Waterfall Style Antique Chifferobe Wardrobe

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Recently I stopped by at the last hour of a church sale and spotted this sad lonely dresser – a waterfall style antique chifferobe wardrobe!

Chifferobe as it was sitting on the curb

Everyone was passing it up because it was in a despicable shape. I kind of felt bad for the person who donated it, thinking they might have to take it back, or even worse, send it to the burn pile.

But this blue price tag screamed out at me and right away I thought “Game on!”

Blue price tag of $15

I could tell the two boys were snickering at me while they were loading it up into the back of  my two day old new SUV.  MyLove wasn’t too thrilled either when I got home, maybe because of this…

Broken bottom of furniture

or this…

Inside damage of antique wardrobe

My goodness, what did I get myself into?

I’ve got it home and now I’m committed to it.

Challenge Accepted!

Antique Chifferobe Wardrobe Transformation

I spent lots of time kicking out the ugly tattered boards.

Lots of time vacuuming and cleaning each piece of the wood, top to bottom, side to side.

E v e r y    I n c h!

-thank goodness it was trash day-

Scraping veneer off the old furniture

Lots of stripping out torn and peeled veneer.

Peeled veneer

Lots of pressing and gluing tattered edges.

Before and after pics of the inside of the chifferobe

And tons of frustration to go along with it that. It almost ended up on the curb a few times!

There were times when I wanted to rip every ounce of ugly veneer, and paint the entire piece with chalk paint, but throughout the process I didn’t have the heart!

Look at a knob before and after the refinishing

I love the look of wood-grain too much, so I  tried to salvage as much of it as I could, veneer or not!

Then finally, the potential started to unfold,  and I was seeing the beauty in this piece.

Starting to look nice

Do you see it too?

Antique Wardrobe Waterfall Style Chifferobe Armoire

It’s a beauty, isn’t it?

Lots of room for storage, folded and hanging clothes.

You could even put a little mirror in it and put your makeup on right there!

To me it looks perfect for a gentleman; so, I can imagine him looking in the mirror to fix his tie!

Looking inside of the wardrobe: nice silver/gray color!

It’s not perfect, in fact it shows a lot of imperfections, but like I previously mentioned I tried to save as much of the original look as I could.

I painted the top, sides and insides with Annie Sloan Graphite and heavy Dark Wax.

Here is a closer look at the color. The further away you stand, the darker it looks.

Annie Sloan Graphite color

I stained entire inside with Minwax Sedona Red and Poly to seal it up!
The saved woodgrain veneer was renewed with Minwax Dark Walnut and Poly.
It really brought out the richness of this piece!

And of course my favorite is a little surprise on the inside…

Peek a Boo Drawers!

-in a cute grey chevron pattern-

Peek a Boo Drawers

After I was reviewing his Glamour Shots I thought something was missing so  I decided to add a little trim today.

Just a bit of trim added to complete the look

But no Glamour Shots today because it’s raining so these garage pics will have to suffice.

Just what it needed (I think)! The curves reminded me of a waterfall!

It was a tough job but now in hindsight I am super pleased with it!

I would love to hear from you 🙂
Maybe I could use a Basket full of Sunshine with all of this rain!

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41 Comments

  1. Shaz :)

    Ooooh you should be so proud of your hard work and commitment to this beautiful old piece. Im sure its past owners would be thrilled it has been saved. You have done a wonderful job in renewing ots life amd I am certain that someone will fall in love and be giving it a new home when it goes into your shop.
    Hugz, Shaz xx

    • Dawn Carr

      I think you have done a fantastic job. I have one just like it, but in much better shape than the one you brought home. Now I am going to try to make mine look as beautiful as you have made this piece. I am sure you will find someone who will be willing to buy and treasure you work.

  2. Trish Martin

    Wow!! You did an amazing job on this. It looks gorgeous.

  3. Stacey

    It is truly amazing..my jaw dropped!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  4. Sharon @ mrshinesclass

    You are so talented!

  5. Traci Creel

    You certainly worked wonders with this piece. It is truly gorgeous. I so would have lost patience long before you did and now you have this wonderful piece. You really brought out the beauty of the wood and workmanship of it.
    Traci

  6. Magill

    Beautiful transformation! I hope it inspires others to not bypass a lonely dresser for something mass produced out of pressed wood.

  7. Unknown

    Great job…love hearing about the trials and tribulations as you go through the process
    and then seeing the awesome outcome…you go girl!!!!

  8. Cindy Brown

    So impressed! Talk about turning an ugly duckling into a swan!

  9. Chanitele Cordle

    You did an absolutely amazing job on this piece! From sad to Gorgeous! It's like you renewed the confidence of this old gem! 😀 I really enjoy your blog! I hope you get a handsome reward for this piece!

  10. Danielle

    I love your transformation. x

  11. Maria Elena

    You are the best, Tami! Beautiful transformation!

  12. Charlotte Huffman

    Thanks for saving a beautiful piece of furniture.

