Back when I was a little girl, hope chests were a thing.

Hope Chest Completed Logo

The only company I was aware of that built them was Lane-they made cedar hope chests in different furniture styles as the trends changed, but the interiors remained the same. They were deep, cedar-lined chests where a girl could store her “betrothed” collection.

Hope Chest Cedar Interior

After all, hope chests were used to gather and store a young woman’s wedding dowry- you know, that whole love and marriage thing. The definition of a hope chest, according to Wikipedia: A hope chest, dowry chest, cedar chest, or glory box is a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life” As a high school graduation gift, each girl in my school received a miniature hope chest-apparently our goal was to find a prince charming and get married.

Photo Courtesy of  Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch
Photo Courtesy of Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch

The heck with that college stuff! How times have changed, fortunately. Fast forward a few decades, when I discovered this now un-used and un-loved, divorced-from-its-owner, Lane Mid-Century-Modern Style Hope Chest at our local Salvation Army.

Hope Chest Full BeforeIt had definitely seen better days, and reeked of stale cigarette smoke. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, everyone smoked, so pretty much any vintage pieces from that time period will likely have that lovely Eau Du Lucky Strike Scent. “It’s Toasted” is an understatement…

Lucky Strike Poster via JVoyage Etsy
Lucky Strike Poster via JVoyage Etsy

This piece took quite awhile to transform, as I pretty much had to prep every surface, both inside and out. Here is the how-I-did-it:

1.Removed top from base. The top was in the worst shape and needed a complete stripping and refinishing job.

Hope Chest Top BeforeThe plan was to paint and glaze the base, but to refurbish the top back to its original glowing cherry finish. I used this Motsenbocker’s Gel Stripper (yet another water-based, green product for us DIY’ers : )Water Based Hope Chest Paint Stripper GelAccording to the directions, you paint it on, wait 5-10 minutes then scrape off the old paint or varnish. Repeat if necessary.

Hope Chest Stripper ScraperIt took three coats of this, then a damp sponging before it was completely cleaned and prepped for a new finish. But it was well worth the wait. The wood was absolutely stunning!

Hope Chest Top Stripped Wood

For the finish, I used General Finishes Water-Based Brown Mahogany Wood Stain

General Finishes Water Based StainPainted it on with a sponge brush, wiped it off with a rag.

Hope Chest Staining Top

Two coats for the proper depth of color. Look at the richness of the color!

General Finishes Mahogany Brown StainFor the top coat, I used General Finishes Satin Poly-Acrylic Blend.. Three coats, with a light sanding with steel wool in between. The more I use them, the more I love these General Finishes Water-Based products. Easy application, much less odor, gorgeous durable finishes, dries fast, super easy to clean up and safer for the environment. Win,win!  I also used this to paint any unsealed exterior wood to make sure the stale smoke scent was gone.

Hope Chest General Finishes Poly-Acrylic TopCoat2. The base required a good cleaning and light sanding just to remove any loose particles and dust. I painted it with two coats of paint: Behr Ashwood

Behr AshwoodThis is a very pale greenish taupe color, in keeping with the 50’s when avocado green was all the rage. I then added second, lighter coat of the Ashwood mixed with some Glidden Antique Beige. This is another “go-to” neutral I keep on hand to use as a base color or to mix with other colors. It is a soft, creamy beige with a hint of pink. Pretty.

Hope Chest Painted Behr AshwoodTo define the insides of the trim squares, I added a glaze of the slightly darker Behr Ashwood mixed with Martha Stewart Glaze Effect. You mix them together in a bowl, using a 5 to 1 ratio of glaze to paint. The more paint, the darker the glaze, so you can adjust it according to your needs.

Hope Chest Martha Stewart Tintable GlazePainted it just inside the squares

Hope Chest Brushing on Glazingthen wiped it off to the edges to just leave a hint of color behind to enhance the trim.

Hope Chest Wiping Off GlazeThen the entire base was finished with Fiddes & Son Superior Wax.

