The story of the Red Dresser {Annie Sloan Paint}

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If you didn’t see the Colorful Playroom Wall Gallery I posted a few weeks ago, then you might have missed the introduction of the Red Dresser I painted that is the focal point of the wall. This dresser is FILLED with character, and I thought I’d share the story about how it came to be, and the treasure we found inside.

Good Will dresser to red treasure

First, let me say that I painted this with Annie Sloan Red (a.k.a. Emporer’s Silk). There aren’t a bunch of different shades to choose from, it’s made easy. You can mix colors, but I love their standard shades. I have a local shop called The Weathered Cottage that sells the paint, so it was easy to pick up. If you remember, I painted a bench with Annie Sloan chalk paint decorative paint, and simply LOVED the easy of not sanding, priming, just slapping it on there. It’s held up very very well. I reviewed that paint (Annie Sloan reps mailed it to me in exchange for blog post about it) but this RED, I spent my hard earned money on.

It was a VERY tough decision for me to paint it red. Why?? Red is my least favorite color. To me, red comes out at Christmas (with green), at Valentine’s Day (if my hot pink clothing options are dirty), and splashed in with blue on the 4th of July. It is not in any of my standard home decoration. However, when I thought about this bright and colorful playroom, I dreamed up the fun and beautiful colors in a rainbow. And what’s a rainbow without red? It’s the start, the beginning, the base of all the other colors.


Honestly, I heavily debated over what color to paint this dresser, as it’s a main focal point on this wall, as well as the room. I WANTED it to stand out.  When I went into the store to get the paint, I had planned on red. It just seemed right. But then, my heart stopped in my tracks when I saw the shade of orange. I have loved orange for years. Before it was cool to love orange. Orange will always have a very special place in my heart. Then, for seriously 10 minutes, I stared at the two shades in my hand as my heart fought with my head.

annie sloan red and orange

Well, you already know who won, you got the sneak peek at the top of this post. Red won. Ultimately, I couldn’t trust myself to make the decision, so I did what anyone would do, I asked my four year old sidekick who was at my feet waiting patiently for me to decide. Without hesitation, she said, “Red. I don’t like Orange.”

After I picked up my broken heart off of the floor for her disdain for my beloved, I sadly set down the orange, and handed the red to the lady on the other side of the counter. It’s what I came in for, it was in the plans, I had to just go with it.

Another big reason why I decided against orange is because there were already several other elements I had for the room in orange. It would be WAY too much if the dresser was also orange, and the internal conflict was trying to figure out how to change those elements to other colors (a room design is like a giant puzzle in my head), but the four year old snapped some sense into me.

{The picture above, I am holding sample sizes, I bought a 32 ounce can for about $40. It is pricier than other paint, but it goes a LOOOONG way and so easy, it’s worth it, in my opinion.}

So I left with the red. With just a few days to finish my project before the big end to the Decorating with Pictures series, where I shared my gallery wall in this room, that red dresser was crucial to the project.


Now I must rewind a little to the day before this red/orange confusion, when I purchased the dresser at GOOD WILL. I had actually driven all around town looking for the perfect piece. I knew what I wanted. It had to be a certain width, a general height, some beautiful detail on the front wouldn’t hurt. The idea is a console to hold TV/gaming stuff, but the front didn’t matter as much as the size. Anything can be converted into what is needed. I wanted it to “anchor” what would be the paint splattered canvas from our family pictures paint fight, and I imagined it to look very similar to the sliding barn door tv cover anchored by the green dresser in our family room downstairs. Literally just below.

I saw it at my first GOOD WILL, it was hiding behind another giant piece, but I knew it was the golden size.

good will dresser

I snapped a phone picture, and was on my way. I had a few hours while my daughter was in pre school to hit as many thrift stores as possible. (I found some night stands for my guest room at another, but that will be covered later). After running to a few, I felt a pit in my stomach that I might have missed out on the first one I saw. I dashed over to find this beauty still there, waiting for me. Old. Big. Heavy. Only $40. With only 20 minutes to spare before the pre school bell rang, I asked someone to help me get it in my car.

