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Waterfall Hope Chest Restored & Renewed

You know it’s a good day when you head out to an old building that has been bought and renovated and they just, “want the stuff outta here”. Musical words to my ears. I couldn’t resist taking a peek at all they had to offer. Of course, this vintage Art Deco waterfall hope chest caught my eye and I had to bring it home.

Vintage Waterfall Hope Chest Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

To say I’m excited for the young couple I got the chest from is an understatement. They purchased a downtown building in my city that has seen many days and ugly updates. However, they are renovating it back to the original glory it once was. We’re talking uncovering the pressed tin ceiling hiding behind a drop ceiling, old wood floorboards revealed under carpet, and so much more. I wanted to do a happy dance! It makes my heart happy when others see past the obvious to the beauty beyond. Count me first in line to see it in the after.


I came home with many treasures from this place and will show them all to you in time. Today, I’m focusing on this waterfall hope chest. It had wear to the top with missing veneer, water rings, dents, scratches, etc. Nothing too hard to handle.

Vintage Waterfall Hope Chest Damage |

The interior was immaculate and has a beautiful cedar lining. I just love the smell of cedar, and wood in general. Do you ever pick up raw wood just to smell it. Stop and try it sometime – bliss, I tell ya.

Cedar Chest Opened |

The lock was missing part of its components, but that’s fine with me because I have to remove it for resell anyway due to recalls, etc. To get this makeover started, I first grabbed some veneer remnants from my stash that I salvaged off of past projects. It’s hard to find good veneer nowadays so I keep all I can. My stash scrap was adhered to other layers of veneer, so I soaked it in water and separated the layers.


While doing that, I chiseled out the damaged section on the chest top to make it square to receive a repair patch. After many attempts, I finally got an exact piece to fit and it looks good as new.

Repaired Veneer on Waterfall Hope Chest |

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

Next up, I removed the lock set and filled it with a piece of dowel using wood glue. I cut it to length, used wood filler to fill in any gaps.

Dowel to Fill Lock Hole in Cedar Chest |

Then, I used my orbital sander  and my Corner Cat to knock down the worn finish on the top and on the sides to prepare it for the next steps.

DeWalt Orbital Sander to Refinish Waterfall Hope Chest |

Before starting any finish work, I decided to add a few decorative strips to the front to add dimension. I simply cut them to length, and attach with wood glue and few brads using my brad nailer. I love that thing! No compressor needed, easy to use, and so fast. BAM!

Ryobi AirStrike Brad Nailer for Hope Chest repairs |


Once prepped, the top got a deep new color that I’ve loved to use in the past with an Espresso Stain. It give the wood such richness and I like it better than the orangey feel the wood had prior.

Minwax Espresso Stain for Waterfall Hope Chest Top |

I applied the stain, let rest for 5 minutes and then wiped off with a lint-free cloth. I let the stain cure for about 30 minutes, and then applied two coats poly topcoat using my Palm Pro, making sure to let the coats cure for 2 hours in between.

For the base of the waterfall hope chest, I chose these two complimentary colors: beigh and soft white. Again, using my Palm Pro, I give the cabinet two coats letting cure 2 hours in between.Painting Hope Chest with Dixie Belle Dropcloth Natural Chalk Mineral Paint by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Now comes the fun part…adding dimension. Woot! I wanted to create a point of interest on the front of this piece, so I purchased this wooden medallion applique. Isn’t it lovely?Ornate Wood Carved Applique for Waterfall Hope Chest |

I’ll show you what it looks like in a bit, but first I added some touches of wax and gilding.

First, I apply a coat of wax using a brush or lint-free cloth. I chose to use Clear Wax, but you can use any of the other waxes (white, black, gray, or brown).

Applying Dixie Belle Dirt to Waterfall Hope Chest to Create Shadows |


For the center panel that I painted in a different color, I also use waxes to make an oval where that wooden applique I showed you earlier is going to go. I daresay that this is easier to use than glazing and gives such a fun effect.

Applying Dixie Dirt to Hope Chest Face for Shadowing Effect |


Now the base of the waterfall hope chest is ready for my last step to add my wooden applique. With wood glue and my nailer, I just pop it on and I’m done! Hooray!

Vintage Waterfall Hope Chest Made New by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces using Dixie Belle Paint Products |

Vintage Waterfall Hope Chest Given New Life with Paint & Stain by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Here’s an upclose peek of that applique with the painted details and gilded waxes highlighted.

Gilded Wood Applique with Dixie Belle Paint Products by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

The new look has the aged feel I love. mmm…My favorite part is the outcome of the top. You can hardly even see the repair piece I patched with. High five for having a veneer stash, right?

