Cedar Chest from Trash to Treasure

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day the neighborhood…” (while Mr. Rogers sings through my head). That is what tune is I sing when I am out junkin’ during our citywide spring cleanup. Do you blame me? I find all sorts of trashure and when I spied this cedar chest amongst the rubble, I felt so bad for it. I thought this is the perfect candidate for our Trash to Treasure Transformation Tuesday. You can see my fellow bloggers work for this fun day in a bit.

Curbside Cedar Chest Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Trash to Treasure Tuedays - Thrifted Makeover Fun | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

When I went up to the cedar chest and opened it, it was full of trash, dead bugs, and …bluck. It had been gorgeously weathered from the elements and was falling apart on the top and bottom.

Damaged Cedar Chest Top | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Side View of Damaged Cedar Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The one good thing this cedar chest had going for it was that the actual cabinet part was still intact and was actually pretty cool. (you’re welcome I removed the old underwear before snapping a picture. hahaha…)

Inside of Curbside Cedar Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Check out some these cool elements it still had…

Old Escutcheon Hole on Cedar Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

…this original lock box with escutcheon…

Original Stamp on Cedar Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

…and this stamped marking. My kinda stuff!

My husband thought I was crazy to bring this home (what’s new, right?), but he does have an appreciation for wood like I do and that cedar still had life in it that just needed revived.

So, I took off that top and bottom and had this remaining box left to work with. I am salvaging as much of that gorgeous wood as possible. You just can’t find natural patina like that anywhere, especially in the store.

Here it is after a good cleaning and a little glue for one of the boards.

Cedar Chest Getting Glued Repairs | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

At this point, I could have used linseed oil to revive that wood, just like I did for my pew and this industrial style chest. For this chest though, I wanted to showcase the gorgeous gray patina, so I left it as-is.

Here is where I call in my husband to help. (ugh…I hated to pull him away from working on our kitchen remodel!) I am all about power tools, but I get a little uneasy when ripping a board on the table saw. A few years ago a big oak board kicked back on me and nailed me in my side, and not long after I buzzed my fingers on my left hand during our closet remodel. This is after 12 years of using that crazy saw! tsk. So…I leave the ripping to him on longer stuff. I still do some, but since I’ve been under the weather this week I thought it best to be left to him.

Ripping Pine Planks for Cedar Chest Repair | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

He cut the new top and bottom planks for me and then I took over from there. Much like the custom trunks we build, I decided to use the same stain that I always talk about for our bedroom, bathroom, etc., it’s called Early American by RustOleum.

I added the old trim onto the new lid, and attached it all together. Just for fun and height, I even added some funky industrial style casters.

Ready to see it in action? Here it is!

Farmhouse Chic Bedroom with Industrial Style Cedar Chest Made New by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

It’s sorta farmhouse chic with an industrial twist, isn’t it? I love the contrast of the gray and stained wood. And I couldn’t resist adding the number using my Old World Number Stencil just like I did on another free trunk and my industrial dresser makeover.

Industrial Chic Cedar Chest in Farmhouse Bedroom After Curbside Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Stenciled Cedar Chest by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The dark wood contrasting the old wood totally floats my boat and makes for a great conversation piece.

Top of Rustic Cedar Chest Made New by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Interior of Cedar Chest that Got an Industrial Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

This cedar chest is awesome for storage, a coffee table, end of bed bench, or sitting pretty in an entry. And, like most of my work, you can find it available for purchase in my shop. (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Rustic Weathered Wood Cedar Chest in Farmhouse Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Do pin and share to inspire others to see past the trash and be able to see the trashure instead. ♥

A Cedar Chest Found in the Trash Becomes Industrial Style Decor in this Farmhouse Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comNext up I’ll be giving wire thingy a new purpose. Whatever it is I liked it enough to pay a whole quarter for it and show you what it became HERE.

Wire Holder Finds New Purpose with the Help of Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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WAIT! Before you go, don’t miss out on the treat that my Trash to Treasure ladies have worked on for you!

Trash to Treasure July 2016 Collage Picture | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

  1. Artsy Chicks Rule
  2. Confessions of a Serial DIYer
  3. Bless’er House
  4. Girl in the Garage

More of project work like this cedar chest:

Vintage Art Deco Dressing Table Gets a Licorice Stick Red Makover by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.comDIY Patio Makeover Complete with Pergola all done on a budget by a family of 8 by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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  • Susan

    Cant wait to see that wire thing.. it was a glass holder from the 60s? I think. Love the trunk and love that you left it as is on the outside!

