HOUSE: Newburgh + Scavenging

Q&A: Will I be sent to Hell?

Will I be sent directly to Hell if I paint this Heywood-Wakefield dresser/sideboard?

The finish on it is crummy in spots, and it needs to be refinished, but I’m not sure I actually like Heywood-Wakefield furniture. The color is just SO orange/yellow, and it’s all just a little too…I don’t know…Jetsons/atomic/kitschy/slightly-Deco for me. We bought this dresser last year off of Craigslist, and we don’t really need it.

I want to like it. I really do. I’ve tried. But maybe I’d like it if it were super-glossy black…with the handles left bare? Normally I don’t get all worked up about the “sanctity” of unpainted wood, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’d be committing a mortal sin. (Is there a Heywood-Wakefield commandment? I’ve never read the Bible, so I can’t be sure.)

Or maybe I should sell it. Does anyone want it? I’ve definitely seen H-W pieces look AMAZING in other people’s houses, but I just can’t make it work.

I feel badly.

Seriously, does anyone want it? Here’s a photo of what it would look like totally refinished.

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  • Reply Northern Westchester Home February 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I bet you could sell it for a decnt amount in Hudson. Might be worth taking a photo and trying a few of the high-end furniture places. PErsonally, I adore the style, the lines, and the details. But i do agree with you about the tone, which is a tad too orangey.

  • Reply kristin February 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    paint that sucker! I completely agree with you- the yellowish color is a total turn off. I am sure once it’s painted black or white you can find a good place for it in your huge, lovely home!

  • Reply kristen February 19, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I say do it! I bet it would look much, much better and overall, you’d be happier with it!

  • Reply erinn February 19, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    maybe you could swap for it. I just swapped a dining room set for some amazing homemade bath & body products. I was glad to see it (the dining room set) go to a good home. It just wasn’t my style.

  • Reply Corey February 19, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I see a lot of these for sale, so this must mean you aren’t the only one who doesn’t appreciate the blonde color. I know that’s the reason I keep passing on them. I say it’s worth a shot to paint, as long as you got a good enough of a deal on it.

  • Reply theonly February 19, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I don’t think you should paint it. And normally I would advocate painting. But in this case, I think you should pass it along to someone who will appreciate it for what it is and get something else you really do love. The kitsch factor would only be increased by painting it, I think.

    I do think it looks good as is though, just where you have it.

  • Reply ratita February 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    i would say if you don’t like the style/lines to begin with, move on. don’t paint it. don’t invest more of your time and energy in it. someone else out there loves this piece just the way it is and you will make them extremely happy by passing it on.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Northern Westchester Home: Corey (above) is right, there is just about zero demand for HW pieces right now, especially in this kind of condition. It looks OK in this photo, but there are water spots and it definitely needs to be refinished.

    I hate dealing with getting rid of things. Sigh. I just want someone to come and take it away! Even the thought of listing it on Craigslist makes me want to take a nap.

    Even if I paint it and love it, do I have a place to put it? Not really. We already have so much excess furniture. SIGH…

    If you love this piece and you are willing to pick it up, make me an offer! I’m not greedy!

  • Reply katie February 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I say sell it, since you said you don’t really need it. Use the money for something you really love!

  • Reply Laur February 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    YES!!!! There is a Heywood-Wakefield commandment, two actually –

    Thou shall not paint the Heywood-Wakefield unless it’s original finish is beyond repair

    Thou shall pass it on to those who whorship it in it’s pure form

    (I should know, I used to date a minister)

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Laur: I know you’re right, but I have my doubts about being able to find a taker!

  • Reply Jo February 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Sell it!!

  • Reply Laur February 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I’d take it, but well, you’re a bit a drive from south Florida

  • Reply LaDonna February 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    There is a special place in hell for people who paint HW furniture! Sell it. 😛

  • Reply Amanda February 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    If we were in the same time zone I’d SO snatch it up in a second! I’m usually all for painting furniture to suit your taste…but since I am a HW devote and since you don’t love it or have a place for it…pleasy please pass it along and don’t paint it. Please.

