This old dresser lived in my sister's room for as long as I can remember, and had a matching mirror that I think ended up in Phoenix. Also, I'm pretty sure this is the dresser that I carved my name into when I was little (or that may have been a headboard - either way, if you're going to carve something into the furniture don't do your name, it makes it harder to blame someone else).
This is one of two dressers that were left behind when the rest of the family moved to Phoenix. I always meant to refinish it when I was living in the condo, but never got around to it. When I moved out, I didn't bother to take it with me because the drawers are short and shallow, and with Noah being so tall I knew I'd be lucky if I could fit 3 pairs of his jeans in one drawer. Left behind once again, it's been hidden in my brother's closet ever since.
When we started putting together the baby's room I needed a dresser, and this one happens to be the perfect height to use as a changing table as well. My brother helped me pack it in the car, and when I brought it home, Noah sanded and sanded and sanded through the thick layer of peeling varnish until it looked like this:
I thought the biggest improvement was removing the ultra ugly hardware. I had thought about re-staining the dresser but the wood is soft and easily scratched and I didn't want to deal with more ugly varnish, and since the hardware wanted to be remembered forever, I decided paint would be the best way to cover it.
Big difference, eh? I looked everywhere for new hardware but the only knobs and pulls I liked were the antique looking glass ones that cost about $5 each at Home Depot. I figured I could even live with the same style made out of acrylic, which I figured would be cheaper - not so, $5 a piece at Target! So for $75 plus the cost of paint and primer we could have had a new dresser. Only problem was, it was an old dresser and even it's shiny new coat of paint wasn't enough to make me want to run out and spend $75 on hardware.
I searched and searched for other options, then I remembered Craigslist. I knew it was a long shot but I typed in "glass knobs" and as luck would have it, I found someone in St. Paul who was remodeling their kitchen and had 8 handles and 9 knobs on sale for $20. An entire set of actual antique glass knobs and pulls for only $20! I called immediately and Noah and I went out to pick them up the next day.
Of course they weren't in pristine condition. They had suffered from the same fate as so many kitchen knobs and handles. (Why doesn't anyone remove their cabinet hardware before painting their cabinets?) Luckily, being made of real glass, I was able to soak them in warm vinegar and the paint came right off. We bought some brass bolts at Home Depot to replace the missing and mismatched ones that came with the knobs, and now you'd never know we didn't pay $75 for our spiffy "new" hardware.
The last little upgrade was lining the drawers with a roll of wallpaper I picked up in the free bin at a garage sale. Now I just need to fill them with cute little clothes...