    July 12, 2016 at 7:20 am Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s what I was thinking based on the rubber tips, or possibly a condiment holder…we’ll see! Thanks for stopping by, Susan. 🙂

      July 12, 2016 at 7:44 am Reply
      • Jan Passmore

        I know what your wire thingy is. It was sold with pastel Tupperware tumblers. In the 1950’s.

        August 26, 2016 at 4:06 am Reply
        • Larissa

          Cool! Thanks for the info. 😀

          August 26, 2016 at 5:37 am Reply
    • maureen cormack

      that’s exactly what it was.

      May 7, 2017 at 8:44 am Reply
  • Lois S

    The wire thing looks like a canning jar holder. It would be used to raise and lower jars into a large pot of boiling water to heat and seal food. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    I love the trunk too!

    July 12, 2016 at 7:26 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Good guess, but I don’t believe it is because of the rubber tips that would melt off. My best guess is it is a condiment holder or a glass holder at best. Thanks for the love! 🙂

      July 12, 2016 at 7:44 am Reply
  • Kim

    Good morning, I absolutely love the cedar chest redo. I feel less is more when restoring old treasures! The gray patina keeps the old and mellow feel of this great chest. You’re an inspiration ! Peace and love. Kim

    July 12, 2016 at 7:40 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Amen to that, Kim! Yes, less is more and the chest still has a story to it, which I love. Thank you so much!

      July 12, 2016 at 7:43 am Reply
  • Louise

    Super salvage sister! Love the mix of old and new. The casters were a great idea and add even more zip! to it 🙂

    July 12, 2016 at 7:50 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Woot! Thanks so much, Louise! 😀 I love me some casters.

      July 12, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply
  • Marcie Lovett

    I think that wins the prize for trashiest makeover! Amazing transformation – the details really make it shine.

    I think the black metal piece is a wine holder. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

    July 12, 2016 at 9:23 am Reply
    • Larissa

      hahaha…prize accepted. Thank you, Marcie! I don’t think wine holder only because the openings are too small. Good guess, though!

      July 12, 2016 at 9:48 am Reply
  • gwen

    i also love the contrast you created with the old and new wood. . does it still smell of cedar?

    i do think the wire thingy is a glass holder from the 60s. with the rubber tips it wouldn’t be for canning as the tips would melt or something if put down in boiling water.

    your posts are always a welcomed message in my inbox in the mornings – thank you!

    July 12, 2016 at 9:37 am Reply
    • Larissa

      mmmm…yessss… I couldn’t stop sniffing that wonderful cedar scent! Yes, I agree with you on the glass holder, but I for the life of me couldn’t get a single glass to fit! I’m happy to bring you joy, as you do for me too. 😀

      July 12, 2016 at 9:49 am Reply
  • Lisa Morrissey

    Beautiful work again, Larissa. I’m thinking wire thing is a glass set holder also.

    July 12, 2016 at 10:33 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Lisa. Yes, I think so, but…did I use it that way? 😉

      July 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm Reply
  • Patty

    Love what you did with the trunk, it is beautiful. Trunks are so handy to have like you said you can use them for coffee tables, or at the foot of your bed. I have two chests and I would never part with them, not only are they beautiful but they are great storage. If anyone has one that has lost the great cedar fragrance usually just a light sanding inside will renew that fragrance.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with that wire thingy. I really can’t wait to see your kitchen.

    July 12, 2016 at 11:32 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, I could have them stuck all over my house to hide and decorate. The cedar did revive as I cleaned and refreshed it – love that smell! I, too, can’t wait to show my kitchen to everyone. Counters are after the oven…yay!!

      July 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    I’m not gonna lie… I had doubts. But this turned out beautifully! You always blow me away, Larissa. I’m so intrigued with that wirey thing. What in the world?!

    July 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I did too! I totally kept asking myself why I brought it home, but at least reasoned I could make use of some of the wood. I’m happy I tried it. Thanks, Lauren! Yes, that wire thing has to be a glass holder from the 60’s from what I’ve seen before, but I couldn’t find a glass ANYWHERE to fit it! My little reveal is live today. 🙂

      July 14, 2016 at 7:20 am Reply
  • Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    That is so awesome Larissa! I love it and your room too! 🙂

    July 12, 2016 at 6:55 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much, Nancy!

