The Nursery: The Dresser

I long ago "claimed" a dresser at my mom's house that once upon a time lived in either my grandmother's house or my great aunt's. While the paint on this dresser left a lot to be desired, I was in love with the Modern lines and feel of the dresser. "Claiming" the dresser meant my mom was not allowed to get rid of it or sell it and that someday I would return to New York to pick it up and give it a new home in my home. Well, that someday turned out to be this past June when, at 32-ish weeks pregnant, we returned to New York for one last visit with friends and family (and to attend my baby shower) prior to the arrival of Baby H (the 'H' standing for her last name, not her first, as we are no where near selecting a first name for her).

 The dresser in all it's black & white glory. Packing tape had been wrapped around it to prevent the drawers 
from opening during our travels. Some of the paint didn't survive the removal of the tape.
Please excuse the poor quality of the picture. Our garage is dark.

When I began planning the nursery for Baby H, I had grand visions of turning this dresser into a beautiful turquoise changing table (check out this post for the image of my original source for this vision). I set my mom on the task of measuring the dresser while I was creating a scaled floor plan of the nursery, but unfortunately, my memory of the size and dimensions of the dresser turned out to be much grander than it actually was. It was too narrow for a changing pad, too tall for comfortable diaper changing, and not quite long enough to fit other diapering necessities. Despite my stubborn insistence of not using a certain console table (that we had purchased from Walmart years ago and was already in the room) in the baby's nursery, it appeared to be my best option for a changing table. Especially since we wanted to use as much already owned or hand-me-down furniture as possible in the room. Plus, that thing was heavy and not only would it have required a lot to relocate it, we really didn't have any other place in the house to relocate it to, except for the garage, which already houses quite a bit of useful items that we'll someday have a need for again junk.

Despite knowing that I wouldn't be using the dresser as a changing table, and knowing that the odds of us having room for the dresser as a dresser in the tiny nursery were not good, my stubbornness insisted that we still pick it up in New York. I'm so glad we did too. As it turned out, with some slight floor plan rearranging, the dresser was going to fit in the room! And I still maintained my grand plans for a turquoise piece of furniture. Until, that is, I spotted a funky avocado green paint underneath the wretched, shiny, black paint (click on the image above to zoom in on it and you can see the green on one of the corners). It just so happens I'm in love with avocado green, and after noticing how easily the tape pulled off the black paint, I was convinced I could scrape away the black and save the green layer underneath (I had previously been informed that I would have to strip the entire dresser with a chemical paint stripper prior to painting it, and that I wouldn't be able to refinish the dresser until after the baby was born because of the chemicals. Yeah right. Like that was going to happen).

So without further ado, my dresser redo...

Dresser (hand-me-down- $0)
Paint scrapers (already owned misc. clay tools- $0  Allway Tools wood scraper- $6.97)
220-Grit sanding sponge (I used 3M from Home Depot- $3.97)
Tack cloth (EZ Tack Cloth- $2.68)
White spray paint for dresser (Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X- about $4)
White spray paint for hardware (Krylon Short Cuts- $2.98)
Deep Teal chalkboard paint (Rust-Oleum Tintable Chalkboard Paint- $12.98)
Painter's tape (ScotchBlue- $2.97)
Paint tray and high density foam roller with extra cover ($6.97)
2 foam brushes ($1.34)
Paint stirrers ($0)
Dust mask (3M Paint Odor Respirator- $4.47)
Rags and drop cloths (already owned misc. sheets and towels- $0)
Total Cost: about $60*
*These prices were taken from the internet since I no longer have my receipts and may not accurately represent my actual costs.

The dresser after removing the hardware and legs and scraping off most of the nasty black paint. I LOVE the green!

 Taping off a border for priming. I had decided that the green color, while I loved it, needed to be broken up a bit.

Primed and almost ready for spray paint.

Ready for some spray paint!

Sprayed and drying. Notice I didn't take the time to do anything on the inside of the dresser? 
It's not like anyone is going to see that part, right?

Drawers with their first coat of chalkboard paint. I put a couple layers of primer on first.

I don't know which coat this is (I needed a total of four for complete coverage), but the color is looking good!

I was utterly terrified after completing all the painting that 1) the colors were going to be awful once the dresser was moved from the garage, 2) my vision wouldn't come to fruition, and 3) that this would be the ugliest dresser ever and I would have to redo the whole thing. I was actually quite frightened about the end result. I was really, truly prepared to hate this dresser. I wasn't sure, after living with it for a few days, if the green was too army colored for me, and I was sure that adding a white border on the sides was a mistake. I even took a trip out to Michael's to pick up some wooden trim and do-dads to decorate the dresser with in order to sweeten it up a bit. Really, I can't quite explain how convinced I was that this was going to be a garish, epic disaster.

And then I moved the dresser upstairs to the (very naturally well-lit) nursery. You know, just to see, and whoa, was I ever surprised! I LOVED it. I think it's the greatest piece of furniture ever and after assembling the entire thing, I was convinced that there's no other dresser more perfect for my nursery. Seriously, I cannot stop looking at it. And smiling! The dresser makes me smiley and happy! Talk about relieved! Here's a little preview of the dresser, minus the hardware, and not in it's proper location yet. I'm not going to reveal the final look until I reveal the entire nursery in a future post.

