Monday, September 23, 2013

Maine Cottage Dresser Knock Off

Maine Cottage Nellie Dresser: $1890
My version: $94

Remember the Guest Room challenge? The "inspiration" room I put together came to more than $3500. I challenged myself to recreate this room for less than $500. And here is the first project--a knock off of the $1890 Maine Cottage Dresser in "Goodegg" for under $100. Well, I did it for $94--and I think it looks pretty darn good! Here's the step-by-step process.

Step 1: Assembling the materials:
The first thing I needed was a dresser. I perused Craigslist for a couple of weeks looking for something that resembled my inspiration piece. I found this one for $60--right within my budget. Pretty basic, but the lines were good, all the drawers slid smoothly, and the joints were dovetailed. 

Everything else came from the hardware store: 2 quarts of oops paint, a container of Plaster of Paris, paste wax, and contact paper to line the drawers.


Materials List:
Craig's List dresser: $60
2 quarts oops paint from hardware store: $12
Plaster of Paris: $6
Contact paper to line drawers: $6
Paste wax: $10
Total cost: $94

Step 2: Making chalk paint:
I have never used ASCP. From everything I've read, it is amazing stuff and is probably far superior to the homemade variety. That said, I am both cheap and stubborn. I like to experiment and I like doing things myself (or at least trying to), so I could not resist the temptation to try making my own chalk paint. I have to say, I am quite pleased with the results (not to mention the price). I checked out a number of chalk paint "recipes" from Pinterest and ended up combining ideas from several and then kind of winged it. I decided to use Plaster of Paris as opposed to unsanded grout simply because it was more readily available (OK, it's also cheap). Here's how I did it:

First, I mixed the paints to get the color I wanted. I chose two cans of paint from my stash of oops paint. I was going for the greenish-blueish color of the inspiration piece, so I decided to use a mixture of Benjamin Moore Harrisburg Green and Mythic Paint Heavenly Angels.

BM Harrisburg Green HC-132
Mythic Heavenly Angels 041-3

I started out by pouring some of the Harrisburg Green into a pail. I then started gradually adding the Heavenly Angels, mixing as I went, until I was satisfied with the color. I probably used about 2 cups of the the green and a cup (or maybe less) of the blue. 


Next, I put about 1/2 cup of water in a separate container. I added 1/2 cup of the Plaster of Paris a little at a time, stirring constantly. I then slowly poured the plaster mixture into the paint, stirring until blended. By the way, I kept the leftovers (and I had a lot leftover) in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. It's stayed usable for months. It just needs to be stirred again before using.

Step 3: Painting the dresser.
Next, I started painting the dresser. Other than dusting it and removing the hardware and drawers, I did no prep at all--no sanding or priming. I figured that if it didn't work I could always repaint it. I put on the first coat and checked it out...and started to panic. It looked awful! The paint was patchy looking and the color wasn't uniform. But then, as it finished drying, it started to even out. By the time the coat was fully dry, it was looking great. (Moral of the story--this stuff looks bad until it's completely dry). I put on a second coat and let that dry overnight. I decided to paint the existing drawer pulls instead of changing them out. I did those separately.

Step 4: Waxing.
I decided to use a clear wax for a top coat. I applied the paste wax with a paint brush one surface at a time. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed off the excess with a soft rag. It was time consuming and took quite a bit of elbow grease, but I was very pleased with the result.

Step 5: Finishing touches.
I reattached the drawer pulls using the existing hardware. I decided to line the drawers to make them look nicer. I liked the way this black and white paisley-ish pattern looked against the aqua-colored paint.

And that was it! I love the way it came together. The color was perfect and I really like the soft finish from the paste wax. It was totally worth the effort.

The finished product!

Just one more look...

First, the $1890 inspiration:
Maine Cottage Nellie Dresser: $1890

And now my $94 knock off:
Salt Marsh Cottage Dresser $94

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2013
TDC Before and After


  1. I am completely Impressed!! You Knocked that Out of the Park!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Teri! I'm glad you liked it! Lisa

  2. That dresser looks fabulous! Was the oops paint a flat, satin or enamel?

    1. Thank you so much! To answer your question, it was definitely not enamel. I'm pretty sure it was a flat finish, but I'm not 100% sure. I did this a while back and the paint is long gone now. I don't think it would make a lot of difference whether it's satin or flat as long as it's some type of latex paint. Lisa