  • Reply carla February 19, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    maybe not hell, but some place warm…: ) kidding. i don’t think painting it is going to make you love it more, so i think you should sell it to someone who will value it in its purest form. there are things i see redone on design sponge and i think, “god, they should have done that to a different piece, they sort of ruined that one”. you have such a good edited eye, i think you should strive to just have pieces in your home you love. good luck.

  • Reply sandra February 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    don’t feel bad, paint it or get rid of it 🙂

  • Reply Whitney February 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Paint it! It has great lines, but that’s the thing about older furniture that always gets me – the color is kinda off. Go for it!

  • Reply Averill February 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I wouldn’t bother painting it unless you think you’ll love it and use it — in which case, it’s your bureau and H-W be damned. No piece of furniture is sacred.

  • Reply Alison February 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I think that it would be best to get it out of you life and off of your to do list. I admit that painting it would look cool but, unless you are in love with the piece I don’t suggest going through all that trouble.

  • Reply Diane February 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I personally don’t like Heywood-Wakefield furniture (not my thing). I’m all about painting whatever you want (I’m one of those people who would paint original woodwork white *gasp*), but there’s not much point in painting it if you don’t even have the space for it. But Corey is absolutely right. I’m always seeing these exact pieces in my local consignment shops – and it seems like no one wants them. Try selling it first, and if someone takes it, great. Otherwise paint it, and see if you can make it work somewhere in your house. Or you could donate it to a charity.

  • Reply chrispito February 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I agree with Averill %120.

  • Reply Bonnie February 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I second Averill! It’s just furniture, and you would have to refinish it anyways… I’m sure whatever you decide will look great, though.

    But I would paint it. 🙂

  • Reply kim de montréal February 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I vote paint.
    Plus, there’s no hell anyways 🙂

  • Reply Michelle February 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I also think you should get rid of it. I agree with theonly, I think it will increase the kitsch if you paint it. Then you will be left with a painted piece you can’t unload.

  • Reply Erin February 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Nah, go for it! It’s worth a shot I think.

  • Reply Ingrida Martinkus February 19, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I say try and sell it OR exchange it for another piece of furniture/store credit at some vintage furniture shop. You don’t sound convinced that painting the piece will solve the problem… Invest in something that you LOVE.

  • Reply Charissa February 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    It’s yours, if you want to paint it, paint it. Look at what I found on ebay. I prefer it to the original.

  • Reply Jessica February 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Sell it. No use keeping it if you don’t really like it, especially since you have no use for it. FWIW, I’m not a big HW fan either!

  • Reply meow February 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Don’t kid yourself, it’s a total SIN!!!
    You wouldn’t be asking if it was kosher.
    Sell it to someone who appreciates it.

  • Reply Regan February 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    You are waffling. That means you really don’t want it. I love making statements about people I don’t know. The fact that you have attached this ‘maybe I like it’ energy to it means you should let it go. Or maybe you are just knee deep in major projects at the moment you can’t see the forest for the trees. Move it to your basement or garage or whatever and make the decision later when Spring has sprung. Or maybe not…you should see my basement- maybe I am not the person to be giving advice about getting rid of furniture as I am really good waffler myself. Is that a word?

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I love all of these comments! SO MUCH PASSION! 🙂

    Believe me, everyone, I am TOTALLY down with selling this thing at a verrrry reasonable price…IF THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO WANTS IT.

    (And who will come and pick it up, because I’m not shipping it!)

    p.s. Charissa, that is AMAZING! Totally not my style AT ALL, but still amazing. And also a pretty good indicator that I still wouldn’t like it if it were painted! 😉

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    p.p.s. WAFFLES! Regan, yes, wafflers is a word! 🙂 And my basement is already full to the gills!


  • Reply Kathleen February 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I really hope you sell it. List it back on craigslist…I’m sure someone will take it off your hands. Can totally understand it not being a style/color that suits everyone, but furniture like that is design history…you can’t paint over design history.

  • Reply Kate F. February 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    You were kind enough to comment when I asked Apartment Therapy a similar question about some chairs you identified as HW. I went ahead and stripped and stained them dark brown. It was a fiasco–took like 3 months–but if I’d just painted them black it would have been fine. It looks like you’d rather just get rid of the thing, though!

