New Orleans Lady

3 Materials
1 Day

I get my love of yard sales and old furniture from my mother. She gave me little chest a really long time ago, and I've hauled her with me throughout my adult life. It's one of those pieces that I will never part with.

That lack of parting inevitably leads to changing the furniture as it evolves through life with me. A coat of paint, new knobs, 15 years, another coat of was in the kitchen of my first apartment, my home office during college, then my bedroom, then my son's nursery. A lot of living went on around this little chest, and now that my son is older and has a "big boy" dresser (see this post: it was time for this special piece to evolve again! The next stop for her is my dining room.

Before.  I can't remember how long this chest has been black. I was never brave enough to take on the challenge of sanding, and fear of chemicals damaging the joints has kept her painted all these years.

Stripping the top. I decided it would be relatively safe to strip the top, and I was really curious, so I stripped and sanded. It was almost emotional stripping away so many years, black, blue, green, yellow, there may have been white or some glue in there. The wood was beautiful and signified new life!

Base coat. Home-made chalk paint is my new favorite thing. I love the velvety finish it will give you, and it's the perfect surface when you are working with stencils and custom treatments. I used a mis-tint sample of Valspar from Lowe's. The red color was fantastic. I used it on my kitchen island, so it made sense for this piece in the dining room.

Finishing the top. I waxed the top. That was all she needed after successfully removing the paint. The wood was beautiful, and I love the used, rustic look it has. There are a few dents that will never sand out, reaffirming how special this piece is.

The design. If you've ever been to New Orleans you will probably recognize this art. I used paint pens and a projector to transfer the graphic, which proved to be more challenging than I expected. I wanted it to be imperfect, and I struggled to find the balance of good and bad. 

New Orleans Lady. I added clear glass pulls and, I am so happy with the results! The pictures don't do it justice. The placement in my dining room fits with my eclectic style incredibly well. Sharing space with my vintage lockers and Dr. Bob art, she is home again!

Suggested materials:
  • Paint
  • Sanding
  • Projector
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2 of 9 comments
  • Tonya Tonya on Mar 07, 2015
    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fab and Pretty Fab and Pretty on Jul 12, 2015
    How cute. Love that size of chest of drawers, really good for beside a bed or chesterfield, below a picture, front entry. They seem to be hard to find in this area anyway. I just love what you did!