Dresser Shenanigans

by Lisa Lombardi in ,

Like most of my more ridiculous ideas, it started with asking Katie for help.

You might recall Katie as the recipient of my infamous jellypenis painting. The fact that she proudly displays this in her apartment says a lot about her willingness to put up with my idiotic schemes.

"Can you do me a favor?"

I innocently tested the waters and then quickly launched into the backstory.

"So I was supposed to pick up this dresser from Craigslist last night, but the girl changed the pickup time and I wouldn't have had anyone to help me unload my car at that point. And I needed my car empty to pick up those chairs the next day. So I had to cancel our arrangement...but the dresser is still for sale. And she's moving out tomorrow. And I still want it."

And, more importantly, I felt like the seller might be willing to agree to a lower price than we had arranged, since she was getting down to the wire. But I had already tried negotiating, and then bailed, so I didn't have the best track record with this person.

"So...you want me to respond to the Craigslist ad for you?" Katie asked.

She just gets me.

This is the dresser I was obsessed with.

My job often requires me to scope out competitor furniture retailers, and when I stumbled upon this dresser from Land of Nod, I was hooked. 

It was bold. It was glamorous yet handsome. It was the low, wide style I was looking for. (Though, okay, probably bigger than I realistically needed.)

It was eleven-hundred-freaking-dollars.

After watching it for months, I knew there was no way it would ever drop into what I would consider an acceptable price range. So I went with Plan B: find a campaign-style dresser on Craigslist and treat it to a fresh coat of paint.

That's how I ended up outside an apartment building in Somerville on a Thursday evening, prepared to introduce myself as Kathryn.

I shouldn't have worried. The girl was so relieved to get rid of the thing that she simply opened the door and led me upstairs without confirming who I was. (Fabulous. I'm terrible at lying.)

If you were reading the blog of a normal, sane person, the next step would be to take the dresser home. This, however, is my blog. So, like the weirdo I am, I then drove on to a hockey game in downtown Boston, where I deposited my car (filled to capacity with an old dresser and drawers) in the sketchiest parking lot ever. And I went to see my Red Wings crush the Bruins.

Maybe it was the rush of the win. Maybe it was all those extra sessions of Kick It class. Maybe it was a tear in the space-time continuum. I honestly have no explanation for how it happened, but it did: when I got home from the game, I unloaded the dresser and carried it into my apartment. By myself.

To provide a little context for this anomaly, you should know that my nickname during high school summer softball was "Twig." Friends have been known to refer to me as "tiny."

You know those stories about moms who lift cars off their kids in moments of extreme stress? Me, I lift heavy pieces of furniture when I know I need to drive my car to a date the next day.

One of the nicest things about my new apartment is that it comes with a huge, dark, scary storage area. I think most people would probably only venture in there to do laundry and leave it be the rest of the time, but the second my landlord showed it to me, I knew it was destined to become my own personal dungeon-slash-work room.

The entire makeover process took a few weeks. First, I needed to clean the thing, remove all the hardware, sand down the chips and scratches the best I could, and slap together a new corner using layers and layers of spackle (I don't recommend this remedy, but hey, it worked).

Once that was done, I primed it all, and then it was the moment of truth: picking the right paint color.

I'd like to say that I was smart and got a couple tester cans so I could be sure of the color before committing, but I totally didn't and bought the wrong color on the first try. Don't be like me, folks.

This is about the point where I called Katie in a panic and told myself over and over again that I was an idiot. Fun times painting!

My second pick was much, much better, and I actually only needed the small tester can to cover the entire dresser in two coats of paint. Go figure.

Meanwhile, the metal knobs, pulls, and corner pieces could use a little help. Initially, I tried just scrubbing everything with a mixture of salt and white vinegar, but that didn't have much effect. Steel wool and Barkeeper's Friend, however, did the trick.

Here's where I ended up:

It's not a perfect match for the Land of Nod one, but the influence is there! And I like that it's completely different from anything I've ever had before. (Okay, and I like that it was one-tenth the cost of the original, too.)

Now my clothes are all put away and my apartment is starting to look less like it was hit by a tornado. Can you say "progress"?