    Ugh, those chairs took an eon and one of them is randomly way darker than the others, but they do look way better than they did!

  • Reply Noemi February 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I’m not a big fan. If you don’t love it, get rid of it, painting it will just be a temporary solution. As an interior designer, I’m a firm believer in truly loving everything in your home, especially since you’re going through the painstaking (but rewarding) process of renovating it exactly to your taste. Somebody out there will love that dresser.

  • Reply Kate F. February 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    (Oh, and re. my refinished possibly-HW chairs, the finish was a MESS. Nasty and grimy and chipped and where the varnish was chipped off the wood was grimy brown, beyond cleaning.)

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    “you can’t paint over design history”

    Kathleen, as a designer, I would have to vehemently (and excitedly!) DISAGREE with that statement!

    There are a number of reasons why I should probably get rid of this piece of furniture, but preservation of mass-produced mid-century American design is not one of them. I am ALL FOR people making their homes and their stuff EXACTLY what they want them to be, and not getting hung up on historically-accurate restoration. Case in point: MY ENTIRE HOUSE. 🙂

  • Reply Mer February 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    You will indeed be sent directly to hell if you paint over this piece. Please DO NOT paint over this nice Heywood Wakefield piece of furniture. Your comments indicate that you don’t appreciate it to begin with and that it is not your style, which is perfectly fine. However, Heywood Wakefield pieces are really becoming harder and harder to find and to paint over them just so very, very wrong. You might contact Pam at to see if any of her readers would like to have it. It looks like a nice piece that could fetch a good price.

  • Reply Tess Kelly February 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I would love to take it off your hands! I live in Kingston, and would come and pick it up.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    TESS!!!!! Email me an offer (anna AT! I’d be happy to take photos of the damage to the finish so you can see exactly what you’d be getting. 🙂 🙂

    BELIEVE ME, nothing would make me happier than seeing this go to a GOOD HOME.

  • Reply Jacqueline February 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    anna, if you paint this orangey-yellow thick box, you will put a lot of effort into something that will be a black (or white or red,etc…)thick box. what about putting your sale of it on a timer. try listing it, if you don’t sell it in a week donate it. when i want something gone it sits on my mind because it sits in my house. having the space in my mind and my house is more valuable than something i don’t want but someone else can use. knowing someone else out there will be happy to have found it (if you donate it) is worth more to me than the hassle and the way reduced price you will have to ask for it. spread the joy. move on. you’ll love whatever comes your way next.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Mer: Actually, I really DO appreciate it, I just don’t think it’s the right piece of furniture for my house or for my needs.

    Just curious — since nearly all of the woodwork in my house (and some of the floors!) in my 1885 house are painted, do you think that means I don’t appreciate my house and that I should sell it to somebody else instead?

    I think it’s OK to alter stuff to make it more suitable for use by a specific individual. This is all just STUFF at the end of the day. What I am NOT down with, though, is throwing things away. I’d much rather see someone paint an old dresser and LOVE IT and USE IT than put it on the curb for the trash collectors.

    In in ideal world, I’ll see this dresser off to a new home with someone who will love it as-is, but I do think it’s a bit ridiculous to elevate mass-produced goods to the point of total preciousness. (My bit about going to Hell was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek…!!)

    I totally get where you’re coming from with your comment, but I also think it’s really important to keep some perspective when it comes to talking about the whys and the hows of preservation.

  • Reply Jen February 19, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I just went through a range of emotions while reading this post. First I kinda freaked out about the thought of painting it-mainly because I think it looks great in your photo. I too feel the same way about Heywood Wakefield furniture but I understand their significance. Then I thought about it some more about how it would look good only in black, which made me happy when I finished reading your post about doing a high-gloss black with just the wood handles. I think that would look amazing!! And I say, ‘Hey, its your piece of furniture, furniture is meant to be loved and used no matter who designed it’…I mean I would hope all designers create a piece with the intention that it will be loved and used right? Paint it to your hearts content, make it an attention grabber and conversation starter! You may end up in Purgatory but I don’t see Hell in your future. 🙂

  • Reply The Brick House February 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    dude. the finish color of HW B-L-O-W-S.
    I’ve never liked that stuff. But the lines of the dresser are actually pretty decent. paint the thing glossy black and stage it up with a lamp, mirror, art, whatever…and it could be pretty stylish and functional.

