when our neighbor passed away this summer, his sister was clearing out the house and gave us a few pieces of furniture that she didn’t want. one of them was a chest of drawers that was beautiful and old but the story of a lifetime of effort was written all over it: an intractable water stain (see below) marked the top indicating that an overwatered plant had spent decades in that particular place; holes in the side told of what was perhaps a long-ago towel rod; and four empty, gaping holes in front of every drawer told of happier times when there existed drawer pulls. I fell in love, of course, right away. poor little cabinet needed some love and a little d-i-y elbow grease. how could I say no!?
it was around this same time that I was told by a friend that I absolutely, must-have and could not live without a family art supply closet. so, I decided that our newly adopted chest of drawers would live in the dining room and store art supplies. never mind that it was a little sad-looking and belonged in a bedroom or that I have never restored anything wooden in my life. not a concern. forge ahead!
we consulted with a neighbor, who used to restore furniture for a living and he gave me a list of supplies that were promptly purchased at the hardware store…fine sandpaper, mineral spirits, polypropylene, rubber gloves, rags and restor-a-finish.
everybody got involved in the project from removing rusty wheels (it was on wheels, ones that didn’t roll, did I neglect to mention that?) to sanding. I saved the toxic chemical efforts for myself, of course. we stripped the top, minimally, with the sandpaper and a wipe of mineral spirits. then, the polypropylene and restore a finish all over to give it back its shine.
I never could get rid of the water stain but the rest of the restoration really wasn’t that hard! of course, it still looked an awful lot like it belonged in a bedroom. it wasn’t until I stumbled across industrial style drawer pulls from Martha Stewart that it seemed actually possible for it to live in the dining room. and, sure enough they did the trick. it is now filled with cotton balls, bottles of glue, paints, clothespins, yarn, modeling clay…you name it. the bottom drawer holds any and all items that don’t require adult supervision (including our bare books) so they boys can open it and start an art project any time. it’s a crafty mama’s dream.
all being told, it wasn’t event that difficult of a project. even so, I managed to spend most of the time feeling perilously close to a major mess-up. but, I am pretty sure that is just me. as for the cabinet, it now has one more story to tell…of its life as an art cabinet!