It looked like the kind of cheap dark-varnished oak furniture cleared out from old relative's homes.
So I set to one sunny afternoon in the front garden, sanding the whole thing. Very zippy little Bosch blue sander - almost too powerful for my hand - and difficult to press the off button, but works a treat.
Blond oak emerged. Occasionally the wood under the oak veneer (sides and top, but drawer fronts are solid) emerged. Be careful with cheap stuff that is probably veneered!
Then, serendipity: I got it into my head that the sandpaper pads for the Bosch we'd bought at a smaller specialist hardware shop (Enorm Veentstra), were the wrong size. I was wrong - I'd forgotten that they just stick on with velcro - they aren't meant to be large enough to clip around the ends of the sanding foot. But Veenstra had the handles I chose in the end. Actually they had the same handles I'd already chosen - but cheaper. So ever thrifty ( I was going to take back the pricier ones) , I was selecting them from the back of their cupboard, when I spotted the leftovers of old ranges.
Of course they only had seven - but they had labels in the same range without the pull, so one drawer- the top one has no pull, but it's easy enough to pull it open from the sides of the drawer front. I suppose this proves that I favour looks over convenience.
To mark (and pre-drill) the holes for the screws to hold the handles, make a template with a bit of cardboard. A stiffish flyer delivered that morning worked for me. Use a handle stuck onto the cardboard, and if, like here, there are old holes from central handles, use them as a guide, too. One of the old hanfdle holes turned out to be off-centre - use your eyes and common sense, too!
Because this stands in our sitting room, I didn't want it to look too office-y, so the labels are written or typed in smallish font but repeated over and over, to create a graphic blur rather than an obvious label.