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286 Sunset Park Drive
Herndon, VA, 20170
United States

Martha Leone Design. A furniture redesign company specializing in turning each piece of furniture into a sophisticated statement piece with the use of paint and design. This approach produces versatile pieces that are relevant, even as your taste evolves over time.


Martha Leone Design: The blog is where I share thoughts on the creative process and share lots of pictures of each finished piece of painted furniture. Critiques are always welcome!

Dresser in Monocromatic Shades

Martha Leone

82 MCM9 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign 82 MCM2 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign82 MCM3 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign 82 MCM4 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign 82 MCM5 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign 82 MCM6 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign 82 MCM7 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign Introducing the sister piece to the mid-century cabinet I shared last week. This post follows the same format as my last post where I detail my process and more importantly, lessons learned from trial and error.

Process - Sanded the entire piece: Outer frame was sanded down with an orbital sander down to the raw veneer. Drawer fronts were hand sanded to roughen up the original finish. - Applied three coats of Kilz primer. - Painted the outer frame four coats of Benjamin Moore Aura Satin in Super White then sealed it with two coats of Howard's Citrus Shield Paste Wax. - Painted the drawer fronts Behr Ashwood in Satin then sealed them with Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane . - Used a roller for large flat surfaces and a good quality brush for other surfaces.

Problem: Staining Veneers As I mentioned in my previous post, mid-century pieces are covered with great walnut or teak veneers. So, it's no surprise that my original plan for this dresser was to sand the frame, stain it, then paint the drawers a lighter color. After sanding the piece and giving it one coat of dark walnut stain (a second coat would not have fixed the problem), it looked like this:

photo photo2

Lesson Learned I already suspected that this veneer would not look good after struggling with the other piece. But I was determined to avoid covering up those cool peg details with paint. I wanted one of these two pieces to boast a beautiful wood finish. I thought that if I use a dark stain on the veneer, the blotchy spots would disappear. Not so. The dark stain only accentuated them!

Solution I chose to paint it although I've heard of techniques to help the wood take the stain more consistently. Some of these include water popping the grain by using 50:50 very hot water and denatured alcohol; using wood conditioner (doesn't always work for me); or bleaching the veneer.

82 MCM8 Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign

82 MCM Dresser at MarthaLeoneDesign

This great American of Martinsville cabinet will be for sale soon at Peg Leg Vintage (contact them for availability:,

Linking up to: Miss Mustard Seed  •  Redoux Interiors  •  Liz Marie Blog  •  Mod Vintage Life