So often I buy mid century pieces fully intending to clean them up and sell them. But then, well, I don’t. Inevitably I fall in love with them or one of my kids does (just search mid century on this site…you will see)
Such was the case with this mid century walnut Dillingham dresser….
It did have a few boo-boos…a broken corner piece I was able to fix with a little wood glue…
A tiny bit of chipped veneer I decided to ignore…
And of course the finish was a little worn and tired looking and needed some freshening. First I tried a little Restor-a-finish….
You can kind of see the difference…the right side has been wiped down with Restor-a-finish.
It helped a tad but in the end I scrubbed it down with mineral spirits and steel wool and applied 2 coats of tung oil finish…brightened it right up and blended all the scratches and wear…after all it is a 50+ year old piece…it’s gonna have a few nicks and dings. But again, nothing terribly glaring.
Even though the issues were relatively minor, I hesitated to sell it. I considered painting the sides to disguise the biggest issue…the broken corner.
Enter my kid! Matt absolutely LOVED it and wanted it for an entertainment cabinet!
The dark walnut matches his vintage Lane tables perfectly and like me he has a real affinity for MCM pieces.
So I went to work modifying it for his needs..specifically he needs a place for his turn table.
(Side note…I get tickled at the newest generation of vinyl lovers. People my age remember how thrilled we were to get away from bulky old record players and vinyl records that scratched and skipped. Cassette tapes and walkmans and boom boxes…life changing! Now the younger generation have circled back around to “vinyl” and think they have discovered the greatest thing since sliced bread…HA!!! See, if you live long enough, it all comes back in style!)
So…how to modify this dresser without changing it too much.
I decided to make the bottom two drawers one deep drawer. That entailed removing the face front of the middle drawer and attaching it to the black face frame and bottom drawer…creating what appeared to be two separate drawers…but is actually just one deep drawer.
Confusing I know…let me see if I can show you what I mean in pictures.
First I had to cut the face frame in half to detach it from the cabinet.
Since it is a laminate material, I knew I needed to tape it first to keep it from “splintering.” ALWAYS tape laminate before you cut it and draw your cut mark on the tape!
I could have used a skill saw with a trim blade to make the cut. But I knew a skill saw wouldn’t work to cut the little shelf inside that separated the two drawer spaces. So, darn, I had to buy a new tool…I hate that when that happens! (NOT!)
I have a small Dremel that has similar functions but this little guy is pretty heavy duty…and it worked like a charm!
Next I used my Kreg jig and glue to attach 1x2 pieces of oak to both edges of the face frame. The drawer fronts and face frame only over lapped by about 1/8”…attaching the oak allowed me to secure the face frame to the drawer fronts with glue and screws.
We used a hole saw to cut a hole in the back of the cabinet to feed electric wires through.
That was pretty much all the modification this dresser needed to turn it into the perfect entertainment cabinet!
In the photos you get a peak of a few of the changes Matt has made to his house since he bought it a year ago…the painted fireplace I shared here and the new tile I haven’t shared yet.
I have promised for A YEAR to share a few of the projects he has completed on his house…he opened up the entry, painted his kitchen cabinets and installed glass cabinet doors, built open shelving in his kitchen and laid new tile in the entry and around the fireplace. He has even built a little storage shed! I am so proud of his “projecting” so while I was there taking pictures of his new entertainment cabinet, I snapped a few of his entry and kitchen and I PROMISE to share those next week.