My Kitchen Dresser

My dream came true.  Boyfriend said "why don't we just buy this tiny, boring, kitchen cart from Ikea for 70 dollars more?".  Okay that's not verbatim what he said.  I told him to stop crushing my dreams,  and then I got my gorgeous dressers. I found them on craigslist for 125 dollars each, which for Toronto craigslist was a great price. These are them in the ad:

I took them home and found 1 scary looking spider, two sacs of spider eggs, and 1 minute after that they found a new home on my balcony.  Long story short, the tall dresser was in good working condition and now holds my clothes in our bedroom.  The short dresser is in my kitchen and I'm in love. Putting a cute dresser in your kitchen is a great alternative to the tiny and ever boring kitchen cart (if you have the space). It gives more storage, more charm, and some much needed counter space for less money than its pre-fab alternative! Here is what I did to prep mine for kitchen usage:

Kitchen Dresser DIY

1. Remove the top from the dresser (if you can figure out how, mine was attached by 6 angled screws found on the underside that I undid after removing the drawers).
You can see how grungy the top of it was, not fit for kitchen things no sir.

2. Strip the dark stain off the top (this guy is solid maple) with industrial gloopy stripper.  Just pour on, then leave for a few minutes, and scrape off with a scrape-y thingy.  Repeat until the dark stain is gone. This is the stuff I use because it's so thick and easy to work with, just be sure to wear gloves or you might not have hands afterwards ...

3. Sand with 80, then 100, then 120 paper.
4. Oil with tung or lemon oil (mine's lemon and makes the house smell delish).
5. Apply 2 coats of polyurethane.  (I'm not using the top as a butcher block, I'll always cut on a cutting board, this coat was just to protect the maple and make it easy to wipe up spills).
6. Put the top back on the dresser, plop your KitchenAid on top, and admire.

***Optional Step 7***: Paint or re-stain the bottom of the dresser.  I opted to leave the dark, worn stain on the rest of the dresser for now ... maybe paint will come in the future.

The dresser is close to being finished.  The two bottom drawers need some more first aid. The top small drawers are dovetail joinery, and they just needed a quick clamp and glue on the joinery to make them strong. The large bottom drawers had warped wood bottoms, which are in the process of being removed, replaced, and re-glued. So far one has been extremely cooperative, the other however was glued enthusiastically by yours truly before realizing what needed to be fixed.  Lesson learned: glue last! In the meantime the small upper drawers safely house my utensils and cutlery, giving me much needed drawer and counter space in my rental apartment kitchen.

Maybe one day I'll get a better camera so that these photos aren't so painful.  And perhaps one day I will strip and re-stain the rest of the dresser or ... paint it.  But for now I'm happy with its chips and scratches, reminds me that she's an old girl. Happy Spring, and project time :) 


  1. LOVIN' IT, MCBETH!!!!

    One of my favourite things is when one can breathe new life into something old.

    You did a great job with this.