A New Look For An Antique Chest Filled With Fun Memories


I love furniture with a story behind it.

This little chest spent many, many years inside of an old house in Maine where our friend, Eileen, spent her childhood summers.


She remembers opening the lid and peeking inside.

This chest held treasure!


This was the spot where her family stored all of the toys and games she played with every summer.

What wonderful memories!

The chest was in rough shape when Eileen brought it to our shop, All Things New Again, in Leesburg, VA. The wood was warped. The lid was scratched. The door had a big crack in it. One corner had even been chewed away by the family dog.

It was pretty much falling apart, but it still held a special place in Eileen’s heart.

She didn’t want to get rid of it. She just wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Dave and I worked with Eileen to come up with a plan for how we could make this old toy chest new again.

* * *

Dave started with the structural issues. He shored up the piece and made the entire chest sturdy again. He filled in the scratches, sanded the entire piece smooth and even rebuilt the dog-chewed corner with heavy-duty wood filler. (He really did an amazing job on that corner!) He also replaced the damaged door panel with metal mesh to give it the rustic look Eileen wanted.

Once all of the repairs were complete, it was my turn to make the chest pretty.

I prepped it first by applying shellac all over to prevent oils in the wood from “bleeding” through the paint. Wood can be tricky—especially old wood like this—and I always like to take the extra step and prep it first to help prevent bleed-through problems down the road.


Now came the fun part!

Eileen chose two of my favorite American Paint Company colors for this project: National Forest and Dollar Bill. Both are soft, lovely shades of green.

I painted the entire chest—inside and out—with National Forest, the darker green. APC paint has great coverage. Those dark decorative circles on the front disappeared in just one coat.


Then I painted a second APC color called Dollar Bill over the outside. Dollar Bill is a soft sage green that almost looks gray. The two colors go together beautifully.

When the Dollar Bill dried, I wet distressed the entire piece by rubbing it with a damp cloth to blend and reveal parts of the darker green underneath. The overall effect with these two colors is really pretty.

I sealed the lid with American Paint Company Hardcoat, which provides durable protection from little hands lifting the lid to peek inside. The rest of the chest was sealed with APC Clear Wax. We finished by adding new knobs shaped like stars.

Here is the finished toy chest!

Eileens toy chest

Eileens toy chest3

Eileens toy chest2

Eileens toy chest_closeup knobs

Eileen was kind enough to send us a photo of the chest all decorated in her home.

Eileens toy chest_at home

If you look through the metal mesh on the door, you can see she already has it loaded with games. This toy chest is ready to provide Eileen and her family with wonderful memories for many, many more years!

Special thanks to Eileen for sharing her story with us!

~ Cathy

If you have a piece of old furniture you would like to make new again, let us know! All Things New Again is now accepting custom paint orders on a limited basis. We are happy to work with you to create a look you will love—or sign up for our Learn How To Paint Furniture Intro Class and we will teach you how to do it yourself!

* * *

This post is linking up with these awesome parties. Check them out!

Miss Mustard Seed ~ Furniture Feature Friday

DIY Vintage Chic ~ Friday’s Five Features No. 76

The DIY Dreamer ~ From Dream to Reality No. 153

What Meegan Makes ~ Inspiration Monday Party

Kennary Ideas for the Home ~ Think and Make Thursday Link Party

Anastasia Vintage Home ~ Shabbilicious Friday Link Party

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