    Maybe list it on craigslist before investing the time in painting it and see if there are any takers – you just never know. i didn’t think i would sell my Wassily chair in my craptastic neighborhood but it was snatched up in 2 days.

  • Reply Tess Kelly February 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Anna, I just sent you an email. Wondering if you got it? Don’t know if it was the right address.

  • Reply Mer February 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Anna, you wrote: Just curious — since nearly all of the woodwork in my house (and some of the floors!) in my 1885 house are painted, do you think that means I don’t appreciate my house and that I should sell it to somebody else instead?
    No- I never said that. That seems kind of extreme.
    I also never said you should put it on the curb.
    I was commenting based on a preservation approach. You’re not into the piece, many people are, you could sell it to them and probably get a chunk of change for it. I see Heywood Wakefield on craigslist for $250-$500 a piece. It is pretty wood, the blonde finish is sought after, and it looks great in the photo with your stuff.
    I know your comment about hell was tongue in cheek and so was mine! Your suggestion that I lack perspective makes me think this isn’t a good fit for me to be reading or posting on this blog. Sorry for the intrusion. I’ll go away now. Good luck with your house and your piece!

  • Reply laura February 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    if it not right for your space i say sell it. if i have a piece of furniture that is no longer serving its original purpose for me i ask myself would i buy the same piece again today. if the answer is no then i sell or donate it. this year i sold a lot of pieces of furniture on craigslist, and it was sort of a mental ordeal to actually go through with making the listings, but so liberating to be rid of stuff, and great to think that my furniture will continue its useful life with someone else.

    it only costs $.35 for a fixed price auction on eBay, and with those doors it looks as though this piece could be used as a tv unit. if you listed it as a mid century dresser/ tv unit you would probably get a lot more auction traffic, and probably get a decent price.

    i actually think it is quite lovely, and it is possible that a lot of that orange color is coming from the varnish.

    last year i refinished my dad’s boyhood dresser, a lovely mid century danish piece, that had been used every day for 60 years and not that well cared for (apparently my people have never heard of a coaster). i sanded it down and just applied a beeswax finish, it looks fantastic and it only took 2 days.

    also those rounded corners… they would be a dream come true for someone with young kids, i for one would love to do way with those gross protective foam corners.

  • Reply Northern Westchester Home February 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    My house is stuffed to the rafters, but thanks for the offer. If it isn’t sellable, then I agree that it should be painted.

    I have a similar issue in my house, which is a 1740’s farmhouse. We have lots of exposed beams, which I adore. But in one very small room the beams feel overwhelming and we wanted to paint them. But could we really paint beams that had been chiseled in the 1700’s?? We postponed the decision and have come to really like the room as is. But I do relate.

  • Reply martha February 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I totally agree about HW and in fact we just sold an identical dresser on craigslist a few months ago!
    I don’t think you would like it painted.
    personally I think they look worse when painted -it emphasizes the jetson-y look.

  • Reply Marion February 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Wow, it looks like you will be sent to hell just for thinking about painting it!
    If someone is getting a heart attack because you might paint a piece of furniture that you are also offering for sale than this person should moste definitely buy it and preserve it.
    Why should anyone keep a piece of furniture and preserve it if he doens’t like it the way it is? Sure I’ve seen people ruining itmes by very very poor paint jobs…but I’m pretty sure this fear is completely with any reason in this case 🙂

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Marion, your comment made me giggle. 🙂

    I was expecting that kind of response from some people, and I really do totally understand where they’re coming from. I will say, though, that living in a historic city that has become very run down from neglect over the years has really changed my perspective on what, exactly, it means to “preserve” something old.

    (And yes, I would be VERY happy to sell it to someone who will love it just the way it is!)

  • Reply Anna February 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I have no shame….so I say paint it! I get a fair amount of old furniture handed over to me from family and they know now that they should only offer me pieces they are happy for me to paint becuase eventually whatever it is no matter how antique it is it will end up painted at my place!

