Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chevron dresser

Today the kids went to their first day of summer camp at their new school. They were uber-excited which made me feel good as I dropped them off. It was hard to even get them to say good-bye to me and a kiss or a hug, forget about it! I'm always amazed at how well they adapt to new situations and their lack of attachment to me, which maybe isn't such a good thing. Anyways, now that the kids are away and its just Nolan and I kicking it, I decided that it was time for some home improvement! And first up is the makeover of the dresser that is in Conner and Nolan's room. I laid awake last night thinking about this project and how in the world was I going to get chevron stripes that were even and geometric. I read many tutorials online but they all just confused me so I decided just to wing it myself using some painter's tape and a tape measure. In the end I decided to do a vertical chevron stripe (mainly because it seemed easier and I also saw a dresser done that way in this month's House Beautiful). Now this isn't the first time this dresser has been changed up. Before we moved into our first house we painted it white and added some silver hardware to it.

Yep, pretty boring but it was going into a room in which I wanted a very clear contrast between the wall color (a bright Carolina blue) and the white furniture and bedding. I know, very basic design but it was our first house so you must cut me some slack. And that was before there were all these design blogs out there to inspire creative furniture make-overs.

The first step was to give the dresser a fresh coat of a white glossy paint. The color I chose was Summer Gray by Valspar which turned out to be a white with a tint of gray to it. The dresser was already pure white but it was a flat finish and over the years had just taken on a very grubby finish. It didn't help when the movers got their dirty little fingerprints all over it. But this time I was smart and decided to use a high gloss paint on the dresser, so I can wipe off everything left by dirty little paws :).

The glossy, glossy drawers (really not so glossy in these pictures)
One coat of paint later, this guy was looking like a glossy, glossy version of his old-self. He now looked like the George Clooney of dressers- all sleek and sexy. So after the white base coat dried, it was time to figure out the chevron stripes. The stripes are in Tempered Gray by Valspar, which was about the lightest gray I could find that still seemed to look gray without undertones of blue or beige. *update: after two coats of Tempered Gray I realized that this color was just too light and didn't provide enough contrast against the white base coat. So I took the paint back to Lowe's and had them darken it about 1 1/2 shades so the color that you see in the finished product isn't a true representation of Tempered Gray.*To make the stripes I used 1.41 inch wide Frogtape (seriously guys, why not just make it 1.5 inches wide?). And here is where I must mention how much I hate measuring. Seriously, I HATE it! If you've ever seen me hang pictures you'll know that I will go to any distance to avoid measuring (which is why I generally make at least 3 nail holes for every 1 picture I hang). So for me to choose chevron stripes for this dresser just testifies to either how bored I am or how crazy I am for these stripes to take 90 minutes of my day and dedicate it to measuring! For the top drawer I stuck a piece of tape of one corner so that the width of the tape made a little triangle in the corner. Then, I measured 2 inches from edge of the tape on the top and bottom and made two marks on the dresser. I then connected the two marks with a straight line and that served as the left edge of the next piece of tape that I put down. I continued this for the rest of the drawer and I ended up with stripes that were roughly 1.5 inches apart. For the next drawer, I lined up the bottom of the taped drawer with the next drawer and marked on the new drawer where the stripes should go to meet up with the top drawer (y'all lost yet?).
Lining up the taped drawer with the next drawer to mark off where the stripes should meet
So then I knew where the stripes would start on the top of the drawer and I just had to figure out where the stripe should go to on the bottom of the drawer (using 2 inch increments again). I know these are terrible explanations and it really is one of those things that you just have to try yourself. I first practiced on a piece of paper before I went marking up my George Clooney dresser.
All the drawers taped off and ready for the stripes to be painted
After taping off the stripes I put on 2 coats of the Tempered Gray and hoped that this Frogtape lived up to its reputation and wouldn't let the gray color bleed onto the white base coat. Bleeds are to chevron stripes what K Fed was to Britney- a total downer. After the gray dried then came the point where the following thoughts rushed through my head-  please work, please live up to your hype Frogtape, please leave beautifully defined lines when I pull this tape off. And after a few deep breaths I begin pulling away the tape and ta da, chevron stripes! The Frogtape really did live up to its more expensive price point as I didn't have any bleeding. There were a few spots where the tape pulled off the white base coat so touch-ups were needed. Add on the chrome knobs and there you have it!

Overall though I'm really happy with the dresser and just know that my boys will look at that dresser everyday and remember how much their mom loved them to make them such a stylin' clothes receptacle :). And I must say to my George Clooney dresser, you're looking pretty sleek and sexy, as always.

Cost breakdown:
2 quarts paint: $21.13 (-$10 discount) = $10.13!
In reality, you could do this project with the tester sizes of paint. Maybe for the base coat you would need a quart if the piece is big or is going to need multiple coats, but for the stripe color you really only need the tester size. The one caveat is that the testers only come in a satin finish so if you want a glossy glossy finish then you'll have to get a quart of paint.

  • Paint: $21.13
  • Frog tape: $5.67
  • Knobs: $26.80
  • Brushes and rollers: free, already had them
  • Total: $53.60*
*You could bring down this price by finding cheaper knobs, or just using a handle in the middle of the drawers.

Total time: 3 hours* (of which a good 1 1/2 hours was spent taping off the stripes)
*doesn't include the hours I laid in bed and thought about this project.

Stay tuned for more updates to Conner and Nolan's bedroom including new bedding for the boys and some new colors on the walls!


  1. Color me uber-impressed! Seriously, that looks amazing. Even better than Clooney, I think. That's the Jon Hamm of dressers.

  2. True, true. This is so sexy that its got to be Jon Hamm. Mad Men, please come back soon!