"" Rendition Road: A Personalized Chest Full of Memories

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Personalized Chest Full of Memories

This is one of my favorite projects I've ever done.
It's one for my own home & it holds quite a bit of
sentimental value for me. 

I've had it for about 8 years in the natural stained state
it started out in, but always knew I would just know
when I found the perfect finish.
 As I was dusting it one afternoon I suddenly knew exactly what that was.
This was the very first thing I ever built completely by myself.
My dear friend & 'shop mentor' who taught me so much 
of what I know today, did watch over my shoulder 
just to make sure I had help nearby.
He was great like that & I miss those afternoons in the
shop that smelled of fresh wood & oil with the sounds of
CNN on the TV in the background.
This is how it looked before I gave it a makeover.
Very solid, but basic in a lot of ways.
It had been scuffed up a bit having been moved into just about
every room in the house, including being used as the living room
coffee table for a period of time.
It's held everything from photo albums to blankets & extra linens.
 It's been used as a 'table' for everything from board games to eating pizza.
I've even occasionally caught it being used as a footrest.

As I sat dusting it, I really started noticing the memories it 'wore.'
The front left corner had little chew marks from my puppy cutting her baby teeth.
 Looking at the top, at just the right angle, I could even see subtle imprints of 
hundreds of homework assignments & creative drawings.
back side
I have no idea how long I sat there looking at the different 
words I could make out or the different images I could still see....
but I sat & remembered & traced my fingers over those impressions.
It made me feel happy & sad & nostalgic &
it reminded me how fast it all truly does go by.

This chest held so much more than what I intended when I built it.
It held years of wonderful little snapshots of time.
I wanted to hang onto all of it.

With that in mind, I sanded it down with a 220 grit & a very light touch,
then started painting with my DIY chalk paint.

I only use flat paint in my recipe because it truly seems 
to gain a better grip on the surface than other sheen's.
DIY Chalk Paint
1 C. flat paint
1 TBSP. Plaster of Paris
1 TBSP. Unsanded grout

*Mix powders with 'roughly' 2TBSP. of HOT water
using a whisk or other good mixing device.
Mix until ALL the powder is dissolved then 
slowly add it into the paint, stirring as you go.
I usually spend a good couple of minutes mixing
the paint just to make sure I get a thorough integration
of all the ingredients.

Only occasionally do I have to add more water as I paint.
It seems to be brand specific so I've begun taking note of 
when this happens, but normally I don't have a problem
with the paint thickening as I go.
 No exact science here, I've just what found works for me.
This was after one coat of white followed by a second coat 
of a custom grey, applied haphazardly.

I let it dry as I created my design in photoshop.
I used the boys birth dates along with the Geo coordinates to the
hospital where they were born.
 It seemed fitting.

I taped off a couple of stripes on one end & used some more
custom grey to fill them in.

I used my usual method for applying the typography to the chest. 
Once it was all dry, I took it outside & gave it a thorough sanding.

 I knew I wanted a little more height to it so I picked up 
some big chunky bun feet from the box store to replace the small
casters that were there previously.
I had already removed the casters but snapped a quick shot of the bases.
I originally built the bottom of the chest with an inset so I could hide
the casters, but still move the chest easily.
 So I needed to cut some 4"X5" pieces for each corner
 to compensate for the inset  & make the most of the height on the feet.
I used liquid nails to secure the wood then hit it with a few brad nails. 
 I predrilled the hole for the feet to attach to & once the liquid nails
dried completely, it was ready to go.
The feet got the same paint & distressing treatment as the chest did.

I loved the new look already, but was still a bit stumped on the
handles & chain for the lid.

I thought about using old vintage handles, but wanted to keep
with the sentimental feel I had going.
I'm considering using some of the chunky rope from an old swing they had.
I absolutely adore the look of rope handles,
but can't decide if I want to cut that rope up either.
So until I can decide for sure, I'm just using the original ones.

I also left the inside alone, but gave it a good cleaning & coat of clear wax.

I tried to get some close-ups of the slight impressions
on the top, but it didn't work out very well. 
 I'm glad I waited on this one until the right
inspiration struck. 
 It's perfect & whenever I see it, I'm reminded of so many great moments.

 I'll do an update when I finally decide on the handles
and it's permanent location.
Right now it's by my bed, but I've been considering
making a cushion for the top & using it as a window seat of sorts.

Either way, I love it!

Sneak peek #2-'Inspiring' is going to be making an appearance shortly,
so make sure to check back & see what it is!



  1. Love it! I'm thinking about adding this facebook thingy ^^ like you have up there. :)


  2. Stacey, this is amazing! You did an incredible job and what a lovely post! Thanks for sharing with us. Pinning!! ~Cindy@littlemisscelebration.com

  3. Yup it's awesome in all of it's nostalgic glory.


  4. I love it.. I have a toy chest that I bought at a yard sale for a measly $5.00.. I couldnt believe it. Then man said he had built it with his dad when he was younger,,that he was willing to part with it for any amount of money was even more unbelievable. Anyway,,it would look great with a treatment similar to this.
    I love that yours has all that sentimental value attached to it. Thanks for sharing with us.


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