When we first arrived in Maryland in May of this year, Dean and I didn’t know anyone.
The day we stepped foot in the state, was our first night to call it home. With a full moving truck, tired feet, and excitement in each breath, we’ve been working to make this place feel like our home ever since.
While Dean was busy getting settled into his new squadron, new place of work, new commute, new job, I was staring straight into the emptiness of mine. There was no structure waiting for me, no path or direction, no email telling me when to show up. Those were long days unpacking and working by myself. I’m a creator, an artisan, and totally new to running my own business and working by myself, so there were many days I felt at a loss in a new city, not knowing a soul but still trying to create something out of nothing. Our worlds are so different, but getting to support each other in our careers is enriching our marriage and making us a better team!
This morning I spent some time praying and reflecting on the last 5 months. This time has shown me that with faith, patience, and a load of grace, God moves. Doors have been opened where walls once only existed, relationships have been formed, new adventures have begun, and I feel dizzy with excitement and overwhelmed by the love of God, my family, and friends (both old and new) as my life is daily enriched with new challenges and blessings! I’m so glad I took the chance to pursue Restored Living as my full-time career. I’m grateful I faced the down days with the support of my incredible husband, and that I’m able to shut the door on doubt and fear when I don’t feel good enough or like I’ll make it on my own. Pursuing your dreams takes hard work, huh?
This post today is brought to you by Facebook! I’m grateful for Facebook and the infinite groups it holds, because it really is an open door into the lives of so many people. From a simple post on a military spouse page, I got to meet Stephanie. Not only is she a fellow interior design and creative enthusiast, she has spent years of her life in Texas -FRIENDSHIP BONUS!
This new friend and sweet soul, allowed me to recreate a garage sale storage chest she had picked up for a project such as this! She has a beautiful baby boy, Joey, and this chest is to go in his nursery. I love getting to be part of enriching people’s homes with beautiful custom furniture that fits their needs and makes them happy!
Take a look at what Stephanie gave to me and see if you could have seen this for what is could be, instead of what it was!
I imagine this chest was originally purchased from a store like Marshalls, Target, or Home Goods. We see trendy, cheap furniture like this often. You know, the mass-produced kind that seem like a good idea until we actually use it and remember we should have just saved our money for something of better quality! I’m not knocking on those who can’t afford new, quality furniture, but there is so much creativity that can go into transforming old, broken, solid-wood pieces into usable, beautiful pieces again -and you won’t regret the satisfaction of a table that doesn’t break, a bookshelf that doesn’t bend, and drawers that don’t pop apart!
For example, I found out the hard way when I started taking this piece apart that the quality wasn’t great. The material ripped easily, the sides were weak, thin wood, and the structure itself was crooked… but don’t worry, I changed that. With any amount of dedication and hard work you can make something better, and that’s the outlook I had with this little storage chest.
Stephanie has an imagination for the things that can be, and she believes in it! I know I’ll get along with anyone who is able to look at a boring piece of furniture covered in a pleather (plastic leather) material that is passed its short-lived prime and can still cast a new vision for it. Stephanie gave me ample room to be creative and do what I felt was best, which was so exciting!
RANT -I know most used furniture is logically going to be dirty. Dust, food stains, grime and even more disgusting goodies are part of the package… but there is something about cat hair that makes my skin crawl. And don’t argue that this was dog hair. Dogs are way too smart to cuddle up in a storage chest where they could be shut in! 😉 I digress.
Stephanie picked out the material she wanted for the top, a fun gray and soft white dotted pattern, and I recommended I recreate the sides with wood to add quality in both the material and look. We had a plan and we moved forward!
Like most projects, things take a little longer than you think they will, but I learned so much and I’m glad I rebuilt the sides with a paneled wood. Look at the fruits of our effort!
New life. I’ll never get tired of it. 🙂 Is it even the same chest? Arguably, yes. Seriously, no!
I stripped all the material off the sides down to the frame, sanded the feet, and added the new siding. You can tell a lot about a piece by the quality of its bones… this one was pretty crooked and askew. Corners didn’t line up exactly right. I did the best I could with the alignment and then filled in any gaps with a stainable wood filler, which worked great!
I stained everything (feet and sides) in General Finishes’ Java Gel stain (because I’m obsessed with the stuff) and finished with a couple coats of a Minwax Polyurethane. This chest is heavy-duty now!
Isn’t the fabric adorable? It was wonderfully thick and soft. I think it transformed this chest from a plasticy-boring piece of stock furniture, to a beautiful custom storage piece.
I upholstered the inside of the chest in a gray fabric to match the cushioned seat. I went to a local fabric store and picked out the sale scrap fabric to save money and save on waste! There’s no sense in throwing those cuts away when this chest will be full of toys or linens and you won’t notice the inside color! The biggest plus? -No cat hair.
I can say I learned the most upholstering the inside of the chest which was a challenge. I feel like it turned out great though!
I’ll leave you will one more take of the before, and beautiful after!
This morning I’m truly overwhelmed with the goodness of God, and the opportunities that are coming my way. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, follow my blog, and partake in this very personal adventure of mine. I have faith that this is just the beginning of many opportunities recreating furniture for people’s homes in this new area. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the transformation!
I hope the rest of your week is full of pursuing your dreams and living each day to the fullest!
Thanks again for being here with me,