Hope Chest Top Stained in Espresso Stain by Prodigal Pieces |

Veneer Repair After |

The interior cedar lining didn’t need anything, so I left it in its raw beauty. Those built-in trays are super handy for holding your treasures. I still have my hope chest that my parents gifted to me on my high school graduation day that also happened to be my 18th birthday. It is crammed full of my treasures – I love it.

Cedar Lined Hope Chest Made New by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Open Vintage Cedar Blanket Hope Chest with Tray |


What a fun project this was and I hope you learned a few tricks too. For me, it’s all about making your home your own. There is no need to buy high end furniture from box stores. There are so many quality vintage and antique pieces that just need a little love.

Farmhouse Bedroom with Vintage Waterfall Hope Chest Restored and Renewed by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Art Deco Hope Chest Restored with Dixie Belle Paint Products by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Normally about now I would be telling you this chest is available in my shop, but it sold before I could even list it. I’m so excited that it’s on its way out west to a very special young lady as a gift from her wonderful mama. Such a blessing to be a part of it all.

Shop Prodigal Pieces |

Do pin and share this waterfall hope chest makeover to inspire other to give DIY a try. You never know who needs that spark of inspiration to get them on their own journey.

From dingy and dated to beautiful antique, this vintage Art Deco waterfall hope chest is made new by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Get the DIY details at

Up next, my little stash of wooden thrifted items get new life. Any guesses? Take a peek at their new life HERE in the reveal post.

Wooden Thrifted Items Before Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

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More projects like this waterfall hope chest:

Vintage Waterfall Dresser Gets Volkswagen Bus Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comOutdated Vintage Dresser Gets Industrial Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

233 replies on “Waterfall Hope Chest Restored & Renewed”

Great project!! ❤️The appliqué makes the piece!! Thanks for the chance @ the give away it’s the only paint I use it’s amazing!! It’s

This transformation is PHENOMENAL! Turning something from drab to fab with Dixie Belle.. nothing short of the best!! And the detail on the appliqué? To die for!! DropCloth is my go-to color when I can’t decide on a piece, but the use of these colors together is awesome. Fabulous job!! 😍💕

Absolutely gorgeous! Too bad it sold already because that’s a piece I could have totally gotten into! I’m so curious about the Dirt…I need to try that stuff!

What a unique and beautiful piece of furniture! You go girl! I”m with you on taking a moment to really savor and appreciate things in life. As for painting, I’m still contemplating painting that pyramid shaped CD cabinet. Love the dropcloth color. 🙂

That is beautiful. I have a buffet i would love to paint in a two tone and thosr 2 colors look great together.

What a lovely transformation. Like me; I also love them old furniture pieces. This hope / cedar chest is gorgeous.
I have so many pieces that need painting that don’t know where to begin. Gardening season now so busy with that. I can only paint in my spare time of which I have little of.
Always been wanting to try the Dixie Belle paints but with my tight budget I just haven’t been able to afford it.
Thank U 4 this wonderful giveaway opportunity

Love the transformation! Who knew Dixie Belle could make dirt look so good! If I have to choose what to paint first it would be either my dining table or the TV stand. They both need some paint love.

It’s great to see how you bring back things people see as junk or too far gone to be of use. Thanks for the inspiration!

Beautiful and I’m very guilty of smelling wood . We have a cedar tree that I sit near just to smell the beauty

I love the different paint colors and stains you used – they tie it all together and highlight what was already there instead of being distracting.

I have a garage (and shed) full of dumpster-bound furniture that I would love to try Dixie Belle Paint on. Currently I’m just using latex “oops” paint but would love to try working with the ‘extras’ like the dirt stuff (heh- pardon the technical jargon). 😉

Congrats on your third place win in the Zibra furniture makeover contest! I really enjoy your posts. I have several pieces of furniture that I would love to experiment on, so the Dixie Belle products would be a great start.

First, Congratulations on the Zibra contest! So happy you made the top 3 !! Love the cedar chest. I have an old one I bought years ago at a thrift store, and I love it. I can’t imagine painting it though. I grew up with parents who refinished antiques and I always remember my dad cursing those painted pieces. haha! Although these days I am getting into some of the painted furniture. Some things are just too gorgeous ! Since I have a plethora of little tables, that’s probably what I’d use the paint for. Thank you for the chance, Larissa!

I have a hope chest just like this one, in my garage. It’s in a little worse shape, but with your tips and inspiration, I hope to restore it’s glory! Thanks for all you do ❤

This is the most beautiful hope chest I have ever seen. You are sooo talented. Thank you for sharing with all of us. I love the dirt and applique.

