I’m alive. Barely. I mean, two+ months without a nanny or having time to work on something I care about is enough to drive any mom to the brink of insanity. But I’m here and happy to be sharing the makeover of not just one – but TWO Drexel Accolade dressers. It took me almost 3 months to do this – should have taken 3 days, but that’s how it goes with littles.
I bought a whole set of Drexel Accolade furniture just a few weeks before I decided to retire my retail painting business. I painted and sold the headboard, I moved the (unpainted) 9 drawer dresser to my kids’ room, the nightstand pair is functioning as sawhorses for another custom piece I’m working on, AND….I gave the mirror to my neighbor. Or, I will, after I paint it for her. Once the nightstands are done, I will officially be rid of all my retail inventory….and I’m pretty excited about that, yay!
Here’s the piece. I had two of these, exactly the same – one that was part of the set mentioned above and the other was my second custom piece for the same client that I custom lacquered the pink nightstands for.
My client and I both envisioned white for this makeover, so I decided to tackle both of the dressers together. I went back and forth on what product to use, but ultimately recommend General Finishes Snow White and High Performance Topcoat (Gloss) to my client. We’re getting to that time of year where oil based just doesn’t work (too cold, too damp) and lacquer could work, but I would have to turn my heat off all day (explosion hazard) which means everyone indoors is cold and uncomfortable. So, water based products will probably be my fall/winter go-to if I want to keep moving during these dark, cold months.
These pieces had a lot going on. The tape-off job alone took a couple of hours. I had twelve drawers to tape and then had to figure out how to tape off the front cabinet and the lid/mirror without removing it.
I was traumatized by that custom dresser I painted that had serious problems with the cabinet doors and it took many weeks to find a fix. Remember this beast? I promised myself I would never remove another cabinet door. (Confession: I had to remove the front cabinets on the two pieces above just to strip paint off the hinges after painting).
My process for these dressers was like it is for any project. You can read about my paint method here, if you’re not already familiar. However, I will say that I took two extra steps for these dressers. First, I coated the entire thing in clear shellac between the first and second coat of shellac-based primer. Why? To avoid the inevitable bleeders that would pull through as soon as the topcoat is sprayed. The most frustrating thing when painting furniture is to be almost done and then have to go back to stain blocking and repeat all the steps because of bleeding wood grain. If you’re painting with light colored water based products, I recommend adding this step to your prep. You can buy in a spray can or buy a quart and spray it with your gun.
Second, I sanded down between the first and second coat of topcoat. I have done this in the past, but this time I treated it more like something I am rubbing out on my high gloss oil finishes. I didn’t use my DA sander, but I sanded from 800-grit up to 2000 grit, by hand, prior to applying the final coat of gloss topcoat. This resulted in the the glossiest finish I’ve been able to get with water based products. I was pretty happy about that! Unfortunately, the pictures don’t pick up the gloss :/.
Sidenote: Did you know that oil based paint doesn’t bleed? You could have have massive bleeding through the primer and then spray a coat of white oil based paint and it will be fine. This dresser bled so bad it was basically pink after I sprayed the primer, but that paint went on right over the top without any issues.
These pieces took several coats of paint and two coats of gloss topcoat. After the main paint job was done, there was lots of touch up by hand due to the complicated open/close system. Hardware was stripped and polished, as usual.
I love the way they turned out and hope my client does too. If you’re interested in buying the available one, please see my “For Sale / Sold” tab for pricing and dimensions.
Thanks for reading.