A Beach Cottage Makeover ~ An Old Dresser Goes White

Tue 12th, Apr, 2011

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Hello Hello!

How are y’all?

Oooooh well I am good…swinging around in the Easter hols with my little man today…we went to the community garden I told you about last week to get some veggie inspiration and we sure did get that…there was a list of veggies up there on the community board that suit this climate all year round…I took a photo of it and am again raring to go on the veggie front…though I was mighty disappointed that their aubergines were a million times bigger and better than mine.  Pout.  Nothing like sitting in a garden though in the mid-afternoon Sydney sun with a cup of tea surrounded by home-grown….

Anyway…late afternoon it was painting time in Beach Cottage Land…

So, this is the dresser I was telling you about yesterday, that I was blogging about yesterday until I got my hands on an iphone….don’t worry though I do have a headless vintage processed shot of moi for you too today…don’t think you were getting off that lightly…

Now this dresser has been sitting in my garage for a while, along with a plethora of other gathered items from treasure hunting trips…this one was from a garage sale and I had been looking out for one for like ever…I had a rough idea in my head of what I wanted and this wasn’t really it…I wanted it to be more chunky, more prairie haha not country…but when I spied this and I think it was $25, I can’t quite remember, but I know it was cheap ‘cos I bought loads of stuff off this girl, who in actual fact was heading back to the Old Country…

So it was in a fairly ok way, though pretty dirty and sporting leaves on the inside…




and a few cobwebs or two…nothing like some free dirt thrown in when you are home-decor shopping ;-)




You can see from these pics that it had a dirty creamy paint on it…I thought about leaving it like that because it’s a nice dirty creamy if you see what I mean…



One of the reasons I bought it, nothing to do with the fact that it was $25 was because I liked the cladding effect to the doors and the back…


But after some of this



it really still was pretty rough and I thought it would be lovely with some nice clean white bright white…I got some white mixed up at the paint shop…I wanted pure brilliant white with just a hint of grey…it turned out nice…(this is really easy to do, you just go to your local shop and they will mix the paint in one of those huge drum thingies to any colour you like…though for sure if you are just started on a journey with white paint pure and simple white is fine and so are the millions of ready-mixed whites out there already…just don’t go too warm in my opinion if you want beachy).

and here’s headless me (I couldn’t manage armless) with The Phone in Mr BC’s decorating jeans…



Here’s the difference in the beginning




And here it is after primer and one coat




I am about to start the third coat, I could probably have got away with leaving it at two but I am feeling in the mood to sit and paint…something about the smoothing of layers on in the Easter school holidays, no schedules to keep to, no tight deadlines to meet…and painting things white…well…better than camping…

It’ll take me a couple of days to get this where I want it, which is in the dining room, ‘cos I will have to take some shelves down in order to put it there, though as I sit here in the study I am wondering if it could be squeezed in here somehow…hmm, I don’t think so…

I can’t wait to style this…I haven’t done a makeover project for a while and this is rocking my boat….and boy there’s a whole garage full of stuff just-a-waiting for some love….and I have got the bug…watch out vintage suitcases…

See ya later beach chicks


p.s. you can find out how I paint vintage suitcases and thing here and old stuff I have madeover here





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35 Responses to “A Beach Cottage Makeover ~ An Old Dresser Goes White”

  1. Fleur says:

    Just a quick question for you – just about to start a few too many projects Ive had stored in the garage for too long. Do you sand prior to priming? What finish do you go for in paint? and how do you apply? e.g brush, foam roller, etc. Do you finish with a coat of PU to protect?
    Loving the cabinet xx

    • Fleur says:

      PS the link to suitcase painting isnt working :)

    • sarah says:

      hello fleur

      first off I very rarely sand before painting anything…the primer takes care of that and to be honest, most times you can get away without even the primer, but as Zinsser primer is a miracle worker and takes minutes, even on a big piece I go that route anyway…

      I always use enamel paint…though I have used emulsion/water based for furniture too (this gives a lovely matte finish but is not good with 3 kids and sticky fingers lol)….so enamel paint/oil based paint is the way for me now…recently the paint company’s brought out water-based enamel…this is great for clean-up and gives the same effect as oil-based without the longer drying times and clean up issues etc….HOWEVER, even though I use Aqua Enamel most all of the time nowadays I prefer the look and feel of the oil-based

      on brushes…I use….brushes….I have tried rollers and spray and all sorts, I just like the hand-painted feel of brushes..however if you don’t like brush marks then rollers gives you a much smoother look….and you can get tiny rollers in Bunnings for small areas…

      I have tried various finishers but never found one I liked…most of them I have tried have yellowed, even when they say non-yellowing….though really nowadays the enamel paint is so good that you don’t need to finish…just my opinion

      hope that helps


      • Fleur says:

        Thanks so much sweetie, just got to get over the procrastination and do it!
        Going to pop out to bunnings this afternoon and get all the supplies. First job is 2 bar stools for the breakfast bench, which are currently gorgeous orange pine and brown vinyl! Soon to be white with little drop sheet slip covered seats (so I can easily wash when miss Daisy decides to get all mucky with them)
        Fleur xx

  2. I cant wait to see how it turns out!

    Those kind of dressers seems quite common at the thrift stores around here, but so far the transportation has scared me off… (and the fact that I do not know where to place it!) They are really nice though!