Hi Larissa! You always have something unique going on in your work. Congrats on winning 3rd place with your cart in the Zibra contest. ~A

Stunning! How did you apply stain on the applique without getting it all over??!! And congratulations on your 3rd place finish for the Zibra blog!!!!

You always come up with the greatest ideas! Really good job on this piece. So much out there is paint-distress-seal-done. You take your projects to the next level with such beauty. All those extra touches take time and patience and CONFIDENCE! to accomplish. I have my grandmother’s Lane waterfall cedar chest. It needs work but can’t paint it because of the beautiful veneer. Would love to find a fixer-upper chest to do something like you have done. Great job!

Oh my! I am so in love with your work! Your talent defies all boundries girl!!! The hope chest is a piece of beauty now, not just an old piece in the attic. Love it!

I couldn’t figure out where you going with the colors and the pieces you were adding to the chest but when you were finished with it, it was beautiful! You have a very good eye when it comes to seeing how a project will turn out. That is truly a gift! Another job well done!

very pretty and I was glad to learn how to fix veneer. Great Job! Congrats on 3rd place in the Zibra Brush contest!

The chest is beautiful – your work on the applique is gorgeous! 🙂 I an super excited about this giveaway too…sionce I can’t buy Dixie Belle in Ontario…fingers crossed I win! 🙂

So gorgeous! And I am with you on loving the smell of wood, I have to take a stroll through the wood aisle when I go to Home Depot and my husband thinks I’m nuts! I’m still contemplating painting that swan table!

Beautiful job on this waterfall chest, Larissa! Loving the stained top with the two-tone painted base. Wow, the interior was in mint condition! The trim and pretty applique took this piece to a new level! I’ve never tried DB Dirt but I’m sure loving how authentic it looks. Pinned

Larissa… have the patience of Job! (-: I actually have an old chest that we used as a “toy chest” when my kids were small. I’d spiff it up!

Another gorgeous piece! You are so talented. Love the applique and the DB dirt sets it off. I have several pieces that need repaired and painted. Maybe you could do a giveaway where we win you helping us redo a piece…ha ha. Congrats on the Zibra win. I voted for you!

I love your makeover! Lucky girl that ends up with that beauty 🙂
I have a dresser that could use some love, that is what I would use the Dixie Bell paints on!

This turned out beautiful!! My mother had one exactly like it! …. My brother had refinished it for her…and now it belongs to him…I’ve wished already, I would have liked her Waterfall bedroom suite …alas, it was sold, becouse nobody wanted it. Btw, does this comment enter me into the giveaway?

I’m so glad to see this! I have a buffet that I planned to do in drop cloth and the top in espresso gel stain. I’m trying to,decide if I should use black wax.
Great looking piece!

Larissa, I have visited the same building and had a great time going through all their treasures and chatting with the couple. What a neat place with all those offices and apartments upstairs! I probably walked right past that hope chest and didn’t give it a second look. You are an inspiration! Every time I watch you transform something, I wish I had the nerve to tackle similar projects. Maybe part of my problem is that I’m lacking the right tools. Yay for giveaways! Maybe you could offer a class?!?!?! Sign me up!

That came out lovely, Larissa! I’ve never tried this brand of paint. Have heard great things & would love to!

Wonderful makeover. I just found a shop near me that sells Dixie Belle paints and I will have to visit. You always amaze me with your creative finishes.

Love the waterfall chest makeover. Very pretty. I am about to paint my childhood French provincial bedroom set and considering using Dixie Belle paint for the first time. I would love too win some.

This turned out so beautiful. Thanks for showing us a lot of new and different Dixie Belle products. I appreciate that you are so willing to share how products work.

Looking forward to getting settled in new home and redoing pieces for coastal cottage look. This chest is beautiful.

Larissa that is absolutely gorgeous! I love the detail work you did on the floral medallion! That is one fine veneer patch too. I’m with you on picking up wood and smelling it, such wonderful scents.

The chest turned out beautiful! I feel the need to make a Goodwill trip and find something to paint. I’ve never used this paint before and would love to try it!

i have a similar one that belonged to my mother-in-law. Unfortunately the inside is not in very good shape. She had painted the outside and later covered it with woodgrain contact paper. I love what you did with yours.

You have an eclectic style that I love. This cedar chest came out beautiful. Love your blog! Would love to try the Dixie Belle products!

Wow, what a gorgeous chest. I am so inspired by your work! There are several things around here that could use a creative, elegant redo like this chest that you brought to new life, the first one would be a wardrobe-type piece that needs to be a linen storage cabinet. I think Dixie Belle would be just the right product to transform that piece. Thank you for the give-a-way opportunity for some Dixie Belle products!!! Really glad I discovered your blog today.

