Serpentine Dresser to Coffee Bar Makeover

I saw a picture of this serpentine dresser online, and I got so excited! I love cool old dressers, especially curvy ones. It was $40, which is a bit on the higher side for me for a small dresser, but I really liked it. It also said that it came with a vanity that she hadn’t gotten out of the storage unit yet, so I figured that would make it more like $20 for each piece. But then, I got there and saw these:

Yikes! I won’t even get into the vanity right now. It is still tucked away in my garage under a bunch of junk. I’m still not sure whether it’s destined for the burn pile. Probably not–I’m too stubborn for that.

The dresser was in slightly better shape, but the bottom of the bottom drawer was missing–well, not missing–you can see it laying on the top there. The bottom drawer would not come out at all. There were several red flags. I talked her down to $30. I probably shouldn’t have even offered that much, but I feel guilty offering less than 3/4 or 2/3 of someone’s asking price.

The dresser spent all summer upside down in my garage just waiting for me. I did get some entertainment from watching the spiders wrap up their snacks–that’s probably the Biology teacher nerd in me.

Finally, I saw a design transfer on a Facebook group that inspired me, and I knew just what to do with this dresser!

It is called “Fern Woods” by Redesign with Prima. I just love the botanical vibe it has!

I started to work on sanding the dresser and cleaning it. I was able to get all of the drawers out, but there was a lot more damage than I realized. One of the top drawers just needed a new bottom, because the layers of wood were warped and separating, so I cut one out of backer board (from Menards) with my jigsaw, using the original as a template.

When I went to look at the bottom drawers, I noticed that the reason they were hard to get out was that the bottom of the sides of the drawers were broken off. I knew they would never be able to slide right, and didn’t feel like it would be worth re-building the whole drawer to make it usable, so I decided to make shelves.

My husband had some leftover 1/4 in plywood from making his ice shanty (that he didn’t get to use this year because we only had about 2 weekends with thick enough ice), so I cut some to make my shelves, and attached them with some very tiny nails that I had left over from some sawtooth picture hangers.

I cleaned the whole thing, inside and out, spiders (either dead or maybe just hibernating) and webs, with TSP and rinsed it well.

Then I was ready to paint!

I started painting, and realized that the original paint that hadn’t come off while I was sanding was giving it a weird texture. Yay. So I went over it all with some wood putty and sanded it smooth when it dried.

THEN I could finally paint. I used Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth. It is probably my favorite white of theirs, kind of an antique white, not too bright.

When it was dry, I added the transfer. It was just a couple inches too short and too narrow to fit in the inset area on the side, so I had to cut each leaf apart and place them individually.

And here’s the finished product!

I also added some wood-look drawer liners made by Duck Tape. This is my favorite way to line drawers.

I decided to paint the insides and outsides of the drawers as well. It just looks a bit nicer and more professional.

I painted the insides with a sample of a green Behr paint I had left over from when my mother-in-law was trying to decide what to paint her living room.

For the knobs, I used the originals, but I sanded most of the rust off, then added a bit of “Vintage Gold” gilding wax from Prima for a little bit of shine.

For sale!

This one is still for sale at $115. Message me on social media @thebelleofthebrush or email me at

Thanks for stopping by! Follow this blog, my Facebook page, or Instagram to see my next project! Here’s a teaser for it, partially done:

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