Monday, April 13, 2015

A New Life for an Old Cedar Chest

Working on this Cedar Chest makeover was a little bit of an emotional journey for me.  You see, this was my high school graduation gift from my late mother, 36 years ago.  {Wow, did I just write that number down?  My kids are right, I am old...}  At first, it stored items that I made or purchased for my "future marriage".  By the time Hubs and I married 3-1/2 years later, it was stuffed to the top.  Since then, it's stored blankets, baby clothes and lots of wonderful memories!

My "Hope Chest", has been through a lot over the years! A lot of moves, {at least 17 moves, if my count is correct} and it showed a lot of damage, too. The oak veneer finish was water damaged from the shipping crate being dropped into the ocean (yep, true story!); the original base that it stood on had to be removed because it had swelled out of proportion, and was beyond repair; parts of the trim along the bottom were loose and wobbly.  The 4 handles on the fake drawers had long ago broken and were tossed.
However, it was still a cherished piece to sentimental me.  Some things you just have to keep!

The first thing I wanted I wanted to do was get the old girl on her feet again:
I bought the Heavy Duty Top Plates (brackets) and the feet at Home Depot.  Hubs showed me how to drill pilot holes and then attach the plates to the bottom of the chest with screws. Attaching the legs was as simple as screwing them into the plates.
With that done, Hubs and I carried her out to the garage for her glamorous makeover!  I carefully sanded the oak veneered top with 100 grit, then 120 grit sandpaper to remove the old, water-damaged finish. Then, after a through wiping down, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Wood Finish in Provincial. I put it on with a chip brush; after letting it soak in for about 15 minutes, I rubbed it in circles, and wiped off the excess with the grain of the wood, with a wiping cloth.  2 coats gave me the exact dark shade that I was going for.  When it was done, she was given 2 coats of wax, to protect that pretty top.

After re-gluing some trim pieces around the bottom with Gorilla Glue for wood, I mixed up a batch of my favorite chalk paint, and gave all the feet, trim and edges three even coats using a cheap sponge brush. Let me tell you, chalk paint hides years of wear and tear, without having to prep, strip and sand the wood!  I love this stuff!
Here's the reason I didn't paint the entire chest:  embossed, paintable wallpaper, just like I used on the TV Media Console.
The embossed wallpaper not only hides all the dents, chips and flaws,
it can be painted, too!  It was easy to measure, and cut with sharp scissors.

Instead of being tucked out of the way in a spare room, I have my cherished cedar Hope Chest displayed in a prominent place, so I can admire it every day.  Good memories are stored inside!

I'm thinking about adding a "French Flair" to this piece by lightly dry-brushing on some light blue paint to highlight the embossing.  I have a blue "French" chair in the master bedroom that would match that theme perfectly.  (But, first I'm going to practice on a scrap piece of wallpaper!)

Do you have a cherished piece that you can't part with, and needs a new lease on life?  Try this chalk paint and embossed wallpaper technique, and you'll probably fall in love with it all over again, just like I have with my sweet cedar chest!  
Let me know if you try it, or if you want to ask a question about any of my projects; I love getting comments from my readers!  Oh, and don't forget to come back in a few days and check out the third project that I finished simultaneously with the TV Media Console and this Cedar Chest.  It might look a little familiar.... 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dresser to TV Media Console - Part 2: The Reveal!

Welcome back! I'm so glad you are here!

Last week, I shared in Part 1 about how Hubs and I are giving an old, worn out craigslist dresser a new lease on life as a TV Media Console.

Today, I'm happy to say that it's finished and gracing our living room with pride!
From dreary to dreamy!
To look at it now, it's difficult to remember how it awful it was before!  It was obviously manufactured in 1976, the USA's Bicentennial year, as you can tell from the original drawer lining:
The new drawer lining adds class!
The top and sides of the dresser were worn and "bubbled".  Several of the drawers were broken, chipped and non-functioning.  In short, it was a hot mess.  However, the size was perfect for our space, and we really liked the curvy lower edge.  It showed potential, and it was cheap, inexpensive.

Here's a breakdown of the rest of the progress:
-- Installed new 1 x 4-inch wood planks on the top to cover the badly bubbled "fake wood"
-- Trimmed, sanded, and then stained the planks with Minwax Wood Finish in Provincial
-- Chalk painted the body of the cabinet in crisp white:
 -- And my favorite part... added embossed wallpaper to the sides and drawer fronts!
-- The old brassy hardware needed an update, too. Now they sport an Oil-Rubbed Bronze finish (doesn't it pop beautifully against the embossed wallpaper!?)

I'm in love with the rich, dark top against the crisp white of the console; it gives a little rustic elegance to this piece.  And that wallpaper! <sigh> To me, it adds some "French Provincial" flair!

** Update:  One thing that you might notice that I forgot to do....cover the left & right sides of the interior! Ooops! I thought I had enough contact paper that I used for the shelves and back panels, but there wasn't quite enough. Thankfully, I found a roll to exactly match at Target.  {Lucky for me, because I purchased the original roll over 2 years ago!} I'm very excited to have this TV Media Console completely finished.  See the NEW photo below!

NOW it's FINISHED!  I  covered the left & right sides of the interior with matching contact paper.
I'll admit that I "cheated" on this part... instead of peeling the paper backing off, I just used some glue to put it into place.  Much easier than trying to wrestle with the sticky-backed paper! 

I love how this project turned out! Not bad for a 39 year old craigslist dresser, wouldn't you say?  Leave me a comment if you like this project, or if you think you might try this one on your own!
I know that there's a lot of these "dresser makeovers" out there on Pinterest right now, and being able to actually turn this Ugly Duckling into a Swan has been an enjoyable journey for me and the Hubs.  Plus, we bought a new Ryobi jigsaw.  Whoop!

Come back in a few days when I'll be sharing my Cedar Chest Makeover.  Some things about it might look familiar, but you'll see a HUGE transformation!