gallery Timeline of a MAJOR furniture restoration project

 2 years before renovation

React with outrage when my parents announce that when they downsize, they are getting rid of the Welsh dresser I have grown up around. Declare an overwhelming nostalgic attachment to the dresser and shake head vehemently at the thought of donating said dresser to charity.

18 months before renovation

Respond with some surprise when Father announces he has booked a van to transport dresser over 300 miles to Cornwall, from Yorkshire. *Discuss with Husband about the possibilities; where can the dresser fit in the house?

*Argue petulantly

1 year before renovation

Separate the dresser, bottom half, now homing games and jigsaws. Tell everyone that it is the most useful piece of furniture in the house, refuse to let children mess up the order of the jigsaws without supervision; house, much tidier. Top half sits in the spare room after I suggest in front of friends (after a few glasses of wine) that I will renovate the item of furniture. Get held to account for it the day after.

6 months before renovation

Buy furniture paint, in the presence of 6 year old son, knowing full well that he will remind me that I have promised to do this and need to know when this is happening, about 3 times a day. Learn more than I will ever need to know about furniture paint from the helpful young lady in B&Q, she in return learns an unhealthy amount of information about our family from my son at the checkout, including the fact that I often have ‘bright ideas’ that are never followed through.

Renovation: The first coat

After a great deal of nagging, reminding, bribing… I finally give in. The living room is cleared, the dust sheet ceremoniously laid down. Children, stand back… Mummy is painting. Jaws agape, laughter follows, I decide to wait until the disloyal little harbingers are in bed. This is regretted as soon as I realise that the husband’s heckling is much worse, more constant and the choice of language; borderline crude. Part way through the first coat, I realise I have forgotten to photograph the original piece. Before and after shots now ruined. The picture perfect Instagram/Pinterest story is a distant memory. The husband laughs, and laughs, and laughs…

The second coat

The undercoat is on, I have great expectations that this is the final coat. The undercoat was so expensive, that must count for something. Mahogany can’t be that hard to paint white, can it?

The third coat

Indeed, it seems it is.

The fourth coat

I hate painting, but the dresser top is starting to look more ‘shabby chic’ and less ‘1993 Tippex-ed pencil case’ I dare now to start talking about the trinkets I will lovingly display on the dresser top and how it will transform the kitchen wall. No one cares.

It is finally finished! Finally ready to go on the wall! The celebrations are … well, muted is probably the best way to describe them.

5 weeks later

After a second stint in the spare room and a record amount of nagging, Husband decides today is the day. The dresser top is going ON THE WALL. I stand over him, in the same overprotective way I did when he first changed the nappy of our precious son. Back seat driving and offering *helpful advice to help the process go smoothly, he drills, he mutters and sighs. I think to myself about how ironic it is that this is the hard part, when I have completed the real leg work. I decide to keep that to myself for the sake of marital harmony, and then tell him 30 seconds later.

*inappropriate and useless advice

To show how easy the putting up of the dresser is, I am made responsible for finding a pen narrow enough to go through the drilled holes to mark the wall. After breaking 3 felt tip pens and 2 pencil leads, one minor row later; Husband drills wider holes and the wall is marked. The most important job of all is next… holding the perfectly lined-up dresser on the wall, by the corresponding wall plugs. Husband remarks the shelves are so narrow he ‘can’t get his drill in’ it would be totally inappropriate to laugh. Of course, I do laugh and move the dresser. After a minor telling off the dresser is realigned. He then spends the next 546 hours (or so it seems) rooting around for the short handled red screwdriver in the cupboard. Naturally, in the place I have suggested, there is also a remarkably long handled screwdriver (also red) Husband pulls this out with scorn declaring it ‘the longest screwdriver in showbiz’. You drop the dresser in uncontrollable snort laughs.

Slightly larger row ensues.

Once the dresser is in place, I wonder, would it probably have been better a little higher? I decide not to mention it. Husband then points out a bit I’ve missed on the final coat; so I mention it.

Both sit and admire the team work from the kitchen table with a large glass of wine. Decide that I am very, very good at furniture restoration… but that I wouldn’t want to flood the market and put all the existing furniture restorers out of business; so I might leave it there for the meantime. Husband responds with:

‘Yeah, I suppose it’s alright. If you like that kind of thing.’

Life Love and Dirty Dishes


  1. So glad you managed to utilise it and the top looks great on the kitchen wall. Laughed all the way through the fixing to the wall process.


  2. That’s exactly how it goes down in my house. Only at some point I would have stubbed my toe on it! I loved this. A post that I could relate to, rather than making it look easy and making me feel crap! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics


  3. […] I’ve spoken before about the fact that I am not really a Pintrest Prefect kind of person.  My great ideas normally turn into great disasters.  What Mum Should Have Told Me wrote one of the best ‘how to’ guides I have ever read.  Very honest and very funny.  Check out Timeline of a Major Furniture Restoration Project. […]


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