  3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!…Mariaelena

  4. Tammi says:

    A gorgeous dresser that is looking mighty fine in her new coat :)

  5. Susan says:

    gosh…. that dresser is going to look perfect in your cottage….. I wish I had more wall space in my house for pieces such as this….. can’t wait to see how you get this looking xx

  6. nicole beltane says:

    LOVE IT.. and what a bargain

  7. Alice says:

    Sigh, I wish I had time to do the make overs that are waiting in my bed room, living room and garage… With 2 little ones under 4 there’s no chance of getting any free time soon..It’s like an itch that I can’t reach!!! It’s going to look great Sarah. I could see this in my kitchen lol if there was any room…

  8. JC says:

    Hi Sarah!
    I recently found your blog and I LOVE it!
    That is a really cool dresser!!!!
    My husband and I just bought out first place and it’s a cute cottage farm but it needs a thorough remodel. I want to paint the walls and several furniture pieces white. What I’m wondering is, do you think I should try to paint them all the same white or does mixing and matching shades look better? I’d love to hear what you think! I appreciate the tip about not going to warm with the white. Thanks!

    • sarah says:

      Hi! If u are starting off I would go for just simple and regular white….paint the whole lot with that and then u can easily experiment with just one wall etc after. Sticking with the same paint collie for a whole house Reno is much mote cost effective

  9. Angie Smith says:

    I love that piece ! 25.00???? You might have as well stollen it ! Id love to have that in my kitchen if I had room ! lol
    Have you ever used Johnsons paste wax (furniture polish) one of the gals on FB uses that over flat paint and it doesnt yellow.

  10. simplydivine! says:

    Hey Sarah, this is my first time commenting on your posts. I have secretly been a “wannabe” designer/stylist,/furniture-painter/transformer for so long, and discovered you about a few months ago. I have loved your work, and have been so inspired by you and what you do. I am daring to follow my heart now, and my home is slowly but surely, being transformed into the lovely white “haven”, I’ve always imagined it could be. Thank you for sharing, from another girl who moved to this lovely country from across the oceans xxx

  11. Looking great! I am wearing my painting clothes today myself. Although, I am embrarressed to admit, whenI got dressed this morning, I realized that I had so much paint on my shirt from last night’s painting that it went through my shirt and is on my stomach! And, it is primer so it will be even more difficult to remove!!! Such is the process of a DIYer. Good luck finishing the hutch, I am sure it will be beautiful when it is done.

    Take care, Laura

  12. ohhh this looks so pretty! It looks like the finish came out so smooth. I can’t wait to see how you decorate it.

  13. JC says:

    Thanks Sarah!!!

  14. Deb from Maine says:

    I have an oak dresser and am trying and trying to convince my husband that it is crying out for white paint, even though the husband says ‘absolutely not’! I’m thinking he needs to go, as I want WHITE! Maybe I’ll paint it some day while he’s out and he won’t even notice……

    Love your work, Sarah. You are stupendous and so inspiring!

  15. kerrie says:

    It will definetly add a bit of prairie charm to your coastal cottage. I like that bright white!

  16. Barefoot Liz says:

    I want to hire you to give my home a cottage makeover. :-D

  17. Eileen says:

    that a cute piece Sarah. I can’t wait to see what you have in mind for dressing that up. I like the white with a hint of grey. I just painted a bunch of stuff at my Florida house., and I too, picked a white with a pinch of grey for my kitchen. I do love to paint and listen to music, it seems to be so refreshing.

  18. marylou says:

    Been away and see you have been busy;-)

    First of all, iphone is the BEST, enjoy and have fun, love mine, love ALL of Steve Jobs products, the FINEST~~

    Love the cabinet as well, lovely piece and great price. Can’t wait to see how you stage her((*_*))

    AND only you could make a pair of paint pants look so good!!


  19. Kirsty says:

    Gorgeous!!! I don’t have a lot to say other than that! I’m a bit jealous. haha. :D Love it!

  20. Katherine says:

    Cannot wait for a make over – yeh hah!!

  21. Sherry Hicks says:

    I love the boards on the back and am liking the nice bright coat of white. What a good find for 25.00

  22. samantha says:

    I’m about to start doing up a dresser myself soon, just started to remove the varnish on it, because we can’t decide whether to paint it or re-stain it but with a different coloured stain….decisions….decisions…… black and white or stained and black…

  23. Sue@housepretty says:

    The paint job you have on so far has made a world of difference! And I love that furniture piece!

  24. sonya vidic says:

    Hi love the blog and the finds that you whip up with white paint.
    I also just love white.

  25. sonya vidic says:

    Hi my blog is above and have just started it.
    I love the way you find things and just paint it white. that is what i do with everything, my husband know knows not to ask………just white right, and i love vivid white, natural white from dulux

  26. Judith says:

    Do you have any sugestions on fabrics to use with toile wallcovering in my beach house in the states? I have the off white and red toile.

  27. Marilyn says:

    Hello Sarah: New follower and blogger! Love your Coastal Cottage, could move right in!!
    Thanks for the blogging tips and enjoyed all your dream white furnishings!

  28. kimba says:

    Hi there… came across your blog when i was looking at another…. and i am very breath taken indeed… OMG I love your little beach cottage and every thing you have done., espessially all the white. I love white, it is my favourite colour!!
    You have given me inspiration again… so THANKYOU!!