1940’s Dixie Dresser Restoration

When we got this dresser from a woman on Craigslist, we thought we’d totally scored; it had good bones, a ton of character, and we’d never seen anything with such a unique shape.  Of course, it was also in rough condition.  She’d painted it black, and not done a very good job of it.  The paint was cracking and peeling, large chunks of the veneer were missing, and she’d even painted straight over what turned out to be the original hardware.  After finding a manufacturer’s mark for Dixie on the inside of one of the drawers, I took to Google to figure out exactly what we had on our hands.  As it turned out, this double-bowed dresser was actually a valuable piece from the 1940’s.

Such a huge transformation!
Such a huge transformation!

We started off by stripping the dresser completely down to the wood.  Kyle   spent days with a heat gun and a scraper, meticulously peeling the old paint off to expose the wonderful mahogany underneath.  It was actually painful to see how beautiful it would have looked in its original glory, but with so much surface damage from years of use, there was no way we could get away with staining and sealing the wood.

Kyle, delicately scraping the awful old paint job off of the wonderful details in the dresser.
Kyle, delicately scraping the awful old paint job off of the wonderful details in the dresser.

Next, we set out to repair the substantial holes in the veneer with wood putty, and gluing and clamping some sections back into place where they had started to separate.  As you can see in the early stage photos, one of the drawers was missing almost a quarter of its surface.  Complicating things, the beautiful rounded shape of the drawers made it difficult to smooth the curve in the repaired sections to match perfectly.  Fortunately, Kyle is kind of a wizard at this stuff, and now that it’s painted you can’t even tell that hours of work went into those sections.

After sanding and priming the entire dresser, we were ready to paint!  I’ve been wanting to play with doing an ombre effect on a dresser for quite some time, and this piece lent itself to my purposes quite nicely.  I was originally going to paint the bottom railing on each drawer gray to match the body, but once I got started it seemed like this would just interfere with the flow of colors.  I couldn’t be happier with how the range of gold tones looks!

This was a fun project for us, and we’re super excited about it because it’s the first piece we’ve done knowing we’d be selling it when we were finished.  We have a few other things in the works, so check back for updates soon!

The finished dresser will be a great compliment to any room, and would be perfect as a bedroom dresser or a sideboard in a living or dining room.  It is currently for sale for $400 SOLD.  

Please fill out the form below to contact us if you’re interested in finding out more about our work, current projects, or custom pieces.

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