The Boring Box with Drawers Transformation

I’ve been hoarding this piece in our garage for months. I picked it from a Facebook marketplace seller for a good deal and it was originally supposed to be a customized piece for a client of mine. Unfortunately, it was just too short. If I had to guess, it most likely had longer legs at one point in time and someone cut them down to make up for a wonky floor or possible to make it shorter for a kid to use. Who knows…


I must admit, it was pretty boring to look at and I felt that slapping a coat of paint on it was taking the easy way out. Trying to add character to a boring box is more of a challenge.

I do know from the seller, that it was her child’s chest of drawers when they were younger and that grandma and grandad customized it with some paper cut outs to make it a little more whimsical for them. Classic grandparent move. Gotta love it.


As well intentioned as this creative application was, it was not going to work for what I had planed for the piece. The paper people and the entire chest of drawers was covered in a thick, glossy polyurethane. I guess I could have used some striping chemicals to get it off but I had, like, an hour on that particular day to get the prep work done and 40 grit sand paper felt like the quickest way to do it.


That 40 grit sandpaper cuts through some stuff, let me tell ya… Our paper friends ceased to exist after 5 mins with circular sander. I also used the 40 grit to rough up the rest of the flat surfaces so that the paint I was going to use would have a better chance of adhering. I then went over it with a 80 grit (still rough but not like the 40) to help smooth it out a little before showering the whole piece down with some water and letting it dry in the sun.


After letting everything dry it was finally ready to be transformed. I was wanting to use Mr. Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint for this particular project, which is why it was so important to make sure that the flat surfaces were roughed up a little and not too slick or else all the milk paint would just flake right off due to its chippy nature.

So I went to my MMSMP stash and picked out her color, Schloss.”Schloss” is the German word for Castle and BTW, I just found out that it is actually one of the two colors of the month for November. So you could say that I am ahead of the curve for once in my life.


It is a very interesting grey (gray?) hue that has a very unique mix of pigments. It can read more grey (gray?) or taupe depending on the lighting, how the piece is prepped (sanding consistency), and how many layers of paint are being applied.

So I mixed up my paint and applied the first layer.



Pretty good coverage for the first coat but it was a still a little streaky for my taste on the flat surfaces, which is normal for any first coat paint.

I applied a second coat after after letting the first coat fully dry.


You can see a nice, matte, finish after applying the second coat and a little chipping in some areas after some light distressing.



If I hadn’t prepped the dresser with some sanding, the glossy finish that was there before probably would have made all of the milk paint flake off. Sometimes I like more chippy look and sometimes I like less. I’m okay with a little bit of chippiness for this piece but it all comes back to how you prepped it in the beginning stages of the transformation process.

My go-to method for sealing in any paint is Minwax’s Polycrylic Water Base Protective Coat in “Clear Matte” (found at most Lowe’s). Marian (Miss Mustard Seed) tends to use hemp oil for her top coats and I want to try it one day but the Minwax Polycrylic is what I had on me in the moment.


Okay, so how do we make this box with drawers look more interesting…?

I found these “feet” that you can also find at Lowes, and thought they would be good for replacing the legs that were once there.


they’re a little thicker than the base of the old cut off legs but that’s fine. I’m okay with a having a chunky leg moment for this piece.

I did a little sanding to round out that clean edge and painted them in Schloss as well to help make that transition a little easier.



Because they were raw wood there wasn’t any chipping from the paint BUT I still did some light distressing and finished them off with the Minwax protective coat.


I’ve been using mostly glass hardware on my pieces, and I played around with the idea of using all glass again but I consulted my hardware stash to see what I had.


I found 4 of these antique, diamond shaped pulls that I had from a previous project and wish I could have found 4 more. Drat. But, I kinda like how they pair with smaller glass knobs that I purchased from Amazon. Gotta be able to make things work in the design biz (Thanks Tim Gun).


We started with a plain ol’chest of drawers and this is where we are at now. A little more interest, a little more charm… Has more of a feminine edge to it now.


I thought I was over the gray craze and have been leaning more towards creamy whites BUT I’m feeling Schloss. Like I said in the beginning of this post, it has more versatility than other grays and a little more visual interest.

As a last minute detail I decided to add a even lighter cream grey outline, using MMSMP in Grain Sack, around the outside frame of the drawer boxes and side panels to add a some depth and little more interest.


Here’s my dry run that I sketched out on my phone because I sometimes have commitment issues unless I can see what it would actually look like. IMG_9954

And this is what it looks like when I actually commit…




I kept the prop styling simple for this product shoot but I love the contrast between the bright yellow leaves cooler grey (gray?).




This has been the transformation of the boring box with drawers into …


The Romantic Schloss Chest of Drawers!


As we rocket launch into the cold months, it gets a little hard to work on furniture pieces that should be sanded and clean off in well ventilated areas. I did plan for this, so I have a lot of upholstery projects lined up that I need to start making fabric decisions for, but more to come on that soon.