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Just Junk? Or Hidden Treasure?

I recently watched an Australian documentary called War on Waste which targets the plastic water bottle & straw, e-waste, fast furniture, food waste and the ongoing recycling crisis happening in Australia. For those not familiar with the term fast furniture, just like fast fashion, fast furniture is made for a season. It is made to be used for a short time and then moved on so you can bring a new piece into your home, one that is “on trend”. Fast furniture is often made from poor quality materials like particle board and will often be tossed into a landfill after a short period of time.

This documentary series resonated deeply with me and my passion for rescuing furniture that has been left for the trash. Refinishing and repurposing to turn these discarded pieces from garbage to gorgeous! I don’t know about you, but I rarely resist the temptation to circle the neighbourhood block and do a slow drive-by when I see furniture piled at the end of someone’s driveway ready for garbage collection the following day.

This particular piece featured here in this blog post was recently acquired from the Caledon Community Recycling Centre…which is a fancy term for the DUMP! My friend called me to say that he had taken a load of garbage to the dump and had spotted this dresser that had been left and would I be interested in it? Do leaves grow on trees? Is the sky blue? Do you need oxygen to breathe? Heck YES I want it!! Score! From the picture he had texted me it looked like an old 70’s teak dresser in quite good condition. It didn’t look like it would even need to be refinished. I loved it just the way it was. Until….I saw it in person. Ugh! The wood was not teak but pine and the finish was very poorly done and the legs were crooked and in need of repair. Luckily, I found room in my heart to love it regardless of my initial disappointment. A good lesson to never judge a book by its cover.

First, I repaired the legs. An easy fix using a couple wood shims to level the legs and straighten them. Second, I used a palm sander and medium grit sandpaper P60 to remove the existing varnish and stain. After sanding, the first coat of paint was applied using a small pile roller and Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117. It is important to use a paint that has primer, ADVANCE® Interior Primer (K790) by Benjamin Moore in Pearl sheen was used on this piece. Also very important, allow the paint to dry for a full 24 hours before applying the second and third coat of paint. One little trick I used that gave this piece a professional smooth finish is that I sanded in between the second and third coat of paint with the palm sander and a very fine sandpaper grit P220. The result is a silky smooth showroom finish.

Dresser - FREE

Paint - $39

Labour - Heart & Soul

Satisfaction - 100%

Refinishing old wooden furniture has been growing in interest over the past decade or so and has become a popular hobby for many people. It’s a creative and rewarding DIY project that can provide you with eclectic and high-quality pieces for your home. Many of the pieces that I rescue I use for Staging Homes For Sale (#StagingSells), including this dresser pictured here in this Staging Vignette before it eventually found a new permanent home in Ottawa.


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