  • Reply cindi February 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    ugh, it’s ugly, just get rid of it. Even if you paint it, you probably will not like it that much. Plus, I think you might have some other home improvement projects going on 🙂 Do you really want to spend your time that way? And those handles will just be ugly no matter what color they are.

    Look for a free-cycle yahoo group in your area and post it. Someone will definitely come and take it away for free. Lots of people just need a dresser, and don’t care about the style. Free-cycle is a great way to find and get rid of stuff.

  • Reply stefanie February 19, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I totally agree with you. Conceptually, I like HW pieces. I like the shapes and I *want* to want one.. but they’re all just far too blonde/orange for me. If the water damage has “ruined” the piece to a true HW fan, then I vote paint it and make it your own. If its still worth something to people who care about what its worth, then adopt it out to another home. Surely someone wants it.

  • Reply Gregory Hubbard February 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    You have got to read or see a production of the play “Fumed Oak” by Noël Coward. Your buffet could play a starring role.

    A few serious notes:

    Paint has never cured a damaged finish. In my opinion, the roughened and or damaged surface will always show through. You’d have to upholster it in Naugahyde to cover the blemishes.

    Perhaps you could consider creating an entire period room of similar pieces. Look at some of the reprints of late Art Deco decorating magazines for inspiration. A room lot of this furniture is actually attractive, if for no other reason than strength in numbers.

    A dining table with a ribbed or fluted edge, or inlay, perhaps with lyre or columnar legs, matching chairs, and Erte’ prints would make a wonderful room. And a good chandelier. And these aggressive Art Deco pieces die when placed against white walls, so paint the walls to resemble sympathetically colored silk – really much easier than it sounds. And your room would be edgy high style.

    It could serve as a sort of friendship test – you could judge how much guests really liked you by how long they were willing to tolerate sitting with you in this room over dinner.

    Actually, if you look at old design books, these rooms were attractive. It might just be worth the effort.

  • Reply Sarah February 19, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    I would totally take it off your hands. I’m up in Woodstock and have a truck to pick it up with. I’d even be willing to offer a trade for something in my store or a store credit if you’d like. Email me if you want to talk about it 🙂

  • Reply Sarah February 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    PS. I wouldn’t be reselling it, I’d actually love it for my bedroom, I’ve been looking for something like it for some time now.

  • Reply vegean tickles February 19, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I just found your blog and I LOVE it!!!
    I looked thru your old posts and loved the Morrissey documentary and the picture of you when you were a teenager.
    We so have the same taste in music.
    The Cure, Morrissey, and how about DEPECHE MODE?

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t know exactly why, but a lot of the comments from you all are making me tear up with laughter! Maybe it’s the lack of sleep…or maybe it’s the fact that the entire world’s economy/security is in the toilet and we’re debating the ethics of PAINTING A DRESSER. It’s a pretty good indicator that we all have pretty good lives!

    Gregory Hubbard: Your comment is great, thank you! I appreciate the thought you put into wanting to make this dresser (which really looks like it may have sat out in the rain overnight at some point — maybe Naugahyde is the way to go!) work in a high-end, super-Deco setting. Of course, I’d rather die than hang an Erte print on my wall, but I’ll take that as a sign that I really need to unload this dresser. 😉

    Sarah: I’ll email you! 🙂

  • Reply Laurel February 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I used to have the perfect matching bedroom suite and felt the same way — painting didin’t improve it all that much. Tried that. Finally got passed it on to a happy recipient.

  • Reply emily February 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    No you won’t go to hell.

  • Reply holly February 19, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    slap some paint on that puppy!

  • Reply mikaela February 19, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Always looking for the gentlest (easiest, simplest, LAZIEST) way to live, I would look for someone who’s interested in the dresser for what it is. This is especially true since you stated that you don’t need the dresser, painted or otherwise. No matter one’s opinion on painting over a wood finish, and so long as emotions are uninvolved (ie: this didn’t belong to your favorite Great Auntie and you want/need to keep it, but the color is just wrong), I think it’s best to let a piece of furniture exist as it was meant to exist.

