Furniture Facelift

Well, it’s taken a few years but I finally have my biggest furniture facelift project finished.

I’m thrilled with the outcome… but would you believe it took youth football to get this makeover finished?

I’ll explain the connection to pigskin a little further down in this post.

cabinet drawers

I found this cabinet at a thrift store for a steal of a deal and at 72″ wide, it was perfect to fill a large, empty wall in my foyer.

While I loved the super size and abundant drawers, I hated the dark and dated, lacquer-like finish.

I wanted a more vintage-inspired presentation with a color closer to the shade on my walls.

distressing techniquepaint distressing

Regular readers may remember when I started this furniture makeover project back in the fall of 2014.  You can revisit that original post HERE.

I started with the drawers because I thought that would be the hardest part of the project.

This distressing technique requires several steps including painting the dark lacquer-like color a soft, rich brown shade. Then, I rubbed beeswax around the edges. Next step was to cover the drawer faces with a tan colored paint.

Once dry, I used a fine grit sandpaper to rub off the tan paint from the areas where I applied the beeswax.

The beeswax helps to lift the tan paint easily to reveal that rich brown undercoat.

A layer of clear wax, followed by a layer of dark is what creates that rustic, aged look.

After finishing all these drawers, I stopped the work for some reason.

The unfinished cabinet just sat in my foyer for a couple of years.

cabinet makeover above

OK, this is a good time to tell you how this project completion is tied to football.

My husband has coached youth football for the last eight years and my house is the dedicated coaches meeting location every season.

When I first started this project back 2014, one of the coaches commented on the impending project.

Then, in 2015, football season came and went with no progress.

Of course, the lack of progress on the unfinished cabinet was not lost on the visiting coaches that year.

cabinet painting

My husband, Boris has been teasing me all this year about heading into a THIRD football season with this “big, unfinished junk chest prominently displayed in the foyer”.

Junk chest? Really? Oh no, he didn’t?

With my “junk chest” in mind, along with the upcoming 2016 football… I decided to get back to work on this project.

cabinet makeover distressing

The beeswax makes it so much easier to remove the outer color.

I think this light brown undercoat looks a lot better than the original dark color.

This picture also represents the distressing effect without the wax.

Pretty bland, right.

Add the dark wax and the piece is transformed. It’s the wax is what gives a project like this that beautiful, rustic aged look.

wax brushes

By the way, it’s really important to keep the wax application brushes clean between uses to preserve their longevity and effectiveness.

After cleaning and air drying, I typically wrap a rubber band around the bristles to help them maintain their shape when they’re not in use.

cabinet makeover side view

The wood really comes to life when that wax is added.  You have to apply a clear wax first and the add a darker wax to get this effect.

I used a clear wax and a dark color called Jacobean.

Also, the two paint colors I used for this project were Valley Forge Brown (Benjamin Moore HC-74) for the undercoat and Lenox Tan (Benjamin Moore-H-44) for the outer shade.

Lenox Tan is also the same brand color on my walls.

cast iron knobs and chandelier

I found the drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby which has an amazing selection of knobs and pulls at a reasonable price.

The chandelier that hangs in the foyer just above this cabinet has cast iron hardware and these 2-piece knobs are a pretty good color and texture match.

You can read more about the foyer wall treatment from a previous post HERE.

cabinet makeover foyer

Amazingly enough, once I resolved to finish the cabinet… it only took me three days to finish it.

Even Boris likes the way it looks and called it “splendiferous“, which is his weird word for fantastic.

That’s a far cry from his original characterization.

When those football coaches start showing up for the new season… I’ll be ready with my furniture facelift.

Who knew youth football could be so creatively inspiring?

furniture makeover

Thanks for stopping by.

See  you back here next time. 


  • Rebecca

    Such a lot of work, but GREAT JOB! It looks terrific and fits that space so well!

