Two Toned Antique Chest

Childhood memories are powerful…

It’s why I try to include my children in my projects.  To be intentional about our family traditions.  To celebrate the little things.

When I feel like giving my father a hard time (which, if you ask him, is almost always 😉 ), I claim that he used us – my three brothers and myself – as his cheap manual labor.  But really, we had the privilege of creating.  Building.  Evaluating.  Improving.

And today, I love to create and build and improve because of him.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

Recently, I worked with him on a small project.  Just a little antique spool chest that came from my late grandmother’s home (she was a hoarder collector of rustic, farmhouse antiques – like the dresser in our nursery that came from her).  And if you’re like me, your first thought is what the heck is a spool chest? Don’t worry, I wasn’t sure either.

Spool Chest (fruit angle)

A spool chest is a tiny chest of drawers, like the kind you could put your spools of thread in.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

Complicated, I know.

But it’s more than that.  Now wait for it, this is profound:

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

It’s where my dad stores small tools to work on his guns.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

Ok, maybe that’t not the profound part.  Honestly, it was so fun to work with him on another project.  And his new three-car-garage workshop doesn’t hurt either. 😉

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

We started with this cute little spool chest.  It was in rough shape, but the oak grain was too pretty to completely cover up.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

On the other hand, we had to hide the old glue stains from where some sort of decorative plate used to be attached.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

So it got a combination of Special Walnut stain by Minwax and Miss Mustard Seed’s Trophy.  We put one coat of stain on the whole thing and let it dry.  I touched a few spots with clear wax to create a resist (to cause the milk paint to chip), and gave the sides and edges of the drawers two coats of paint.  I sanded a bit then finished with clear wax.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

The final touch were these milk glass barrel knobs from D. Lawless Hardware.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

When trying to photograph it for you all, I moved it to the kitchen and had fun playing with some of my mother’s dishes.  If my father ever gives it up as gun tool storage, I think my mother ought to claim it for unique kitchen storage, don’t you?

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

I thought so. 😉  By the way, how stunning is her kitchen?  I had so much fun helping her design it when they built this home a few years ago.  Which brings me back to my point in all this…

It’s not about a gorgeous painted antique chest or a beautiful kitchen (though those things are wonderful), it’s about the connections you can make with someone when you imagine, create, and build with them.  So thank you, Dad, for instilling a joy for that in me.

beautiful two-toned antique chest makeover via #tutorial #diy #stain #paint

If you like to create, who instilled that joy in you?


Disclosure: The hardware for this project was provided by D. Lawless Hardware, but as always, opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. I think your mom should remove dads contents into a tupperware container and keep it in the kitchen. It’s perfect where you placed it. good for you for continuing to make memories

  2. What a beautiful piece. My Dad inspired my creative genes in me too. It came out of necessity instead of just artistic. We didn’t have a lot of money for decorating. As a teenager I saw a picture of a bedroom in Seventeen Magazine that I drooled over. He bought furniture pieces at the Goodwill Store and built a credenza to looke like the picture. I’ve been trying to do things like that since. Keep working with your sweet boys!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      What a wonderful story, Nancy! I love hearing where people found their creative inspiration. And so special that it was your father, too! Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Beautiful piece, Rachel! It is so deserving of a special makeover!

  4. This is such a wonderful project, both aesthetically and sentimentally! Thank you for sharing!

    Stacy&Eric at Anastasia Vintage

  5. seriously you are a genius. I love how this turned out! I’d love you to share at my link party


  7. Awesome.. Looks great!

  8. Love it, stunning makeover! It would make a lovely place to store vintage silverware……one day!

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