U-G-L-Y, You Ugly! You Ugly!

That's what you would say to the hope chest below. I got it via Craigslist for $50 and when I got it home I began to question whether I could really make this thing look good or it I have just wasted $50 in a Chinese-made pile of junk.

I bought it figuring most of it was solid wood but the reality is almost none of it is. But it is, at least, wood-veneered (though how thick the veneer is - I don't know - I'll bet it isn't much). It looks like even the cedar parts inside are actually just a thin layer of cedar glued down onto a composite wood.

Anyway, this thing took me about a month to refurbish. Part of the aggravation was that the ugly-ass plastic brass handles were screwed into the drawer fronts and then the fronts were nailed and glued to the box -- no access to the handle screws without ripping off the face. After ripping off the faces (handy dandy putty knife and hammer), unscrewing the old handles (some screw heads had glue covering them so I had to break out the lacquer thinner to remove it), nailing and gluing it back on (liquid nails), and finally patching the holes with wood filler, I was ready to paint.

Now, this is probably not ideal, but I didn't sand it much. I gave it a once-over with 220 grit on an orbital sander - I probably should have sanded it more and with 120 grit or something. But I figured it isn't going to get heavy use in the house. I also didn't prime but part of the reason I didn't was because I wanted to distress is a bit and didn't want the gray primer color to peek through.

I agonized over the fabric selection for the seat cushion. Seriously, days of scouring Etsy. Like, had dreams about different fabric patterns I had seen. I FINALLY picked an Amy Butler print: Dream Poppies in Forest, home decor weight. I then used the fabric to pick a paint color. The winner was Behr Asparagus which I love. It's a great fresh green color. I did four coats of paint (and added the fabulous Floetrol conditioner), then used a sanding block to take just a bit of paint off the hard edges and expose the dark wood stain below. Finally, I applied one coat polyurethane over the top (probably should have done two - but I grew impatient and weary of the painting monotony).

Last but not least was to add the "bling" - I recovered the seat (left the old fabric on) with a staple gun and screwed it back in place. Picked up four funky knobs from Anthropologie and here is the purty result:

The green looks a bit brighter/punchier in person. My low-tech point-and-shoot digital camera doesn't take the best photos. You know the "bigger" home decor/diy bloggers have digital SLRs with good lenses!

It wasn't as cheap of a project as I would have liked. I should have haggled on the chest, but I didn't realize, at the time, it was nearly 100% veneered so it seemed like a good deal.

Chest: $50
Quart of Behr Satin Paint: $12
Liquid Nails: $2
One Yard of Fabric: $11 (from an Etsy seller - including shipping)
Four Anthropologie Knobs: $32

All the other tools and stuff I used I had lying around the garage.

Total: $107


  1. It's a bit disturbing to my cheap side that the knobs cost almost as much as the chest itself. However..I do love your end result. I love one of a kind pieces in a home.


  2. Kristy is disturbed by the cost of the handles. While I agree, I'm more disturbed that I'm unable to do any of the remodeling projects you've ever discussed on here. Am I really that inept at being handy? The answer is yes.

  3. awesome awesome awesome awesome

    Love the green and Amy Butler fabric...and the knobs...all of it apparently!

  4. It looks great! Goshdarn Anthropologie and their darn cute expensive knobs. (I almost bought the owl knobs for $12 each.)

    I love that fabric.

  5. I emailed you about this, but I must reiterate - AMAZING!!!!! So impressed. But, you were always industrious with the artsy stuff.

    When I scanned in all of those photos from college I looked at your "Have a Sundae on Monday" Theta flyer.

  6. You did an awesomely beatiful job!

  7. 1. I love your honesty.

    2. It looks great! I really love the lines of that bench and the fabric that you went with.

  8. wow the chest turned out wonderful. I myself wouldn't even know how to start. GREAT Job.

  9. AN FYI for everybody looking for hardware for projects like these: EBAY!!! I purchased new cabinet pulls for my kitchen, laundry room, and two bathrooms (former house update) for only $80. These knobs were heavier and higher quality than any I found at Lowe's or Home Depot. Plus the ones at the big box store ran as much as $5 each. That would have been hundred of dollars if I had purchased those (lots of cabinets in that house).

  10. Great job on the refinish and I love the colors you chose. Very soothing and happy colors.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts