I teased you all a few days ago with a picture of this chest of drawers.




It was a Craigslist find, and I was lucky enough to live right down the street from the seller!  When I picked up the chest it was a lot bigger than I was expecting it to be.  This thing is a beast!  Definitely a guy’s chest, with big, deep drawers.

I knew immediately that I wanted to save the drawer fronts.  The burled wood veneer is beautiful and I have become quite passionate about not painting over that stuff!  But it was also a yucky orange color and pretty dinged up.  I knew the thin veneer wouldn’t withstand a full sanding down to refinish it with another color of traditional stain, so it was time to try out a new product for me–gel stain.

If you’re not familiar with gel stain

, it is a different type of stain that you can apply without having to sand down all the way to bare wood.  As long as the wood is clean and without a thick laquer or varnish, you can apply the gel stain right on top.

To prep the drawers for the new stain, I did give them a sanding with my orbital sander, but used a fine grit pad and was very light with my pressure.  After the orbital, I finish sanded each drawer with a 330 grit sandpaper by hand.  When I finished they were smooth as silk!  All those dings and dents gone.

I watched a few videos about how to apply gel stain, and there seemed to be some disagreement on brush vs rag . . . Well, I played around with both and ended up applying it with a brush then wiping off the excess with a rag.  It worked like a charm.


modern chest 8


Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I used General Finishes Gel Stain

in the color Java, y’all might want to know that detail.

Overall I was impressed with my first gel stain experience. I only used one coat and it did a beautiful job of changing the wood tone.  I think long term though, I will continue to use traditional stain on projects that can withstand a full sanding, mainly because it’s much more affordable.

Anyway . . . don’t you think that color is much better?  No more orange!

For the body of the chest I painted on 1 coat of Fusion’s Color Blocker (why Color Blocker?  Read more here) and then 3 coats of Fusion Casement.  Yes, Casement takes at least 3 coats because it is a pure, bright white (you can read more about issues painting bright white here). I knew I wanted a bright, clean finish though to contrast with the darker drawers, so it was worth all of those extra coats.

After everything dried well, I top-coated the drawers and body with Fusion’s Tough Coat.  I wanted the piece to have a higher gloss to go with the sleek, modern style.


Modern Chest of Drawers Furniture Makeover


What do you think?


modern chest 7


I felt like this chest was suffering from a case of Beaten Up and Out of Style . . . Nothing was really wrong with it except it had just gotten old.  It is a very nice, sturdy piece and just needed a fresh look to bring it back to life.


Modern Chest of Drawers Furniture Makeover


One of these days my yellow walls will be gone and I will be able to take some nicer pictures for y’all.


modern chest 4


I like the curved foot detail.  It’s subtle.


Modern Chest of Drawers Furniture Makeover


This Modern Refinished Chest is for sale for $299.

After I finished taking these pictures I sat down to drink some coffee, and noticed just how crazy my downstairs gets when it’s time to photograph furniture.  I thought you all might like to see the behind-the-scenes shot of what all goes into these stagings!


modern chest 6


Not quite as glamorous, huh?  I did get a chance to vacuum up a bunch of extra dust from underneath my rug though 🙂  Bonus!



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