A Stunning Ash Dresser { Furniture Makeover }

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Selling painted furniture means that you are constantly seeing old pieces come back to life. It was no different with this exquisite dresser. For you wood furniture purists out there, let me go ahead and say that I know this dresser has beautiful, burled wood veneer that would be a shame to cover up with paint.


However, in the world of furniture restoration and makeovers, you have to work with what you have.  Someone long before me had not taken very good care of this beautiful wood, as there were many chips in the veneer along the bottom and deep gouges in the top of the piece. I wanted to save as much of this wood as possible, but the top just could not be salvaged.

So, painting only the top of the dresser would not be very design-savvy . . . But painting the whole body of the piece would.  That was the decision I went with on this lovely piece–paint the body, salvage the drawers.

I shared with you in an earlier post about how I dealt with the small scratches on the drawers, so now I can show you what happened with the rest of the piece.

To prep the piece I did not sand it at all (except for the deep scratches in the top), as I wanted to keep the veneer as smooth as possible.  My plan to help the paint stick and be most durable was instead to apply a base coat of Fusion Ultra Grip to the entire body of the dresser.


Ultra Grip is a great product to use when you are wanting to enhance paint’s “stickiness” to a very slick surface–like an Ikea laminate cabinet, or piece with a heavy varnish topcoat. It’s 100% pure acrylic resin of the highest quality, and it provides a base surface for the Fusion to adhere to.

I painted on the Ultra Grip and gave it the full allotted twelve hour drying time (it paints on milky white but dries clear).  Then, after it was dry I painted on two coats of Fusion Ash, a gorgeous dark gray color that I knew would give this piece some glam. (Do you know about Fusion Mineral Paint yet?)

After some very light distressing, here is the finished product:


By salvaging the drawer fronts, I was able to still keep the focus on that beautiful wood veneer, while covering up the irreparable damage to the base with a sleek, subdued color.


I have gotten my Fusion paint method down pat!  After the last coat of paint I give the entire piece a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper, then wipe it down with a damp cloth. This makes the finish buttery smooth and so soft to the touch–I wish you could reach through the screen and rub your hand on this dresser to feel how amazing the finish is!


The Ultra Grip is doing it’s job, and the top coats of paint have cured up well.  A few times when I initially slid out the drawers a few scuffs showed up, but they wiped right off with a damp cloth and now there’s no scuffing at all.


I’m hoping that the wood purists out there can appreciate what I did with this piece 🙂  I think it is stunning and I am so thrilled with how it turned out.  I will be holding on to it to sell in my Vintage Market Days booth coming up in a few weeks.

Are you interested in trying out Fusion Mineral Paint?  It is an amazing product and I would love to send some your way.  I have all of the colors, in both tester and pint sizes, available for purchase right here.  I also have finishing products available on request.

fusion buy button

What do you think of the Ash dresser?  Did I save enough of the the beautiful wood?signature.jpg


Saturday 4th of June 2016

I just finished a dresser exactly the same way. I love fusion Ash, such an amazing colour. Sometimes I see grey and sometimes tones of blue. My problem is after my final coat I did a light sand with 400 grit and there was a powdery residue which I wiped away and underneath the finish was looking scratched up with a light grey tone. I'm thinking I might have to finish the top with a coat of poly. My fingerprints also show up with a dusty residue. What's happening. Btw I agree with you about fusion. It's so creamy and doesn't drool or drip. Literally it gave me goosebumps :)


Sunday 5th of June 2016

Hi Carolyn. Sometimes with the very dark colors (Coal Black, Ash, or Chocolate) or heavily pigmented colors (Ft. York Red, Liberty Blue, Ceramic) I have had issues after doing my finish sanding with streaks showing up in the finish. I believe it all has to do with the nature of the pigments used to make those colors. The best solutions I have found is "wet" sanding--so spray down your sandpaper with water or the piece while you're sanding. Sanding this way doesn't seem to be as "rough" (I guess?) on the pigments and doesn't cause as much streakiness. As for the dust and fingerprints, the Coal, Ash, and Chocolate show more of those because they are so dark. You can wipe them down regularly with a wet cloth, or give them a light coat of wax (or poly) to help. Adding just a tad more gloss to those dark colors usually takes care of that fingerprint and dust issue. Check out this post here about painting with red--I talk some about those streakiness issues there.

Sherry Stuifbergen

Monday 29th of February 2016

Hi Melanie, after reading about "burled wood" I clicked on this wonderful dresser. What a beauty! You did a fantastic job. I am AWARE of "burl" now and love it more now. Thank you again.

What is Burled Wood and Why You Shouldn't Paint It | Lost & Found

Sunday 28th of February 2016

[…] Ash Dresser I painted last April was covered in a burled-wood veneer–albeit not a very complex one– […]


Tuesday 6th of October 2015

I love this dresser. I have a Zinssers 123 primer, will that work fine to then use the Ash fusion paint? I would love to hear your suggestion. Thanks


Wednesday 7th of October 2015

Hi Michelle. You shouldn't need to use any primer underneath Fusion. If the piece is really glossy, a quick sanding will help, or if it's a laminate piece (think IKEA), then the Fusion Ultra Grip is a good first step. Otherwise, just paint!

Diane | An Extraordinary Day

Friday 24th of April 2015

Love. Love. Love this piece Melanie! You know... sometimes there is just too much wood... even though I love wood. A large piece can just overwhelm a space even if the wood is gorgeous. I'll be featuring your dresser transformation at Project Inspire{d} this weekend! As always, thanks for linking up with us!! [hugs]

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