The first thing that I will paint is a secretary desk that I found on the roadside….it will be beautiful! I just need the paint…… Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Awesome project ! I have the same hope chest…it was my mom’s.Don’t know if I can bring myself to re-do it 😕 However..I do have a dresser I need to re-do , and I love Dixie Belle paints & products ! I will keep following to see your inspired transformations !!

This is beautiful! I love all of the different layers! Grest job on the repair… I’m savine this for future reference!!

This turned out great!! Love how you really made it look “fancy” with the added decorative item but kept the age looking older with the techniques!!

So beautiful; gorgeous detailing! At one point I assumed that the cedar made the furniture orange (growing up) because all of it was that orange-y look. When I found out I could have my beloved cedar lined furniture and give it deep, rich stain I was ecstatic.

You are amazing…Beautiful job done with lot of creativity.I have a very old bedroom set which i am going to paint for my 15 years old daughter with Dixie Belle paint.

That turned out absolutely gorgeous! You are so talented and I love that you share all of your pieces with us. I need to look into a brad nailer for myself, we have one bt is heavy and does need the compresser.

Beautiful! The first thing I painted with Dixie Belle was a corner hutch. It was so beautiful, I made over my entire kitchen! I can’t stop paining!

I love this makeover! so glad you left the inside in its pristine condition. ❤ I’m currently on the hunt for a pair of nightstands to re-do, that would be my choice of painting next.

It’s just beautiful and love your creativity! I would totally paint my kitchen cabinets with Dixie Belle paint! I’ve been hesitant for the past year on what paint to use, but think I’m sold on DB paint!😊❤

Thanks so much, Roxie! I honestly was hesitant at first too because I thought it would be like all the other paints I tried, but I was wrong. So glad I tried it!

Once again, you amaze me! Congrats on the Zibra win! The cedar chest is a beautiful rebirth — lucky the young woman who received it! I’ve decided with all you do, your days must have more than 24-hrs – LOL!! I

So glad you won, you deserved it……………and I voted for you!!!! I have entered the contest and would absolutely love to win……I have just found Dixie Belle Paint and so happy that I have. Love Love Love it and would love to win the goodies!!! Thanks for such a great giveaway!!!! Looking forward to more of your post and trying more of the paint!! It is so easy to work with and has a beautiful finish!!!

You did an amazing job on this hope chest! I had one just like it that was my mother in laws but gave it to my sister in law when we moved. I sure wish I had it back! The appliqué is beautiful!

I forgot the #2. In addition to how impressed I am with you work, I would paint my two very old, very sturdy kitchen chairs.

I soooooo admire your creativity. I haven’t used Dixie Bell paint before but would love to try it. I have 2 French Provincial library tables I would paint first. I’m a neutral color girl so probably would use Dropcloth. Keep up the good work. I’m inspired by you!

I plan on painting a book case and a jewelry armoire. I appreciate all of the tutorials, blogs, etc. that you and other talented people share. I learn so much and am confident that with everyone’s helpful tips and tricks, I will end up with beautiful pieces.

It is beautiful! I have my mother’s Hope Chest. It looks just like the one that you have. I would love to paint it too.

I think I’m ready for some color! I love the Dixie Belle Cotton and Fluff, but it’s time to branch out. I have a little foot stool that’s begging for a makeover.

OMG this is gorgeous I had no idea they made anything like that powder you used I cannot wait to try it love love love it

Chest turned out absolutely beautiful !! I have a marble top dresser I’m ready to get painted. You are an inspiration !

OH, MY! That is lovely! When I first looked at the finished project it took my breath away. I hadn’t really been able to picture it from the photos of you working on it, so it was a complete surprise. It’s transformation is just amazing. How did you know what you wanted to do with it? Had you seen something similar or did the idea just pop into your mind? It sure turned out to be a unique piece.

Sorry I forgot to tell you what my first Dixie Bell paint project would be. I think it would be a little end table with drop down leaves on each side that I got second-hand and have in my living room. Not sure yet which Dixie Belle color I will choose. Probably a shade of green or turquoise.

It’s me again! I can’t tell which of the photos of this project is the is the pinable image. None of them do anything when I click on them. Help!

You can pin any of them, but the long image with text near the bottom is the pin image. You can use the pin button on my site or if you have it in your chrome extensions that works too.

I gotta say, this piece is a beauty! I actually have a waterfall cedar chest that may be a twin to this one. It belonged to my aunt who passed away several years ago. When my cousin decided to give up her house and everything in it, I called dibs on the cedar chest and matching dresser. Maybe this summer will be the time for the reincarnation of these pieces now that I have a bit of inspiration (thanks to you!) Love your blog ♥

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