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Mid-Century Modern Makeover: Transforming a Meredew Chest of Drawers Tallboy

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Hello furniture enthusiasts!

Welcome to Phoenix Furniture Studio, where I give love to old furniture and turn it into stunning pieces for your home. Today, I’m tackling a gorgeous mid-century Meredew tall boy chest of drawers. It’s got seven solid drawers, beautiful walnut veneer, and a story waiting to be told. Let’s get to work!

First things first: disassembly and prep. I carefully remove and label each drawer (trust me, you don’t want to mix them up later!). Out come the handles, and then the sanding begins. I start with 120-grit sandpaper, gradually moving up to 220 to smooth everything out. Remember, with veneer, less is more – you don’t want to “blow through” to the particle board beneath.

Now, for the fun part: revealing the wood grain! Once the old finish is gone, I clean everything with clean spirit to remove any lingering dust and get a sneak peek of how the finish will look. That walnut veneer is just begging to shine!

Time to add some contrast! I scuff sand the edges and apply black paint to the frame and the drawers, giving them a modern twist. The legs get the paint treatment too, creating a striking balance with the warm wood tones.

The magic touch: hard wax oil. We use Fiddes Hard Wax Oil in Satin for a stunning satin finish. Thin coats are key, applied in both circular and linear motions to ensure the oil penetrates the wood grain. Patience is rewarded with a gorgeous, natural-looking sheen.

Black and gold beauty. While I love the wood’s simplicity, I decided to add a touch of elegance with thin gold stripes along the top of each drawer. Masking tape makes this surprisingly easy (and the tape pull is always satisfying!).

Don’t forget the details! The original handles get a good scrub with Barkeeper’s Friend, while the drawer bottoms receive some TLC with Dixie Bell White Lightning and Restor-a-Finish in Cherry. This oil-based stain hides scratches and nourishes the wood, making them look almost new.

The grand reveal! I reattach the drawer bottoms and handles, and voila! The Meredew chest of drawres is reborn. This beauty sold within a week, proving once again that vintage with a modern touch is always a winner.

Bonus round: Meredew Furniture history! I stumbled upon a 1962 Meredew catalog, and guess what? Our dresser is practically its twin! Turns out, this piece was a £25 gem back in the day. Not bad for a piece that sells for much more now, right?


  • Take your time, especially with sanding and applying thin coats of finish.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour and accents.
  • Preserve original hardware if possible for added character.
  • Enjoy the process and satisfaction of giving vintage furniture a new lease on life!

If you have any questions or want to share your own furniture makeovers, please leave a comment below.

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See you on the next flip!

Brenda xx

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