Hope Chest Fiddes & Son Superior WaxI find the simplest way to use this product is to brush or wipe it on, allow to dry for a few minutes. Then I take my little Black and Decker Mouse Sander (without the sand-paper!) and then buff it using a pad of folded soft fabric.

Mouse Sander Buffer

Quick and easy on the elbows and leaves a perfectly smooth finish.

3. The lining inside the drawer was some old rotted, smelly green felt. I just wet it down, then scraped it out.

Hope Chest Removing Drawer LiningIn its place went some vintage ads and news articles

Hope Chest Americana Deco-Page for Drawer InteriorI affixed with Americana Deco-Page Matte Finish Gel.

Hope Chest Drawer Interior Vintage Newspaper Clips

4. The drawer pulls were dark and tarnished, but they were solid brass. I just didn’t have the heart to paint them, as I had originally intended! So I soaked them in acetone (that’s nail polish remover, folks)

Hope Chest LOVE Removing Tarnish from Hardware

to remove the lacquer coating, scrubbed with some steel wool and then cleaned them with Brasso polish. Gorgeous and shiny again, they are shaped like little bows and now pop against the Ashwood paint.

Hope Chest LOVE Handle Polished

5. The little brass feet on the bottom of the legs were also quite tarnished. For this I dipped the steel wool in some acetone and wiped until they were clean, then polished them as well.

Hope Chest Polishing Brass Feet with Brasso

(Note the heavy rubber gloves. Also note that I am not working in the basement, but in a well-ventilated dining room with the window open and the fan blowing. Which is better for my health, but let’s just say that my dining room is no longer suitable for dinner guests-takeout, anyone?)

Hope Chest Dining Room Workshop6. Amazingly, the interior of the hope chest was in perfect condition, even down to the little key. You can see by the sign that this one was built in 1957, true Mid Century Modern style, and comes with a $500 moth damage guarantee! I wonder if that is still in play…

Lane Hope Chest Mid Century ModernSo now, the little Mid-Century Hope Chest that looked like this

Cedar Hope Chest Top View

looks like this-not bad for 50 years old!

Hope Chest Completed LogoIf you are interested, you will find it at the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market today,

Mid Century Modern Hope Chestawaiting some love-struck young bride-to-be to fall in love with it and bring it home to start her dowry-which nowadays is more likely to include an MBA and a 401K than a linen tablecloth and lingerie.  But it would make a great storage chest or console table as well! Since this is LOVE post #7, and it is actually day 8, I will be sharing another project later on today. In the meantime, have a hopefully fun-filled weekend, everyone! Susan

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Vintage Thymes Chalk board Sign              This is post #6-sorry I am running late but I spent yesterday running back and forth to Norwood to set up my booth at the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market! This month’s market is all about LOVE. From the lovely vintage hot chocolate stand,

Vintage Thymes Hot Cocoa Bar

to the transformed vintage tin ceiling panel turned LOVE sign

Vintage Thymes Ceiling Tile Love Sign

and even an “Over You” Voodoo Doll or two-so funny!

Vintage Thymes Over It Voodoo Dolls

There are gorgeous painted pillows and button pillows…

Vintage Thymes Valentine Pillows

and more LOVE pillows-each one unique, just like our LOVE (ew, too corny?)

Vintage Thymes Love Pillow

And signs, lots of signs! One of my favorite James Taylor songs

Vintage Thymes How Sweet It Is Sign

and this sweet little tray would make the perfect gift for your favorite Valentine.

Vintage Thymes Cherry Sundae Sign

These are some of the prettiest mason jars I have seen yet-gotta PIN those to my A-Mason Jar Collection.

Vintage Thymes Mason Jar Vases

A harbinger of spring things to come-happy, happy daffodills: )

Vintage Thymes Dafodill Mason Jars

In my booth you will find the Antiqued Mirror (hmmm, it looks pretty nice on that commode, maybe it won’t sell and I can redecorate a room around it…)

Vintage Thymes Mirror and Consol

and this mid-century-modern Lane Hope Chest that I just refinished. DIY blog to follow.

