I wanted to refinish the old ice chest for years - it had belonged to my husband's parents and had ended up shoved into the mud room, used to pull muddy boots off with! Years of neglect and abuse were evident - potential for restored beauty was NOT evident! But I took on the challenge and voila! My first (to date it is really the ONLY) big refinishing job and without a doubt it returned results far better than I had dared to imagine. Not that those results weren't deserved - after hours of scraping, scrubbing and sanding and more - then staining - all in all I would estimate it took me 6-8 weeks to do. But the pleasure I get from seeing it proudly stand in the dining room, where it stores linens and blankets - are worth all the hours put into it. I'm sure a little less TLC could have turned this piece into a "shabby-chic" or "chippy" piece that many would have loved. And while I admit some of those pieces are really wonderful, I'm glad I took it on down to the bare wood and gave her the rich, walnut stain that makes her shine so now. It suits her.
This is one of those DIY projects I turn back to from time to time to help motivate me to do something else that seems enormous. I love it when a plan comes together!