Eleanor Roosevelt aka. Grace Kelly

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This dresser re-do is still one of my favorites.  Sadly, Eleanor and I had to part ways recently.  She just is too big and heavy to fit in my adorable little apartment.  No worries, though!  She found a new home with someone who adores her almost as much as I do! 


If you follow me on Facebook I posted a picture of this sad beauty.  And you all thought she was lovely and gave me wonderful advice on paint colors.  If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter…you should. I post random, ridiculous status’ and fun stuff.

I had named her Grace Kelly. At first. She had seemed so delicate and lovely.


 Most decorator/restorers/designers have something they use for inspiration to decide colors and such.  For furniture, I name my pieces.  My kids have long ago gotten used to me talking to furniture. Poor kids.  I look at a piece and I determine what personality they have…what celebrity they would be.  And that influences me.  Strange. But, it works.

Here is Captain

And Betty Blue and Washington

And Gertie the Gossip Bench.

See!! Told you!

 Anyways, back to Eleanor. She was Grace Kelly. And then we moved her.  Beast!! She is a beast!  Definitely not dainty.  And…the more I looked at her the more I realized she had strength, and toughness, and was  not a force to reckon with. But, still a lady. Of importance.

Hence…Eleanor Roosevelt.



She is oak with beautiful wood carvings, turned legs, and original hardware.  But she was a mess. And damaged. Someone didn’t love her…darned it!  I struggled with what to do with her. I couldn’t decide if I should repair as much as I could, even replacing damaged wood pieces.  Or, if I should let her be.  Back to the name again. Eleanor Roosevelt was a lady that you wouldn’t dare suggest wasn’t exactly the way she was supposed to be. So, I told Eleanor (the furniture) that I wouldn’t give her plastic surgery.

But, we did agree on some cover-up in places.

 top design

 Do you see that damage…missing pieces? I felt so bad for her.  She simply had a light coat of DIY chalk paint in lovely pink on those carvings. I didn’t even fill the cracks or paint  where the missing pieces were. She was beautiful in all her damage.


Both of her legs were like this. (Ignore the dirty floor. I didn’t clean for you)  I put my foot down and told her she needed cover-up if I couldn’t replace it all together.  So, I just painted them so it wouldn’t be as noticeable.  She seemed to tolerate it well.


I gave her top a great sea blue color, her body a very “grunge” gray both in homemade DIY chalk paint.  And then distressed the whole thing.  I sure couldn’t make it all shiny and new with that damage.


I kept her original hardware, even the wonky piece there.  Although, her and I are arguing about using Rub N’ Buff on them to make them gold.  We’ll see who wins.


And there she is.  She is lovely, isn’t she.  Stately, regal, and imperfect.  Just like a lady of an advanced age should look. I think. (Unless, you are advanced (in age) and don’t like me saying that. ) 

Nellie is the founder of NellieBellie, and takes basically every photograph you've ever seen on this site. She also runs our web design business, the Savvy Sites Administration.


  1. Debby Messner

    June 28, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    What a transformation. I have one that is similar but in really good shape. It is oak but stained in cherry. It’s old but not a family piece. I want to chalk paint it as well.
    Can you tell me about your Paddington under glass. I have one that I gave my son before he we adopted him. I actually got it for him before we ever even knew he was going to live with us. I was wondering about yours. It must be special as well.

  2. Bella

    June 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    She is perfectly imperfect! Love the colors and glad to hear she’s found herself a great home!

  3. Bliss

    June 25, 2012 at 8:38 am

    You got a thing about you
    I just can’t live without you
    I really want you, Elenore, near me
    Your looks intoxicate me
    Even though your folks hate me
    There’s no one like you, Elenore, really

    Elenore, gee I think you’re swell …..

    ~Bliss~ who knew she also had a song about her

  4. cassie

    June 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    so so loverly! and love the color combo! i am back,…. at least til tues when a friend visits for a few days. then i will be back…. until i head to the beach next week…. then i will be back for a while. ;)

  5. Linda @ it all started with paint

    June 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve been over here like three times …no make that four … reading your tale of Grace turned Eleanor .. and all Eleanor’s wonky issues and age and no, no, I don’t think shiny would work …

    And each time I return and read and then get distracted (“squirell?”) and then come back and then remember that I need to say thank you, thank you, thank you for having me gracing your hallowed mustachioed halls tomorrow!



  6. keri @ shaken together

    June 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Well, she is quite classic and gorgeous … love that you left some of her original character … I think she earned it :)

  7. Shasta Farrar

    June 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Eleanor is beautiful! You did a great job with her but I think you need to let the rub ‘n buff go. I like her hardware the way it is. One more thing, is that my Barbie camper sitting on the floor underneath Eleanor? .

  8. Meg @ Nutmeg Place

    June 24, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Oh Janel. She is PERFECT! I love that you kept her looking like she had amazing stories to tell. SO pretty!!

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