Veneering my way to France!


I’m finally getting some furniture done!  What a relief to feel like I’m finally accomplishing something and not just running around here like a chicken with my head cut off.

This small, innocent-looking dresser was part of my problem.  It seemed like an innocuous little project. Strip the bad veneer off the top and paint, right?  Oy!

See how those drawers don’t quite close?  Yeah, I’ve had this problem before, but it was usually an easy fix.  Not with this bad boy!  There were grooves worn into the bottom of the drawers and the drawer supports that had to be filled in.  I couldn’t replace them because that would have meant tearing the whole dresser apart.

This was the only section of veneer that came off easy.  Usually on a really old piece, the glue on the veneer has lost its grip, but not this time.  It was holding on with white-knuckled fingers like a movie hero on the edge of a cliff.

It took hours to chisel away all that bad veneer.  Bad veneer!  Go Away!  See the tongue and groove on those drawers?  That’s what makes this piece worth it.

And then I was left with gouges.  Yeah,  that’s how HARD it was to get that veneer off.  That stuff was stuck!  I even tried the wet towel and iron trick, but that didn’t even come close to loosening the glue. Then I tried a heat gun, but all that did was bubble up the two layers of paint.  I stopped just short of sending this dresser to Guantanamo.  I sanded the bejesus out of the top and filled in the gouges with wood fill and sanded again.  So much work went into this little dresser that it’s now worth one meellion dollars!!  (bite pinkie finger)  My hourly wage multiplied by frustration level, times difficulty, times hours spent, times alcohol consumption, (for relaxation purposes, ya know!)….yeah, it’s right up there around a million dollars!

I was excited about this piece because I had a grand idea to give her simple lines a little punch.  In spite of her rough start, I knew she would be perfect for this project.  She got a coat of black chalk paint and then I applied some vinyl appliques (found at Joann Fabrics) to her drawer front.  I painted over the appliques one more time.  This way, the black paint can seal around the appliques to prevent my second color from bleeding under the design.  When that was dry, she got a second coat of paint in Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue.

It worked mostly well.  (Think Princess Bride…”He’s only mostly dead!”)  There were three areas that I had to touch up…all three were at the gap between drawer and dresser.  In hindsight, I should have slit the vinyl and I would have gotten much better adhesion.  Live and learn!

After touching her up with a small paint brush and black paint, she came out looking as good as I had hoped!

It was really overcast yesterday and I have so much extraneous furniture in my house, this was the only spot I could get a picture.  Not great, but you get the idea.

I lightly sanded the edges of the drawer and dresser for the distressed look, but didn’t touch the lettering because I wanted that to boldly stand out.


Not bad for pretty humble beginnings, right?

Bye from the Bungalow,


Linking up to: Simply Klassic Home, Savvy Southern Style, Coastal Charm, The DIY Dreamer, Restore Interiors, The Shabby Creek Cottage, French Country CottageShabby Art BoutiqueMiss Mustard SeedAddicted2Decorating


  1. Jean, this dresser really is lovely – the color, and the Eiffel tower! But boy, that looks like it has been a LOT of work! I’m in a Parisian mood myself lately! If you like, you can check out the Eiffel tower printable that I made =)
    There are some great DIY projects on your blog, I wish I had your skills! xoxo Anja

  2. Here from Savvy Southern Style, love, LOVE your style! Beautiful project, I cannot believe the before and after. Now following you, would love it if you followed me back 🙂

    Tanya @

  3. No wonder you had a cocktail (or two – not judging)!

    Well worth it – it looks manifique!

    • Thanks, but unfortunately, cocktails do nothing to make the job easier. Hpmphf! I have two more stubborn veneer projects in the wings. Oy!

  4. Hi, Jean

    This piece turned out great. She put up a good fight, but at the end your won! Woo Hoo! It’s a lovely piece.


  5. Definitely worth the effort Jean… (and those little drinkies you had to consume, becasue we all know paint goes on better with a little spirit).

    • Remember the episode of King of Queens where he brings the martini to the door as Carrie gets home? Yeah, it’s kinda like that around here sometimes. Hubby will OFFER the libations before I even know I need one!! haha!

  6. This had me giggling – I went through the same this with this one – check it out!!!!
    Your newest follower – would love for you to come visit and follow back 😉
    The transformation is beautiful – my daughter is working on a similar themed

    • You did a great job on that dresser. Do you think in 100 years, people will applaud our efforts for saving furniture from the landfill? Here’s hoping!

  7. Really well done!!!
    So much work but so much LOVE! Ciao Rita

  8. Wow! Terrific redo! LOVE the way this turned out! Definitely worth all the effort. 🙂

  9. Okay, I’m seriously in love with this. And I don’t even like the French. One lived with me in college for a month or so. She kept eating all my food in the middle of the night. The other worked at my company. Gorgeous? Yes. Did he know it? Yes. Air of superiority? Yes, yes and yes.

    Doesn’t stop me from wanting to visit … or totally being in love with this piece!



    • hahaha! I went last year and YES, they are kinda doubt about it. And the food was horrible, which completely surprised me!! Thanks for the kudos!!


    • Hi Lauren! I would be thrilled to have you feature me at your blog. I just popped over and it’s great! Thank you!

  11. This piece is stunning! Gosh you have some mad talents there girl!~ Thanks for listening to my geeky podcast. Glad you enjoyed it. Those girls are great too! Shoot me an email I have a question for you… Thanks!

  12. You are one tenacious gal!! I’d say all your hard work paid off! Well….you know what I mean? Right?
    Stunning transformation! Thanks for the inspiration.
    P.S. Popped over from A2D.

  13. Jodie M. says:

    Tres bien! It looks wonderful. Great job.

  14. Tina Buenzow says:

    How very lovely!!! i have an old piece i bought some time ago for like 30 bucks it has the same kind of drawers and i just love it….thanks for the inspiration!:) a big howdy from TEXAS!!!

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  1. […] But Jean at Backyard Bungalow didn’t let a little (or a lot of) peeling veneer stop her from picking up a pretty little dresser and turning it into a stunning piece of accent furniture. […]

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