  13. Patty

    Oh, Tami ! What a great makeover! If the previous owner saw it now I'm sure they'd want it back. I'm so glad you rescued this sweet piece. I want to grab every piece I can when I see it, but I haven't yet taken the step of transforming the orphans and my rooms are full. But you give me a lot of inspiration, especially on this one with the veneer. I have two pieces that belonged to my mom and dad, and want to keep them because my folks are no longer with me. But they have been in storage and the veneer is peeling off. I was so close to getting rid of them, but because of the bloggers I subscribe to, who turn pig's ears into silk purses, I am determined to do the same. Unfortunately, I won't be able to save the veneer on the outside as you did, but a new paint job will save the day! I love all you do and I'm glad to see new projects as you share them with us. Keep up the fantastic makeovers!

  14. Anonymous

    Wow. That is a wonderful makeover. I would have taken the easy way out with chalk paint. Thank goodness you didn't. That would grain is beautiful and the paint color you chose is so complimentary. I admire your stick-to-itiveness.

  15. ARod Rodriguez

    fabulous job you really brought new life to the wonderful piece

  16. Rita Mireles

    HOLY HELL!! that looks AMAZING!! It seriously looks like you bought it like that brand new and I love that your family was probably in awe after they saw the final product!
    Woo Hoo it's a masterpiece!

  17. Judy

    This is absolutely beautiful! Your HARD work paid off. I don't think I would have had the patience to do what you did! Congratulations on a joy well done!

  18. Val Manchuk

    Absolutely stunning makeover! You gave this old piece new life. It looks beautiful.

    Val @ artsybuildinglady.blogspot.ca

  19. Christy Our Southern Home

    Girl, you are the furniture whisperer! This is freaking amazing! Sharing and pinning!

  20. Stage5

    I absolutely Love this! So glad that you preserved as much of the wood as you could. It's beautiful!

  21. Bliss

    Stopping in to pin, love it!

  22. Lani @ Simply Fresh Vintage

    I have an antique buffet that has a very similar veneer pattern. It was my great grandmother's and it has been very well taken care of. When I got it, it had been stained over so many times it was literally black with stain, but I knew that something beautiful was hiding underneath. So I sent it to a good friend who stripped it down, cleaned it up and put on one new coat of stain. I was shocked at the difference.
    Yours has the same affect … I love to see old antique pieces that have a wonderful story to tell come back to life. Thank you for sharing!
    Hugs & Blessings …
    Lani

  23. Marty Walden

    You did an amazing job! I love wardrobes, especially with the rounded top, and the new knobs as well! Great job, Tami!

  24. Karen Aber Ploransky

    Amazing, Awesome, Gorgeous–I love it. You did an incredible job. Someone will snap that up in a minute!

  25. Gail Wilson

    amazing seems to be the word of the day for this piece. Great job! I love how the piece came back to life. ohhh the stories I'm sure it could tell.

    I have a waterfall chest of drawers that I'm torn about. I have removed the horrible veneer from the top, and considered trying to replace it. Then I thought about slapping some diy chalk paint on it and calling it done. We'll see. I did save it from a violent death, it was about to get beat up, dismantled and thrown in the dumpster when I rescued it.

    again, great job!!!

    gail

  26. Designed Decor

    My hats off to you! You did an AMAZING job! I would of walked right by this one! I am so impressed that you took this one on!

  27. Laura Tarlo

    Gorgeous work!

  28. Sarah Riedl

    Holy crap, I did not see that coming! I was expecting a painted piece (let's face it, the "before" did not look salvagable), but I'm so glad you saved the wood grain, even if it is just veneer! Hats off to you. 🙂

  29. Larissa Prodigal Pieces

    Been there done that and am so glad you restored it. I love wood, but am a painter too and sometimes they just need some TLC like you did. Fabulous job and patience!! :o)

  30. Christy James

    Are you kidding me??? That is the most amazing transformation ever!!!!!!! Tami, you rock! XO

  31. Kelly Pabst

    Great job bringing this piece back to usefulness. I would love it if you could either show how to put fabric on the peek-a-boo drawers or tell me where to find a tutorial…a lot of Pinterest and your posts give picture ideas but covering the sides (inside and out) is a challenge… Any ideas?
    Thanks
    Kelly

  32. Marigene

    Oh my goodness, what an amazing transformation…such a gorgeous piece of furniture!

  33. Nancy

    Great job. I have a couple of these and one thing you can do is knock the board that goes across the bottom out and add a piano hinge and a pull or knob to it with a magnetic catch if it needs it. It allows for more storage without ruining the whole look.

  34. smartygirl

    absolutely beautiful! so nice to see someone giving an antique the love it deserves instead of painting it teal or something. just gorgeous.

  35. Reenie

    Here from Better After…. WOW!!! That's absolutely beautiful. Great job. 🙂

  36. Revi

    You should treat yourself to a nice massage or something. NICE job – it is just beautiful!

  37. Carey Marshall

    I have an antique dresser that is really beautiful, but very worn and has some veneer that is lifting and I have always had intentions of finding a way to glue the veneer back down. None of it is missing just lifted. Have wondered if using water to soften the veneer so that it could be glued and flattened might not be the best way, but have been afraid that it would only make it worse. How did you manage to glue down lifted veneer? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

  38. Mimi

    Are you SURE this is the same piece of furniture?! Simply amazing.

  39. Andrea Stoeckel

    Is that a Haywood Wakefield (I might have just written the wrong spelling)? It has that’ waterfall” that is always part of its design. You did a fantastic job with what might have been a badly transformed wardrobe/entertainment center.

    Thanks for sharing it

    • Eddie NS

      I’m not sure, but it was loads of fun doing it 🙂

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