Before & After: A Paint-Stripped Dresser Makeover

Before & After: A Paint-Stripped Dresser Makeover

A lot of the dresser makeovers we feature are pieces that were in fairly bad shape and then get spruced up with a colorful or unique paint job. From the looks of it, someone attempted a painted makeover on this poor Lane dresser years ago, not once or twice, but three times. Is it beyond restoring to its former glory?   


created at: 05/13/2012

(Oh, I forgot to mention it also had tape all over it for no apparent reason. You know, in addition to the three different colors of paint.)

Are you ready for the after??

created at: 05/13/2012

Sweet angelic choirs of Mid-Century restoration, I am a believer! Can you even... I mean really. I didn't know it was possible to restore an old, hammered, painted dresser to this kind of condition. It's remarkable.

created at: 05/13/2012

William Dohman, a designer and woodworker (check out his shop) from St. Paul, Minnesota, has completely blown my mind with this makeover. It certainly took a lot of time (understatement, I'm sure) and patience, but the work was definitely worth it. Be sure to check out some more photos on William's Flickr stream.

So, the next time you see an old dresser, step away from the paint and know that there is hope!

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

View/Add Comments (15)


(2000 character limit)

Lauren on Apr 21, 2013:

It's about time I finally see someone taking paint OFF of wood and refinishing it instead of painting over awesome wood.  Nice job!

Sarah on Jul 26, 2012:

William I just bought this exact dresser on craigslist! Mine is in pretty great condition, but my drawers lean towards the center (so left hand lean to the right and right hand drawers lean to the left). Do you have any ideas that could level the drawers out when they close?

My only idea was switching out the center mount drawer pulls to bottom mount pairs. 

DesigningMom on May 17, 2012:

Ah, you know me well.

Thanks for the good luck wish. I might just need it. I've already had to resand the top because the water based rubbing stain I tried first went on awful! I just hate using oil based products, but I might have to. If it wasn't for the two areas I had to patch with stainable filler I'd have just used a tung oil finish after the sanding. That's one oil based product I do like using. The grain is absolutely amazing in real life. I need a better camera.

CapreeK on May 17, 2012:

DM - I thought you'd like this one! :D And, oh my, that dresser is gorgeous! Good luck with the refinishing!

DesigningMom on May 17, 2012:

Oh you have made me a very happy person Capree!  How anyone could have painted this beautiful piece of Lany furniture in the first place is beyond me, but than you so much to William for taking the love and time to bring it back to life again! It's breathtaking!

I'm working on a Broyhill Brasilia piece right now. It wasn't painted, but the finish was in really bad shape. It's on hold until after our daughter's wedding next month though it look so much better just sanded. I was lucky in not having to strip it since the finish was so bad off just a little sanding and some filler where a dog had chewed a couple drawer corners. I'll be staining it walnut.

You can see it as it is now HERE.

William on May 17, 2012:

Irene- Would love to see pics! Shellac really helped bring the color out of the wood and I would highly recommend it.

Irene Plonka on May 17, 2012:

Amazing.  I have the end table match to this dresser.  Got it curbing and thought

the finish was ok, now am re-considering....might strip it and see how well the wood comes out.  It is just stained right now.

SEA on May 15, 2012:

Thanks for the information, CapreeK and William! The book you mention looks great. And thanks again for sharing the dresser- what a transformation!

craftmel on May 14, 2012:

This makes me all kinds of happy :)

CapreeK on May 14, 2012:

William - Thank you for all the additional info and insight! And for the book recommendation -- checking it out now! :)

william on May 14, 2012:

SEA- First I used soy-gel paint remover with a scraper, wood shavings and steel wool to take off all the nasty paint. Then I wiped everything down with denatured alcohol to remove any leftover gel or sticky coatings. I then lightly hand sanded it with ultra-fine steel wool. I did not use an orbital sander as the veneer was too thin. Lasty, I coated everything with a bunch of coats of shellac and buffed/sanded as needed.

The drawer pull was still there, the photo is an illusion with the higher drawer being pulled out farther than the lower one. I did have to fix a few of the guides, but compared to the previous steps that was a piece of cake.

If you want to learn from the masters, this book is a must have. It has a ton of techniques and great images to help you along the way. http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Perfect-Finish-Popular-Woodworking/dp/1558707441


Ann Rishell on May 14, 2012:

Wow!  Unbelievable that someone would cover those incredible bookmatched drawers!  Bravo!

K on May 14, 2012:

That is amazing!

CapreeK on May 14, 2012:

SEA - All good questions!! Unfortunately, I have no other info about the process William used... You could try contacting him? Or maybe he'll make an appearance here in the comments (crossing my fingers)!

Any seasoned furniture restoration peeps have thoughts or tips on how this was done?

SEA on May 14, 2012:

Truly incredible! I would have never guessed such a lovely piece of furniture was so deeply incognito under all that glop :) Couple questions: Once the paint was stripped, what other work was needed? Sanding and then lacquer or oil? Looks like a handle was missing - was it in a drawer waiting to be attached, or did the person doing the restoration have to make a new handle? 

All comments
Comments RSS