The Habitat Luncheon Dresser Before (and some progress)

If you have been following along, you know that I have been chosen as one of the featured designers for the Habitat for Humanity Women Build luncheon in May.  I was asked to refinish three pieces that will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for Women Build.  I introduced you to the desk and the chair in the past few weeks.  Today, I wanted to show you the last piece, the dresser.

When I went to the ReStore in Freehold NJ, I took a few laps around the huge store and the even bigger warehouse space they have in the back.  The main part of the store is set up like a regular furniture store and everything is easy to see.  I found the desk right away since it was right out on the floor.  The warehouse space is for all the furniture that hasn’t been tagged and put out for sale yet.  Luckily I was allowed to look around in the back, which was like a great big garage sale.  My only problem really was I didn’t have a huge amount of time to look.  And then through all the piles I saw this.

Habitat restore dresser before ridiculous redhead

I wasn’t even able to get to it and kind of felt bad asking for help, especially if I didn’t like it once I got there. Once I got help and we made a path, I could see this was right up my alley.  I loved the clean lines, the mid century mod feel, and those wood handles were awesome.

Here is a picture in the street once we got it home and out of the truck.

Habitat dresser before ridiculous redhead


It was a little rough in a few places.  It was a lovely orange color.  There was some damage to the top on the corners where the veneer had chipped which was being held together with duck tape.

Habitat dresser top before ridiculous redhead


All that is different now.  I am in the home stretch with only nine days to go until I drop off my pieces.  All three pieces are mostly done at this point.  The desk needs a coat or two more of the final finish.  The chair needs to be upholstered.  The dresser needs a final coat and some touch ups on the hardware.

The only way to get so many pieces done in a month while having a toddler (not in daycare) and also working on other jobs is to be organized.  Every piece I work on gets a project sheet (a form I can print out) where I keep track of all the hours I spend, what work I have done and what products I have used.  That way I can total up what each project cost me in time and materials for when I price it in the Etsy shop or charge someone for custom refinishing.  Once it has sold, I then staple the invoice to it and file it for reference.  It helps when I do estimates to be able to pull the info on a previous piece to get an idea of how much time a new piece might take.

With these three pieces, I also have planned out all the steps needed and then wrote them out on a calendar.  I actually just drew up a calendar on a piece of paper to give me a whole view of the time I had left.  Knowing what my projects are for the day has kept me on track.  It will also hopefully keep me from having to cram a bunch of work in at the end.  My arms are already very unhappy.

project calendar ridiculous redhead

I  didn’t want to give you any clues as to how I am refinishing things but we are close enough at this point so I think it’s ok.  Notice this calendar was all done in pencil so I can keep it neat while still being able to change things around. I also left a few days at the end with nothing planned as insurance against any overruns.  I had planned on putting on a third coat of the desk finish on Easter but that didn’t end up happening.  TB is also a speaker at TedX Navesink this year talking about climate change as a business risk, so I just crossed that day off knowing no work would get done.  My mom is coming to help with Lincoln for a few days so TB and I can both get work done.  It all goes on the calendar to keep my sanity at this point.

This whole project has been a lot of work.  It’s way cheaper and more satisfying then going to the gym though.  I only hope all the pieces get auctioned off for a lot of money for Habitat!  If you are in the area and would like to come to the luncheon and bid on any of my pieces (or the other three designer’s pieces) you can go here, click on the “register now” button on the top right and get tickets.  And please come say hello to me because I love meeting my readers!


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