Welcome to Kelli's Olympic Nest's tale of how we are creating a home we love through thrifty DIY projects, crafty ideas, and a willingness to get dirty. In between, there's the stories reminding us to also live the life you love. 

Vanity dresser makeover & a story of true grit

Vanity dresser makeover & a story of true grit

I love a piece of furniture that has history--especially when that history connects to family. I'm pretty sure this vanity dresser has a story to tell. 

After Dresser vanity Got  a makeover.

After Dresser vanity Got  a makeover.

My sister-in-law tells me it once belonged to Aunt Marion. At 90 she attended my son's wedding and was the talk of the day. The vows were exchanged on the docks of Lake Crescent. The reception was held up at the lodge. To get to the reception you had to hike up the hill. Now I may look like I'm in shape, but by the time I reached the lodge, I was panting pretty good. 

Aunt Marion, well she refused the valet service. Instead she marched up that zig-zagged path. Did I mention it was an unusually hot (pushing 90 degree) day? Not once did I hear her complain. She was, and still is,  the epitome of true-grit.

The vanity was passed onto my mother-in-law, Aunt Marion's sister. 

She meant the world to me.

Mother-in-law checking off another bucket list item.


I met her at 18. She intimidated the hell out of me. I'd never met a woman who was so forthright. 

I learned so many lessons from her. One of which was to speak up if you want anyone to take you seriously. The other, it's never too late to follow your dreams. I will always treasure the stories she shared.

She was my son's biggest fan. 

She too had grit.

So when my sister-in-law asked if my daughter would like to have her dresser. I said, "Yes!"

Vanity dresser is brought back to life.

It had definitely seen better days and smelled a bit ancient.

Vanity dressers have seen better days.

It sat in the mud room for a good year. Meanwhile I pinned and eventually created a board "Dresser Makeover Ideas"

Finally, on a sunny day, I set to work bringing the vanity back to life.

I removed all the hardware and spray painted what I wanted to keep black.

Then I spray painted the dresser drawers with Kilz primer. Yep, so far no sanding.

No sanding. Prime with Kiltz spray paint.

There was quite some damage to the veneer surface. I considered peeling it off and sanding it all but, honestly, the task seemed a bit overwhelming. 

When you don't have wood filler use spackling.

I didn't have any wood filler. Instead I filled each damaged area with drywall spackling. I'm sure this isn't the best option but it did work for me.

Use drywall spackling as a substitute for wood filler.

Once it dried, I sanded the surface and then gave it a couple of coats of Kiltz2 primer.

Prime surface with Kiltz2 latex primer.

In between coats I was working on the dresser drawers.

I painted the inside a darker green and the outside edges white.

Paint inside dresser drawer.

Then I lined each drawer with scrap paper and some mod podge. 

I painted the dresser semi-gloss white paint with just a touch of Plaster of Paris. When you mix it, it looks like goop. This ensured the paint would adhere to the surface. 

When the paint dried, I wasn't exactly happy. There were so many imperfections. I'm okay with that because that's part of this dresser's character.

I decided to add some stain to the surface. This not only highlighted some of those imperfections but gave the dresser an aged look. 

Use stain to highlight imperfections.

This is what it looked like after it's first makeover. 

I liked the contrasting light green with the vivid Caribbean blue but it didn't quite work in the room. My mistake for not seeing the bigger picture.

Line inside drawers with scrap paper and some mod podge.


The bottom drawers were hanging on the walls in my craft room. I decided to change the blue to white.

Paint some stain and vanity dresser looks like new.

The vanity dresser looks so much better than before. It no longer has the smell of age. Instead it is ready for some new memories.

It is ready to test whether or not this lil' lady has also inherited her Great Aunt's and Grandmother's true-grit.

Senior photo with dandelion

It is ready to hold her secrets.

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