Miss Mustard Seed Boxwood Antique Dresser

Miss Mustard Seed Boxwood Antique Dresser

Before and After Boxwood Dresser

Hope you are having a great summer – it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-August! Sorry I missed posting a project last week, I was away for a fun weekend in Walla Walla (enjoying some great food, wine and concerts!). However, as usual, I was happy to get home and work on some projects :).

I found this great antique, serpentine-style dresser via Craigslist and it was just about a mile from my house – score! I loved the old tiger oak and lines, but honestly it was in rough shape. It was all scratched, a little wobbly, and missing some hardware. I knew it would need a little work. It belonged to a lovely lady who had it in her family for many years…sadly I forgot to take a real “before” picture when I bought it, so the one below was taken after I began to clean it up.


The first thing I did was strip the top using Citristrip. A tip on stripping furniture – I love Citristrip because it works really well and doesn’t smell as foul as most other chemical options. I left it on overnight, covered in plastic saran wrap to keep it moist and active (a tip I learned from The Weathered Door!). Even with the wrap there are spots where the stripper dries and becomes a thick layer of sticky gunk. I typically scrape off the majority of the ‘gunk’ using a plastic trowel or spatula (not metal – that would scratch the wood). Typically, there still a residue of sticky stuff after the scraping – so I then apply second coat of Citristrip, let it sit for about 20 mins, and then the remainder of the ‘gunk’ practically melts off. I scrape it off with the plastic spatula again and do a final cleaning with TSP substitute diluted in water. From this point, I used various grades of sandpaper to smooth out the scratches in the wood. The top cleaned up really well and was stained with a combo of Varathane Dark Walnut Gel Stain and Varathane Kona until I achieved the desired color.

At this point, I really had to do something about the frame and wobble. It took me a while to figure out what was up – after examination I realized that one leg was slightly shorter than the rest! I trimmed the other legs to match (using my circular saw) and also finish-nailed the slats along the back. It made a big difference.

At first, I was undecided on the color to paint it, but after weighing the options I landed on Miss Mustard Seed’s Boxwood Milk Paint. The tone would be a good pairing with the medium-dark tiger oak underneath. I applied two coats and it naturally chipped in various spots. I further distressed it with sandpaper until I liked the degree of “rustic” appearance. I then finished it using Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil to protect the finish.

Hardware was the next decision point. It originally came with “English Bail” style pulls, unfortunately one was missing. I ordered some antique brass restoration pulls from D. Lawless Hardware in three different styles and decided that these solid brass pulls looked the best. The only thing I didn’t love was the super bright and shiny finish, so I tried a trick that I learned from another blogger — I painted them with an antique brass finish using Rustoleum spray paint. It worked out great!

Without further ado, here are some pics of the finished dresser…

DSC_8767 DSC_8769 DSC_8771 DSC_8773DSC_8775 DSC_8776 DSC_8782 DSC_8784 DSC_8788 DSC_8793 DSC_8797 DSC_8812

Thanks for checking out this piece! It was a really fun one and, in the end, I love how it turned out. My garage is still full of pieces waiting for attention, so hoping to share the next project soon!



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