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Art Deco Vanity part 1

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Prep work sucks

It's the worst. I can think of a dozen unpleasant things I would rather do, but prep is the most important part of refinishing furniture. The finish is only as good as what is underneath. If you skip the proper prep steps you run the risk of peeling paint, yellowed topcoats and more. At the very least it must be free of dirt and grime and grease.

We are going to refinish this old vanity together. Thanks for joining me. This is part 1 and all about the prep work.

Don't believe any "no prep" hype you might see from paint companies

Certain types of paint may say there is no prep involved if you use their paint. This is simply not true. Although it is true that you don't always need to sand and prime certain pieces, you do need to at least clean them thoroughly.

This photo is after I turned her upside down and used the shop vac on any nasty cobwebs, etc., scrubbed her down and rinsed her off. I like to use a good degreaser and then rinse well with water. Any areas not rinsed well will give you trouble later on.

She's scrubbed and rinsed, now what?

Make sure you wipe it down well, removing all moisture right away. If possible let it sit in the sun awhile. I remove all drawers and clean inside and outside of them along with the areas of the body where the drawers go. Don't put the drawers back in until everything is completely dry.

If you look closely at the photos below you will see some obvious damage. The first photo shows one of the missing trim pieces and chipped veneer highlighted in blue. In the second photo I have patched up several damaged areas with some filler and will sand it smooth when dry. Look closer at that third photo and you can see some of the deep water damage and scratches in the top. No need to fear! We can fix it all! 🦸‍♀️

There were also several casters missing on the bottom. Luckily I had attended an estate sale last fall and bought several sizes to choose from and found two that fit! I was so happy to have them on hand - see it's not hoarding, it's smart thinking. 👩‍🔬

When do we get to the fun part?

Now that we have her clean and dry and the casters on, the next step is replacing the missing trim. I will show you how to do that in my next post. Maybe even a little sanding and priming.

If you haven't already signed up with your email on my website, be sure you do that before leaving. I will send my next post out in email before I post it to social media. I promise I won't sell your email address to anyone and I won't give it away or spam you with anything too stupid. 😏

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Feb 29, 2020

I really like how TSP works, but it's not good for the environment or your skin, so my next favorite thing is something I get at the dollar store. It's called Totally Awesome and comes in a spray bottle. Be sure to read the directions, you dilute it with water. I scrub with those little kitchen Scotchgard pads. Something that isn't really dirty can just be wiped with blue shop towels. 🙂


What degreaser do you rinse it off with? When you scrub it, what do you scrub it with?

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