Turning a dresser into a media stand

Last we’d left off with our newest family member Craigslist find, I’d just divulged the story of a sweet, sweet man who’d sold me this lovely mid-century Bassett dresser and made my New Years complete…

I knew immediately that I wanted this beauty to serve as a media stand in our living room, so we tried him out in the space to be sure he’d work.  As anticipated, I LOVED the result (He fit right in.  Made friends immediately.), so we got to work transforming him into a media stand.

We began by removing those wooden mirror supports (shown in the pic above).  Then, Joey drilled large holes in the back of both the dresser and the top drawers to allow space for wires to escape and ventilation to ensue…

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Then, we purchased this puppy for $30 from Radioshack…

This IR repeater allows you to hide your media equipment behind closed drawers (or doors… whatever floats your boat) while still being able to operate the remote control.  The only external evidence of this smart little device is a small eye which is attached to the TV….
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I have to say, it works pretty well.  Not perfect by any means, but that’s okay.  We have to point the remote at crazy angles sometimes to get it to work, but really, it hasn’t been much of an inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  I’ll gladly take a little remote control gymnastics over having our media equipment exposed.

All-in-all, when we purchased it, the dresser was in pretty good shape.  Some scratches and imperfections in the finish (which is to be expected of a 50+ year old dresser) and three small missing areas of veneer on the side (Note: I’d already “blended” the missing areas in the middle and left of this pic when I snapped this shot… they were quite light-colored and glaring prior to this)….

To help camouflage these areas, I simply used some oil pastels…

And simply layered and blended the colors until I had a close enough match…

I tried using stain and a permanent marker prior to this, but neither worked well.  The oil pastels were great because I could just keep layering and adding color until I achieved a match.  And the more I added, the smoother the areas looked and the more they matched the dresser in terms of texture as well as color.   In the end, I was left with this…

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It’s not perfect, but these areas definitely blend much more.  I barely notice them from afar.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the camera makes these spots appear more noticeable than they are in person.  So squint when you look at these shots.  Heehee!  I will say that prior to using pastels, the missing veneer grated at my nerves every time I walked past.  Now, I barely see it.  So, we’re cool. Thus, I’ve placed the stink-eye back into hibernation mode…

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And here’s our dresser in action…

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COULDN’T.LOVE.IT.MORE.   It’s like this dresser was born to reside in our living room.   It takes up less space than our previous media cabinet, thus, makes the room feel bigger.  And it balances the console table on the opposite side of the space perfectly.  Plus, the era of the dresser suits the 1970’s vibe of the room better than its more modern predecessor.  I heart you, dresser.  You sexy, sexy beast.

As for our living room…. it’s definitely coming along, though there’s still more to do.   I’m on a perpetual hunt for a larger rug for the space.  Our little postage stamp of a 5×8 just isn’t cutting it…

This space is quite cavernous compared to the smaller, cozy living room in our last house.  And I love it, but the decor needs definitely change when the scale of the room does.  I’m currently on the lookout for a rug large enough to fit the entire couch on top of it (likely a 9×12), so wish me luck with that.  Big rug, decent quality, little price tag.  This is my mission.  Well, my secondary mission.   I’m also putting forth effort to de-brown the space.  I realize that this makes no sense being that I just moved a new brown piece of furniture into the room, but hear me out…

Since taking these pics, I’ve finished painted the built-ins beside the fireplace and am now in the process of putting everything back together.  I’m giddy each time I see it.  Y’all… painting it was SO the right decision.  I can’t wait to show you.   The rug that I ultimately choose won’t be in the brown family either –possibly grey undertones or something with a pop of color.   Then, I’m tossing around the idea of moving the coffee table into the hang-out room and replacing it with something either white or with a pop of color (depending on the rug we end up with).  Or maybe a sleek glass table would be nice.  Something with a metal base.   My next painting project will be to paint the wet bar cabinets (seen two pictures up) white to match our new-and-improved built-ins.  Ultimately, I want the only major brown items in the room to be the fireplace and the media stand.  The two items that deserve the attention most.  I also have some crazy-cool artwork that needs to be hung around the television.

I know it seems like a lot when I’m listing it off in writing, but this stuff really excites me, so it doesn’t seem like much to me at all.  I think the biggest thing will be simply FINDING the rug.  The rest will come together after that.

So, anyways, that’s the plan, Stan!  I hope everyone has a safe and fabulous Superbowl weekend!!   What projects do you have going right now??

TDC Before and After

Happy New Years to MEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Seriously, y’all. I was just starting to think that this holiday season hated me. First, the cancellation of our Christmas plans due to illness, then the cancellation of New Years plans for the same reason. But, THEN, a sweet man named Bernie allowed me to ring in the New Year with a huge smile on my face.

