Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DIY Dresser Redo

We've got a funky attic space in this new house and I'm so very thankful for every odd inch of it.

Most people put guests in their guest room. (Our guest room has been taken over by pianos.) And have closets in their bedrooms for nice dresses and suits. (Our closet is teeny and fits only seasonal essentials.) And have an extra shelf in a bathroom or maybe a hall closet for linens. (We don't.) But our attic has come to our rescue and taken on these challenges and more and it does a beautiful job with all of it. It's part guest getaway, part storage area, part linen closet. The layout is sort of odd and the blue carpeting isn't my favorite but it's as cozy as can be up there and we (and our guests) love it.

This old dresser at the top of the attic stairs is where we keep our sheets and extra blankets and comforters. It's a really roomy piece of furniture and fits our linens perfectly but the finish and hardware were just the worst. It needed updating in a desperate sort of way.

I decided to paint it white and there was no way I was going to lug this downstairs and outside in order to paint it, so I grabbed some drop cloths and milk paint (which is non-toxic and isn't harmful to breathe in, even when painting indoors) and got to work. I chose a color called Grain Sack, which I know looks uniformly white in these photos but in person the color has amazing dimension and depth. It sometimes looks more grey, other times more beige, occasionally more ivory than white. It's a brilliant color and I really enjoyed working with it.

After three coats of paint I applied this furniture wax and was even more impressed with it than the paint. It brought out the natural luster and the many varied shades within the paint, all the while giving it a nice sturdy seal and a smooth waxed finish. I just love Miss Mustard Seed's products--they're so well made and luxurious, even. (You'll see what I mean if you try them!)

My inspiration for the braided leather handles came from this lovely blogger. This part of the attic is smack in the middle of the room and quite far from the two small windows that are up here so it was hard to get a good clear shot, but the braided leather looks really pretty in person. I bought the leather lace from Michael's and to make the handles I cut strips, knotted, braided, then tied off. It was a little time-intensive but worth the effort.

Everything from the brick to the leather pulls to my collection of old family quilts gives this little nook such a rustic feel. I'm really enjoying how it naturally came together this way. 

And here's a peek at the comfy little sleeping area next to the dresser. This is actually one of three beds that we were able to fit in the attic--there are two twins along the opposite wall! It's sort of like sleepover camp up here and when my parents and two brothers come this Christmas they'll all have a real bed to sleep on. I feel so thankful to have the space to host our families and thankful that we can give them each a comfortable space for themselves.

This project wasn't a glamorous one but this isn't a glamorous part of our home--it's pure comfort and function, rustic, simple coziness, peace and privacy. And I think we got it looking pretty cute, too.


  1. How nice to have room for so many beds! I'm thinking about trying milk paint for a new to us piece of furniture -- it's nice to know that it's non-toxic.

  2. This attic is awesome! I mean, just look at that corner bed, shelf and that darling lamp :) Plus, another milk paint project well done!

  3. Try it! I think you'll love it. Miss Mustard Seed's colors are really beautiful.

  4. I love it too, glad you think so! :)

  5. Where did you find that quilT!?

  6. I'm not sure, it's something my mom has had forever and she gave it to me!

  7. The quilts on the dresser are handmade family heirlooms. :)

  8. I love the organic and rustic look of your rooms. It's so pretty and unpretentious...I'm assuming kind of like you? I have a huge dresser that's just sitting in my garage, waiting to be repainted. I have Annie Sloan's paint in a color I no longer like. Would you recommend milk paint? So no precoat needed? Can you make some brand suggestions for me? My huge dresser is currently ugly dark wood that I know will be beautiful with a little facelift. :)

  9. Oh you are just too sweet. :) I would hope that my rooms reflect me! I would recommend Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint. Her colors are GORGEOUS (and she's a blogger, so you can see what the colors actually look like in her painted pieces that she photographs) and it's pretty forgiving. No sanding required. I would use her bonding agent if you don't want a chippy/flaky finish, because it can do that sometimes. Good luck!!


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