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You know how you have something in your head that you want and you won’t settle until you find exactly that?  You see some replicas and think it may work but deep in your heart you know you won’t be happy with that purchases unless you buy the one in your mind?  Then you try and get it at a good price and it is to no avail.  So, in a week moment, out of sheer frustration of trying to find what you want at the price you want, you decide to just splurge and buy it?  Enter my new antique serpentine dresser.

curvy serpentine dresser

I have stalked Craigslist and antique stores for probably 6 months and the serpentine dressers were always over $300.  I just couldn’t justify spending that much when I knew I could find something I like for under $50 and strip it and refinish it to make it my own.  But I finally found one I liked that was in pretty decent condition.  The only problem – it was $250.  There is no way I could do it.  I mean, sure I could afford it, but $250 on a dresser seems ludicrous (in my cheapskate school of though).  So I talked the guy down to $150 and decided to buy it.  Yes, it was definitely more than I wanted to spend.  But in the end I am so happy with it and justified the splurge since it is an antique.

seprentine dresser before

It wasn’t in perfect condition so I decided to give it a coat of Restor-A-Finish in Walnut.  I had seen Kate from Centsational Girl use it in the past and it seemed like a great option since the wood was in great condition with just a few scratches and nicks.  My biggest concern was a ring it had on the top.  And while the Restor-A-Finish did great on everything else it enhanced the ring. Boo!

water ring on dresser

So I ended up sanding the top down completely and then adding the Restor-a-Finish again. It still had a few nicks and scratches that shows its character but the ring disappeared.


I followed that up with the product they recommend called Feed-N-Wax over the entire piece. It is basically a blend of beeswax, carnauba wax, and orange oil. It enhances the natural beauty and depth of grain in finished and unfinished wood, especially oak.  I then used some Brasso brass cleaner to freshen up the brass knobs and put them back on.

serpentine dresser drawer

This piece went in my guest room – which is almost complete!  Look at the curvy top and the amazing grain of the oak.  Swoon!

restored antique

Now you know I loves me some painted pieces but there is something so charming and right about an old antique piece restored to their natural beauty.

seepentine dresser knobs

I added the coral lamp to the dresser.  It probably won’t stay there but it was perfect for styling.  And I got that oil painting for $3 at a yard sale this past weekend and I thought it would go nicely in the room.  FYI: Hubby is still unsure about it.

restor-a-finish dresser

Some fresh flowers and a little clearance cutie from Target and I am styled.  It is no Better Homes and Gardens but I am slowly learning.

serpentine dresser styled

What do you think?  Was it worth the splurge?

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  1. The dresser is nice and I will remember those products when I re-finish my coffee table this summer, BUT…I am an artist and that painting totally rocks! I hope your husband hates it because I will give you ten bucks for it! 🙂

  2. This is nearly identical to one that I just painted last month! Mine was in horrendous shape though, ready for the dumpster, and it needed some paint and primer to seal in the ridiculous amount of musty old stench lol. If I had found mine in this condition though it definitely would have gotten restored as well. I think yours turned out beautifully! Painted pieces are fun, but when you have wood in great condition it’s nice to let it shine on it’s own sometimes. Great job!

  3. Thanks, Ashley! Respectively, it was a good deal, but $150 is a lot for a frugal gal like myself. I am really happy that I splurged now though.

  4. Ha! Sounds like a good flip to me! Maybe I can sway my hubs though if I tell him an actual artist approves. 😉

  5. Well worth the splurge, it’s a beauty.

    If I may be so bold as to make a prediction; I can envision the blog world inundated with instructional posts on how to remove paint from wood furniture, in the very near furniture 🙂

  6. I am so glad you didn’t paint that piece. I swear by those Howard’s products you mentioned. I think you should restore the pieces that can be restored and let the beauty of the wood stand alone. Paint the pieces that cannot be brought back to life. I have seen so many blogs recently that destroy the value of an awesome antique.

  7. the first thing that grabbed my attention was the painting + i immediately knew i was going to ask you where you got it. i love it!

    the modern painting mixed with the vintage dresser looks so good together. i hope you keep it. (but if not, let me know)!!! 😉

  8. I think it is GORGEOUS and worth every darn penny! Nice job Beckie! love it . . . . 🙂

  9. Such wonderful results you have produced! I recognize the lower drawer pulls as not antique but readily available at lowes/home depot – i’ve bought some recently :-). I love Renovators Supply for authentic reproduction hardware – not too terribly expensive for the impact on an old gorgeous piece like yours!
    My serpentine dresser came came from an estate sale $200 – i ‘had to have it’ so did not even try to bargain – too many people lurking around the piece haha
    It has an excellent finish but sticky and slightly crooked top drawers – will have to find someone to help me fix that part (unless you know a trick or two????)

    The Restor-a-finish will go in the idea file for another project. Thank you!!

    Right now i an trying to decide how to ‘restore’ an old wonderful church pew that will sit on a covered porch. the finish is marred, soft, white-ish in places. Thinking i should sand down and paint with exterior paint to withstand the humidity this summer, then store over the winter.

    Love your blog!!!

  10. It’s beautiful. And I know exactly what your’re talking about. I’ve been looking for a side board and every time I find one I like, it’s out of my price range. Probably because I have no where to put it… I just want one. lol. I know, I’m a nut 😉

    I love the grain on your new piece and the little wheels. Those always get me 😉 It really turned out lovely!!

  11. Wow – the painting brings it all together. The colors are perfect for the dresser and the accessories you added. A perfect marriage!

  12. The nice thing about refinished wood is that it becomes a neutral background for accessories. You made the right choice to refinish it since it was in such great shape. Sometimes estate auctions are good places to find those kinds of pieces too. I like to refinish good quality wood but have yet to actually paint furniture. When ever I find a dining table I like better than the one I have I have some sturdy dining chairs that are screaming for paint. The oak ones I have are screaming for refinishing. Alas, so many ideas and projects and so little time.

  13. Beckie, I love it. I wasn’t sure about the picture at first either, but it grows on you. All the colors go so together, and I think there is something very retro with the color thing and picture. It looks like Better Homes and Garden to me. It is cheerful and welcoming. Your guests will love it.

  14. SOOOOO beautiful! I love it! REALLY REALLY REALLY happy you did not paint it!

    As for the artwork -“meh”

  15. I’ve used restore-a-finish and they do make antiques look great. I love the dresser. Definitely worth it, and it looks great in the wood finish.

    I have to agree with the hubs… not fond of the painting.

  16. Thanks, Deborah. You are right. It does have a retro vibe to it. I think it’s the colors that drew me in too.

  17. Ha! So true! I am the opposite of you because I usually opt to paint over refinish and have a lot of painted pieces, but I really like a balance of both.

  18. Ha! So true! Your dresser is crazy gorgeous. And $99? I would have been stalking it too! Seriously, I love it!

  19. Thanks for not painting the dresser. Some wood just should not be painted and old oak like this deserves to be restored. It is gorgeous.

  20. Thanks for all your kind words, Carol. Regarding your dresser, I have often heard that candle wax helps sticky drawers. As far as crooked, you will probably have to adjust the slide a little. My guess is there is some rails in there that might have gotten dislodged or lost. I’d love to see it when you are all done!

  21. Gorgeous! I love that serpentine style. And the vignette is perfect – including the bargain painting! 🙂

  22. thanks for the inspiration… I have this exact same dresser but it has been stained a very dark color… do you know if there is a way to strip the stain back to it’s natural color? I love the light color of yours..

  23. You would have to strip the entire dresser. It is a process for sure but worth the results in the end. I use Jasco, Bix or Kleen Strip.

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