Sunday, February 20, 2011

"That Old Chest in the Garage"

Shortly after Papa & Nana passed away last spring, aside from the grief everyone was experiencing, the family had to go through the painstaking process of sorting through things at their home. We came upon an old chest that sat next to the freezer in the garage, that to the best of my knowledge had been in the exact location since the early 1970's. It was dirty and dingy, covered with paint spills, grit and grime. Nana and Papa had used it as a catchall for all sorts of things. It's drawers held a peculiar selection of items, everything from old brass candlesticks and glassware to garden tools and oil cans. Nat recalled that the chest had resided in all of their family's previous garages as well. Although the dresser had no real earthly value, it appealed to Nat and myself, I think because of the staying power it had sustained down through the years. Thankfully, the others in the family seemed happy to pass it on to us. It has now been coaxed back to life with a little elbow grease and some stencils. I was inspired by a similar piece of furniture I had seen at Anthropologie.

Due to the amount of dirt and oil on the dresser, a good cleaning did not suffice, so we (Nat was such a trooper and helped me out with this step of the project) had to strip it down to the bare wood. I'm sorry to say I did not take a photo of this for you to appreciate it's "before" condition.

I then positioned and taped stencils of numbers and letters on each drawer. Next, I painted over each stencil with acrylic black paint.

After the paint dried, I distressed the stenciling by lightly sanding over the numbers and letters. To complete the project, I brushed on two coats of clear satin varnish (allowing the first coat to dry completely before applying the final coat).

I'm quite pleased with the finished product and think Nana and Papa would be proud. It now resides happily in our home...thankful that someone saw it's potential. And just maybe someday, one of our sons will see the beauty in the not so perfect and desire to have "that old chest that was once in the garage" for their home.


  1. I think we had that same chest of drawers until a few years ago.. it sat in my moms garage for years and collected everything you could imagine. When she started remodeling her home the chest was moved to storage.. still full of stuff and in storage it had gotten badly water damaged so I finally got rid of it.. You have done a beautiful job with making yours useful again.. I love the stenciled numbers.. .great idea. thanks, Gary B.

  2. You KNOW I love this one~ I love the heart behind the piece!

  3. Thanks GB ~ You could have freehanded the numbers I'm sure ~ why don't you toss some of your artistic ability my way. :)


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