Empire Chest with Country Charm

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There once was a lady who said she’d buy no furniture for a time, but good intentions make her go back on her word. So…need I say more? Seriously, y’all. I am on a mission to only have one piece in the works and one in waiting. Somehow I keep ending up with more furniture! Check out this empire chest and dresser set that just happened at my door.

Empire Chest and Dresser Set Before Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I have always been a sucker for empire furniture. The lines and rustic appeal just make my heart go pitter-pat. When I was searching for furniture for two custom clients, I spied the tall chest and inquired. Funny thing is it was owned by a lady who flips furniture all the time and we have a good acquaintance with each other.

She said someone was coming to look at it that evening, but that she had another dresser that was a part of the set. *pause* My mind is racing and quickly becomes absorbed in getting my hands on both of those pieces! (the life of a junker, I know). Both pieces would be perfect for each of my clients and I talked her into selling her potential client another piece. Score!

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Not so funny was both clients hadn’t seen these and both turned them down for different reasons. So…here I am with two pieces of furniture I had no intention of buying and now need to be reworked. Sigh… Also not cool is making my husband go pick these up instead of working on our kitchen. Such is life, right?

My subject for today is the chest and I’ll get to the dresser next week – that thing is a ball of laughs…not! Buying things sight unseen is not always the best thing just like I did with this desk. tsk.

Vintage Empire Chest of Drawers for Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Top of Empire Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

These look to be solid wood, but are actually solid wood with a funky veneer. By looking at the pictures, I had hoped to restore the wood and add different elements. No such luck.

After using my sander to see what was underneath that faux grain, I found this veneer with no character at all. No grain to it, just sort of looked like plastic. My paint brush will be my go-to tool for this project.

Sanding Empire Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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

The drawer pulls are not original, but had been replaced by those porcelain ones at some point, and the legs were missing casters. Furniture of this design must have casters, in my book. I dug into my stash and pulled out two sets, one for each. Large for the dresser and small for the chest.

Antique Wooden Casters for Empire Chest Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Because I wasn’t ready for this set when I purchased them, I also need to make some more of my furniture wax.

All Natural Handmade Furniture Wax by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I needed a kick in the pants to get it done and it worked out for me. Many of you are wanting the recipe, but I’m keeping this to self as not I still tweaking it.

As for the finish, I went with a soft gray called Rocky Mountain by Country Chic Paint for the cabinet and a soft aqua by DecoArt called Vintage. Once the paint was done and it looked great, but…it needed something to give it a touch of charm.

I decided to paint one of my favorite wildflowers, Queen Anne’s Lace, on it.

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces Hand Painting Queen Anne's Lace on Empire Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Ready to see the finish? This one made me smile.

Vintage Empire Chest with Hand Painted Queen Anne's Lace by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Farmhouse Style Hand Painted Empire Chest by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

It’s soft, it’s feminine, and those lines draw me in.

Hand Painted Queen Anne's Lace Flowers on Empire Chest by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I wish you could see this in person as the flowers really make the piece. The color suits my style as well, like a laid-back summer day.

Gray Paired with Soft Aqua on Vintage Empire Chest by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

If you’d love to own this empire chest, it is available in my shop. (SOLD) We do ship to anywhere in the U.S., so let me know if you’re interested!

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

And for all of those out there looking for inspiration, I would love it if you would share so others can see my work too. Thank you! ♥

Vintage Empire Chest Gets Country Charm Makeover with Queen Anne's Lace Flowers by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

As you know I am a glutton for punishment, so up next is the evil twin to this empire chest in this set. See the after HERE. Stay tuned by signing up for my newsletter to get updates in your inbox get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop.

Empire Dresser Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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More of my furniture makeovers like this empire chest:

How to Update an Outdated Dresser | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comTransform an Outdated China Cabinet with Wallpaper by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com


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38 Comments

  • Jamie K

    Beautiful Makeover! You never cease to amaze me! Love it!!

    August 11, 2016 at 6:46 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Fantastic to hear, Jamie! Thank you. 🙂

      August 11, 2016 at 10:05 am Reply
  • Susan

    Love the hand-drawn wildflower accent on the drawers – it really adds personality and charm. Great job, kiddo !

    August 11, 2016 at 7:05 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Susan!

      August 11, 2016 at 10:05 am Reply
  • Sandra

    Very nice! I love Queen Anne’s lace. (I believe it is a member of the carrot family) Wish you were my neighbor. Oh, the trouble we could get into.

    August 11, 2016 at 8:09 am Reply
    • Larissa

      hee hee hee…it would be a blast! Thank you, Sandra. I can totally see the resemblance to the carrot family because the leaves are almost identical.

      August 11, 2016 at 10:04 am Reply
  • Sarah

    Larissa! Once again you transformed a prodigal into something beautiful! I just love how you imparted beauty to this awkward piece! Usually you draw out the character of a piece of furniture but this time you had to actually give it its identity as a worthwhile (and lovely!) piece! Well done! I appreciate that you shared how this project had a rocky start but you certainly redeemed it! How clever to add the special touch of your favorite flower! I’m meditating on all the spiritual parallels!

