Before & After: I Revived a Trashed Dresser Using Scraps from My Kitchen Reno

published Mar 16, 2022
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Before: vintage wood dresser with keyholes on the drawer fronts
Credit: Heather Bien

One of the perks of city living is the sidewalk finds. Whenever you see a “Coming Soon” sign in front of an old, fancy home, you know the goods are about to make their way onto the street. I’ve walked ten blocks carrying a solid wood nightstand, and scurried home in a rainstorm to save an ornately framed oil painting from a soggy fate.

Often, these discarded pieces of furniture are in need of a light rehabilitation. This was the case with a small wood dresser I found discarded just steps from my front door. Did the neighbors who never once returned my cheerful, “Good morning!” leave it behind? I like to consider it their parting gift.

Credit: Heather Bien

With charming detail across each of its three drawers, vintage keyholes and solid wood construction, this pre-loved piece had potential — but the wood on top was coming loose, coming apart at the sides and in the middle where the boards joined. Those boards were probably why the dresser found its way to the sidewalk, but I was ready to give it a second life.

I could have nailed the boards back in and called it a day, but I wanted something to give it a bit more polish. I previously shared how replacing our marble countertops with quartz was one of the best renovation moves we made in our condo, and, in that piece, I also mentioned that we had our marble countertops recycled into dresser tops. For $200, our stone fabricator cut and finished the three tops to the measurements I provided. One of those tops was cut to fit this deserted dresser.

Credit: Heather Bien

Attaching the top was a simple process. Since the existing top was already loose, I didn’t even need to break out a tool to pry it off (though a hammer would have worked). The hardest part was actually lifting the marble and positioning it correctly on the dresser — I needed a second set of hands due to the size of the piece. Then, I applied construction-grade silicone adhesive along the outside edges of the dresser’s frame, as well as the inner supports. Apprehensive that this would actually stick, I loaded the top down with tile and boards that I had sitting around, hoping to ensure a solid hold overnight.

Credit: Heather Bien

When I removed the weight in the morning, I nudged the marble top — zero movement! For around $66 for a scrap marble top and $8 for the adhesive, this sidewalk find now looks like a vintage heirloom.

You might not have marble (or granite, or soapstone) laying around from a kitchen reno, but you can still get a similar look for a steal. Check out your local hardware store’s tile aisle, which might have oversized marble tiles in stock; you can also hit up local stone fabricators to see if they have as-is seconds or scraps for sale. With a little creativity, you can bring a luxe look to an old piece of furniture and turn it into a treasure.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: I Revived a Trashed Dresser Using Scraps from My Kitchen Reno for $74 Total