Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Campaign Dresser Fix-up

Do you all make crazy long to-do lists and then never look at them again once you're done making the list?  Not that I know what that would be like, I always check off my to-do lists... 

I hope you don't believe that for one moment.  I am ALWAYS making lists of things I want to do at home after work, but usually they have way too many items and I forget to even look at it once I get home.  This week I decided to do something different.  This is a very busy week, and there is a lot that I'd like to get done before my college housemates come in town and attempt to relive our Rolla shenanigans :)  So what I did was make a very short list for each night this week and I'm proud to say that so far I've stuck to it.  The point of this spiel is that "write a blog post" was on my list tonight.  So here I am.  

My obsession with finding a dresser like this began when I saw several of them in the blogging world and I thought they were so classic, pretty and versatile.  The simple style and the brass hardware is what makes it a "Campaign" dresser.  I believe that the style is based of the portable furniture that politicians would bring with them when on the campaign trail.  The individual boxes could be stacked and held together with the brass brackets and then taken apart for transportation.  When I started searching Craigslist for a campaign dresser, I wasn't getting any results so instead I started searching for "solid wood dresser".  One lucky day when searching for dressers, this one popped up for $70 and I immediately emailed the seller to see if it was still available.  After a long 2 days of waiting for a reply I finally heard that it was available and I could have it!  We picked up the dresser on a Friday night and by Saturday morning I'd removed all of the hardware and started wiping down the wood. 

The dresser right after we brought it in from the car. 

The hardware needed some pretty serious polishing and I thought it would be very simple to do since I'd had luck polishing brass before with Bar Keeper's Friend.  However when I tried polishing the dresser hardware, the tarnish was not coming off at all.  I did a little research and found out that some brass is lacquered and the tarnish is most likely under the lacquer.  Ugh.  So off to Home Depot I went for some lacquer thinner.  I got home and started soaking the hardware in the thinner.  I could see that it was making the lacquer bubble up, so I was able to scrape it off and then finally polish it.  What I thought would be a 1 hour task turned into pretty much an entire day.  Oh well, it was worth it in the end for me. 

Hardware before

Hardware after

All cleaned up!

The next step was to decorate the top of the dresser so it could liven up our entry way a little.  I found a lamp at a local thrift store and bought a new shade for it.  Then I decided to fancy up the shade a little with some silver leaf, but I'll save that project for another post.  Under the lamps are a couple of books and magazines, then I stacked a couple of hat boxes from my collection and added a painting and a few other little pretties.  It's not quite finished yet, and I need to try again to fix the painting. Then maybe I'll actually hang it on the wall.  For now I'm just happy to have a more welcoming entry way.  In the future, the dresser might find a new home or possibly a fun paint color, but it will stay au natural for the time being. 


Well, that's the new dresser that I keep talking about.  I hope you're not all hugely disappointed that it's not cooler :)  I will have a pretty cool cake to show you at the end of this week so be on the look out for that!  Now I have to get back to my Tuesday night to-do list and finish baking the cakes.  Have a great week!


  1. Looks good! It would be hard for me to paint it if the wood is in good shape.

    1. Thanks! The wood isn't THAT great, but I'm not going to rush into painting it anytime soon either. It would probably help to just polish the wood for now.

  2. Looks awesome...I noticed it when I was at your place a few weeks ago. What are you going to end up putting in it?

  3. It looks nice, Lisa. The brass cleaned up pretty good. Are those the two hat boxes you found in Colorado?

    1. Thanks, Dad! I don't actually remember where I got those 2 hat boxes, but they weren't from Colorado.

  4. I LOVE Bar Keeper's Friend!! - Claire