An old wooden chest make-over


What a find! The moment we saw each other, we both knew we had a great future together! “He” was a bit of a fixer-upper, but as it usually goes, it worked out at the end. Meet my latest project – the wooden chest.


He wasn’t much to look at. Rectangular, misunderstood (why such a masculine piece was painted white…), chunky. Yet with substance, character and a story to tell. A great piece to work with, a true find. It was painted quite roughly as you can see, the main purpose for the job probably being its preservation. Wooden chest3

As well as being “a bit of a fixer-upper”, the item also proved to be a bit of an introvert. It was very difficult to get to its inside. The metal rim that hemmed the lid doubled as a finger guillotine.  A big “no-no” in my mummy book.


Very sturdy and built to last, I knew there was something beautiful hidden under all those layers. With the help of my sander, it was discovered that under the white gown, there was a military uniform – dark grey. Probably more fitting to this piece, however under disguise hid beautiful weathered distraught wood. Sanding also revealed some other details, like the screws in the sides.

It was love.

My sander could not handle the two layers, so I got a friend (thank you, friend!) to help with a more heavy duty sander.

Wooden chest2

I loved the wood grain we discovered. It had to be preserved as genuinely as possible, so I used clear matte varnish. In the photo it looks still fresh, but once it dried, it looked a little more weathered, a little more worn.

The end result is just perfect. I love what I got to discover.

This piece is special for another, sentimental reason. It was built by a very special person – person no longer alive, but a person leaving a legacy. Ian Ross, thank you, for this and much more.

Wooden chest1

If you enjoyed this DIY make-over, I can recommend a few more that you might enjoy:

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Before and After – Pink Vanity Table

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This is great! I am doing what I love doing, and others pay me for it. Who would not love that?

This is yet another DIY that I have been commissioned to do! Why not?!

My lovely sister-in-law mentioned that she wanted to do something with her girls (my nieces) bedroom. She mentioned she had some old furniture there already and an old bed and lots of pink carpets and curtains.  We talked about a few ideas, and decided to start with the girly vanity table.


The piece itself was a beautiful quality vanity table. It was covered with stickers, but that came off quite easily with some sanding.


Sanding the table and then a coat of undercoat lifted it up and definitely covered some imperfections and covered well its real age.


Initially, I picked a lighter pink, but after some deliberation, we settled on the hot pink, which I made by mixing some of the colours I’ve already had.


Some hand-made tulle flowers have done a good job braking up the solid colour beautifully.


I did have one problem with painting the mirror. Even though I’ve used duct-tape, some paint has leaked under the frame and looked very messy. I had to improvise a little and using a glue gun, stick a ribbon all along the inner edge of the frame. Ended up looking intentional and beautiful!


Very girly!


Zara Home had a large selection of handles, and these ones stole my aspiring designer heart!


Little touches make a big difference.


Here is my little one playing with her cousin’s vanity table.


If you liked this post, and like to see other DIY ideas and do-overs, check out my other posts:

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