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Saturday, July 26, 2014

DIY Vintage Dresser Island

Recently I shared my current creative space at the 2014 Where Bloggers Create  party. One hundred sixteen bloggers shared their creative spaces
- everything from amazing and elaborate studios to more humble spaces, like mine. 
I'm still making my way through the links to visit all the participants! If you haven't visited the party, you should definitely pop over to My Desert Cottage for all the fun and inspiring tours. 

I promised to show you how I put together my {no money} diy vintage dresser island, so here we go! 

I started with this vintage dresser that has been with me through 3 homes. Like most pieces in our home, it has served many functions from craft supplies, to console table, to t.v. cabinet, to hey, actually being used as a dresser in my kids' bedrooms! Go figure. 

When we first moved to this home three and a half years ago, I put this in our entryway. Each of the four kids had their own drawer labeled with their name to put their "stuff" as they came in and out. Where the two drawers had broken out of the bottom, we put shoes. 
Come to think of it, that was a pretty good system! 

But the drawers in this vintage piece have been disintegrating since it was given to me well over ten years ago. I've always had in mind to repurpose it into something else.
I really like the overall size and shape, and the cute little vintage green legs. 

Then as Where Bloggers Create was approaching, it had been sitting in my living room for awhile, and I looked at it one day and saw "island!" Yeah, I see things like that ;-) 
So I began tweaking it into a work island for my creative space. 

I decided I wanted to keep two drawers on the top and make one shelf across the opening on the bottom.
To my advantage, this isn't really a nicely made piece of furniture, so it was simple to remove the old drawer supports by knocking them out with a hammer and cutting some pieces out with a jigsaw. 

It would have been great if one of the side supports had been in the spot I wanted my shelf, 
They were just nailed in, so it was pretty simple to pull these out and just re-position one on each side to hold up the shelf boards. 

Then I started picking through my pile of junk in the garage supplies to find some boards I could use for the open shelf. When I found some boards that worked, I realized one is a little warped. Keep in mind-when I'm doing these projects I am pulling them together 100% from things I already have on hand. If I had ANY budget at all, of course my projects would be a little different. 
If you are like me and don't have money to spend, don't let that stop you from trying something! It might not come out "perfect", but I'll take personal and creative over perfect any day. 

I simply cut the boards to the length I needed with a jigsaw (picked up for less than $5.00 at a yard sale last year).

I started trying out some different things to make a little counter space on the back side of the vintage dresser. 

I've had these heavy iron shelf brackets for years and I liked the idea of using them like corbels under the counter piece. 

Now this dresser is not very heavy. I would have liked a deeper board for the counter, but with the weight of the iron brackets I was afraid a bigger piece of wood might topple the whole thing! 

I finally decided on a board to use for the little counter. Guess where it came from....

Remember that "Let's Dance" sign I created for a friend's wedding reception? When I did the post about The Big 5, I mentioned how it keeps showing up around the house..... well now it won't be.

I dry brushed a little white paint over the piece. A good option when you like this look, and especially when you don't have much paint :) 

I'm still going to sand a bit of this away.

I already had this old finial attached to the piece of square molding. I simply screwed it to the side of the vintage dresser from the inside, and use it to hang aprons. 

To the other side of the island I added a metal bird hook that a friend gave me years ago. 

The bird hook is screwed to a beadboard panel that has a saw tooth hanger on the back, which is simply hung on the side of the dresser. Easy to move to another spot if I ever decide to {and you know I will :) }

Of course the open shelves hold creative supplies. 

You can see that I also used a small L-bracket in the center for additional support.  

It's been really nice to have a dedicated spot for projects instead of always taking over the kitchen counter or dining table! 

{more about my current creative space here}

Thanks so much for coming by to see my vintage dresser island 

Thanks to Donna for the feature over at Funky Junk! 


If you're not following me on Facebook, I'd love it if you'd stop by for a visit over there. It's a fun way to interact more often, and I tend to share 'previews' of what's coming on the blog over there as well. 

Have a great week, friends!


Sharing over at


  1. So ingenious! Love how you use what you already have. I like the idea of putting the bird hook on the beadboard so that it is "mobile" for another project on another day! It's always great to see ideas for old dressers because most of us probably have one, and if not you can get one pretty inexpensively at thrift stores and flea markets.
    xo Kathleen

  2. An amazing DIY job, love that you scoped out your needs and they were met with things you already had.
    Now Jeanette can you come over to my place and build me one :)

    You know how I feel already about your humble space, it's one of glory and one that inspires the passion you have for creating. Love your creative mind in how you see something and turn it into an unexpected completely functional piece of work space.

    The judges over here give you a perfect 10.

    Off to visit.


  3. Wow, what a looks great!

  4. Brilliant idea, I just love it:) You always have the best recycle ideas.

  5. You are sooo very creative! I love the use of the brackets and the hangers attached to each side.
    Fabulous makeover!

  6. I love this, I've been thinking of doing something like this for a kitchen island. I'll have to wait and see what I end up with for a new fixer upper house but I hope to have a kitchen that I can create something like this for!


  7. I love it, Jeanette! It turned out great and I like that you are using it for your creative space. I can see this in a kitchen that can't really handle one of those huge islands, but is a great size for when you really want an island. : ) Love all the little elements you added. I'm most impressed that you managed to put this all together with things you already had hanging around waiting to be used for some project! Great job!

  8. Jeanette!!! This is awesome. What a great re love of this old dresser and to spend no money is even better. You my dear are the queen of reloving on no budget and using what you have. That alone takes creative sight and you have that for sure. Love this project.

  9. What a super cute makeover you did with this piece...LOVE IT!!


  10. Jeanette, I love your attitude, your unique visionary "eye" and all the beauty that you create using whatever you have on hand. This piece is amazing.

  11. What a great outcome for your dresser! I LOVE this project! I've featured you on Party Junk this weekend. So glad you linked up!

  12. This is an amazing redo!! WOWZA, pinning this baby now.

  13. I love how you totally reinvent pieces you already have! It works. :)

  14. It looks like a totally different it!!

  15. Omigosh I love it!! I really love those brackets too. Such a pretty look!

  16. That is wonderful! I love your creativity! It works really well and it is so cute!

  17. This is really creative. You went out of your comfort zone (well, you went out of mine, anyway) and turned it into something totally unexpected. Bravo!

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