The Swedish Hem Dresser

Whenever I get a new project piece in my “To-do” pile, I usually have a idea in my head about what I’m gonna do with it. Like, what color I want to paint it, or maybe its a strip and stain piece.

I like to think I know what I’m doing before I make the financial commitment.

But sometime, I make that financial commitment before actually seeing the piece in person.. I’ve made this mistake many times with online auctions and for whatever reason I continue to buy without going to the auction preview.

Example: There was an online auction that had a beautiful tall-boy chest of drawers up for grabs. The woodgrain on the piece was so beautiful and I was so excited when I snagged it for a cool $40. I couldn’t believe it! I was shocked the other bidders let me have it for that price. Whatever. Maybe bidder #6350 was just that good at transmitting intimidating vibes through the inter-web.

Heh heh.

Fast-forward to the scheduled pick-up time… I stroll on-site, feeling like villain, ready to collect my most recent purchase. Boy did my bubble burst when I tried to move that thing. I quickly realized that this imposter was made entirely out of metal.. like.. file cabinet metal… The beautiful woodgraining? Yeah, that was literally painted on and that’s why it looked so perfect..

“Amanda, did you even check the description of the lot to make sure it didn’t say ‘metal’?”

Yazz… I CHECK THE DESCRIPTION! And I even double checked when I realized what had gone down. It said: “Wooden chest of drawers.” I swear.

I could’ve made a stink to the people in charge of the auction service and let them know that they mis-advertised the piece but I already felt dumb enough and didn’t what all these veterans in the biz to know that I was such a novice.. I really don’t think they meant to mis-represent the item. What’s $40 anyways? Well, at the time I was still only a few months in the game (only 2 years old in the business right now, so still pretty green) so any money I was making was going right back into the business and “dumb buys” was not factored into the inventory budget. ‘

So you think I would have learned my lesson on previewing piece before I purchase them, right?


The most recent, what I thought was at the time, a mistake purchase was a incredibly rough looking chest of drawers. I purchased it, once again, on a online auction site (starting to see a pattern here)… Without previewing it first (yep, definite pattern).

It was a panic buy with another dresser the day before the Lucketts Spring Market, when I was thinking that I didn’t have enough “big pieces” to fill the space. I actually did end up painting and finishing the other one right before we left the next morning, and The Alice Chest of Drawers actually sold at the show to my cousin and his fiancé (which is fitting because his mother, also my aunt, is actually named Alice).

This is the only “Before’ picture I had. The mirror was too far gone to save unfortunately.


So here I am stuck with this other dresser and the reasons it was not also painted for Lucketts was for 2 reasons:

  1. Out of time.
  2. When I was hosing it down I realized that it had issues with bleeding stain and drawers that stuck, so it was going to need more attention than just slapping some paint on and calling it a day.

When I got back from Lucketts and after recovering from the show life, I started getting the creative itch again.

I was able to make the drawers move in and out with ease and now came the fun part.. The paint.

After sealing in the bleeding stain with a Polycrylic Protective Finish , I whipped a MMS Milk Paint mixture. I’m so sorry I don’t have an exact formula for the cocktail that I came up with. I know it had a touch Layla’s Mint, some Bergere, some Ironstone, and Artissimo.

After getting the base paint on, some chipping started to happen, but it needed something more.

I sketched out a design with chalk and with a small brush, did hand painted detailing with Ironstone Milk Paint.  After that dried I did some distressing and the Milk Paint flaked off to perfection. Another Coat of the Polycrylic to seal the deal and BOOM it was done.

I love it.


I can’t believe I regretted adding this piece to my “to-do” pile. I absolutely love it and was staring at it constantly before I took it to the shop.

Adding the detailed painting took what would have been just another painted dresser into (what I think is) a show stopper.



Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint saves the day again! And a it’s a true ugly duckling turned swan story.

I decided to name it the “Swedish Hem Dresser” because the Swedish word for “Home” is Hem. I don’t know why but this piece gave me a Swedish vibe (if that’s possible).

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The “Swedish Hem Dresser” is avaliable for sale at The Factory Antique Mall in Verona, Virginia.

Hope ya’ll have an awesome weekend! Always keep treasure hunting.

– Amanda