Two nice, strapping Good Will employee’s wheeled it out, and I just watched as they loaded it into the back of my van, hanging next to them, feeling that if my eyes concentrated enough on what they were doing that I was somehow helping with the lifting process.

As I stood there watching, the dresser was almost completely inside my trunk, when I was unsuspectingly SHOVED from behind, and (arms flailing) propelled into the arms of one kind loader-helper-man. He may or may not have accidentally man-handled me in that awkward moment, but I didn’t care, he saved my life. Or at least my skin from serious road rash. I would have fallen on my face to the ground had he not been there, the force was so strong and came without warning.

In the crazy few seconds upon realizing a dumpster got caught by the wind and wheeled down with such force to knock me off my feet, gratitude that GOOD WILL man broke my fall, both of them startled making sure I was ok, and catching my breath, it was a whirlwind. I limped around in a circle a little as they pushed the dumpster back up to the loading area. The my lower calf hurt like the dickens, and I realized the dumpster clipped me near my achilles. I had to quickly shake it off. I had my dresser, and needed to rush to pick up my pre schooler. The men were still shaken, and kept asking if I was ok and if I needed anything. The thought actually occurred to me to get some store credit to GOOD WILL, but I laughed it off and said I’d be fine.

As I drove my treasure home, I replayed the incident over and over, it was just so shocking, but I was glad all was well.

{It wasn’t a true metal dumpster, it looked more like a port-a-potty in size and material. Tall, plastic, narrow, but full of stuff so heavy.}  I was limping that day and the next, and developed a pretty nasty bruise, but after a week, I was good as new.

The next day I got the paint (story above) and I had to get on the task. My little sidekick is always up for an adventure.

painting dresser with annie sloan chalk paint

Once I painted, I worried it looked too maroon. I wanted FIRE ENGINE RED, and now that it’s in the room, I think it is, but in the garage, it didn’t look that way. I was experiencing way too much anxiety for a silly dresser.

As we pulled out the drawers to prep for painting (and clean out a few cobwebs) we found a treasure left behind. It was a small 2 inch by 3 inch manilla envelope. It must have fallen out of the back of the drawer long ago, and wasn’t noticed on the last run through before dropping it off at GOOD WILL.

Inside that envelope? A red stone. The notes scribbled on the outside alluded to the fact that the gem was once in a ring. We’ve yet to have it appraised, but I’m pretty sure it’s worth more than the $40 I paid for the dresser.

trash to treasure dresser

Join The Discussion



  1. Pat says:

    What a great story! I hope you suffered no permanent injury or damage to your leg.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      You’re so sweet! I forgot to mention that I got a nasty bruise, but a week later I was all better!

  2. Crystal says:

    I love the red dresser, but red is my favorite color 🙂 It turned out beautiful!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Most people do love red, I’m a loner!

  3. Leigh Anne says:

    It turned out so great! I love red so I think it is fab! How cool you found a red stone in your red dresser 😉

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, friend! It was meant to be red, for sure, the stone is just so crazy, eh?

  4. Claire says:

    I think the red looks awesome! And finding the red stone in the dresser? That was just the universe’s way of confirming you had made the right decision Ü

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Ha ha! So true! I’ve started to think that, too!

  5. Joy says:

    I love the style of this dresser. We are in the middle of a master bedroom remodel, and I desperately want to find a larger dresser. We are avid thrifters, just haven’t found “the one” yet. When I do, I’m hoping I can convince my husband to let me paint it coral as an accent color.
    Side note: I received my packet in the mail Wednesday. Thank you so much for sharing your faith.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m so glad you got the packet, Joy! Please let me know your thoughts on all of that info! Ha! convincing the husband to paint things can be tricky, and so is finding “the one!” I LOOOVE coral, haven’t done anything in my home with it yet, but trying to figure out how to incorporate it some. Send me pictures of the remodel when done, I’d love to see it!

  6. Nicole says:

    What a story. I love the red, and think it really does anchor the wall. Nice choice! And I think painting that dresser really made it much more modern. Beautiful!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I just LOVE painted furniture, and turns out I love it red!

