I really should have known better. I’ve been tougher before when looking at Craigslist furniture. A few weeks ago I took my oldest son with me to look at an antique dresser (I like taking him with me; he’s a twice over black belt in Tae Kwon Do!) and I didn’t take it. When I saw chipped veneer I said, no thank you, that’s beyond my skill set. And I was fine with it. It was annoying that we drove a long way to look at it, but I knew I didn’t want to deal with chipped veneer. Maybe down the line, but not yet.
I’m looking for a chest or dresser for the boys’ room, and I’m also scouting for a cheap set of bunk beds to finish off the girls’ room. The problem is that I keep getting distracted by cool old dressers that I think I can refinish. When I saw one listed for $20, I jumped on it! My thought was that I’d buy it and re-sell it on Craigslist after I painted or refinished.
This time I decided to take my husband with me because the dresser was kind of big and I was afraid it wouldn’t go in the Subaru. I measured ahead of time and knew it would be tight if it would work at all. Looking back on it, I think I learned not to take dh. I’m not as firm when he’s around. Unless I know it’s going to work ahead of time, I think I’ll stick with karate kid. (No offense to dh. I loved having him with me. I’m just meaner when he’s not around. ha ha)
The lady was late and we had to sit in front of her house for about 10 minutes before she arrived. (She called us to let us know she was running late.) Her house was on the market and we admired it from the curb. It was set back on a quiet lot on a cul-de-sac. I should have taken a picture. I really loved the peacefulness of the property.
Dh and I both liked her as soon as we met her. And then she started telling us a little of her story. She had recently re-married and was desperate to get all the furniture out of her old house. She was sad, too, because she loved the house and didn’t really want to sell it as she’d lived there for 25 years. It had been under contract before and had fallen through at the last minute. Now it was under contract again and she was praying that it would go through and she could put it all behind her.
We learned all this before we saw the dresser. For some reason, it barely crossed my mind to say “no.” Dh started unscrewing the mirror and she took me to see another piece she had for sale. She had listed it on Craigslist, too, and the person that was supposed to view it had cancelled. She said she’d practically give it to me to get rid of it.
So that’s how I came home with two pieces of furniture I didn’t really want. I got sucked in to the story. I know. You’re probably shaking your head and firming your own resolve to be stronger. We had to make another trip to her house later in the day to pick up the second piece of furniture. I was already regretting the whole thing because I’d had a chance to look closer at the dresser. (you’ll see what I mean in a minute!) When we went back we met the lady’s step daughter. She had told us the first trip that she had three grown daughters and her new husband had two children still at home. When we met the new daughter, we realized she has Downs syndrome. I had already picked up on the fact that this woman was strong and brave but now I had even more respect for her. I’m totally in over my head with the antique dresser, but I no longer regret my purchase. I’m glad I was able to do a little something to help her smooth her transition.
OK. Enough talk. Here’s the dresser. And let me warn you — I’m seriously considering just re-listing it!
Did I mention I don’t want to deal with chipped veneer?
That part might be do-able, but this?
The middle drawer isn’t a drawer. It’s like a cubby and the drawer front lifts up on a hinge. But it seems kind of warped. Honestly, it doesn’t look that bad in the pictures, but it’s a mess. I know it’s over my head and I’m really OK with just re-listing it. But a little part of me wants to try. I figure worst case scenario, I practice the whole veneer thing and the stripping thing (I’ve never actually stripped a piece of furniture; I’ve only sanded) and learn a few things. If I totally mess up, I can probably still list it for free.
The other piece of furniture I took is a cedar chest. The lady suggested I buy it just to re-sell because it isn’t my style at all. The good news is that it’s in fairly good condition.
The top is a little rough:
But it is solid and the inside is beautiful:
It needs to be re-finished as well, but at least no repairs are required. I’m still pondering what to do with it. At first I thought I’d just do a straight strip and stain. Maybe a darker stain. But now I’m thinking about having some fun with it. I only paid $15 for it and no matter what I do I should be able to get at least that much back! I’m thinking of staining the lid a dark color like walnut and painting the rest with milk paint (I think Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Ironstone would be pretty)and letting it do it’s chippy thing.
What do you think? What would you do? Would you keep the old dresser and give it a try or accept defeat and re-list it? Any thoughts on how to update the cedar chest?
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