    So… short answer? Yes, you’re probably going to hell, but not for this dresser 😉

  • Reply dagmag February 19, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    it’s ugly. painting it will make it ugly “with too much makeup on”. get rid of it.

  • Reply Dan February 19, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Nothing new here, but I totally think you should just get rid of it. I think when you look at painting something, you have to really like the lines of the piece, but if you aren’t really a fan of the lines, get something that you will like. I LOVE your house, but I’ve actually always thought that your HW looked a little out of place with the rest of your furniture. It’s a beautiful piece to someone, I’m sure. And you can appreciate it without wanting it in your house, which I think is what’s happened here to you.

    I love your style and I think your taste is fantastic, and it should give you pause if you really feel like you should ask us before painting something… you didn’t hear it when people told you not to paint your trim, doors, floors, etc, because you knew it would look the way you wanted it to (which is amazing, I should add. Last weekend I painted my whole apartment BM Moonlight White solely because I saw it here first. It looks awesome!). But I do think the best thing you can do with this piece by painting is make yourself dislike it less instead of actually like it when all’s said and done.

  • Reply elle February 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    As someone who gets almost all their furniture from the street(at least the solid wood stuff, no not mattresses!), I can say that even putting furniture on the street doesn’t mean throwing it away. Think of it as paying it forward… Though I guess you should know your audience and if your neighborhood is one where people go “antiquing” on trash day. North Brooklyn is that kind of place, not sure if Newburgh is or not.

  • Reply Jen February 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I think you could paint it a high gloss black. My mother had a vanity like this when she was younger and it was painted to begin with. I think if you painted it so it still held it’s period resemblance you could get away with it, but if you really don’t like it, i don’ think you ever will.

    Might as well find the perfect piece you LOVE.

  • Reply Fiona February 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Ooh, a dramatic exit! I just love when people announce they are leaving. It’s not enough to just not visit the blog/site/whatever again.

    I think it’s fine to do whatever will make it fit into your own house. I think H-W stuff looks great in the right context but it’s not my particular taste.

  • Reply ATM February 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I am WAY too lazy to paint a piece of furniture that I don’t love. (I’m already thinking of the endless steps in the process and how it always takes triple the time I estimated…) And like you, I have tons of house projects to work on. I hope one of the commenters who expressed interest ends up buying it!

    In fact, I think I just made a new rule for myself. If I wouldn’t (theoretically) pay someone to do it, the project probably isn’t worth my time.

    Now off to work on the finish carpentry that I would TOTALLY pay someone to do! 🙂

  • Reply jennifer in sf February 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    From what I’ve seen on here it doesn’t seem like your style, painted or not.

    Maybe you could also put it in those classifieds Apartment Therapy has. They probably bring a few less flakes than Craigslist.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Dan: Yes, yes, and yes. I know you’re right! Thank you. I just really wanted to like this thing. (Isn’t the Moonlight White great?? It looks good with everything! It’s such a versatile white!)

    elle: Oh, in Newburgh things are verrrry different! Putting furniture out on the curb here means two things: (1) the city is going to fine you for putting furniture on the curb, and (2) the furniture will immediately be vandalized. Believe me, I really miss being able to put stuff out on the curb!!! When I lived in Brooklyn I could put ANYTHING out there (old computer books, broken toaster over, you name it) and it would be in a new, loving home within seconds!

  • Reply maya February 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    i hope it will find a good home! i’m with you on moving on, you have good furniture karma, and its nice to spread that around!!! i wish there were more like you!

  • Reply barb blair/ knack studios February 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    PAINT, PAINT, PAINT!! Go for it girl!:) I do read the Bible and there is certainly no commandment about painting ANY kind of wood ….. otherwise I would be … um …you know! 🙂 xoxo

    Thanks for your great support on D*s today!

  • Reply jacqui February 19, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    LOL – this has been most enjoyable to read through all the comments. I have been having the exact conversation with my brother about a Chiswell table I have from the 50s. I hate the orange colour of the varnish and the high gloss that makes it super impractical. His advice: sell it and buy something else and I think I agree with him. Seems a shame to compromise the piece when for some they are very collectable. I don’t have enough design flair to know if painting it would make a difference and would more than likely mess it up so I think it will find a new home – like your dresser. Great community of minds here and you are right – we have good lives to be debating this right now. Love your blog and I think you’ve inspired me to actually have a go at some of the restoration our little mid-century fibro home needs. thanks!

