See How We Gave This Vintage Dresser a Modern Makeover
The restoration is done in three steps—with a new coat of paint, leather fronts, and luxe hardware.
Lorna Aragon, home editor at Martha Stewart Living, has a singular superpower: spotting vintage-furniture gems under peeling paint and dated hardware. She instantly saw this piece's clean lines and eight roomy drawers and swooped in to save it with a fresh coat of semigloss, a few yards of leather (cut to cover the drawer fronts), and lustrous hardware. But any mortal can get these stunning, modern results—just follow her steps.
Set up in a well-ventilated area. Remove hardware and scrub inside and out with all-purpose cleaner; let dry. Sand exterior surfaces (including drawer exteriors) with 120-grit sand-paper; vacuum and wipe down. Brush it with primer; let dry overnight. Add two coats of semigloss, sanding and wiping down in between; let dry. (We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint, in Maritime White; benjaminmoore.com.)
Place leather face-down—ours is from Edelman (starting from $32 a sq. ft., edelmanleather.com). Trace the drawer fronts onto it with a pencil. Move to a cutting mat or plywood; lay a straight edge along the lines, and cut out with a utility knife. Cover the back of one piece with spray adhesive; let stand until tacky, five minutes. Smooth it onto the corresponding drawer front. Repeat for remaining drawers; let dry overnight.