Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crisis Today

I had a bit of a crisis today.  You see I have this beautiful dressor, but it has been misstreated while in the care of a friend.

As you can see this is really a beautiful piece.  It has nine drawers, the origional hardware (I have the other handle) and such a great form.

The probem is that this dressor (now used as a side board) has some damge:

It has been chipped, scratched, and even burned. 

So today I set out to paint it.

I took out all the stuff from inside it....

I took off all the hardware... and pulled out most of the drawers.

When I saw this:
Just for kicks I went online and did a quick search on this furniture maker...

I found this dresser for sale online for $650!!!!  Now my dresser is not in as good a condition, but this threw me for a loop.  Turns out that Huntley Furniture was made as early as 1906.  It is not handmade furniture, but it is still very good.

After posting a quick panicked message on FB for advice, I talked to my hubby and decided to wait to paint it.  I could be diminishing the value of the piece if I painted it.  So I guess I will have to learn how to fix up this one, without painting it. 

I really wanted to paint this dresser, but now maybe I won't.  It all goes back to that age old debate between painting an old piece, or keeping it the original wood.  The wood tones are very nice, but when you paint you can hide a lot of damage. 

What would you do?  Any advice for this very indecisive woman?  I'm just afraid to decrease the value...but on the other hand, I don't plan on selling it...I just don't know what to do.  (I should also mention that I don't have the money to have it professionally restored, that would be my top pick.)

Do any of you have this problem?  Do you get nervous about painting your old furniture?  I would love to hear your stories. 


  1. It's a beautiful piece. Structurally. Honestly If I were a bettin gal, I'd say it's probably not worth anymore in this condition than it would be if you painted it. So go ahead and paint it, make it beautiful again. The veneer is chipping away and there are gouges in the top. I would still paint it if it were me.

  2. Paint it if you want to! It's yours now to be enjoyed any way you like. Paint and then distress to show some of the wood. Best of both worlds! I have a piece that was my grandmothers....boring but of sentimental value. I painted it and love it. Now it's being used in a place where it can be enjoyed.

    Paint to your heart's content. : )


  3. It's beautiful! I guess you have to wonder if that other piece will actually SELL for $650. I don't know what it's like over there but in Australia antiques cost nowhere near what they used to. I've also been in the position where I thought it might be criminal to paint something so old rather than restore it to it's original beauty. But after having a look at what antiques are selling for and what people are buying, it appears that these days a lot of people are after something with colour and a bit unique. AND you are keeping it for yourself (lucky thing) so I say you should go ahead and paint it. Be bold! If you wanted to keep some of the original colour or finish you could restore the top by restaining and paint the bottom. Just an idea. At the end of the day I'n totally jealous that you have one of these! :)

  4. Wow - that's awesome! I like the wood color and I love scratched up and old so I'd live with it for a while, inspires a whole new plan but if it just doesn't work for you, then paint it. I have an old dresser (same condition) that I'm using in our dining room as a buffet. I haven't had the heart to paint it yet but I'm still loving it the way it is for now. :)

  5. I think it will be an interesting learning curve to restore it. ITs a beautiful piece of furniture. when you have learnt how to restore it then you can help me restore my antique dressing table that I got for $40 some years back. its beautiful, but has a similar peeling on the front of the drawers. I still love it just the way it is.

  6. I'm in a similar predicament! I have a large piece that is/was my grandmother's, sturdy wood...probably not worth a ton regardless but I just can't decide--paint? Or refinish it myself? I have to admit, I'd love new hardware on my piece, so I'm thinking of going the paint route...

  7. I think you should do a little more research on restoring it before you paint it. Or you could do half and half, like Meg suggests. I love what Young House Love did with their veneer dresser: http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/03/nursery-progress-refinishing-a-veneer-dresser/ Maybe you could do the reverse, paint the drawer fronts and restore the top and sides.

    How much of the veneer is missing/warped? A finish and a scratch can always be fixed. A ripped piece of veneer is much harder to hide. If it's a lot of veneer missing you should probably paint it.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the resale value since you plan on living with it and using it-- it's not an investment! Also it is DEFINITELY not worth $650 now and it will cost a lot to professionally restore it. But it is, as you say, a nice piece, and you should at least give a DYI restore a try. If it doesn't go well you can always just paint it...

  8. If you definitely intend to keep it, I think you should fix it up however you like. It is a good opportunity to learn how to restore wooden furniture! But it's also okay to paint it.

  9. Girl, this is a beautiful dresser, but it needs an update and I think you should paint it however you like.

  10. that piece is gorgeous, i love the lines! paint or not, it's fab.

  11. I have the same piece of furniture that I restored. It is a great piece of furniture.


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