Makeover — ‘Victoria’ the Dressing Table

by Lia Fagan

Interior Designer Lia Fagan is back – and another castoff piece of furniture is the better for it. Enjoy Lia’s guest post, and the transformed Deco diva, ‘Victoria’.

Deco Dressing Table Victoria

I rescued Victoria from a local reuse centre…rows upon rows of withered souls just looking to be brought back to life.

“My, you’re a long way from the salon.”

Victoria Before

She was in great shape structurally, but was badly in need of a good cleaning. This dressing table would have had a large mirror attached to the back at some point. Although I was sort of glad that it had been lost along the way. I think it creates a more modern look to choose your own mirror to hang or lean in place of the original.

I can only assume she had been used in a hair salon of some sort. The inside of the drawers were covered in hair dye and as I took her apart, I found more bobby pins than I could count.

Drawers Cleaned, Sanded and Ready to Prime

“You’ve got great bone structure, honey.”

I was looking for something something completely feminine. The fact that she had such lovely detailing was a bonus. She was sturdy and constructed of solid wood…that’s all I needed to know, any other hiccups could work themselves out along the way.

Aiming for a look that was girly, glowing and glam, I pictured her as the perfect piece to complete any boudoir. I wanted her still to feel fresh and youthful. Purple seemed to be right choice in achieving this goal. Not too juvenile, not too sultry, just wonderfully pretty.

Selecting the right purple was tough! There are so many delightful shades to choose from. The color I chose is muted, but has a lovely richness.

Oversized Floral Patterned Paper in Drawers

Girly Glowing and Glam

I lined the top drawers with a bold, over-sized, floral paper, and the bottom with a coordinating small-scale floral paper. A little bit of bling to give a nod to her deco lines; that’s all it took to complete my vision for this classic beauty.

“The secret is the right foundation.”

The biggest challenge while making over Victoria was painting over the existing hair dye spills without having them bleed through and ruin the new finish.

The trick lies in using oil-based, stain blocking primer before painting. One or two thin coats usually do it, depending on the severity of the stain. After that use either oil or latex paint to finish the job.

Deco Diva Dressing Table

I know, I know…’oil and latex don’t mix,’ you say? You’re right, oil based paint and latex paint don’t mix, but oil based primer can be used under almost any other paint finish, including latex. In fact, I find I get much better results with oil primer under latex paint than I do when using water based primer.

“Color me beautiful.”

  • Exterior colour: Benjamin Moore’s “CC-38 Nightfall Sky”
  • Interior colour: Benjamin Moore’s “CC-20 Decorators White”
    (my old standby)
  • Drawer lining: Scrapbook paper
  • The sparkle: Understated, brushed chrome hardware.

(The paint colours are from Benjamin Moore’s Canadian line. You may have to speak to a local representative to find the equivalent colour in its U.S. line.)


Burlington, Ontario Interior Designer, Lia Fagan’s background in design, and her eye for detail, enable her to breathe new life into otherwise unwanted furnishings. Her distinctively styled, colourful and quirky “characters” can find a way into your home through her Etsy shop, Mod Pieces.

Lia loves all things beautiful and mixing the old with new, into uniquely personal spaces. She writes about style and design at her blog, Mod Nest.


What piece of thrift-store furniture will you transform?

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2 Comments for “Makeover — ‘Victoria’ the Dressing Table”

Nice work. I miss the old art deco hardware, though.

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the note. I do see what you mean – I bet Lia went that direction for the color of the hardware. Wonder if she sold/repurposed the old hardware?

Appreciate your visit,

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