Ornate Chest Before & AfterWhen I first saw this chest, I loved the ornate detail, but wondered if there was any hope with so much veneer missing from the drawers.

It sat in my shop for over a year before I came up with a plan. I then brought it home, and started with pulling the two middle drawers apart.

Repairing all the missing veneer on those drawers would be too time consuming. So instead, I recycled the backs and bottoms of the drawers to create a large display and shelf space.

The drawer bottoms lined the back on the shelf, and the drawer backs (confused yet?!) were used to create the shelf bottom. For the sides, I cut two side panels I took from an old crib. I also chose to make one tall shelf, verses two that would have been narrow.

On the bottom drawer, I repaired the veneer. I used old veneer that had pealed off an old bench, along with a plumbing product called Fix It Stick (an epoxy putty) to all fill in the gaps.

We had a special spot picked out in our home, and knew we wanted Sea Blue.  I painted the shelf area a putty colored grey (an oops paint!), to make it brighter, and to stand out on it’s own. The two colors work very well together.

Before painting, I primed the entire piece white, with comes out in the distressing. I love how the spray version of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer (tall, 16 oz. can from Lowe’s), provides outstanding coverage, adhesion, AND contrast to the final paint color.

Distressing down to the primer and and original wood tones provides depth of character and highlights the original ornate detail of a piece.  Along with glaze, it’s one of the things that makes painted furniture pop the most!

Chest Top