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I thought you might like to see a full furniture transformation. I’ll add to this post as work progresses.

Below is a pic of a dressing table as I bought it. Nice shape, but the wood varnish looks a bit dated and it’s been slapped on layer upon layer, so the finish isn’t great. There is some nice carved detail to the mirror frame, which I hope to bring out when it’s painted. No hidden nasties – the drawers all open and close nicely, but one of the handles is a different design to the others.

This is the before - not horrendous, but a bit scratched and too much varnish!

I’ve just started work on the Edwardian dressing table. Although it’s very sturdy and solid in its construction, the wood is a little plain and the top had quite a lot of scratches and marks on it. In short, she’s a little bit frumpy and the old girl needs a Gok Wan treatment to bring out her best features.

This morning’s task was the sanding down of the top – boring and tedious, but I’m sure it’ll look much nicer when finished. I started with a course grain sandpaper and graduated down to fine grade for a smooth finish. The pic below is about 30 minutes into the initial sanding. I’m sanding by hand, rather than using an electric sander because I don’t want to take off too much. A little bit of history and character is essential on old furniture and it’s quite easy to get carried away with an electric sander and end up with a smooth, but boring lump of wood.

There is a lovely carved mirror to go on top, that has the typical black age spots behind the glass. I’m hoping to do a little bit of artwork to camouflage them – I haven’t painted on glass before, so I anticipate the swear box will be full by the end of the week:-)

Oh wow! Scratch the surface and just look what’s hiding beneath. The graining is just gorgeous, but had been covered up by gratuitous layers of cloudy varnish.

This is the dresser top sanded back and washed off. Isn't it lovely!

The drawer fronts are a little plain, so I’ve added some appliques to give a little touch of elegance.

Appliques in place, glued and set in place with tape.

I’d planned on painting the dressing table Old White, but have changed my mind. I think 2 colours will suit it better; Country Grey and Old White are favourites at the minute.

The screws that hold the handles in place are made from a soft metal, so I’m not going to remove them before painting. It makes my job a lot easier if I can remove handles, but alas, these will be painted around with a small art brush. However, I have removed the odd one out and it’s been sprayed with some WD40 in the hope that I can remove the old handle and replace it with one that matches all of the others.

The handles must have been handcrafted, rather than mass produced – there’s a signature on the back of the handles ‘F Woodcock’.

I have now finished the painting and did stick with the Annie Sloan ‘Country Grey’, with ‘Old White’ on the trims. I’ve yet to clean up the handles, which have little spots of paint on them here and there, and also need to clean up the mirror.

The appliques add a touch of interest to the drawers and I’ve painted them with the Country Grey, but have dry brushed some Old White on top. I may also add a touch of antique gold to them once the waxing of the paintwork is completed.

I’m undecided whether to got for a formal finish, or to rough wax for a French style finish. I’ve also to decide what to do about the mirror – leave it ‘as is’ or paint some small flowers on it to disguise the age spots. It might look a bit too ‘busy’ if I bling it too much, so I’m leaning towards the ‘as is’.

Finally finished the dressing table this afternoon. I left the mirror ‘as is’ and went for a subtle French waxed finish to add a little pigmentation and texture. Here it is: