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Friday, January 17, 2014

16 Envy Green Campaign Dresser

I’m late to the campaign furniture party, I know it. I was recently reading an article in Better Homes and Gardens that featured a blogger named Joy, and she had these campaign chests in her baby’s nursery:

When I saw them I think I heard angels singing. I became obsessed with searching for campaign furniture because I HAD TO HAVE A CAMPAIGN DRESSER.  The more I looked at Pinterest and blogs, the more I realized other people had already discovered this wondrous campaign style, and so finding what I wanted became very illusive.  Until one day, thanks to the wonderful world of Craigslist, I found what I wanted. Unfortunately it was in Mesa, Arizona, about 4 miles from my old house. Drat! What is a girl to do? Call her Daddy and Mommy, that’s what. And, being the very supportive parents that they are, raced to the store and bought it for me. So after Thanksgiving break when we visited the parents, I brought home some very precious cargo:

OK, my kids are precious too, but I may have left one or two of them behind if this didn’t fit in my car. Luckily it all worked out, even if it was a tight fit for the 14 hour trip back home.

When I got it out of the car and got a good look at it, I realized it needed a little love. Well I had enough love for this thing to go around, so that wasn’t going to be a problem! The previous owner was very misguided in campaign furniture, because he or she painted over the beautiful brass trim. Yikes! So first things first, I pried all of that trim off of the dresser.

And I boiled it, in a pot I bought for this very purpose at Goodwill. I threw in some baking soda and lime juice, and sure enough, the paint just melted off of the brass.

I knew this dresser was going to serve as a TV stand in my room, so I needed to build a small hutch to place the TV on so it would sit a little higher. I saw pictures of dressers and hutches online, like this one...
So I knew what the hutch should look like. I measured the top of the dresser and then cut a 1 x 10 board the exact same length.

I also cut two pieces 10" tall for the sides, a piece for the back, and a 1 x 2 for the front of the hutch.

I attached it all together with wood glue and pocket hole screws.

I put it on top of the dresser for a test run, and it was a perfect fit!

I primed the hutch, and sanded the hutch really well. I also filled all the holes, divots, and splits in the dresser body and drawer fronts with wood putty, and then gave the whole thing a really good sanding.

And now it was ready to paint! I was super excited about using my paint sprayer that I used on my four poster bed, but I wasn't excited about doing it outside. The combination of the breezy weather and bugs that were bound and determined to commit suicide in my paint job made it tough. If only I had a paint tent. That's the beauty of the internet, of course someone has made a super easy collapsible spray paint tent! I found a tutorial for one here.

So a bit of PVC pipe, and some cheap tarps....

And a paint tent is born! Right in the middle of my super packed garage!

I gave all of the pieces a good vacuuming and wipe down, and into the tent they went.

The tent I made was 8' x 8', so it was the perfect size to fit both pieces (the dresser and hutch) in at once.

I put the dresser up on blocks and the hutch up on a table so I could easily get to each part. I pulled the drawers out just slightly and sprayed them sitting in the dresser. And then I put on my best shower cap and painting clothes, all the way down to my husband's tube socks (and important--respirator!!) and hopped in the tent. By showing you this picture, it is obvious I have no pride. None at all.

And it worked perfectly, pride be darned!

The finish was gorgeous. I kicked it up a notch in the paint quality department used Sherwin Williams  Duration Interior Acrylic Latex in a satin finish. And the color really is "Envy". I wanted to see if I could get away without using a clear coat on top, so I picked a good paint in a good finish, and I am really happy with the results.

The beautiful hardware turned out to be very hard to clean. I tried all sorts of methods, including Brasso, but nothing would get the tarnish off of the hardware. So I turned to my husband, who's career as a Dentist makes him particularly good at polishing things. He got out the Dremel and got to work.

I harassed my teenage son and his friends to help me get the dresser up to my room. I may have bribed them with powdered donuts.

I used my drill and a 2 1/8" hole bit to put a hole in the back of the hutch for cords and cables.

I attached the hutch to the back of the dresser with flat brackets, one on each end of the dresser.

Then it was time to put the polished brass back on the dresser, one piece at a time.

I added some brass corner pieces I found on eBay to the hutch, and put the TV, DVD, and cable box under the hutch.

I added a few things to the top of the dresser, and some pictures above the TV, and I am really excited how it turned out:

Here are a few more detailed shots of my new campaign dresser/TV hutch:

If you find a book in a thrift store that has your name as the title, and the text is in French, buy it. You may need to put it in your room.

This is the happy view I have of the TV from my bed...and an even happier view of the piece of furniture holding the TV:

I added a couple pictures above the TV. They are pictures of Spain and Italy that we took when we went to Europe for our 5th anniversary, many anniversaries ago. They are still our favorites.

I used some gold glittery scrapbook paper and made my own photo corners to the pictures.

I can finally put my campaign obsession to rest, with my new campaign dresser all settled in it's new home. Now I just have to find the next thing I can't live without!

This post is linked to Miss Mustard Seed and Remodelaholic and Tatertots and Jello.


  1. Jen I love this so much. Love how you styled it too - perfection! you have to fix the pictures so you can pin them to pinterest! I want to share how fab you are :)

    1. Thanks sis! I saw you repinned my pin, thanks for cheering loudly from the family section!!

  2. Great post Jennifer! I have done about 6 campaign pieces and love them as well. Thanks for the tip on the paint tent!! I end up just doing it by hand because it's just a hassle with the wind and bugs. lol. You must try SW ProClassic paint. It's water based enamel but mimics an oil. I use it on my mid century pieces.
    Anyway, love this piece and the color! Great job. If you have time, come on over to my blog and look under gallery. I once did a book case that had like 30 of those brass pieces! omg. yes I took everyone of them off and polished them. and the nails!

    1. Thank you Beth! I actually went to SW to buy the Pro Classic, but they said the paint base wouldn't dye to green so I had to get the Duration product. I am def going to try again with the next project.

  3. Beautiful! Love the colour you picked for it.

  4. Just found your beautiful green chest on Pinterest...I have an old dresser I've been wanting to make into a TV cabinet too. I now know just what I'm going to do. It doesn't have brass hardware, but I'll bet some can be found. Thanks for sharing.

  5. ah-mazing! Truly the perfect color and I really LOVE the hutch you added to the top. I, too, am late to the campaign furniture love and am on my own search for these fabulous pieces!!

    Kristy {Robb Restyle}

    1. Thanks Kristy, good luck! You just have to be patient--I searched a lot using dresser, chest, vintage, etc. Sometimes people don't know what they have so they don't label it "campaign". If they do know what they have its usually expensive. :-)

  6. can you tell me what kind of paint sprayer you use? :) I love this project! Looks super dooper!!!! :)

    1. Hi Amanda! I bought a Graco TrueCoat II Plus from Lowes, and I'm super happy with it! It does take 15 to 20 mins to clean up, but still far faster than painting by hand. Thanks!

  7. I continue to be amazed at the things you do - and how quickly you get them done. The chest is beautiful and barely recognizable as the one we had in the garage, waiting for your magic!

  8. Oh my. There are so many fabulous things in this post. Numero uno has to be the picture of you wearing the breathing thingy in your paint clothes. That needs to be framed...I love it! Numero dos has to be how great your parents are to pick that up for you and how determined you were to get it back to Texas. It had to be love at first sight. Numero tres has to be the blood, sweat, and tears that went into that gorgeous piece. From the brass hardware, to concocting a spray tent, to building a hutch, to bribing Chris to polish each piece, and to many other things that went into it to make it perfect. Glad you are chronicling all of it so the masses can enjoy the journey. :) Nice work sista!

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