a heartless hope chest.

A couple of weeks ago my niece asked if I would paint a trunk for her, and when she added that I could paint it any color I chose, I was in.

Actually, I say that, but you all know the truth.  I would have happily painted it for her even if she wanted it to be orange (or purple and green) or something.  But I was glad to be given carte blanche.

Now, those of you who are wood lovers (and if so, I can’t imagine why you are still following my blog) should look away at this point.  I will fully admit that the wood on this particular trunk was still in beautiful condition.  It is a cedar chest made by Lane.

That being said however, that lacy heart really had to go.

And as Mr. Q likes to say, it’s only paint.  If sometime down the road Kris decides she no longer wants the trunk painted, she can always strip it back down to bare wood and refinish it.  That wouldn’t be too difficult because it has such clean lines and no carved details.

Back in the day, a piece like this was called a hope chest.  I’m not sure whether or not my niece calls it that.  The Wikipedia definition of a hope chest is …

‘a piece of furniture traditionally used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life.’

Hmmmm.  That feels like a pretty dated idea these days.  But I suspect that my niece was originally given this trunk to serve as a hope chest.  That heart kind of gives it away.

But I gave it a whole new look starting with a paint job using Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

You know, when I first saw this color I really didn’t think it was anything special.  But since then I’ve used it on numerous pieces and I seem to keep coming back to it.  There is something about it that I love.  Maybe that it’s not a bright white, and it’s not quite grey or beige or cream either.  It’s just the perfect pale neutral.

To start, I sanded the chest and cleaned it with a damp rag.  Then I painted it with two coats of the Sawmill Gravy.

After giving it a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish, I added the bottom half of the Cosmic Roses transfer from re.design with prima to the front.

I’ve yet to see this particular transfer look bad over any color.  It’s amazing over pretty much any shade of blue …

It also looks great over a mid-tone grey like Dixie Belle’s French Linen

I’ve also seen others use it over yellow, or even some really dark colors, and it still looks fantastic.

But I happen to love it over this color in particular.

I happen to know that Cosmic Roses is one of my niece’s favorite transfers, so it was the perfect choice for her trunk.

Before I forget, I’ve got a really important q-tip for you guys today; don’t try to apply a transfer in your non-climate controlled carriage house workshop when there is a heat advisory.  I had a heck of a time applying the first sheet of this transfer (it comes in a total of six sheets, I used two full sheets and two half sheets on this trunk).  So much so that I gave up and had Mr. Q help me haul the trunk into the air conditioned house to complete the job.

Once everything (me, the trunk, and the transfer) cooled down, it went on perfectly fine.  So, lesson learned, 90 degrees combined with high humidity does not work for applying transfers.  Keep that in mind.

But, I finally got it applied.  Once that was done, I added a topcoat of clear wax to protect it.

So, what to you think?  A definitely improvement?  Or did you prefer the heart?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and to re.design with prima for providing the transfer for this project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

44 thoughts on “a heartless hope chest.

  1. I love this! It’s a lovely piece that your niece will cherish instead of having to put up with! Kudos to you for even trying to work outside! Keep these posts coming, we all need distraction! ❤


  2. Wow! What a drastic improvement. I have one of these chests in the basement waiting for a makeover as we speak! Once again you’ve inspired me! Now to pick a transfer!


  3. Beautiful!! Another silk purse! I received a mid c mod chest from Lane from my grandparents for my 16 th birthday. My grandmother crocheted or embroidered for about 2 hours each evening. She placed many beautiful pieces in my Hope chest from tea towels to pillowcases to table clothes. Most of my girlfriends had them.


  4. I was going to ask what Kris thought, but saw her comment! Technically you could re-blog this in a “heartless” Valentine’s series. 😉 I collected things for my future home when I was in high school (asked for a set of dishes for Christmas, etc). My uncle called it my “Hopeless Chest” bahahaha


    1. LOL, yep, this could totally have been part of another ‘heartless’ series 😉 I thought about calling this post the ‘heartless, hopeless chest’ but that just seemed too bleak for the current situation in the world. Too soon …


  5. Oh my gosh, I’ll bet your niece is over the moon with this transformation. Beautiful, beautiful work Linda! Thanks for another inspiration.


  6. That is, of course, beautiful again. All your furniture projects turn out wonderful.
    Not sure if you know this, but there was a recall on Lane cedar chests made before 1987. It can be fixed fairly easily. A Google search will find the link. Hopefully that one was made after 1987 and all is good


    1. Actually, I came across that info while doing some research for this post. I learned that you can determine the age of your Lane cedar chest by looking at the serial number that is stamped on the bottom. Read the number backwards to determine its age. For example, if a chest’s number is 2865110, the production date is 01-15-68, or Jan. 15, 1968. However, ironically, the two numbers that would represent the year are impossible to read on Kris’ trunk. But the locking mechanism doesn’t actually seem to function, so I think it has been modified for safety. I’ll have to ask Kris to be sure!


  7. So pretty! I think I like the Sawmill Gravy paint. I’ll have to try it. I want to paint a rather large, 6-piece entertainment center but not sure what shade of white to use. I love all your pretty make-overs! Happy August!


  8. Forget the heart!!This is gorgeous!!so much better than the original. I think the transfer made this piece. Beautiful ,beautiful!!!!!


  9. Turned out beautiful – perfect choices for her! I recently bought some Tim Holtz transfers and used them last night. Yes indeedy, I am hooked. Start small, then graduate to these love ones you use on furniture! I also bought Sawmill Gravy but haven’t tried it yet. So, no need to clean with their cleaner? You just sanded and wiped? It’s really spectacular and I love learning all these things from you. I started out with MMS years ago learning until she shied away from furniture. I pretty much love everything you do!!


    1. I really only use a special cleaner on furniture that I’m going to paint if I suspect it may have an oily, greasy, waxy sort of residue on it. In this case I just sanded lightly and wiped with a wet rag using plain old water.


  10. It’s perfect. My husband gave me a Lane hope chest before we were engaged. It’s been hauled back and forth across the country and I still love it. Several years ago I stripped the top,stained it walnut and painted the base.
    Great job, Cynthia


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