Vintage Thymes Mid Century Modern Hope Chest

My sweet little lavender table- remember the before?

Vintage Thymes Lavender Table Before

So this is the after. In a nod to Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid, I added my own touches of lavenders.

Vintage Thymes Lavender Table

Every time I walk through the market prior to opening day, I am always blown away by the talent and creativity of the collective artisans who share this space.

Vintage Thymes Vignette

And I have been so happy and proud to be a part of such an amazing group. But, alas, this LIVE, LOVE, JUNK market will be my final one at Vintage Thymes. You see, Coach and I are really, really tired (we are kind of old…) of lugging furniture and packing and sorting and tagging and oh, did I say, lugging furniture back and forth. This was yesterday’s mileage: A collective 3.5 hours of driving.

Vintage Thymes Odometer Reading

And you won’t believe what the inside of my poor car looks like : (  Not sure what we are going to do with the barn full of stuff I have waiting to be transformed. Hoping to find a venue a little bit closer to home sometime soon. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be heading back down to Vintage Thymes the second weekend of every month to FIND WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU FIND-love that sign!!

Vintage Thymes Find What you Love Sign

So hurry on over to Vintage Thymes- we open at 9! Hope you have a “find what you love” kind of Friday, everyone! XOXOXO Susan

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Post #5. I recently published a Pinterest page I entitled “A-Mason Jars”. (a-mason, amazing…get it?). Creativity knows no bounds when mason jars, a can of paint and some glue is concerned. Lights, vases, drinks, candle sconces, even Valentines are just some of the many, many ways that mason jars have been transformed by amazing DIY’ers. In true Valentine fashion, here are a couple of painted vintage jars that I just finished for the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market  coming up this weekend. Mason Jar Painted Valentine HeartThey are painted with Behr Naturally Calm (lol-most definitely NOT named after me) and Behr Ridge View

Behar Lavender Paint Samples

Allowed to dry, then lightly sanded off around the raised writing to highlight the brand names: Ball & Kerr. Added a burlap tie glued with a couple of little fabric hearts I purchased at the Dollar Store. Cute? Here are a few other inspired designs from some very creative DIY’ers! From the blog Shaken Together, this Corny Valentine Mason Jar has a message on a jar filled with pink candy corn. Super Sweet! Shaken Together Mason Jar ValentineFrom Crissy’s Crafts, these popcorn-filled jars with free My Heart Pops for you Labels from Bird’s Party.com-adorable! Mason Jars Valentine Popcorn by Crissy's CraftsMake Something Mondays (LOVE her tag line…”keep your head open, something might fall in” : ) made Mason Jar Valentines Hot Chocolate Mix-yum! Make It Mondays Valentine Hot Chocolate Mason Jar From the blog Vintage Street Market, this sweet Jar Full Of Love created by Vicky Chrisman using a vintage Bingo card and a photograph. Mason Jar Full of Love by Vicki Chrisman More sweets for your sweetheart from The 36th Avenue. These candy-filled jars are simple-DIY instructions included-PLUS free printable Valentine tags! The 36th Avenue Candy Mason JarThese hand-painted Valentine Mason Jars are from Lemon Tree Dwelling. Super easy, super cute and you can see the treats inside too! Mason Jar Valentines from Lemon Tree DwellingAnd finally, if you’re not into that whole glass and paint and glue thing, how about some Sprinkled with Love Mason Jar Cookies from Munchkin Munchies-LOVE! Mason Jar Cookies from Munchkin MunchiesFor many more sweetly-inspired mason jars, check out my Pinterest pages- Be Mine Valentine and A-Mason Jars. Hope you are having a warm and toasty Wednesday, everyone. XOXOX Susan

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Yikes, Day 4 of the Valentine’s series- this is tougher than I thought!

