before and after

before & after: reclaimed wood dresser

by Kate Pruitt

I love patchwork wood projects like this dresser makeover from Jonnie Anderson, whom you may remember from her lovely studio renovation a couple years ago. The weathered wood and pastel tones give the piece a wonderfully beachy, summertime vibe. I’ve never been lucky enough to find salvaged wood in such beautiful colors, but if I do, I’m definitely going to follow Jonnie’s lead. The vertically striped drawers look amazing, and I think she was wise to place it outside — while a big piece like this might overwhelm a room, it makes a beautiful statement outdoors. Nice work, Jonnie! — Kate

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Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: 4–6 hours

Cost: $5 for supplies (wood was on hand)

Basic Steps: I collected a bunch of scrap wood already in narrow strips and with varying degrees of paint already on them (and peeling off), then just cut them to length on the mitre saw. I attached them to the vintage dresser with a brad nailer (pneumatic nailer) on the fronts of the drawers and the top of the dresser. Then I used plastic lawn bags to line the drawers so planting flowers in them would not rot out the insides. I just used a stapler to attach the bags.

You can’t really go wrong on a reclaimed wood piece. The beauty of it is that it’s not “perfect.” If I’d needed the drawers to all close, I’d have had to be more precise with the way I cut each slat, but because I knew the drawers would be left open, I knew they didn’t need to be precise. — Jonnie

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  • So beautiful! I have seen these shades of painted wood at a salvage yard in Oneonta NY. They were pretty expensive, but you wouldn’t need too much for a project like this one.

  • I love this look but the thought of lead paint always scares me away from DIYing it or buying a piece like this. Did you seal the drawers? If I knew a way to keep
    paint from potentially flaking off I’d definitely think about doing this.

  • This is an awesome… AWESOME example of recycling old building materials. Way to see “the big picture” Jonnie. And don’t worry about the ingrates that don’t understand you have to actually ingest lead-based paint in order to *possibly* incur any ill side effects. Lead poisoning isn’t an air-borne infliction. But you know… that’s why some people are DIY’ers and some can’t think outside the Pottery Barn box.

  • Jonnie! I LOVE your work here GIRL!!!! You did an amazing job with this chest of drawers! Very creative use of recycled wood too! Go GIRL! GO! & Im OK with the possible lead based paint as if it were in my home or yard- as I dont plan on licking it. :-) And to Design Sponge- Please note that Jonnie is a WOMAN not a man!!!!

  • The lead-based paint thing is also something I’m scared of — is there any more information about the ingestion vs. inhalation thing? I have a bunch of old painted wood that I’d like to use, and my lack of knowledge about the lead thing has kept me from not doing it!!!!

  • Hi Kate & Grace- thanks for fixing the pronouns to SHE & HER- Jonnie and I have been friends since we were about 13 so I know she appreciates that! She is such a talented girl and its nice to see her recognized for her work!

  • @Moisha “And don’t worry about the ingrates that don’t understand you have to actually ingest lead-based paint in order to *possibly* incur any ill side effects. Lead poisoning isn’t an air-borne infliction. But you know… that’s why some people are DIY’ers and some can’t think outside the Pottery Barn box. ”

    First off I’m not an ingrate and liked the project and I also have a few pieces of salvaged wood furniture and it is flaking with the numerous coats of paint on it and I’m genuinely interested if sealing it will help. Second, lead poisoning is an airborne problem. You don’t just get lead poisoning by licking it, it can also enter by inhaling it ie through your nose or swallowing airborne particles. Lead poisoning in children is a HUGE problem in this country (testing for lead poisoning is mandatory in my state) and is preventable. Lead poisoning facts from the EPA here: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/lead.html. Also from http://leadfreekids.org/:

    Q. How does lead get into my children’s bodies?
    A. It enters the body through the mouth or nose. Lead is not absorbed through the skin.
    FACT 1:Lead dust can be released when painted surfaces rub together, such as when doors, windows or drawers are opened and closed.
    FACT 2:Home improvements that involve scraping, sanding or otherwise disturbing old paint can release toxic lead dust.
    FACT 3:Just a few particles of dust from lead-based paint are enough to poison a child.

  • I repurpose furniture all the time. If you are that concerned about lead, go to HD and get a lead paint testing kit. (not that expensive) test the paint on the furniture you want to do. And then go from there. Heck, even wood dust can be cancerous. Get yourself a good respirator mask while your sanding or scraping paint. Have fun!

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