  7. Cynthia says:

    Thrifting is always an adventure. My husband loves to find random ties when he is in the south. One time he was coming home from an interview and stopped at a little market and bought a bunch of ties to share when he got home. He didn’t buy my anything but low and behold a diamond ring fell out of a tie, and it just happened to be my size. I don’t know how much my ring costs but I know it has real diamonds.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      OH wow, what a great story!!!! A diamond hidden in a tie!! thanks for sharing!!

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Haha, that is the perfect way to make decisions! That’s exactly what I did last time I couldn’t decide whether to keep growing my hair longer or get it cut to shoulder length – at lunchtime, I asked my first/second grade girls for their opinion. They not only had a very strong opinion, but it was unanimous. Which is how I found myself at the hair salon after school….
    Glad your dumpster incident turned out okay!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      ha! That’s awesome….so you got the cut. Surprising b/c younger girls seem to love long hair!

  9. Kim G says:

    So I just have to ask (I promise I’m not a stalker)… do you live in the Round Rock area? I live in Round Rock. I’ve seen the Weathered Cottage, but never stopped in. Now that I know they sell Annie Sloan I’m going to stop in as I bought paint to repaint my childhood bedroom furniture, then talked myself out of it. I’m hoping they will be able to help me out. I have also been connecting with Lindsay Ballard of Makely School for Girls blog. We are trying to plan on a meet up in the next couple of months. It would be cool if you had some time and could maybe join us.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes I am in Round Rock! The Weathered Cottage used to be in Cedar Park, but moved to Main Street in RR. It has another name on the outside, but their Facebook back still says TWC. Lindsay has great room re-do’s. I’ve been planning a get together (in my head) please tell me what you have planned!

  10. Sydnei says:

    I’m not a liker of “red,” but this dresser looks amazing. I love thrifting too you’d be surprised at all the wonderful things you’ll come across. I’m looking for a similar dresser to paint yellow. Thanks for sharing your dresser and this blog with the world. And the stone was a true testament of “red.”

    • Kristen Duke says:

      ha ha! Seriously a true testament of red!! thank you!

  11. Hildie says:

    That dresser looks great but not as fantastic as those white walls! Haha!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      seriously!!!! You are the best painter a girl could ask for!!!

  12. That’s such a cute dresser. Its take a bold person to choose red. You and your daughter did a great job.

  13. jo says:

    hi, just found your great blog.
    Your dresser and room look great. Those old, kinda junky looking dressers look so absolutely fantastic painted in a bright color and red definitely was the right choice.

    I’ve looked at so many of these dressers on Craigslist, etc…., my BF and I even found one on the street for free, I spied it but I don’t have a place in my house so she became the owner and painted it white—that even looks great, with different handles from Anthro.

    Have you ever considered putting the three drawers in the middle space? Most all the dressers like this have the three drawers in the center and the other configuration of drawers on either side. Maybe it’s just me and my sometimes need for symmetry!!! Just thought I’d ask?!!

  14. We are redoing our playroom to also be our classroom/office space and picked up a dresser to paint. With this paint did you have to sand/prime it? This will be a first for me. My husband wants to do black but I think doing an accent color will be best especially since it is for the kids toys and our built in will be white.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      No sanding or priming! That’s what is so great about this kind of paint!! It’s a touch more expensive, but SOOOO worth it!! Look up Annie Sloan to see if they have a store near you, if not you can order it online.

  15. Alayna says:

    The dresser looks amazing in there. Good choice with the red this time.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Look at you commenting!!! Thanks, I like the red and am happy I did it!!

  16. I just discovered your blog and now must comment that I have that same dresser! I inherited it from my grandmother and it is a beast to haul around. I keep thinking it may be time to get rid of it, but I may fall back in love with it now. After seeing how it looks all painted and fun…. I think I’m going to try that. Thanks!

  17. Candice says:

    What color did you use for the knobs?


  1. […] my aversion to the color RED, I’v also had a strange indifference most of my life to Pastels. As a child, Easter never […]

  2. […] I’m excited to share what I’ve been putting together!  Are you ready for something criz-azy?!?  Let my introduce you to my Colorful Playroom Wall Gallery!  To hear the crazy story behind, and the treasure we found in the thrifted red dresser, READ HERE. […]