There is nothing I love more than a bow front dresser. The soft edge of that subtly curve in each drawer makes me weak in the knees. That’s why when I saw a posting for an estate sale 40 minutes away from my house featuring a beautiful set of bow front dressers, I fought off the urge to sleep in and set my alarm for seven a.m. on a Saturday and headed out.
It was the second day of the estate sale, and I wasn’t super confident that the dressers would still be there. When we pulled up to the house in the middle of nowhere Maryland, I hopped out and nearly ran through the house. And low and behold, tucked back in the master bedroom of a stranger’s house, there they were. And, I found out much to my delight, half off of the listed price. I was pleased.
I wasted no time, and once we loaded them up and brought them home, I started working on them the second I could Sunday. The photo here makes the finish took like it’s in perfect condition, but believe me, it wasn’t. It needed a lot of work, and nothing updates a dingy old piece of furniture like some paint.
I should be painting outside. Get some fresh air, take advantage of the natural light, and save my hardwood floors from needing to be scrubbed with a toothbrush every few weeks to remove all the paint speckles. But I just can’t bring myself to do it consistently. It’s all too often looking like it’s about to rain or this Baltimore humidity won’t let my paint dry. In the Winter I obviously can’t paint outside, and I have gotten into a groove and system in my house I don’t feel like rearranging to do it outside. So, inside I go and keep that extra toothbrush handy.
I removed the hardware, cleaned out the drawers and started painting. I was using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre, so no need to prime or sand. It has great coverage and I never have problems with adhesion. After the first coat I like to add a few teaspoons of water to some paint in a separate container. This makes the second coat go on smoothly, helps the coverage, and gives a more silky finish. I nearly always water down my second coat.
After the second and final coat dried, I took a medium grit sandpaper and got to distressing. I sealed the piece with Johnson Paste Wax and took a sanding block and buffed everything to a nice finish. Doing this really makes a difference, you shouldn’t skip this part!
When I started on the second dresser, there was one spot that had a scratch just deep enough to cause the dreaded bleed through. This is the one time I do need some stain blocking primer. It took three coats of primer I applied right to the stain, but it finally covered. Some more paint, some distressing, and some waxing and I was finally done with both dressers. At four a.m. Monday morning. Happy Labor Day!
We’ve already taken them up to Sweet Clover in Frederick, MD for the monthly tag sale on September 19, 20, and 21.
Here they are finished! They really are some of my favorite style.