From Lemon to Lemonade

I have been burned a few times in the past so I’m usually pretty careful when I find a piece of furniture to repurpose.  Apparently not the case when I’m under stress!!  This is a story of me making an impulse purchase, an inner struggle with myself, and turning a bad situation into a good one.  With the help of my dad – thank you, dad!

Flash back to 3 weeks ago.  Life was going along great.  My in-laws had just gone home after a wonderful visit and we were planning to head to Colorado the next day.  I had driven up to pick up my daughter from cheer camp at ISU.  James was snoozing at home when I left, but briefly woke up in time for me to give him a few “assignments” and request a phone call if he were to head anywhere.  Jordan and I returned home after a long morning to find that James had left all of his chores undone and had headed up to the skate park for the afternoon.  I got my cranky mom attitude on and headed up the two blocks to the skate park to lay into him.  Almost immediately after pulling in, I saw him running my way and this warm thought of – “my boy is so excited to see me!” started to melt through my icy irritation.  I rolled the window down to chat and he yells “I broke my wrist!!”  Not exactly what I was expecting to hear!  He had wiped out trying a new trick right as I pulled in.  After the longest 20 minute drive of our lives, we made it to the fabulous Blank ER.  They put him to sleep and set his arm.  After 2.5 hours of off and on tornado warnings, we were sent home to try and figure out our limitations for the next 6 weeks.  Our trip to CO was definitely put on hold for a bit.

As I was hanging on the couch with James, I started perusing the FB for sale site.  I have been looking for a dresser to refinish for my friend Andy.  This lovely 5 drawer upright dresser popped up in my feed so I msgd the owner and found it was still available.  Jason thought we should give it a day to let James feel better before our drive, but I still needed to head up to Bondurant to get the travel drugs for our dog, Lew.  The dresser and the pills were just blocks from one another so I though – two birds with one stone – I’ll go check out the dresser.

When I got to the house, I was met by the owner and his 3 boxers.  The dresser was inside the house.  Ok, I do not recommend going to a strange home alone to make a purchase.  And I definitely don’t go inside with a strange man.  I’m telling you, my mind was not straight that day!  I left unscathed, but as I’m watching reruns of Forensic Files, I’m learning that I was so not wise!!  I had messaged back and forth with him a bit about the dresser before going to check it out and he assured me that it was in great condition, He also answered when I asked about the drawers that they do, in fact, work great.  You can tell by this picture of the dresser that it was a little rough!! IMG_1546

First of all, it was pretty filthy (but that can be cleaned) and it has what appears to be dog scratches all over (which can be sanded out or painted over).  What I didn’t pay attention to was the drawers.  They did not work well AT ALL!  I asked if we should take them out to move it and he said no, that it was heavy either way so he’d just take it out to the van for me.  Red flag had I had my wits about me that day.  When I got home, I wrestled it out of the van and immediately checked the drawers.  They were awful!  One was completely missing the metal slide on the bottom.  Two of the others were falling off.  One of the wooden slides was so chewed up that the track wouldn’t even stay on it.  Grrrr.

I’m generally pretty passive and happy go lucky.  It was time for me to take my aggression from the past 24 hours out on someone so I sent him a msg.  He played dumb and pretended to have no clue that the drawers were a mess.  Even claiming that he wasn’t going to get into a “he said, she said” with me.  Umm, I had the messages where he clearly said they were good.  I should have demanded my money back or at the very least, reported him to the FB page but I did not.  I sure got him, didn’t I? Ok, so anyway, I’m always passive.

Anyway, the next morning James was feeling better so we decided to head out to CO.  Our water heater went out that morning, too.  It was a great couple of days.  My dad said he would come over to work out the water heater situation and would check out the dresser drawers for me, too.  Best. Dad. Ever.  He knew that his little family needed a good weekend away after the few days we’d had.  He said that the drawers were all bad and would need some serious fixing.  I’d done this before and it’s not cheap.  The money I had invested into this ridiculous mess was rapidly increasing.  He was able to fix several of them inexpensively but my frustration was growing.  I decided that I was just going to clean it up when I got home, and repost it with full disclosure.  I was hoping that I could recoup what I had spent or at least some of it.  Even after posting it, I went back and forth several times deciding that I would paint it, then I’d go back to being so frustrated that I didn’t want to spend another second on it.  I did glue and screw in all of the metal slides on the bottom of each drawer, but that’s all I decided I was going to do.  I had a nice girl chat with me about wanting to come and see it.  She and her boyfriend came over Sunday and after thoroughly looking it over, she offered me half of what I was asking which just added to my frustration.

At that point, I decided I was going to paint the damn thing, fix the bad drawer myself, and get it over with.  I decided on grey because it seems to be the color of choice currently.  Andy had wanted stained drawers and a grey body, but the finish on this dresser was already a darker almost cherry stain, so I decided to just paint the whole thing.  I would find another dresser that started in better condition for staining.  I added my first coat of General Finishes Driftwood Grey.  I ambitiously thought I would try an hombre dresser drawer in shades of blue but swiftly changed my mind after the first coat.  I added two coats of grey to the dresser body and two coats to the drawers (in addition to the hombre blue on the fronts).  When it was time to start distressing, a slight bit of the blue came through, but added a subtle differentiation to each drawer.  I was beginning to fall in like with this piece.

I removed all of the hardware and spray painted it with a matted black paint.  Once I started adding the top coat and a bit of shine, I began to appreciate the dresser a little more.  It was scrubbed clean and completely vacuumed out.  All of the scratches had been painted over and are no longer visible.  A beautiful satin shine had been added with the protective sealant.  The last step, replacing the hardware, was the final straw.  I had created a diamond in the rough.  I had beaten the shifty and dishonest seller and turned it into something classy.  I had risen above and am so happy with the end result!

Now, I just need to sell the darn thing!

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