Heidi's Dressers - Juniper Home

Heidi’s Dressers

Painting Furniture

Heidi emailed me with pictures of her two vintage dressers. She loves the cottage, lived-in look and wants to bring new life to these pieces.

This short dresser was purchased years ago by Heidi’s family in England. It in not antique, but it is a nice, solid vintage piece. It has been well-loved over the years and there is a lot of wear to show for it. And recently some hand sanitizer ruined the finish on the top of the dresser. So Heidi is ready to to make some updates.

I love the detailing on this piece. Here’s what I suggest to achieve Heidi’s favorite cottage look.

1. Trip to Home Depot. Pick up a quart of a soft robin’s egg blue color. I like this one from Behr, called Aqua Pura.
Also at Home Depot, get a quart of Ralph Lauren’s technique glaze tinted in ‘Tobacco.’

2. Trip to Ace Hardware to buy a small bottle of McCloskey Fine crackle glaze (or if you are not on a timeline, order it for cheap on eBay).


FYI — it’s not this type of crackle. AT ALL. So forget that.
It’s a very, very fine crackle that looks a lot like porcelain crazing, actually (Heidi is a potter and an artist). This crackle medium is worth it’s weight in gold. I LOVE IT. It’s so subtle that it looks real. (see the fine cracks here below?)


3. Remove the knobs. Prime the dresser with zinsser (or whatever you already have).

4. Paint the dresser blue. Do a second coat if needed.

5. Following the instructions on the bottle, apply the McCloskey glaze in an X pattern. Let it dry for 24 hours.

6. Using a clean, smooth rag, lightly apply the Tabacco stain technique glaze. Wipe it on and wipe it off. Try to get more in the cracks and crevices, and especially in the detail of the wood work. This really ages the piece and gives it the cottage charm look. Don’t go crazy with the glaze though. A little goes a long way.

7. Replace the knobs once everything has dried and you’re done! You can go back later with some sand paper to lightly distress the dresser, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

I think it’s going to look great! I can’t wait to see the ‘after’ pictures.


Heidi’s second vintage dresser, which she bought at a thrift store for cheap, is going to be an easier process. I love this piece that is either from the 20s/30s or is at least inspired by that era. The current finish is not original. Someone went a little crazy with the shellac here.


Heidi mentioned that she was okay with the finish and mostly didn’t want to deal with stripping the piece. I think, though, that it would be very easy to prime this baby up and paint her in a soft creamy white.

Heidi said in her email that she would especially like some new drawer pulls. While it would be easy enough to paint the existing ones, I think these incredible vintage Bakelite drawer pulls would be so fabulous. And I love that these are from the same era as the dresser. They were meant to be.


The result of the creamy white paint and the tortoise shell-like pulls would be so unique and completely classic cottage chic. I’m jealous.

{Got some old furniture that you’re not sure what to do with? Email me: jkomenda(at)gmail.com}

What did you think?
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7 thoughts on “Heidi’s Dressers

  1. I have a dresser just like the one pictured on the bottom, and I HATE the color, because everything else in my room is either dark or white. It honestly never occurred to me that I should change the color on my own. I watch a lot of Antiques Roadshow, and they always get so angry at people for painting stuff.

    If Heidi does paint it, I’d LOVE to see a picture, so I can be inspired to not let Antiques Roadshow screw with the harmony of my bedroom.

  2. Renee,
    If Heidi’s dresser was a true antique, I probably wouldn’t recommend she paint it. One of the dresser’s previous owners had already changed the finish, so there’s no reason to sweat painting it in this case.
    Plus, I always feel like furniture is meant to be enjoyed, not to be suffered. Unless your dresser is an 18th century Chippendale masterpiece, it seems to me that you shouldn’t stress about making it look the way you want it to.

    What do you think?

  3. I’m sold. I’m pretty sure Antiques Roadshow would have been mad at me anyway, what with the half-worn Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sticker on the bottom side. :)

    Might as well enjoy it, or it’s just taking up space.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

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