Ya see, ironic timing seems to be my forte. That morning, our living room looked like this…

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I’ve mentioned several times that I was either going to paint the TV stand white or find a cute, midcentury unit of some sort to replace it. Well, after months of searching, I’d finally resigned myself to sticking with our current media unit and painting the stand white. So, I did. And wouldn’t ya know, no sooner had I mentioned to Joey that the stand was dry and we could move it back, I came across this ad….

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Say, whaaaaaaaaaaaaa???? A gorgeous, long and low, midcentury dresser plus mirror for $125!! Lately, it seems that this completely unheard of, at least in our area. Most midcentury dressers in this particular style were going for at LEAST double that. In fact, I’d just visited a vintage shop a day earlier where dressers not nearly as pretty were being sold for around $500.

I instantly called the number listed in the ad and left a voicemail letting the seller know that I loved the dresser and could pick it up that day if it was still available. Even as I was leaving the message, though, I knew that my chances of actually getting it were slim. I mean, he’d posted the ad a day ago. I was sure someone had snatched it up already. That’s how competitive the market is down here for midcentury dressers. They’re gone almost instantaneously.

Sure enough, the seller, named Bernie, called me back and told me that the ad had generated quite a bit of interest and that he already had an extensive waiting list for the dresser. He told me that if the other people on the list before me didn’t take it, he’d call me back. And I lost hope. I told him that I really loved the dresser, and that if he’d choose me, I’d treat the dresser like family and give it a great home. I told him how much I value pieces like this. Then, I offered him $150 for it. He told me thanks, but no… He couldn’t do that to the rest of the waiting list. I thanked him for calling me back and wished him luck.

And that was it.

So, imagine my surprise when about 3 hours later, my phone rang. I nearly dropped the phone when I saw his number on the caller ID. I frantically answered with all fingers crossed. He said that if I still wanted the dresser, it was mine and I could pick it up that day. I pretty much shrieked with glee. I didn’t know what had changed his mind, but I was grateful regardless. We drove to Bernie’s house minutes later and loaded up my newest family member. And he wouldn’t even take the $150 that I’d offered him on the phone. He insisted that I only pay the asking price of $125. Sweet, sweet man.

He said that he’d had over half a dozen inquiries about the dresser since he’d posted it the night before. I asked him why he’d chosen me and he simply shrugged and stated that it must’ve been meant to be that I were to have the dresser. He seemed very relieved when I told him that I planned to keep the dresser original. We discussed how I planned to restore it to camouflage the wear and tear. And he made me promise to give it a good home, which I readily did.

And we took her home.

Here she is all shined up with some Restor-a-Finish and Feed n Wax (this is the iPhone shot that I sent my mom to introduce her to her new “grandchild”… Nicer pics to come!) …

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Restor-a-Finish and Feed n Wax are the cat’s meow.  The bee’s knees.  These products are amazing for covering small knicks and scratches and adding back shine and richness to wood.  I’ve used them on every single piece of wood furniture that I’ve acquired… and they never cease to amaze. Even Joey was singing their praises after I shined up this guy. I will say, though… Reapplication is needed after a while. I noticed some of the old nicks reappearing after about a year on good ole’ Drex (not to the extent that they were before, though). Once I reapplied the products, they disappeared once again.  I think once a year is a totally acceptable time-frame for treating wood, so I’m not complaining. I still think these products would walk on water should they suddenly sprout legs and sing a tune.

To prep the piece, I simply wiped it down with a damp rag and a bit of elbow grease. I’ve learned through trial and error (and research) that chemicals are bad news for many of these pieces as they can eat through the antique finish. For the larger bits of paint and caked-on dirt that remained, I used a magic eraser. I was very careful to not rub away the finish (as magic erasers can… I know I’ve used them on pieces in the past, but I soon learned that they can dull the finish. They act almost like a fine-grade sandpaper. Mistake noted.  So, using a Magic Eraser sparingly on obvious areas of dirt or paint is super handy, but I don’t recommend using it on the entire piece.).

I’ve reviewed how to use these products before, but for any newbies, I simply followed the directions…. Rub on the Restor-a-Finish with a lint-free cloth (I use cut-up old, stained t-shirts of Lucas’s that he’s grown out of and that nobody else would want), rub off the product immediately, wait 30 minutes.  Rub on a generous coat of Feed n Wax, wait 20 minutes, buff off excess. And done. Super easy.

Anyways, those wood pieces sticking up on back of the dresser in the shot above are for the mirror (which we removed for transport). We’re leaving them attached until we’re sure that the dresser will be our media unit. I wanna try it in the space first to be sure it feels “right”. If not, she will go in one of the spare bedrooms with the mirror as originally intended. Should the dresser become our media unit, we’ll adapt it for our equipment by drilling ventilation holes in back for the media components and getting an IR remote extender so that that remote controls will still work with the drawers closed.

All I can say is that I was on cloud nine that entire day (and future days). I feel like our little mid-century dresser family is complete. Stay tuned! I’ll keep you updated on how this story unfolds….

So, enough about me…. Tell me about your New Years! Any new finds that you’re super excited about? Christmas gifts?