Wood Heart LOVE signsThese three hearts started out the same, in an “Autumn” markdown bin at a local craft store. They already had the wire handles and the stars cut out. They were painted orangey and decorated with autumn leaves and raffia. The fun of DIY is just that- I do it my self so I can really personalize each piece however I imagine it. I love to use unusual and distinctive antique trim items to decorate a piece, including old lock sets, drawer pulls, knobs and locks to have a vintage, industrial kind of vibe.

Heart #1: I dry-brushed with Antique Beige paint and then sanded it to give the heart its aged appearance. For the decoration, I stenciled LOVE in block letters in a taupe color along the right side. The bottom decoration is a piece of leftover antique painted tin from a ceiling panel, fixated with some old brass screws. Burlap bow for cuteness.

Rustic Wood Heart LOVE SignHeart #2: Painted this one with some lavender in the same dry-brush technique. For the LOVE, I took an old shutter slat and spelled out the letters in hot glue. Allowed to dry, then painted over it, then wiped most of it off, revealing the raised letters. For the decoration, I used an old drawer pull. It looked to me a bit like angel’s wings-cupid, perhaps? Added the burlap bow.

Rustic Wood Purple LOVE Heart ValentinesHeart #3: This one I dry-brushed with the Antique Beige paint and stenciled the LOVE letters down the side. For the embellishment, I used another old drawer pull that had been painted and was chipped and worn. Added the bow. LOVE the way this one looks!

Rustic Wood Heart #3There you have it, three rustic country hearts ready to hang for Valentine’s Day. Do you have a favorite? These will be available this upcoming weekend at the Vintage Thymes Market. (as long as Mother Nature has a heart and spares us the snowstorm : ) Hope you are having a heart-ful day! Susan

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It’s Day No. 3 of my LOVE posts. I LOVE pillows, the more the better. On the bed, on the couch, on any chair and bench in my home you will find a pillow(s). The more color, the more style, the more designs, the better. This is a needlepoint pillow that sits on my porch.

Home Is Where the Heart IsI made it sooo many years ago, and back then it was actually a framed picture, but now it’s a cushy pillow. Here are some other inspired Valentine’s pillows I found around the web (It’s not too late to make one for your very own Valentine)

Key to My Heart Pillow by Kathy Kuo Home-sweet and simple. Love the vintage, rustic style.

Kathy Kuo Home Pillow

One single pillow can create a vignette and make a space pop, like this little pink heart by Mhouse Inc, shown here on Houzz.com

Photo by Stephani Buchman PhotographyLoving this Pixilated Heart Pillow by S.O.T.A.K. Handmade. Super cute, especially if you love quilts.

Pixilated Heart Pillow by SOTAK

This gorgeous hand-painted silk pillow is by Crystal J Silk. Loving the aqua and red combo!

Hand Painted Heart Pillow by Crystal J SilkLoving this adorable quilted heart pillow with all the buttons in the center by Sew Me Something Good (and don’t you just LOVE that name?!)

Pillow by Sew Me Something GoodOne of the first posts I saw this morning on Facebook was by Setting for Four– absolutely LOVE this sparkly gold LOVE pillow!

Gold Sequin LOVE Pillow by Setting for FourNo way! These awesome heart pillows were created from drop cloths!! I always LOVE inspired design. These are from Posed Perfection and they are perfect : )

Drop Cloth Heart Pillows by Posed PerfectionThis little “Hearts on a Line” cutie is from Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter. You can get the full tutorial on this U-Create link.

Valentine Hearts Pillow by Amy Smart

And finally, from the Etsy shop of Alfie And Rex comes this colorful, screen-printed Boston Terrier with Hearts Pillow. (they have other breeds too!)

Alfie & Rex Heart Dog Pillow

Seeing all of these pillows makes me so inspired to go and grab my sewing machine and start stitching something sweet! On the other hand, seeing these pillows makes me think it would be nice to curl up on the sofa..Susan

 

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Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style...in the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.
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