Bringing Home Some Jamaican Sea

I took advantage of some lovely fall weather this last week to do one last painting project before it gets too cold to paint outside. No Jamaican beaches for me, alas. Keep reading to find the reference to the title. In my haste to get started on this dresser rehab I completely forgot to take any before pictures. Darn! But here is the after picture of the made over dresser. I was so anxious to get photos that I took them while it was still sitting in the garage.  

Isn't she a beauty? I was looking for just this sort of piece with carved drawer detail and nice hardware. When I spotted it in the thrift store I knew it was the perfect thing for a makeover and I was already picturing it done over in a bright popping color. It had a dinged up and ugly brown stain finish, some of the veneer was coming loose and one of the drawer pulls was in need of repair. But it was heavy and solid, had dovetail drawers, and nice detail. So I quickly threw down my money and schlepped it home. 

Unfortunately there were a few glitches along the way to getting it all pretty. After I had cleaned, applied Zinsser paint deglosser (no sanding!), and spray primed I started in with my first coat of spray paint, Valspar gloss enamel in the color "exotic sea". The first can went on fine and got me halfway through the second coat. Then disaster. The second can did not match the first color!! It was much darker and more vivid! I rechecked to be sure both cans were labeled the same and they were. Sorry Valspar, you won't be getting my business again. I also wasn't loving the gloss finish but it was the only paint I could find in the color I wanted. On top of everything else it was going on very blotchy. By that point I was nearly in tears. It looked like a 5-year old had tried to tackle this project. Time to shut the garage door and retreat before any more damage was done. 

A couple glasses of wine later I came to the conclusion that I would have to ditch the spray paint and use a brush and roller to complete the project. That would entail sanding down the glossy finish already on there and going out in search of a compatible paint color. Luckily I found a perfect match with Pittsburgh Paints' "Jamaican Sea".  (By the way I love that Pittsburgh's website gives you the name and number of other brand's paints that match their colors. Give it a try.) I bought a satin finish this time instead of gloss. Luckily the carved detail on the drawers had already been done with two coats in the original first can of spray paint so I didn't have to try to redo those with a brush which would not have been easy. I used a foam roller on all the flat surfaces and across the top of the carved detail. Two coats later I ended up with a beautiful durable smooth finish. Then I gave it three coats of Minwax wipe-on polyurethane. Oh my stars!! How has this product eluded me all this time? I've had so many frustrating experiences with regular brush on poly leaving hideous brush marks. This stuff is the cats pajamas! The bees knees! It takes mere minutes to wipe on with a lint free cloth and leaves a nice smooth finish when dry. A very light sanding between coats with a fine grain finishing pad took about two minutes.

I thought about doing some antique finishing on the dresser with a bit of strategic sanding and glazing but time was running out (in regards to workable weather) so I decided to leave it as is for now. Finally I spray painted the dark brass hardware with some ORB (oil rubbed bronze) and lined the drawers with a black and white print cotton fabric applied with spray adhesive.

I'm really happy with how it all turned out in the end. I hope to get some pictures of the dresser once it's at home in my daughter's apartment and after some pretty styling. Until then enjoy a few more detail photos.

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