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When we moved in August, the height of the desert summer, I knew that I was losing my craft room & getting a section of the living room. I was a little bummed, but there were very compelling reasons for the sudden move & I had come up with a plan.

A few years back, we bought a used armoire at a garage sale. Recently, we found a beautiful dresser & night stands at another garage sale, so the armoire no longer fit in the bedroom. Being 4′ wide x 6′ tall x 2′ deep, I decided that the armoire would be perfect for my new crafting space, so I talked my sweetie into refinishing the armoire.

This is the only picture that I could find of the armoire before we refinished it. As you can probably guess from the piles, the photo was taken during the move into our previous home. A previous owner had painted it a rich burgundy color & added doors to the top; while I did like the color, it simply would not work in the new space. Besides, the thought of spending $30 on supplies to refinish the armoire was much more palatable than spending $200+ on new furniture for my craft space.


We picked up supplies a few days after the move  with the thought that, all-in-all, it should take around a week to strip, sand & refinish the armoire. In retrospect, I think the summer sun must have gotten to me (us)… did I mention we did this during August & that we live in the desert?

Anyway… The first & biggest problem we ran into was that the heat & low humidity caused the stripping agent to dry way too fast. Once the goop went on (we picked an eco-friendly gel), we had to scrap it off after 15 minutes, or else. Because we couldn’t let the gel sit overnight, it took three coats to get through all the paint. There were a grand total of five layers: three layers of paint and two layers of primer. To make a long story short… it took three supply runs, three weeks and about $80 to refinish the armoire. Still a lot less than buying new furniture, but more than we’d hoped to spend in time or money.


In the end, we didn’t get all of the old paint off. We left the doors off & found that there were several patches under all that paint. In spite of (or maybe because of), the bangs & bruises, I love how much character the armoire has now.


We sealed it with two coats of Danish Oil & put the old drawer pulls back on for now. I’ll be going shopping for some pretty drawer pulls at the end of the month. I’m thinking glass knobs would be fabulous & there is an Anthropologie store not too far away from our house…