      July 14, 2016 at 7:19 am Reply
  • Gwen Clark

    I wouldn’t be distracted from the original use because of the rubber tips. I think they may have been added later because they are white. Most likely they would have been black, if original. Have you tried canning jars in the holders? Appears they are different sizes, as well. However, it’s rather an ornate handle for a canning jar holder. Maybe someone out there will know what it was used for.
    Can’t wait to see what you have done with it.

    You really put a lot of heart and spirit into your projects. You brought the cedar chest into this century without diminishing her beauty and age.

    July 12, 2016 at 7:33 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I have the new use up on the blog today, but I’m convinced based on others I’ve seen that it was a glass holder from the 60’s. It wouldn’t hold a canning jar. Thanks for the love! 🙂

      July 14, 2016 at 7:18 am Reply
  • Jen @ Girl in the Garage

    Larissa, I totally would’ve passed that by… but you did a fabulous job making it beautiful and useful again!

    July 12, 2016 at 7:56 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I seriously had my doubts and even thought I could at least make use of the good wood. I’m so glad I gave it a try. Thanks, Jen!

      July 14, 2016 at 7:17 am Reply
  • [email protected] Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

    This chest is SO lucky you came along to love it back to life! It looks so cool now! XO

    July 12, 2016 at 8:28 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Woot! Thanks, Christy! My husband didn’t think so, but now he has a different opinion. 😉

      July 14, 2016 at 7:16 am Reply
  • Marie, The Interior Frugalista

    Oh Larissa, I so hear you about the table saw. Scares the daylights out of me and now even more after hearing your stories. Love how you took that old bug-ridden, nasty underpants laden trunk and brought it back to life! Pinned to share 🙂

    July 12, 2016 at 11:58 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yeah, it made me so angry at myself for making the mistake, especially having used it for so many years. Thanks for lovin’ on my project. It certainly needed it!

      July 14, 2016 at 7:14 am Reply
  • Joyce @ QN

    thank you for removing that underwear! LOL… And you did it again. The contrasting woods are gorgeous on this piece. One fine chest you got there – now anyway 🙂

    July 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      hahahaha…you’re welcome. 😀 Thanks for getting my vision, Joyce. I had fun giving it new life.

      July 14, 2016 at 7:13 am Reply
  • Debrashoppeno5

    I love how the truck came out. Now the wire thing and what you do with it is intriguing.

    July 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      It was a fun save to do. Thank you, Debra!

      July 14, 2016 at 7:11 am Reply
  • Bliss

    Oh little chest how I love thee and I have pinned to prove my love.

    July 15, 2016 at 9:10 am Reply
    • Larissa

      awww….thanks! 🙂

      July 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply
  • Denise

    What a charming makeover Larissa!

    January 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Denise! Can’t believe UPS destroyed it and wouldn’t cover it. 🙁

      January 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm Reply
  • Lori

    Love your clean up job of the old cedar chest. It would be wonderful to have your imagination to come up with your bright ideas!

    June 13, 2017 at 7:00 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Aww…you are so kind, Lori. Thank you!

      June 13, 2017 at 7:08 am Reply
  • Sian

    Hi Larissa, love what you did with the chest! I may have missed it, but did you put anything on the old wood?

    August 3, 2017 at 1:49 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! I did not in order to keep the patina. 😉

      August 4, 2017 at 6:01 am Reply
  • Cecilia

    That turned out great! Love that you saved it and turned it into a treasure (yup, I love the trash to treasure posts)! Btw, did y’all plank your ceiling? I really love how that looks!

    March 13, 2018 at 7:27 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Aren’t these monthly posts fun? I just love seeing what others are up to and being inspired myself. Our ceiling was here when we bought it – owners converted the garage to the best room ever. We have planked our other ceilings though. 😉 See HERE.

      March 13, 2018 at 10:39 am Reply
  • Janice

    Another fantastic job, Larissa. You really did that old weathered chest justice!

    May 8, 2018 at 10:03 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Woot! Thanks so much, Janice. 🙂

      May 8, 2018 at 10:34 am Reply
  • Judy Martin

    The chest is wonderfully looking love that look & hope ye didn’t give the underwear a new makeover…lol

    July 7, 2018 at 7:52 pm Reply
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