11 June 2013

DIY: RAST dresser makeover (a la Little House Blog)

I’m back today with a DIY that I am so excited to show you. SO EXCITED. Probably because I’ve been dreaming of it for years and it’s taken me six months of on-and-off work to actually finish.

There’s no doubt that my DIY days have grinded... well, not to a halt, but to a... very slow creep? Yes. Sorry about that. Work days are long and time is short and honestly, sometimes I am happier watching television without a paintbrush in my hand. (I still haven’t even finished Arrested Development! Gah!)

Nevertheless! I spent just enough time WITH a paintbrush in order to replicate one of the most beautiful IKEA hacks ever:

That’s the RAST dresser hack from Lindsay at Little House Blog, and if the bedroom looks familiar, it’s because I talked about how much I adored it here. And in that post, way back in the fall of 2011, I mentioned that I really wanted to make those same dressers that Lindsay was inspired by from a Style at Home magazine.

Well, it took me this long, but today I can finally show you how I did!

It started with an IKEA RAST dresser. Two of them, actually, finally purchased last December during one of our many trips to Chicago. And for all my love of IKEA, I had never actually bought the flat-packed, assembly-required furniture from them. I gotta say, after hearing all the horror stories of missing pieces and marriages ending over trying to put together IKEA furniture, I was a little intimidated.

That’s just part of the pieces for ONE of the dressers. And do you see that bag of hardware?

Holy thousand types of screws, Batman.

Although it looked intimidating, as it turned out, putting the dressers wasn’t necessarily difficult. All the pieces were present (plus a few extras that, uh, I’m not sure what to do with) and the directions were (mostly) straightforward. It just took time, a bit more than I expected!

Lindsay suggested that the body of the dresser is easier to stain when assembled, but you were better off to paint the drawers before putting them together. So, first I assembled the bodies of the dressers, which were simple enough:

But before I could assemble the drawers, I needed to prime and paint them. And before I could prime and paint them, I had to wait for the weather to warm up enough to legitimately open windows to clear out the paint odor.

So, around March (three months later, if you’re counting), I primed the drawer fronts with latex primer on the front and back. Then I painted just the front of the front pieces with color-matched Glidden’s Swan White, which happens to match the shelving I’ll trim out someday.

Psst, if you’re looking for paint to match Target brand white laminate furniture, Swan White is your guy! I chose a flat finish for the same reason, hoping this paint can do double duty for those projects (and perhaps give me a kick in the pants to trim out the living room shelves).

I also waited to stain the dresser when the weather warmed up. For this project, I used Polyshades in satin Antique Walnut finish, the same stuff I used on the dresser in our master bedroom. I figured I could use it indoors – after all, I polyshade-d a fixed bathroom vanity inside in a room without open windows, right?

No. Mistake! I guess while polyshade-ing the bathroom vanity, I killed off the brain cells that would allow me to remember to USE THIS STUFF OUTSIDE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. Even with my slightly absurd setup, with the little fan balanced on a chair and trying to blow all the fumes out the open window, the apartment was getting smelly and I was getting lightheaded. I quit after one coat, even though this would need more.

Then I waited until St. Louis decided it was DONE with winter, which took an extraordinarily long time (FIVE months after I purchased the dressers). But! I whipped through those last three coats (four coats total) in a warm weekend:

Is it the prettiest staining job ever? Heavens, no. The name of the game with Polyshades is thin, even coats, to avoid bubbles and drips, with thorough drying between coats. My game, however, had become “Finish this dang project already,” so the surface isn’t as smooth as it can be. I slapped on three coats in one weekend and let them cure in the basement for a week before calling it Good Enough.

Ok, so drawers are painted and body is stained! Just one thing missing: hardware. The RAST dressers come with ugly wooden pulls, totally not suitable for this pretty piece. Lindsay’s post pointed me to the perfect source for drawer pulls at Lee Valley.

Like Lindsay, I chose the 51x43mm in antique gold. And they are gorgeous. I did look around local sources to see if I could find similar pulls or anything I’d like better, but honestly, these are stunning and the price can’t be beat.

Only one problem: Lee Valley accidentally left out a pull from my order (there was an empty unsealed bag for it, so it must have fallen out and the person filling the order didn’t notice), and another pull was missing a bolt. Major props to Lee Valley, though, because when I emailed them about it, they replied back within hours (on a SUNDAY!) apologizing and promising to send replacements ASAP. Kudos to them!

Once I had all my drawer pulls, I could finally put these babies together!

So that’s how it was done! You already know what the finished product will look like (duh, I’m straight-up copying Lindsay’s version). But I’ll show you what they look like in our house tomorrow!


Rachel said...

I can already tell that it looks AWESOME!!!

Tina said...

You are such a tease! I'd be back tomorrow regardless anyway, you know...

Anonymous said...

So I bought the same ring pulls for my rast dresser and they are wobbly! The screws don't go all the way in the ring pulls so they are not tight on the dresser. Did you have the same problem?

Sarah said...

@Anonymous, I did! They are a bit too long, but nothing a washer can't fix... and not so bad that I've bothered to get washers yet. I forgot to mention that, thanks for pointing it out!

Anonymous said...

Good to know! I am probably going to pick up some washers today!