    August 11, 2016 at 9:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Those words make me smile, Sarah. Thank you for understanding my take on things and for taking the time to show love.

      August 11, 2016 at 10:03 am Reply
  • Sue Pagels

    Wow – wow – wow!! I had my doubts about this one – thinking, hmmm, how will this be so different but I truly love it! So creative and fun. I love creativity and you have it in boat loads. Thanks for sharing this lovely makeover with us!

    August 11, 2016 at 9:28 am Reply
    • Larissa

      It was fun to do because there was no pressure. Thanks for the love and encouragement, Sue!

      August 11, 2016 at 10:02 am Reply
  • Gwen

    love the subtle, muted colors! is that just heavy dots of paint on the Queen Anne’s lace, or what? just beautiful!

    August 11, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Gwen! Just different strokes and brushes to get the look. 🙂

      August 11, 2016 at 10:01 am Reply
  • Judy Black

    Once again, your vision and skill in executing it is inspiring!

    August 11, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you for the compliment. I really was relaxed and enjoyed this makeover. Fun!

      August 11, 2016 at 10:00 am Reply
  • Jolinda

    You sure added charm to that poor dresser. It is beautiful.

    August 11, 2016 at 10:43 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay! Thank you for saying so, Jolinda. 😀

      August 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm Reply
  • Tina Quinn

    Beautiful! I notice the flowers are a bit “raised” . what product did you use to get this effect?

    August 11, 2016 at 12:02 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Woot! They’re not raised, but by my painting technique they look like they are. My trick worked! 😀 Thank you, Tina.

      August 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm Reply
      • Tina Quinn

        Yep, it worked and I love it. So Im guessing that you just filled the brush with a little more paint and kind of held it there to make a little “blob”?

        August 11, 2016 at 7:34 pm Reply
        • Larissa

          I used three different colors and round brushes with different strokes to get the effect. 🙂

          August 12, 2016 at 5:23 am Reply
  • Catherine

    Larissa, you did a wonderful job! Your inspiration to use “that little something” to make the whole thing pop had to be Divine Guidance because it’s perfect. Thanks for sharing.

    August 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm Reply
  • Nancy F

    It’s absolutely beautiful

    August 11, 2016 at 6:14 pm Reply
  • Ivory

    Ah, gorgeous! I love everything you do, wish you lived nearby.

    August 11, 2016 at 9:04 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Ivory! I think I need a twin. 😉

      August 12, 2016 at 5:20 am Reply
  • Cheryl B.

    Larissa I just love these.tge flowers put it over the edge for me.

    August 12, 2016 at 1:18 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Wonderful to hear, Cheryl. Adding those made it for me as it needed something to add personality. Thank you!

      August 12, 2016 at 5:18 am Reply
  • Carolyn

    Larissa, you won’t believe this, but I have a chest just like this one, only the veneer is beautiful. I would like to attach a photo, but can’t in this comment section. My father had this, so I don’t know where he acquired it. When I got it, the varnish was all bumpy on it and I used some varnish remover on the drawers and found out the veneer was very pretty. I never got around to de-varnishing the whole piece, but after I saw how you have rescued some of yours, I want to “help” it out some. The veneer is good on all the drawers except a couple of places on the bottom one and I’m not sure how to deal with that because I don’t want to paint the drawers – just the frame. Do you have any suggestions? Is there some way I can send you a photo so you can see how lovely the drawers look?

    August 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm Reply
  • Nola Connors

    Love the Queen Anne’s lace and the colors are perfect! You are gifted!

    August 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      This was a fun project and I had so much fun just letting my creative side go. Thank you, Nola!

      August 13, 2016 at 5:50 am Reply
  • Marie, The Interior Frugalista

    Another beautiful makeover, Larissa! The painted blooms on the Queen Anne’s Lace look three dimensional. Are they or did you paint shadow lines and white accents on each? Beautiful!

    August 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by, Marie. I used three different paint to get that effect and that makes me happy you can see the effect through the screen. Yay!

      August 23, 2016 at 5:24 am Reply
  • Michelle

    I’m a retailer of CCP.. and Rocky Mountain is my new addiction…?… heehee paint everything in it!!

    November 25, 2016 at 8:33 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I don’t blame you! It’s easily one of my favorites. 🙂

      November 27, 2016 at 6:07 am Reply
  • Janette Deans

    I always read your news letter and am always really amazed at your make overs, although sadly, I don’t often get to comment, this is just gorgeous and love the flower design, no wonder it was snapped up.

    May 30, 2017 at 7:30 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. 🙂

      May 30, 2017 at 9:26 am Reply
  • Marcia Horn

    WOW, I love this one ; so love the contrast of the colors , dark shade of paint against the light shade of paint and the simple yet elegant floral stencil design. Just gorgeous !!!

    August 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you for the sweet words, Marcia. That means so much. 😉

      August 19, 2018 at 9:38 pm Reply

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