From Broken to Beautiful in Support of Habitat for Humanity

During the month of March, I was working on two different pieces that were being donated to charity.  I shared the first one with you here and I wanted to show you the second one today.

This piece was recreated for the amazing contest that Habitat for Humanity is currently running to celebrate their 25th birthday in Ottawa!  You can win one of 5 different pieces that local furniture artists upcycled and choose whichever one you would like if you win! Isn’t that super cool?!  The other 4 will be auctioned off after the winner chooses the piece they want.  If you would like to enter (and are in the Ottawa area as it would need to be picked up) you can find all of the details here… 


The Before

Part of being involved in the contest meant that I had the opportunity to choose a piece of furniture from one of the local Restores to use in my recreation.  My mom and I headed out about a month ago and I fell in love with the size and curves of this piece as soon as I started looking old hand crafted dresser from the Habitat for Humanity store When I picked it out my Mom actually said “Lisa! I think this is the ickiest thing you have ever dragged home!”  Haha.  I have to admit that it was in pretty bad shape.  It was wobbly, the drawers were broken and the lip at the back had actually bowed and was separated from the dresser in the middle.

Buuuut… despite all of that, I saw its beauty. It is solid wood with beautiful lines and is completely made my hand – curves and all.  I can only imagine the love and hours that went into carving that curvy top drawer and dresser top!a beat up old dresser from the Habitat for Humanity store


The Transformation

The first thing this piece needed was a good cleaning with some soap and water.  Boy was the water diiiirty when I was done.  I also did some repairs like screwing and gluing the back lip, removing all of the unique hardware, filling the holes, and adding drawer stops.

Once those things were done it was onto the paint.  I knew I would be sanding and distressing the piece so wanted to give it a coat of a nice chocolate colour first so that it would show through and not the orange later on.

The dresser got a light sanding and then a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk paint in Curio.  Doesn’t it look sooo much better already?!a vintage dresser stained with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Curio Once the dresser was a nice dark colour, it was given two coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Arabesque with a wash in Ironstone over top.  With those curvy lines, it just felt like it was meant to be a light and pretty colour.  white washed drawers and legs of a vintage dresserA little distressing and some new knobs and it was almost ready to go.

The Drawers

The one problem with this dresser, that took a little bit of solving, was the drawers.
slats in a old dresser drawer  With everything being hand-made, the maker must have used whatever boards were on hand.  Because of that, there were gaps in between the boards in each drawer.cutting out a pattern to make a drawer liner out of reclaimed fabric To keep things from falling out, I covered the bottom of each drawer with fabric.  I made a paper pattern of each drawer first and then cut the reclaimed fabric slightly bigger and hemmed it.upholstery tacks on a pink dresser Upholstery tacks (they were found at the restore too!) held the fabric in place once it was laid in the drawers.  The fabric while functional added a beautiful surprise inside each of the drawers.reclaimed fabric lining the drawers of a vintage dresser

vintage ironstone and an old stack of letter on a pink milk painted dresser I couldn’t be more thrilled with the transformation of this piece.  With those curvy lines and wavy boards, I think pink was definitely the perfect choice.  What do you think?  Do you agree?  Was it meant to be pink?a hand crafted vintage dresser upcycled with pink Milk paint For as icky as this dresser was when I brought it home, I was sad to see it leave.  I really enjoyed the soft pop of pink. It got me to thinking that I may just need to add a little touch of this very popular colour to my home soon!vintage Ironstone and a stack of old letters Be sure to pop over the Habitat for Humanity site and enter to win your choice of pieces and support an amazing organization!  And a huge thanks to Habitat for Humanity Ottawa for asking me to be apart of this great event.a vintage dresser painted with pink milk paint

**Please note that this post includes affiliate links for your convenience.  All links are for products that I have tried and use regularly.  By using the link, it in no way increases the cost of the item to you should you choose to purchase.  However, by using the link, a small portion of the sale is given back to help fund this blog. Thank you! **

6 Comments on " From Broken to Beautiful in Support of Habitat for Humanity "

  1. Lisa

    Beautifully done!!!! Love the piece love the color & how you finished the drawers!! What did mean ….wash in Ironstone for the second coat

    1. Lisa

      Thank you so much! For the wash, you mix the paint with some water so that it is watered down. Once you have it watered down you paint it on and use a damp cloth to wipe it back until only a little remains. It will soften the look and give it a white-washed look. I hope that helps 🙂

  2. Lisa

    What a transformation!!! I love it. I have an old dresser that I bought at the Rebound in Almonte a couple of years ago; it’s in a bit of rough shape but it was just going in a small closet that holds all my crafting supplies. Fast forward to now – it is now sitting out in the open and I need to refinish it. Your project inspires me. Have a question for you – how do you fix the drawers so they slide properly? My dresser has pieces of wood on the interior sides for each drawer that seem solid yet the drawers seem to sag, if you know what I mean. Not sure how to tackle that. Thanks Lisa!!

    1. Lisa

      Thanks so much Beverly! And I’m so glad that you are inspired to do yours now 😉 If the bottom of the drawers are sagging, it is usually a fairly thin piece of wood so you can flip them over, glue the joints and nail them with finishing nails. That has usually done the trick for me. I don’t typically replace the wood that the drawers slide on for new sliders. They can sometimes get broken or warped though and be really squeaky or hard to pull in out. If that is the case, you can purchase new hardware to make the drawers slide easier but it is a really intensive process to get them installed in the right place. I would try fixing the drawer itself first. If the bottom is still sagging once you have glued and nailed it, you can also add a small piece across the bottom of the drawer like a brace to keep it from sagging. Most old drawers have a little lip under the bottom so if you fit a thin piece of wood between those lips it will help. I hope that all makes sense 😉 Keep me posted on how it’s going!

      1. Lisa

        Hi Lisa,

        Thanks for the tips. It’s more the drawer on the sliders that is the issue for me, not the drawer itself as they seem to be very solid. I think I will just have to live with it – gives it character!! Haven’t started working on it yet, as the weather is preventing me from working in our garage/workshop (no heat in it!). I’ll keep you updated!

        1. Lisa

          I have so much furniture with “character” that I have just given in to and learned to love 😉 Have fun working on it! Hope you aren’t affected by the flooding and can get outside soon!

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