THE Red Dresser

This is currently the best only decorated part of my master bedroom:

For some time now, I’ve been obsessed with this dresser by Miss Mustard Seed:

Miss Mustard Seed’s Tricycle Red Dresser

Isn’t its raw combination of bright energy (with the red) and deep age (with the distressing) simply luscious?  I love this kind of juxtaposition… And I knew when I saw it that Mr. Pax needed something similar (because it’s gorgeously masculine and he’s outrageously difficult to shop for!).  So I scoured Craigslist until I found this beauty:

Milk paint was an entirely new experience for me, and I must say that it was a rewarding one.  Highlights for me:

  • easy application
  • silky smooth finish (truly… zero brushstrokes and not a lick of sanding!)
  • authentic distressed look
The only negatives for me would be price and coverage.  While I like the chipped, distressed look, I felt the paint was actually a little transparent in the end.  Fortunately, the dresser I found (though its finish was peeling) was not so bad that I needed to fill major holes.  Had I filled, I think I might have had trouble covering the difference between filler and original finish.  Anyway, here are a few process pictures…  The painting was a snap:
But, as you can see on the top (where the wood grain is showing through), it almost went on as stain rather than paint.  Maybe I could have thickened it by adding less water, but I actually had already added less than the instructions suggested.
All the milk paint tutorials say to wait overnight after the second coat and then return to see your chippy goodness…  It was pretty nice, I must say:
As you can see above, though, it dries almost chalky.  While I believe in a top coat for pretty much all paints or stains, you really don’t have the option to skip one with milk paint.  Though I have refinished a lot of furniture over the years, this was my first soft wax finish, and I loved it.  Notice how the paint takes a richer hue as the wax is applied (top left corner is unwaxed):
As I went, I began incorporating some antiquing wax into my clear in places where I wanted the details to gain more definition:
And I ultimately loved the result!  The texture and interest it provides without being too dull or too stark is just what I wanted.

I decided to use the original hardware because it seemed to fit the piece and was particularly masculine for my husband, but I had to replace two of the larger handles that were damaged.  I simply rearranged so that I could use something different on the lone fake-double drawer, and I couldn’t resist the mercury glass ones from Anthropologie.

I love the way they give a feminine touch and modern bling to a generally rustic and bulky piece.  In all, I think I spent about $175 on this piece (including quite a few supplies, like paint and waxes, that I was able to use on several other pieces before they ran out, and the splurge on the Anthropologie knobs).  I’d say that in the end, I made out like a bandit.  And, even better, I got to pour my energy into a surprise for my man… that’s one way to make your home a place of love. :)
Do you have any pieces you refinished for a loved one?

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  1. Your red dresser is definitely prettier! Great shape and great execution!

    You should be pat yourself on the back…..

    hugs x

  2. Oh wow! It looks so amazing now! The color is so bright and fun!

    The Joyful Thrifter

  3. This looks fantastic! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  4. Looks great. Great step by step post. I really like the red, it is bold and beautiful.

  5. Oh, I am such a red lover and this piece turned out so fabulous! Love how the paint is a bit transparent. I have only used Annie Sloan chalk paint. I really want to give the milk paint a whirl. You did a great job. Love the knobs too! The wax really made a difference. The pieces that I have waxed with A.S. wax I can hardly tell a difference. They have been off white, maybe that’s why. What wax did you use? Thanks so much for sharing with Share Your Cup and welcome to the land of blog!

    • Thank you so much, Jann! It was Miss Mustard Seed’s wax, and I was very pleased with the result. I also love that it’s a natural beeswax product, so it doesn’t have the strong smell that many of the others have. I have not ever used it on anything white, though, so I’m not sure if it was the color or the product. Thanks for your encouragement and welcome!!


  6. It is absolutely AWESOME…love it to pieces..over from Mrs. Olson’s

  7. Beautiful job! Love that red – my favorite MMS color.

  8. I featured your red dresser today at Mod Mix Monday!

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  10. your chest of drawers looks great! When I used MMS milk paint, it didn’t chip at all. :(

    I have done some pieces for those I love… it doesn’t even seem like work, does it?

    • Thank you so much, Gail! What a bummer that it didn’t chip for you! Honestly, I would have been ok if it had chipped a bit more for me. :) And I couldn’t agree more about pieces for loved ones – it’s a privilege!

  11. Beautiful transformation! The red is lovely on it :)

  12. This is beautiful! Red is my absolute favorite color! I haven’t used MMS tricycle yet, but I do love AS Emperors Silk so very much! What a great gift for your hubby! Pinning for later :)

  13. I love the way this turned out, Rachel…my favorite color, and so many interesting details in that dresser. You are a furniture makeover whiz! Pinning for future reference, because I am most certainly NOT a furniture makeover whiz… 😉

  14. Love it! I have been admiring all of the reds lately. I can’t wait to do my next redo like yours. Thank you for the inspiration!

  15. hermoso mueble y la falla mía es que no entiendo el ingles pero las cojo gracias esta divino

  16. gracias por entenderme pues me queda muy difícil entender el ingles gracias . lindo trabajo

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