  • [email protected] Designs

    Oh my goodness Lisa…the chest is truly “splendiferous” … The football coaches will be truly impressed with the magic that you have done on that chest…I shall say it is “spectaculous” !!! I am just glad that I am not the only one with unfinished projects hanging around for a while!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oooooh, Shirley… if unfinished projects in my house could talk-lol.
      I’m waiting for the feedback from the coaches too.
      Enjoy your weekend.

  • Barbara F.

    The chest turned out beautiful – it looks perfect in your foyer!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      I appreciate that Barbara.
      I’m really happy with the way this finally turned out, especially since it was my first major furniture re-finish.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Mindy

    What a gorgeous makeover! A lot of steps but the finished product is a stunner.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Mindy.
      You’re right, there are a lot of steps but I hope you don’t let that deter you from giving re-finishing a try.
      Once you get going it will go pretty fast… as long as you don’t stop working on it for years (like me)lol.
      Happy weekend.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

    Isn’t it funny how these projects that daunt us and loom unfinished, in the way, for years, can be achieved quickly when we really put in the time? It never ceases to amaze me. I try to remind myself that when working to tackle projects that have gone unfinished for so long. I’m trying to get those projects done now with that thought in mind.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Brandy, I’m not sure why I had such a block on this project for so long.
      You’re absolutely right because once I set my mind to actually finish it, it only took a few days.
      I need to apply the same effort to the dozens of other projects I have around here that are unfinished-lol.

  • Jeanne

    Gorgeous! I pinned this to my Pinterest board on painted furniture. I really need to get over my fear of trying dark wax and you’ve convinced me!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Jeanne, no need to fear dark wax. You’ll love it once you start working with it.
      Don’t forget to cover your subject with clear wax FIRST, then add the dark wax.
      If the dark is too heavy, you can also use more clear wax on top of it to lighten it up or remove it altogether.
      It’s surprisingly easy to work with.
      Let me know how it works out for you.

  • botanic bleu

    First of all, I am amazed that any man, let alone more than one even noticed the furniture in the entry. It didn’t have TV on it or food, did it? Then for them to remember that chest for a whole year? You really do have some observant male friends. The Lone Tall Texan would not have even realized there was furniture in the foyer, let alone remember what it looked like last year. LOL

    Great job on the new paint! I’ll be interested in hearing if the coaches noticed it looks different this year.


    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Lol, I hear you Judith.
      I think the only reason this project too center stage because it’s so unavoidable since it’s in the foyer.
      I’m curious to see what coaches notice it too.
      Happy day.

  • Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things

    WOW! I love the way it turned out. It is beautiful!

  • Jeanne

    Lisa – I love the wax treatment – learned something new today. The piece is stunning. Thanks!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Jeanne, you will love using wax. If you just paint a piece of furniture, it looks like you did just that. However, when you add that dark wax, it really transforms the piece.
      I hope you get a chance to try it sometime. I thin if you do, you’ll start searching for furniture around your house to paint-lol.
      Thanks for popping by.

  • Patti

    Lisa, what a difference! I really like the finished product. Your house is beautiful!

  • Suzanne Kuhns

    this piece of furniture came out beautifully – what an amazing job you did!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Suzanne.
      It looks like I actually knew what I was doing, right? lol.
      Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. No experience here.
      That means, if I can do this for the first time, anyone can.
      Hope you’re inspired to look around for what you can paint now too-lol.

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Well, it’s no wonder you’ve been too busy to finish the class. I can imagine the painting, drying, painting, waxing, waxing took quite a bit of time. I’ve got some Anne Sloan paint I’ve been wanting to use to paint different pieces of oak furniture. I am so over oak furniture 🙁 I don’t have football to inspire me – I’ll just wait for cooler weather. I love your chest — it looks great. You did a fantastic job. Have a great day!!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Ha-ha. Yes, Marisa… you are so right about why I’m behind in class-lol.
      Thanks so much for your sweet assessment.
      I have a few Annie Sloan books too and I’ve always admired her colors and technique.
      Did you know you can also make your own chalk paint? That way you can use whatever color you like (not just what’s available in Sloan colors).

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