Scrub me Down & Paint me White Vintage Dresser DIY

Thu 15th, Nov, 2012

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Well morning Beach Cottage ladies, hope all is tickety boo boo with you?

Here I am slowly getting through the painting of things…it seems that perhaps my latest projects, the vintage kitchen dresser and the armoire are taking for like ever.  There is one simple reason for that.  They are taking me for like ever.

It doesn’t help when one decides to re-decorate about a third of the house in the middle of it all, when one’s offspring decide that they require multiple taxi-driving to multiple sporting events or that one’s husband decides to hop on a jet plane and go off to the other side of Australia for a business trip.  All those things do, indeed, lead to a woman in a tatty old cottage on the beaches having less time to sit around in her undies, listening to BBC Radio 4, painting things white.

As I gave this another coat (she’s soaking up a few here ladies) I mused other more professional DIY bloggers who it seems churn out, as if by magic, yet another huge piece of painted furniture, craft project, hand-built with power tools up-cycled crate turned into headboard, renovation or hand-sewn-with-vintage-fabric quilt – I don’t seem to quite have that much time in my life, do you?

(here she is with, unfinished, I popped the flowers to see her potential)



My painting is more a sort of slow therapeutic hobby and if there is not time to get it done, well it just stays undone…you know?  The downside of that is that there is often half-finished projects around this old cottage on the wrong side of town and tins of paint and dust sheets about the place…

…but I quite like how these projects are rolling with my life right now…just me in my undies, real girl style, giving new life to a vintage-fallen-in-love-with piece of furniture, me popping to the DIY shop (in clothes) for more white paint when the armoire about drinks the stuff and me, amateur painter with drips and droopy bits in between real life laundry monsters (hello, what is with that, it’s getting worse), taxi driving, dinner cooking and the helping of children with maths testing…all with paintbrush in hand.

And so I make no apologies for my slowness, or for the fact that this is still not yet completed, yep this has been slow, but somehow, I kinda like that…I’ve got to know her slowly as I’ve wiped her down, cleaned her up and painted her white.

Her glass needs some serious help, I will be googling how to clean these panes, but if any of you have done this before I wouldn’t mind a few pointers…as you can see it’s quite beautiful and could well be left like this, but I do feel she might just love a good facial Winking smile

And the bread bin section is left undone at the moment…it’s a bit of a state and getting the door back on with similar hinges is proving a tricky one…I might just shove a white basket in there…



I will say too, that sheesh kebab, I am about dancing on the rooftops here with vintage-kitchen-dresser-saved-from-landfill love.

What do you think of the new addition to our family?

I think she’s doing a little bit of a painted white furniture waltz, is she not?

Next time then.


p.s. you can see what she looked like when I found her here

Barley has been blogging, you can find out how he is here





Beach Cottage Newsletter hitting in-boxes soon, if you haven’t joined up shove your email in the box! 


there’s a little freebie going out this week, plus a giveaway on the way for Beach Cottage Clubbies on the way… don’t miss xo 



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36 Responses to “Scrub me Down & Paint me White Vintage Dresser DIY”

  1. She’s looking beautiful and I’m cacking myself imagining you in your undies listening to the BBC while you paint x

  2. Cherrie says:

    Nobody should ever through vintage kitchen dressers out. They should all scrub them down and paint them white and use them. It looks just heavenly. Cherrie

  3. Looking fab- regardless of the state of dress of her busy, *balancing-life* painter :)

    Running outa the door bare foot is very different to racing out in your undies…slow and steady is the answer here Sarah!

    Enjoy the painting….like meditation in a way…

    Melissa x

  4. Astem says:

    Ah, I think the same thing when I see all the projects some of these bloggers turn out!! I am still really paint shy and haven’t tackled anything like your armoire yet, but some bloggers seem to do it so easily! Thanks for your dose of painter’s zen today.

    A x

    • sarah says:

      my pleasure…I think the key is little and often…it’s amazing how much painting you can get done in half an hour…especially if you don’t have to fuss around getting painting clothes on etc… x

  5. Selby says:

    Looks beautiful! Sarah you’ve done a grand job with her:)

  6. Lou P says:

    I love your projects! I can’t believe how she is coming along.

    You always inspire me that there is hope in my tired old house and slowly I have been painting things, not white, more cream and it all looks so different, I am so glad I made the effort, even if it did take me a while!


  7. izzy says:

    I am a longtime reader commenting to say that It may be slow but that’s how it really is isn’t it? I often wander at some of the DIY blogs that have a new project every week, they seem to makeover lots of furniture, never to be seen again. Knowing that this is taking a while because of other stuff going on in life is somehow comforting.

  8. Cookie says:

    Oh Sarah I just lurve it you’ve done such a brilliant job !! But please add a white basket in that bread bin space I think it will really lift it and give it a little modern touch !

  9. alison says:

    You are a legend undie girl.