  • Reply Lauren February 20, 2009 at 12:05 am

    i say, paint if you love it. you own it. who cares what everyone else thinks. but if you don’t love it now and don’t think you’ll love it afterwards, sell it or give it away.

  • Reply suzanne February 20, 2009 at 12:46 am

    i don’t care for the lines of HW furniture for all of the reasons that you mentioned, and it sounds like you have made up your mind to just get rid of it. but i did want to give you props for your your idea of leaving the pulls natural and painting the rest black. sounds pretty fantastic. a great idea maybe for a piece with cleaner lines.

    also hell doesn’t sound like such a bad place, after all moz will be there with all his friends!

  • Reply jja February 20, 2009 at 4:13 am

    My voice for paint! Othervise our homes are to precious to keep there anything we don’t like.

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) February 20, 2009 at 5:36 am

    This has been very entertaining! I hope your dresser finds a very happy new home.

  • Reply Michelle February 20, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Well, if you do decide to paint, it appears you’ll have plenty of company in hell with fellow painters who’ve disregarded the sanctity!

  • Reply Tracy February 20, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I read your blog and Adams and I noticed Adam was planning on coming to visit – last time he looked (that was a while ago) he didn’t have a dresser for his upstairs bedroom. Would this one fit up his stairs? That way, you could visit the piece every now and then and it would go to a good home.

  • Reply lsaspacey February 20, 2009 at 9:32 am

    PLEASE sell it since you don’t really like it anyway. PLEASE don’t paint that beauty, ok?

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Barb B: Yeah, I had a feeling you would say that! If I absolutely can’t rehome it, I will definitely be hitting you up for suggestions!! 😉

    Tracy: This sucker is HUGE (54″ long!) and built like a tank, so I don’t think it’s going up Adam’s stairs (or in his car!!). That’s a nice idea, though! I’ve been trying to unload furniture on Adam left and right. I have too much stuff!

    One thing I will say about Hey-Wake furniture is that it is SOLID and really well-made. This thing will still be around with the cockroaches a million years from now.

  • Reply Rachel February 20, 2009 at 9:41 am

    it’s true that it’s a bit of a frivolous topic on which to spend so much time and energy pontificating, but (and I don’t mean this the way it sounds!) you asked for it, Anna!

    anyway, i myself am a devoted fan of the “atomic” kitchiness, but i reside about an hour west of Philadelphia and therefore am not within reasonable driving/picking-up distance. but i’d say, hands down–and Dan said it so eloquently–that if you don’t love it, and aren’t sure you could love it even refinished, pass it on! i go into seizures if i don’t love every teensy, tiny detail about my living space. i live in a 110 sq ft studio (no joke), so space is truly at a premium for me and i can’t mess around with pieces of furniture that i’m not crazy about, but this would hold true even in the largest of spaces.

    incidentally, i adore your blog and, being the inherently lazy bastard i am, admire your diy drive and look forward to more to come!

  • Reply Dewi February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Put it in the basement or garage and store your paints and tools in it.

  • Reply bkroll February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I say get rid of it. It sounds like the things you don’t like about won’t be fixed by changing its color or finish. I feel the same as you about the kitchiness of it and I don’t think I would like it any more if it were black or any other color for that matter. There are a lot of people out there who love H-W stuff, maybe one of them can give it a home. Then you can find that perfect piece that makes the room happy.

  • Reply Dewi February 20, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Post it on freecycle or craigslist. You will have to do nothing but put it on your curb!

  • Reply michelle February 20, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Oh my, what an issue. I can say I had one once, and stained it and then I wished to high heaven that I had not done anything to it and instead just accepted it for what it is. I always think something should be exactly what is is, i.e. a Wakefield dresser. You could always sell it! and use the moolah for something else.

