Rehabbing Furniture with Laurie Notaro (Episode Two)

Categories: DIY, Literary

Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares her recent adventures in rehabbing furniture.

Laurie Notaro

I had been looking for this dresser for close to four years.

I was getting my roots done when I spotted it in a magazine, decided it was something I could never live with out, and, when I thought no one was looking (I'm always wrong), tore the page out of the magazine and shoved it in my purse. It was a four-drawer wooden dresser painted in buttermilk, black and white. It was gorgeous and I was determined to find it.

As soon as I got home, I tacked the magazine page to my bulletin board, where I promptly built layers on top of it of notes, business cards, and insurance renewal notices. But it was always there, in the forefront of my mind every time I walked into a thrift or antique store. I searched and searched -- and then I found it.

See also:
- Rehabbing Furniture with Laurie Notaro (a Semi-Drunk How To)
- Laurie Notaro Writes a Handy Manual for Her Husband ... In Case She Dies Before He Does
- Laurie Notaro's Existential Showdown on Yelp

It was in pretty bad shape at Goodwill for $39.99; the veneer was peeling off, and some chunks of it were missing. But the bones were there; big ball feet, four drawers and enough trim on the sides to make some nice detail.

I bought it. And this is how I turned a trashy, discarded dresser into a duplicate of the one I had been pining for.

1. Make sure that when you bring it home, you hide it downstairs behind the dog's pool so your husband doesn't see it.

2. Sand it. Using 120 grit sandpaper, remove whatever finish is currently on the dresser, especially if it's smooth and unpainted. You'll need a rougher surface for the paint to adhere to.

Laurie Notaro
3. Fix problem areas: for this dresser, I used wood glue and a cinder block to bring the veneer back to the wood, and filled the very large gaps with wood putty. If using wood putty, make sure you let it dry overnight and sand all rough edges down before you begin painting.

4. Begin painting. I used a roller for the first coat, and when you start to paint, remember that thrill, because it's going to start to suck when you realize you have three coats to go. I used Behr paint for this project, and for a dresser this size, I only needed a quart.

5. Accidents happen, especially when you're wearing your favorite pajamas and believe you possess the unusual talent of painting without dropping the whole can down your front and actually into the dresser, where it pools like lava. You do not have that talent, you do not have that gift, and now, one entire pajama leg will be forever stiff with the skin of Behr paint.

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It came out looking really amazing, and you used a taping method I think I could do too.  Now I want one.

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