A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Restoring a Classic: Campaign Dresser in White and Gold

It's not everyday I stumble upon a campaign dresser, but it's an exciting day when I finally do! Though I see them every so often on my furniture hunts, this was actually the first one I found that wasn't insanely overpriced and was still a contender for restoration. I know, I know, I didn't take a before photo, because I just start to tackle a piece as soon I buy it!  Just picture a solid, but fairly beat up wood dresser with brass hardware that had seen better days. And then, check out the AFTER!

I went with Annie Sloan's Pure White. I wanted to keep things classic and true to style for my first campaign dresser painting experience.  Plus, if things failed epically, I could always keep this guy for myself, and with so much color in my house, a timeless white piece like this could work literally ANYWHERE [almost anywhere at least!]. 

Naturally, Jake had to upstage my crowning campaign moment. I've never known a cat to see a camera come out and immediately run towards it. He's so desperate for attention!

Often I see campaigns with a very glossy, lacquered finish.  Although I can go through that process, I wanted to keep this guy simple, and I find the Pure White sealed and buffed with clear wax glistens quite nicely without being overly glossy. It keeps the dresser still feeling vintage and not like a brand spanking new piece of furniture.  I do deal exclusively in vintage, so it just feels more natural to work in finishes like these!

I will say, for anyone using Annie Sloan chalk paint for the first time, I recommend starting with one of her darker colors.  Overall, they tend to cover better and in fewer coats.  Some colors, like Graphite or Aubusson Blue I can get done in nearly one coat [with just some light touch ups].  But often, I prefer to stick to two thin coats for any color I use...

...with the exception of Pure White that is.  Pure White is absent of pigment, and though it's as viscous as all the other paints in her line, it simply takes more coats to cover.  I went with three coats, and I still felt I needed to touch up a bit after that.  

I used a wide, flat Purdy brush, since I find this sort works best for a smoother finish.  Again, I'm not as picky as others about getting a completely flawless look.  I'm okay with some signs of brush strokes, so long as they're consistent over the entire piece.  With the hardware, however, I always recommend going with a spray finish.  

I attempted to restore the original brass finish, but since it had a contrasting metal beneath, the normal refinishing process I went through left a splotchy, undesirable look.  So a can of good old spray paint [primed with a self etching spray primer], and then sealed with a lacquer spray, achieved the golden luster I was looking for.

I kept the styling for my photos particularly minimal. Keeping things neutral with just a few accent pieces just felt right.  Plus, I could put all sorts of gorgeous objects all over it, but nothing would hold a candle to this stud muffin...

I just listed this guy for sale in my shop [the dresser NOT the cat. He's priceless!], and I'm already having seller's remorse.  I'm desperate to find another campaign dresser to work my magic on.  Stumbling upon another high quality Drexel piece like this will likely prove difficult, but I'm up for the challenge! If you have one of these sitting at home, waiting to be painted, contact me

PS- check out this EPIC YAWN!  Jake is ferocious! :)