  10. Annie M says:

    You are amazing Sarah! I am sitting here reading your blog when I really should be tackling my painting. I have a treadle singer sewing machine I have painted white(it was already painted, half stripped with paint stripper and sanded and has been hanging around for nearly twenty years with my husband threatening to throw it out every council clean up), a tiny cupboard top ornament cabinet, numerous picture frames, a chest of drawers and a CD holder all in various stages of paint and sanding waiting for me to tackle them. And all thanks to the inspiration your blog has given me. I love what you have done in your gorgeous beach cottage and it seems to me that you just keep churning projects out and I wonder how you manage to get it all done along with the cleaning and taking care of a family. I am in awe of you! But I just while away the hours reading blogs for inspiration and not getting much done. So my hat goes off to you..now I’m off to paint or sand or pillowscape or foof or something…Annie M x

  11. Rukmini Roy says:

    She is perfect… in fact she is so perfect that she can very well use “The Hepburn of dressers”
    You know what, I love painting when I like to. Because when I dont like and I try to finish something, it turns out bad. :P So chillax, have tea and let paint flow through you. (so tacky this sentence is but couldn’t help it)
    Have a great day :)

  12. Cathy@inlovewithwhited says:

    Always inspiring a visit here, now where is that paint of mine?


    Leaves the computer to go and actually start a project.


  13. Deb says:

    You found the perfect spot for that classy old girl. What a tremendous labor of love!!!!!

  14. KellyMae says:


    I read blogs to see projects because although it may take time to see the steps I know its in a real home – I love the color white on old furniture – just does something for me and this one is girl is a mighty fine example of it.

  15. I love her Sarah! And I was nodding in agreement the whole way through this post…our whole house could pretty much be called a ‘work in progress’! xx

  16. Amanda says:

    love it all and love that glass and wish I could find one too!!!! inspired to go out looking at the weekend!

  17. Love her…who would ever think she could look so fabulous. OH!!!!we did, your followers on this here blog. You are amazing Sarah!

  18. Tamara says:

    Sarah I’m always in awe at how much you seem to get done around your house as well as all the zillions of other things you have to do! I don’t have three kids to run around after and I still don’t seem to accomplish half what you do so don’t be hard on yourself! X
    PS I’m an avid Radio 4 listener as well!

  19. rosemary says:

    Hi Sarah, Vintage dresser is a Grand Old Dame. Old toothbrush and soapy water on the glass, might do the trick. Metho cleans glass.

    Can you tell me the name of the paint in your latest room that has a the grey tinge to the white Thanks

  20. bev says:

    Lovely job Sarah…..You might want to try vinegar water to clean the glass and news paper to wipe it off. It works great for me on my glass cleaning :-)

  21. Claire says:

    Hi!!! I love the kitchen cabinet. I do some stained glass work and I would suggest getting some “patina” for the lead. The black color would be good. Make sure you get the patina for “Lead’….You put it on then wipe it off imediately to get the hue you want. Be careful working near the area close to where you have painted. It will make it look great!!!!! You can also scrub it with gloved hands and sawdust to get a sheen on the lead too.

  22. Claire says:

    One more thing…..get a sharpened pencil size dowel to go along the lead and in the corners to clean it out. Finish up with window cleaner!

  23. Leisa Flanigan says:

    Hi Sarah, we have a similar dresser, which hasn’t been painted. I love what you have done with your white paint but I am just not game, all our old pieces are still varnished :/
    With the glass, I did a lead lighting course and replaced ours as it was falling apart. My suggestion would be to clean it up with a type of acid ( sorry cant remember type the course was years ago) then gently pick out all the crumbly putty and replace the putty which is black. It really makes the colours in the glass stand out. Only problem with these two tasks it is very messy and will most likely mess up your paint work. I would suggest taking the door off and doing it OR if really game gently prize out the slim timber holding the glass in and then you won’t have to worry about the paint. Maybe taping the glass would help to keep it in place as you remove it. Good luck :)

  24. Ah!! as I say- real life gets in the way sometimes! I even put my table top onto its legs in the family room yesterday with only one coat of tung Oil- it is taking months to get to it. I now have a line up of stools and old chairs to paint up as well- sitting on that verandah, just waiting. Throw into the equation a full time job and 2 kiddos with birthdays and parties this month and the time just gets away! Hubby complained about our inlaw’s house not being cleared out yet and I told him to just hang on, we are both full time workers who need to have down time and attend to the maintenance on our own home first. I told him I can give him heaps of time in January when on holidays. Luckily we can afford to just mothball it, otherwise we would be forced to act rashly and get all stressed out.

  25. paula winspear says:

    Just love the lyrical way you write Sarah – and you are always so positive! It makes my day reading your lovely gentle humour and approach to life. I can assure you my projects take much longer than yours as I am busy whiling away my time reading your blog! Life is good.

    • sarah says:

      too kind Paula, nice of you to say….ummmm learnt a big lesson coming to Australia, trying to look at the good things in life…often I am rubbish at that tho! …this blog is a good place to inspire me to do it x

  26. Naomi says:

    Ahhh I just spent a few days painting things white and some pieces just soak up copious amounts of paint. I too get drips and drools which you never see once dressed. Your dresser is looking great. can’t wait to see it finished ans styled by your very self. Your so good at it.