Pretty promising, right?

As you can see, I went with yellow curtains in the nursery, as I had planned all along, although these were a bit darker than I originally intended. But we'll save that discussion for another day.

Other nursery project posts:


The Nursery: Some DIY Decor Details

I truly believe "it's all in the details". The details can make or break a room design. Which is why I've been giving a lot of attention to the details of my baby's nursery. Here are just a few of the DIY "detail" projects I've completed. (If you missed my Sources of Inspiration post, check it out here)

Clothesline Alphabet
Alphabet Flash Cards (I purchased mine, designed by Lisa DeJohn, from Anthropologie- $14.95)
Clothesline (Mine came from a clever baby shower gift idea my youngest sister used- $0)
Clothes pins (Again, mine came from my baby shower- $0)
Hooks for hanging (I already had these- $0)
Total Cost: $14.95

Vintage Lamp with DIY Lamp Shade
Vintage Irmi lamp (Gifted to me by my wonderful twin sister- $0)
Small white lampshade (Mine came from Target- about $8.00)
Thick, patterned ribbon (Re-purposed from a diaper cake gifted to me at my baby shower 
by my youngest sister- $0)
Thin, solid color ribbon (I used yellow, 3/8" Offray Tracks from Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts- $2.49)
Glue gun and glue sticks (already owned- $0)
Total Cost: about $10.49

Wardrobe Drawer Tags
Thick, patterned and solid ribbon (Re-purposed from the same diaper cake as above- $0)
Pink pearl pins (already owned- $0)
Turquoise paper cut-out birds (Re-purposed from my baby shower decor- $0)
Sharpie marker (already owned- $0)
Total Cost: $0

Other nursery project posts:


Two Dream Rooms

Technically not a room, but oh my god! Who wouldn't want to sleep here? (Source)

Further argument for a white and turquoise kitchen. (Source)


Nursery Inspiration: My Sources

As soon as I found out I was having a girl, I hit the internet and searched design blogs and baby departments for hours. I knew I wanted nothing to do with traditional gender colors nor did I want a matchy-matchy nursery. I don't know what initially drew me to yellow, but something about the bright sunshiny color became inspiring. And being a long-time fan of turquoise, I had settled on my color palette, thus creating a starting off point for my nursery vision. My endless searching had me bookmarking many, many pages and collecting numerous pictures of nurseries featuring things I loved. And then I created an inspiration board, something I'd seen on plenty of design blogs. I thought an inspiration board would give me direction and a goal. Here's what it looked like:

1. I loved the idea of a bird mobile for the baby's room, but, quite frankly, I was appalled by the cost of these precious hangings; anywhere from $50 to $100+! Yikes!
2. I liked the idea of yellow curtains, and I came across these at World Market (I think). Unfortunately, they're no longer available.
3. I loved, loved, loved the look of an all yellow crib. I had decided that this, a bright and sunshiny crib, would be the focal point of my room.
4. For whatever reason (I blame hormones), I was falling in love with everything lacy, which, typically, is very much unlike me. This handcrafted pendant light (no longer available) caught my eye, but came with a hefty price tag. I figured this would be an item for my DIY To-Do list.
5. Again with the lacy. These curtains from World Market also appealed to me.
6. This print pretty much became the driving factor behind this board. I loved the colors and the traditional Russian doll (daddy-to-be's family is Ukrainian).
7. I thought all white bed linens would look so sweet with the bright yellow crib (source unknown).
8. I love these drawer pulls from Anthropologie. But at $18 a piece, were they really worth it?
9. Just as the picture says, I thought the turquoise color of this dresser would be lovely for a changing table. I also liked the idea of a table top chalkboard (source unknown).
10. I thought these birds were too cute, and I loved that they were made from vintage maps.
11. This hanging mobile also caught my eye (source unknown).
12. I loved the bright, bold color of this changing table, and I thought this color would be perfect for my yellow crib.

There were a few more ideas that I was interested in, but they didn't make this inspiration board (I had the best intentions of making a second one, but that didn't pan out). Here were a few more of my inspirations:

I loved the idea of wall shelves as a bookcase. (Source)

I thought this was such a clever idea. (Source)

The pom poms in this nursery seemed so fun!

All-in-all, after searching and searching, it seemed inevitable that I would end up with a sweet, slightly girly, yellow and turquoise nursery. However, as projects tend to go, this one took on a life of it's own and I ended up with something slightly different. But that's a post(s) for another day!

Other nursery project posts:


10 Things I Love

2. Necklace by Vatne Designs

4. Ninja Pants by Sckoon Organics

5. Non-maternity clothes, especially this skirt from Old Navy. So comfortable!
(approximately 32 weeks here)

6. My baby shower cupcakes (especially the egg-free chocolate ones!) made by my super talented sister.
In fact, the entire baby shower rocked!

7. Vintage inspired dresses

8. Long Multi Teardrop Bracelet by LanaOCrystal

9. Lovebots! These cuties are made by Smacko at the Lovebot Factory
These bots have names, descriptive personalities, AND birth dates. I want one.

10. Spoon Jewelry by Dank Artistry
Throw a monogram on there, and you've got the perfect gift!