Oct 26, 2010

Time to Strip!

My kind of stripping is exciting and a little dangerous:  it involves slowly peeling off layer after layer, until you get down to bare...wood.  Using chemical solvents and a palm sander.  (What were YOU thinking I meant?)

What am I stripping?  Dressers and bureaus and chester drawers, oh my.  (Hey, who knew they all mean the exact same thing?)  For whatever reason, throughout our marriage we have always crammed ourselves into one shared dresser, (plus closet space for hanging clothes, of course.)  I'm not sure why we've always scrimped on dresser storage. At various times, our bedroom has been too small for much furniture, but even when we have had plenty of room, we've always been constrained to 4 to 6 drawers. Which means the closet is often crammed full of things that would be better relegated to a drawer.  Things like t-shirts and sweaters. And socks.  Yeah, even socks.

When we finished our bathroom addition two springs ago, an added bonus was trading the wall closets for a walk-in, and gaining a blessed additional 28 inches of floor space along one wall - and it is usable wall space at that, no longer taken up by mirrored closet doors (shudder). Finally, this master bedroom was master-bedroom-sized.

I frugally shopped for a new platform bed (actually it's a faux platform - our box springs are nestled within its frame) with a seriously comfy leather headboard. It was worth every penny I paid for it at S&E Consignment...and it wasn't all that many pennies. The next bargain I scored was two night stands from World Market. (Another store that is near and dear); they were marked down and a coupon arrived just in time to knock another nice chunk off the tab, too. With those pieces, the room began to take shape - an eclectic mix of modern and East Indies, dark woods and green and fawn shades. Relaxing and streamlined. A heavily discounted Tommy Bahama duvet cover and shams (Overstock.com, you are da bomb); a man-sized brown slipper chair, new lamps and drapes completed the transformation from this:

to this:

Then it was time to consider storage. I searched high and low for a set of dark wood low and tall dressers.  I found a few I loved, but gasped at the sticker price. I found a few that were within my self-imposed budget, but they were flimsy. (Dear Target, You do many things well, but please understand that real furniture does not contain laminated plastic "wood grain" finishes or glorified cardboard anywhere in its composition. Hugs, Terry)

The 4-drawer tall bureau in the photos above has been our one-and-only for several years.  By my best guess it's a circa '30s or '40s vintage piece, which we snagged from my grandparents estate sale. Nothing flashy, nothing trendy...just a very well-made, solid wood, mahogany-toned, clean-styled piece...and then the epiphany struck. What I was looking for was here all along!

AND we had the matching low 6-drawer dresser in our storage shed. That piece is a little more scuffed up than the 4-drawer tall bureau, but it is repair-able.  A few bucks for stripper and sandpaper, a quart of stain and a bit of wood finish, and voila.

And...that's as far as the idea.  For the past year, the low dresser has sat in our garage, patiently waiting for me to start working on it. But last weekend, I decided the time had come.  So I suited up with ratty clothes and protective gloves, and slathered on the stripping gel.

As I finish each piece, I'll post some before, during, after shots.  Maybe somebody can help me figure out the correct name for the style and period of these two pieces.

Happy (and safe) stripping!