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From mid-century pine to calm and uplifting

We were lucky enough to receive my grandfather’s old Cedar Chest last year. It looked like this:

While I love the capacity for storing stuffed animals and the cedar lining and, of course, the fact that it’s a family piece, I just didn’t find the oblong holes and yellow tone and decorative grooves to be… groovy.

Adding Wood Elements

First things first, I wanted those holes on the top and bottom covered up.

A length of curvy trim masked the bottom nicely and added softer lines.

The hole on top, which I’m guessing is for air/leverage if someone climbs inside, also had to go. I’m fine drilling airholes in the back, but this was an eyesore.

I thought about fastening a round enamel knob in place, but eventually chose to bring up the softer contour of the trim with a curvy-edged wooden plaque – just a little, thin one from the Michaels wood craft aisle.

I was happier with the lines now, so it was time to paint!

Chalk Paint, of Course

I’ve pinned about a thousand million pics of Parisian Grey makeovers, so that was a must. I planned to coat it with white wax, but there weren’t any carved parts or raw wood or other elements that would be brought out by the wax, so once I put a little on wiped it off, I just had a lighter flat gray.

The whole thing looked like a battleship. I didn’t take a picture at that stage – it just wasn’t pretty. So I switched to dry brushing.

Dry Brushing (And Damp Brushing)

Although Parisian gray looks very light in the store, once I got it in the dark blue room the Cedar Chest lives in, I saw how very dark it could be.

So I needed white, and if white wax wasn’t going to work, white paint would do. I figured dry brushing would let some of the gray showing through, so I set to it. And it worked.

I love the effect so much. I was planning to position rectangles of wallpaper on the two front areas to cover it was mid-century grooves, but I didn’t want to hide any of the pretty grey and white, so I didn’t!

Even better though, is what happened on the top. The gray paint were still damp when I started drive arsenal the white on. The white ended up blending in with the gray, but not very much, just enough for the paints to settle nicely together. you can see what I mean if you look here at the difference between the top and the front:

Then I sprayed it with the matte clear enamel shown above, and here’s the finished product:

I love it so much.

So Good, I Did It Again

I gave the same treatment to a filing cabinet I had found left out on the curb for trash day.

Plain cabinet, with that typical yellowy, shiny treatment on cheap furniture.

I layered the chalk pants, added a metal fleur de lis for interest, painted the hardware silver, and sprayed the whole thing with the matte sealer.

Before and after:

The the room is lighter and brighter with these two pieces done. Eventually I will redo the bureau in the same manner and everything will look like a set!

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