Guest Blogger: Furniture Alchemy

You might remember last month we announced that we would be featuring a guest blogger each week – well, here is out first installment! We got some great responses (keep them coming, email submissions to

Our first guest blogger is Sheila Jaime, owner of Furniture Alchemy, located in Alexandria, VA. Sheila is all about vintage and shabby chic furniture and decor – especially turning old ordinary furniture into something extraordinary. She did just that with the project she submitted to us for a guest blogger post. Sheila found a lovely little antique dresser that was in…rough shape. She transformed it with a little creativity, a lot of love and some chalk paint.

Here is a quote from her blog, Furniture Alchemy, about the dresser, “So, [as you can see] the veneer is completely shot.  I often get pieces in with cracked or chipped veneer, and have learned some tricks for repairing it, but usually I don’t have to remove it all, so I knew this would be quite a process.  However, when I was standing in the thrift store where I found it (for $20!!), contemplating for no less than 20 minutes on whether or not to buy it, I noticed the wood underneath the veneer was really gorgeous, and decided to just go for it.  It was structurally sound, and the only issue was the veneer and the broken cabinet door, so I hauled her straight home and couldn’t wait to get started!”

Photo by Sheila - Dresser before she worked her magic!

Photo by Sheila – Dresser before she worked her magic!

The next step was figuring out how to give this dresser new life. Sheila’s supply list (from her blog post) included:

  • a great piece of furniture (of course!)
  • chisel and hammer for removing veneer
  • heavy duty sandpaper
  • screwdriver
  • Your choice of paint (mine was Annie Sloan’s “Graphite”)
  • Rustoleum Decorative Glaze and some old cloths for wiping
  • brushes
  • Satin Polyacrylic for a finish coat
  • stencils of your choice! I got mine at Michael’s, they are Martha Stewart’s silkscreen stencils.

Here is how Sheila tackled this project:

“I started ripping veneer off the next day.  Fortunately, most of the veneer on the sides and drawer fronts was so loose already that it came right off, but for those stubborn pieces, I was able to use a paint scraper and a hammer and sort of “chisel” it off.  The wood on the sides wasn’t the same solid, lovely oak as what was on the top and drawers, so I knew it would have to be at least partially painted, but I really wanted to try to salvage the tops and drawer fronts to re-stain.

After about 30 minutes of trying to pry the veneer off of the top, using all kinds of methods that I read about online without much result, when I remembered a refinishing tip I’d read just the other day….when having difficulty removing badly damaged veneer from the top of a dresser, take off the top and flip it over! So, I immediately called in for reinforcements (aka my fiance, Sam) and he was able to pry the top off pretty quick and we flipped it and reattached it with a few nails along the side and some new screws on the bottom (the original ones were so rusty we couldn’t even get them back in!)

Once we got everything stripped, sanded, and flipped, this is what she looked like:”

Photo by Sheila – Her antique dresser stripped!

Next, she moved on to painting and staining, “I had purchased a small can of stain I was planning on using, but to be honest, I hate staining. It’s smelly, messy, and I’ve never quite gotten the hang of it, which is why I usually stick to painting. So I had a can of Rustoleum Decorative Glaze, and was curious to see what would happen if I used it on the bare wood. I took one of the drawers out to test it on the inside first, and used a cloth to rub it on…I loved the results so I went ahead and did the drawer fronts and top to match, and the color turned out beautiful and just what I was hoping for! It was equally as messy as stain, but a lot less “fume-y” and seemed more predictable/easier to work with.

I’d already decided I wanted to do a dark color and went with Annie Sloan “Graphite” with some distressing.

Removed the cabinet door and painted the inside of the cubby, did some distressing and stenciling on the corners of the drawers; then added some corner stencils on the top. The only problem I encountered with the “flipping” of the top, was that there was a line around the edge where it was attached that didn’t seem to want to sand down. So I ended up painting a border around the edge to mask the discoloration, and it blended the corner stencils even better.

After all was said and done, The glaze and paint dried for a day, then I used two coats of satin Minwax polyurethane finish coat, with one day of drying time in between (still have one more coat to go on the top, for a little extra protection), used the same poly on the hardware to clean it up and shine it a bit, and she was ready!”

And here is Sheila’s gorgeous finished product!

Sheila’s lovely finished project – amazing!

And – as a bonus, she used the old cabinet door to create a key hanger, message-board for her wall!

cabinet door

Photo by Sheila – Love her creativity!

Follow more of Sheila’s DIY projects on her blog, her Facebook page and purchase her creations in her Etsy shop.

Here is the link to her original blog post about the stripped and flipped dresser.

And here is the link to buy chalk paint in our online shop, as always it is available in our retail store too, located at 410 S Maple Ave Suite 114 in Falls Church!

If you’d like to submit a project for guest post – email us at!

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2 Responses to Guest Blogger: Furniture Alchemy

  1. Prudence says:

    A perfect reply! Thanks for taking the truelbo.

  2. Charl Brown says:

    HI Dear,

    My name is Charl Brown. I found your blog while searching for some informative blog.I really like the way you maintain your blog with high quality content and images.

    Are you still accepting guest posts? If you allow me then i will send you a related content for review.

    Best Regards
    Charl Brown

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