1900’s Serpertine Dresser

When I was gifted this beauty she was a mess of wood, but you could still see that she had potential if she was given a facelift. One of the larger dresser of her time with many cousins still around today that have a wish bone style mirror attached to the back and typically much smaller.

We had to rebuild her from the inside out giving her much needed cleaning and love. The original owners must have stored her somewhere damp because she had signs of water damage. Our focus was to repair what was broken and freshen her wood with conditioning. Sometimes when you find old antiques you have to be extremely gentle with them because of their previous storage. The wood could have expanded and it’s difficult to bounce back once the old wood is damaged.

The top of this lovely lady is what some like to call a ‘tiger wood grain’. When take an aerial look at her lines you can easily make out the tiger print that ripples elegantly across the top. Those beautiful markings aren’t easily messed so I took her to my father. It is always nice to find a piece that we can work on together, it tends to turn out much sweeter.

My dad (nicknamed ‘Great Eagle’) has been refinishing and restoring antiques for over 40 years. He has done work for people all over the US and ships the completed treasures back to their home. Having him refinish the top of this lovely lady and the two small drawers was a given!

Our Supplies:

*Wood Conditioner is a must before applying a stain, after you sand and clean the dust off.

Sanded top using a 220/180 grain of paper. Remember to sand in the direction of the grain. Not all wooden furniture needs to be sanded with a sander, especially if it is older wood. It’s a slower process, but we sanded her by hand.

Great Eagle cleaned her and then prepped her with the wood conditioner treatment before he began to stain. This helps the wood except the stain better and lets the stain soak in slowly and evenly.

*Always condition if your piece has flaws in the wood from glass rings or broken wood separation.

Now the fun starts!

Painting her Liberty Blue by Fusion Mineral Paint was so much fun.

I wanted her to have a masculine feel with a feminine balance so after painting her 2 coats using my favorite Annie Sloan paint brush, size medium, I picked a floral printed thick wrapping paper to cut and attach to the inside of all her drawers and the sides. This process tends to be laborious because you have trace and cut the paper just right so it fits, but the finished product is so worth the hassle!

She was from the early 1900’s so with a piece like this you have chose whether to try and restore back to the original state or place her in current times. You can always restore and leave the furniture in its true state especially if the wood is in excellent condition but in this case she was beat up from the inside out. That’s where the opportunity to paint her and turn her into her best new self becomes the only option in order to save this rare find!

Once it all comes together I always seal my pieces with a Poly seal with a finish that corresponds. In her case a clear gloss was what she needed to look new again! Sealing is one of the most important parts to finishing any piece of furniture to keep the look and value for as long as possible.

The hardware was tricky on this old girl because of her wave wood design in the front. Very few knobs could work.

I was able to save and clean two of the original knobs that came with her and leave them for the larger draw on the bottom but the upper drawers needed something new. The hunt was over a month long as I was trying to find the right blend of modern meeting old.

I believe we achieved it and we are extremely pleased with the final look!

I loved making her look beautiful again! If I had one complaint it is that I didn’t find three more like her so that I could try all of the different ideas I had in mind.

Hope you enjoyed hearing her story.

Happy Painting,


1 Comment

  1. sewage cleanup on June 21, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and
    wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.

    After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope
    you write again soon!

Leave a Comment