From Country to Chic

For months I’ve been staring at this.

Hope Chest Close Up

It’s the hope chest my parents gave me ages ago. It’s cedar-lined, highly useful, and just doesn’t go with our bedroom. At the old house, I hid it in the closet, and while we have lots of closet space, they all have built-in, tilted shoe storage that makes it impossible to tuck my chest away.

The MR said get rid of it, but then where would I put my sweaters, the girls’ baby blankets and tiny outfits, the dress I wore when he proposed, and all the other stuff I just tuck away in it? I’m attached to this thing. It’s not going anywhere. And so I stared at it some more and sighed.

It Just Doesnt Go Collage

A paint job and some new hardware would fix it up. I’ve heard rave reviews about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and decided to give it a try. If you’re local, they carry it at Haley’s Cottage in downtown Kirkland. Bring your quarters; it’s metered parking. The paint was a bit of a splurge, but you don’t have to use a primer or prep the surface. This paint sticks to everything.

First things first, I emptied out my hope chest.

Time to Empty It Out

And lo and behold at the bottom, I found the ring bearer’s pillow from our wedding.


One of the benefits of cleaning out hope chests, boxes, or closets is all the fun memories hidden treasures bring to mind.

Next, it was time to remove the hardware. I was ready with my trusty screw driver only to be foiled by these.

Nails Too

The decorative plates were nailed on. I grabbed a hammer and chisel and gently got to work. After removing all the hardware, I used a little wood fill, let it dry, and then sanded it smooth.

Wood Fill and Sanding

Then, I moved it into the light which just so happens to be at the foot of the MR’s side of the bed in the middle of the doorway to our room. Having a king-sized built-in bed can make moving furniture around tricky, but I wanted to work in a well-lit area off the carpet if possible.

Move Into the Light

The MR did have to be careful not to stumble over it in the dark. I’d love to say we only had to live with it for a day or two, but I just don’t work that fast. I used a roller to paint the large areas, but those fake drawers have a lot of detail, so I used a foam brush.

Maybe Another Coat

I took a critical look at it and decided it needed another coat of paint. Unfortunately, I did that multiple times. I’m not sure if the chalky finish was throwing me off, or if I’m just not that great a painter. Finally, I was satisfied.

Finally Satisfied

And it’s a good thing too, because someone got bored and decided to chew up the tack cloth and some foam brushes.

Cocoa Trouble

While Annie Sloan paint doesn’t require a primer, it does need wax to finish it off.

Add the Wax

I used a rag to rub the wax on and went back over it with another rag to buff it out. I was getting happy; this project was almost finished. I pulled out some lovely, simple hardware, I’d picked up ages ago, and then I hit this speed bump.

Almost Finished

It looked so sleek, so nice, so finished; it was just a little off.

Just a Touch Off

If only I’d checked the hardware at the beginning, it would have saved me a lot of trouble. I got out my wood fill, sanded, painted, and waxed all over again.

While the MR asked if I needed a new hole drilled, I decided a little hot glue would do the trick. That just smeared and looked ugly, so they’re only attached really tightly on one side. The drawer pulls are strictly decorative. I guess we could run into trouble if someone tries to stand on them, but I’m willing to chance it.

It’s been a week, and I’m excited to get the big pile of sweaters out of the corner of my bedroom. I’m also pleased with the way the hope chest turned out.

Finished close-up 2

If it were just me, I might have spray painted the whole thing a bright turquoise or a muted teal, but the MR likes a more subtle pallet. You could say he reigns me in, or perhaps he’s the voice of reason. Now my little hope chest no longer sticks out like a sore thumb in this gray and white soothing bedroom.

Finished Chest from the side

Here’s a little before an after to give you a feel for how it goes from in-your-face brown to something that belongs in this room.

Comparison Collage

While we’ve never gravitated towards a country cottage or shabby chic look (I did embrace plaid for a few years in the late ’90s), I’m surprised at how much of our furniture fights with the architecture and modern feel of our home. We’re just learning to work with it.

Has a home demanded you change your style? How have you made that awkward piece fit in?


5 thoughts on “From Country to Chic

  1. Decoupage! I took those old garage sale pieces purchased when the kids were little ( and the eldest is now in his 40s) and took the lovely shiny pages from Martha Stewart’s magazines and decoupaged them all! Love it, perky and ever so chic. Just watered down Elmers glue pressed on the piece with a damp rag. Then to be sure it all stayed, on I painted on Mod Podge ., Ta-dum, instant gratification. . Theo.

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