LOVE-ingly Restored Hope Chest

      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

Vintage LOVE Sign

In this month of openly-proclaimed all things LOVE, I am celebrating by posting a new LOVE sign or picture each day until February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Some will be images and ideas I have found on the web that I would love to share, some are my own creations, like this reclaimed wood plank with LOVE letters spelled out in shutter slats and the “O” from an old mason jar top. Hope you love it!

Country Design Home Vintage Love Sign

I created this using a reclaimed wooden plank, some paint, glue, reclaimed vintage shutter slats and an old mason jar lid. Here is the “how-I-did-it”:Painted two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen chalk paint. This is my go-to neutral that I use for so many projects!

Annie Sloan French Linen Base CoatStenciled the background with Behr Gulf Winds

Behr Gulf Winds Paintin an all-over stencil pattern to give the piece a “wallpaper” effect.

LOVE sign stenciled backgroundThe blue I chose matched closely to the hue of the mason jar top. Isn’t it just the soothingest color?

LOVE sign Stencil Color Gulf WindOnce the paint was dry, I sanded everything to distress the top and edges

Vintage LOVE sign distressed edges

and then added a coat of Fidde’s Paste Wax to give the board a glowing effect.

 Fiddes and Son Supreme Wax

Cut the shutter slats into the letters necessary to spell out LOVE-without the “o”.

Antique Shutter Slats for LOVE signCoach initially cut them with the chop saw, but I discovered that these are easily cut with just a razor box cutter. They are pretty old and brittle, so it didn’t take much effort at all.

Vintage LOVE sign cut letters

I glued the letters to the board with Gorilla Glue. Just as an FYI, their label was one of the few I looked at during my freak-out session while writing “The Dangers of DIY” that says their product is non-toxic and has no harmful chemicals or odors.

Gorilla Glue LabelHigh five, Gorilla Glue!

Vintage LOVE sign Gorilla GlueJust painted the glue on the back of each piece, placed them into position and then weighted them down with some books and cans of paint and left overnight to ensure the proper bonding.

Add the “O”. Hot glue worked well for this.

Mason Jar Top O for Love SignJust glued all around the edges, pressed it down onto the board to complete the sign.

Mason Jar O for Love Sign

To hang it, I used a couple of tiny rings and some wire. The board was quite thin, so most of the screws and nail hangers I had were too long.

Screw Hook and wire for LOVE signThis worked great because the sign is very light and won’t stretch out the wire. So this is the before:

Wood plank for LOVE sign

And this is now: Do you LOVE it?!?

Vintage LOVE Sign TM

If you have a LOVELY craft, idea or recipe to share, please send it to me @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will add you to my LOVE collection. Hope you have a lovely Saturday! Susan

Paint A La Cart

Coach and I did a LOT of picking this weekend and scored many great items for some upcoming markets. Mirrors, and oak bookcases, furniture, rugs, and more mirrors-all amazing!

Rug and MirrorSaturday morning, I was busy doing house sort of stuff, so Coach went off himself, only to call me within a few minutes to tell me that someone was selling cases of paint for $1 per can! So he grabbed the first boxful of colors he thought I might use.

General Finishes Case of Paint

I went back with him later and struck up a convo with the homeowner. Turns out he had owned an unfinished furniture store for years, and had recently closed it down. These were the leftover paints, stains and finishes.

General Finishes Paint Supply

So I grabbed some stains (now, I know Hunter Green is not in style right now, but you never know when it might return to its former backwoods glory)

General Finishes Green Stain

some Milk Paints-can’t wait to try these

General Finishes Milk Paint

and Glazes- so many colors to choose from.

General Finishes Black Glaze

This ought to be fun! But my best yard sale buy of the weekend? This awesome heavy-duty stainless steel rolling kitchen cart!

Paint Cart Cleaned

The guy was asking $10 and Coach asked if he would take $5. He said “sure, quick, just take it before my wife comes back outside-she has an emotional attachment to everything!” LOL!! We all know how that goes! So, I brought it home with the intent of finally organizing all of my paints, stains and finishes into one spot instead of scattered all over my work shop.

Workbench Paints

Before I could use it, though, I spent about 2 hours with many household products including Awesome Orange cleaner, vinegar, baking soda, bleach spray, scrubbing brushes and many kettles of boiling water to clean off layer upon layer of grease-yuck! I am not sure where this thing had been, but I sure as heck didn’t want it in my basement attracting critters! Finally, the finished cart was sparkly and ready to go. I made quick work of filling it with so many cans and bottles and pots of paints and finishes.

Finish Cans

So now its filled with my newest additions

Filled Paint Cart

to go along with my ever-growing collection of Behr paint sample pots I get at Home Depot,

Behr Sample Pots From Home Depot

plus a new paint with some amazing colors

Paint Couture Color Samples

from a company called Paint Couture

Belize Blue Paint Couture

and my first ever Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (in a very special color, more on that later..).

/Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Boy, do I have a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks! As I try each new product, I will give my unbiased opinion on the overall painting experience. But tonight is game one of the World Series, so paintbrushes away! And Go SOX! Susan

Drawer Pull Puppets

Did you ever decide that you wanted to paint some drawer pulls, but the pulling part that is hinged to the face plate keeps swinging back and forth while you are trying to hold it still to apply the paint? So frustrating! Simple solution: drawer pull puppets!

Pull Puppets

All you need is a place to hang the pulls while you paint, some thread, (you can use string, but the thinner the better so you don’t see the lines),

Thread and Scissorsscissors, painters tape and some newspaper, and of course, the paint. In this case I used Rustoleum Hammered Silver paint purchased at The Home Depot.

Hammered Rustoleumto give the old pitted brass a new old distressed look. Cut the thread and loop it over the wire. I used our cable wires in the basement that are attached to the beams in the ceiling over my work space.

Thread and wire

Now, obviously, if you have a nice, decorated basement, you would not be spray-painting in there anyway. I, on the other hand, have become a basement dweller surrounded by old pipes and cobwebs, concrete floors, hanging exposed wires and gray stone walls. No worries about ruining anything. So, I hung the hinges to just above the work table top, then taped them underneath to the table to stop them from swinging-uggh!

Pitted Brass Pulls

(if I ever tell you I want to add a puppeteer to my bucket list, remind me of this post, please).

Puppets in Window

Spray painted them, one coat needed. This paint adds a cool textured finish to the metal.

Hammered Silver Paint

Now, I wanted to add a little more interest to them, so I dry-brushed some of the Behr Stealth Jet Gray on top, the same color as the desk I had painted.

Antiquing pulls

Then I wiped most of it away, leaving just a hint of the darker gray to match the desk. Allowed to dry, then cut them down.

Hanging Pulls

This is the point where I typically show you the finished piece. Sadly, I forgot to take that pic! (sigh, I really need a camera crew to follow me around to take pics. Too many things to remember!!) Happily, I sold the desk at the Vintage Thymes Market this past weekend : ) But it did look pretty awesome, and that’s my unbiased opinion.

Desk Drawer Pulls

Have a non-distressing Tuesday everyone- stop hanging around and go do something today!! Susan

Pretty Painted Bottles

Hey, it’s High Five for Friday time! But this week I am calling it Freakin’ Fun Friday, because I want to share with you this super fun craft project – any one can do this, it’s quick, easy (a little messy) but soooo country pretty!

The Painted Bottle Project

Browsing Pinterest the other night, I came across this project from Work In Progress Kits and literally jumped off the couch and said “I can do this!”. Coach and I have collected quite a number of old bottles, some dug up right in our own backyard,

Antique Bottles

some in more recent estate sales and auctions. Many are old, rusted, scratched and lidless, essentially worthless (don’t worry Coach, I didn’t paint the Old Log Cabin Bourbon bottle in the back-turns out that one is worth something!) so I figured this would be just the trick to spice them up! Here’s the how-to: First, you need some clear glass bottles and jars. Anything will do, doesn’t matter if they’re old or new, but the ones with the embossed labels on the outside look especially cool once they are done.

Bottles Clear

Wash thoroughly- I put mine through the dishwasher to make sure I got all of the grease and dirt off. Choose your paint colors. Home Depot has these awesome Behr paint sample pots- for $2.94 each if you want custom colors-but these were in the Oops! Bin for 50 cents apiece!

Bottles Behr Pots

I also have a number of the little craft paints, and those actually work better for the smaller-necked bottles.

Bottles Paint Jars

So I grabbed a pile of paints, assembled my bottles and got to work. You simply take the paint and bottle of choice, pour the paint inside,

Bottles Navy Pour

turn the bottle until it is completely coated on the inside

Bottles Navy Drip

turn the bottle upside down and allow all of the excess paint to drip back out into its original container

Bottles Navy Pour Out

wipe the edge to give it a nice clean finish (loving this little blue bottle with the mint green inside edge : )

Bottles Mint Green and Blue

allow to dry overnight…add flowers, battery tea lights, whatever you would like to decorate. But remember- this is acrylic paint- you can’t use real candles or put water in them! The paint makes the embossing stand out on the bottle- before the paint I didn’t even know there was a ship on this bottle. Bottles Embossed Detail

You can mix and match the paint colors- like the blue and green one above. Or you can stick to all one color- whatever works for your decor. A couple of simple tips: more is better– pour in enough so you are not standing there trying to swirl around a little bit- takes forever! Remember, you will be pouring most of it back out anyway.

Bottles Navy Bottom

Propping for time’s sake. Watching paint drip is almost as bad as watching paint dry. So set up a propping/dripping area where you can set it and forget it until all of the big globs are gone.

Bottles Blue Drip

Keep a container of wet wipes handy. This project does get messy, as you can see by the pics.

Clorox Wipes

These are essential for getting a clean edge on the top of the bottle, and for cleaning off your hands as you go. You don’t want to transfer fingerprints from one jar to the next. So there you have it- super fun project for a rainy day. Simple enough for kids, pretty cool results. Have a great weekend everyone! We’re off to Brimfield on Saturday- can’t wait to share what we find. Susan

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