  • Reply Joanne February 20, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Please sell it to someone who loves it, rather than paint it! It is a classic piece, and well made. My parents had a DR set that my bro had stripped and stained a darker color. It hurts my eyes to see it. The old finish was bad, but could have been rehabbed.

    Please don’t paint it!

    Only my opinion of course!

  • Reply lesley February 20, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Get rid of it! it will just give you the sads. and for those who are thinking of taking it but might be daunted by the prospect of refinishing: there’s this stuff called Howard’s Restor-A-Finish that can make a lot of boo-boos vanish, or at least make them tolerable til you can do a proper refinish. You just wipe it on. Take it from a former antique dealer: it works. 🙂

  • Reply arroyo February 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    If you don’t like the lines of the piece, then you don’t like it. And you won’t like it any better if you paint it. It’s like the old saying, you’d be “trying to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” (In your opinion, anyway… I LIKE it).

    But you don’t… so put it on craigslist and sell it. Or trade it. Or give it away. But just own up to the fact that you don’t like it and move on. No big deal! Don’t agonize over it. Just move on. 🙂

  • Reply Ana February 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I’m sure if you put it on craiglsist right now you’ll have plenty of offers by the afternoon.

    I see both sides, but it does sound like you don’t like the bones of the dresser to begin with. Sell it and buy something you like.

  • Reply eilene February 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    sell it & find something else to paint.
    i am not a fan of HW, but there has to be someone out there who would give it the attention it deserves.

    (…and this coming from someone who likes to paint EVERYTHING! i

  • Reply Charley (Canada) February 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I understand you wanting to do right by the piece, I had the same crisis of conscience over these Regency chairs, from an auction, “the sanctity of preservation” but once I started stripping them I realised that they’d been neglected and were desperate for some attention. In UK my Mum paints everything – doesn’t matter if it’s a bonafide antique, Georgian armoires, gilt mirrors everything gets the same slap of paint when she gets bored. That’s the nice thing about wood, especially a piece built like a brick s#*thouse, ; ) down the road someone else can strip it, restore it and tell the story of the salvation they brought to an old piece……either way everything is restorable….. I guess really I could have just said it doesn’t really matter, it’s only furniture despite its pedigree. love your blog!

  • Reply ahj February 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Chop it into kindling and burn it. There’s enough HW out there to fulfill demand for years to come.

    Sometimes stuff is just stuff.

  • Reply elaina February 20, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    this is turning out to be quite the controversy… 🙂 just wanted to say how much i love your blog, anna – it’s been a great source of inspiration!

  • Reply sarah February 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    oooh good luck. Can you donate it and use the deduction? Easier than selling? I’d like to see it painted glossy black just to see it.

    thanks for all your great blogging.

    Good luck!

  • Reply hollandv February 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    If you don’t love it, don’t bother with the paint job. You still might not like it, and then it’d be harder to unload. Just sell it and get something you love instead.

  • Reply ruby February 21, 2009 at 2:54 am

    i thought it looked quite nice in your photo but when i clicked on the link I actually think it is quite an ugly shape, and I’m not big on the handles either. maybe it’s because it’s legless? I don’t think you should strip it as I think the benefit of age has helped the varnish mellow and I think that has actually helped it look nicer. I suggest you sell it and use the money to get something you really love… something like this? or this

  • Reply Tenille February 21, 2009 at 3:39 am

    I just want to be the 100th comment.

    And paint it. It’s not pretty ;P

  • Reply Franziska February 21, 2009 at 4:11 am

    I won’t send you to hell. But I don’t know if black is the right way. But we all have different tastes so do what you like to. I’ll be coming back to see what decision you made.

  • Reply erin@designcrisis February 23, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Not a fan of Hey/Wake furniture, so I would have said Paint It! Sounds like you found it a new home, though, which is perfect!

  • Reply Rachel H. February 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Please don’t paint it! HW is so hard to find- let someone who loves it, have it and find something less collectible to paint. You said you weren’t sure you liked it, please spare it!

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Hmmm…I think it’s time to close the comments. Let’s move on, shall we? 😉

  • Reply Jade April 4, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I just purchased a dresser very similar and chest with mirror. It was refinished in a darker stain called Carrington and I love it!

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