked good in natural light but in our room, it looked way too gray.

So now we have to sand the entire dresser – again. Except when we sanded it again, we’re guessing the stain didn’t have time to cure all the way and clogged up the sandpaper, resulting in the stain not coming off properly. Fun stuff guys, fun stuff. This is the point where we dropped the dresser drama and then got back to it a couple weeks later.



2. Trimming It Out

 Random 2am idea: take off that old trim and replace it with a half round trim. I didn’t like the way the original trim looked as it didn’t cover all the front sides. It just looked like a lazy job done, with measurements way off. We went to Lowe’s to get some half round trim pieces but of course, they only had it in pine. Our dresser is supposedly white oak so using pine trim would have looked out of place with the different veining and stained differently. We discussed getting a full round piece of white oak that the store had but it was only 4 feet long and the price added up. We thought about getting the quarter round 8 ft. pieces of white oak as it seemed our best bet. Leo would just have to cut it down so that it fit together in a perfect half round onto the dresser. Yes, that means that there would be a crack in the middle of the two quarter round pieces but we did our best covering that up with wood glue and some sanding. The dresser looks like it was supposed to have the rounded trim all along! 

*Follow along on Insta for all the BTS under the ORC highlight of us replacing the trim.

3. The Handle Dilemma

 The handles that came withe the dresser originally are beautiful so I don’t want to replace them. Just some of them had major patina on them with large black spots. Leo tried to sand the black spots down but the only way they came off was if you sanded off the brass too. I ran into the local craft store to purchase the famous Rub N’ Buff but unfortunately, they didn’t have the shade I wanted. I got a nontoxic, waterbased metallic lustre instead but unless I covered the handles with 10+ coats of it, it wasn’t working. Back to the store I go! But this time for what I was looking for originally, Rub N’ Buff……..oh my gosh, I just remembered I bought some years ago but in a different shade of gold. Let’s hope that works!!


4. 3rd Time is the Charm…Or Not

It’s time to stain the dresser again. We went back to the store to get a different stain color and after about a good 15 minutes of looking over all the stain, we settled on golden oak. We tried it out and the color was perfect- not too dark and not too light and not too orangey.  We started staining as per usual and it looked goof at first. But then, BUT THEN (insert a frustrating UGGHHHH here), the stain was drying all blotchy. In some places, the stain didn’t even want to penetrate, leaving the dresser looking blotchy and discolored. We stopped there in frustration and did some research. Although there could be many reasons why the stain isn’t adhering properly, we have to figure something else out. A friend said to try gel stain so that might be next. Wood conditioner supposably only works best for new wood so that might not even work. Any suggestions?? So much for an easy refurbishing project, LOL. You live and you learn, right?

Check out the other participants and their process for the ORC here

Coming Up

  • Well first off, let’s hope we figure out this dresser drama
  •  We got our ash wood for the nightstands yesterday! Now all we need is to get a whole bunch of clamps and then we can get started!
  • My mother in law and I will be working together to make the cover for our headboard (you heard that right, it’s gonna have a removable cover). I know NOTHING about sewing so I need all the help I can get with that lol 
  • A SECRET PROJECT 😉

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