Midcentury Modern Dresser–Soft Black with Gold

I didn’t know I liked midcentury modern furniture—until we redid this piece.

blackgold (2)

Now, I am crazy for the sleek, tailored lines, and we are always on the lookout for these kind of pieces. I like them in their original stained state—they don’t need to be painted to be gorgeous. Generally, however, the pieces that come to us for restoration have such gaping wounds, paint is the only way to conceal the surgical scars of B’s workshop.

I am also sort of crazy for gold right now. Maybe too much so, but it is so fun, I’ll consider later if I need to cease and desist with the gold spray paint. Lately, I have been loving Krylon Bright Metallic in Bright Gold, and used it on the hardware and the base of this dresser:


B and I joke about needing to hear a piece “speak” before we do anything with it. We’re only half joking, however; weeks and even months will go by if we are not certain what direction to take. The “ah-ha!” moment always comes, though—and when it does, it feels like some sort of epiphany.

Apparently, there is a learning curve to painting furniture—who knew? I wish I could say it always turns out.

Not true.

We thought this dresser would be a simple flip.

Also not true.

When we first painted her, we used a chalk paint. And hated how it turned out. We were really looking for something more sleek and shiny than chalk paint.

And not seeing any reason why we shouldn’t, we blithely painted over the chalk paint with Benjamin Moore’s Ebony King in satin and gloated over the result.

We also spray painted the base with the gold, for an unexpected touch of bling.


It looked really good, and so we finished the whole thing off with polyurethane.

She looked gorgeous.

For a few days. Then, something curious happened—a chalky film had crept up THROUGH the polyurethane. And she didn’t looked gorgeous anymore—she was hideous, cloudy and dirty looking.

There was nothing to do but haul her back out to the workshop, strip off all the layers of paint and poly, and—

Start ALL OVER. Minus the villainous first layer of chalk paint, of course.

The dark, but necessary side to refinishing furniture. Mistakes must be rectified, lessons learned. It’s always a process, a journey, as we learn techniques, what works, and what doesn’t—and one must be patient. Oh. So. Patient.


In spite the ridiculous amount of labor and time this piece demanded, I can’t help gloat over her with an indulgent sort of adoration.  The contrast of soft black and gold, the concave curve of the drawers.  Spoiled and exacting, yet so pretty to look at.

Brass Button Up-cycle

This baby was brown, chipped and sad when B hauled it home one day.

I wish I had a “before” picture (it’s harder to remember to take the unglamorous shots—I’m always in such a hurry to get to the good stuff.  But I will get better at it—I WILL!)

After a little precursory work of patching, sanding and priming, it was coated in a shade of soft black and protected with clear polyurethane.


I love the brass buttons and hardy brass hardware–they lend a clean, militant look to the piece and contrast crisply again the dark paint.  My sons both have dressers they are fond of, and no room for another, much to my regret.  This piece belongs in a boys room or a swanky bachelor pad.


Which is exactly where she went.

I can’t keep every piece we meet, restore and fall in love with. But I always sigh in contentment when they end up in the sort of place I envisioned all along.