Antique Tiger Oak Dresser

Finally. I’m writing! Fueled by a lazy morning sleeping in (until 6:45, sheesh I’m showing my age) and two cups of coffee. Will this good amount of coffee and sleep keep me energized all day? Let’s hope so!

The last couple weeks have been busy. And brutally hot -this means alot coming from a Texan.

Seriously. I had no idea how hot it could get in Maryland, not to mention the humidity? Just breathing has felt like inhaling steamy water. My mental countdown to fall has been ticking since mid-july. Comfy sweaters, leggings, and boots here I come! The end is in sight… or is that just a mirage?

I shouldn’t complain! August hasn’t just been about intense loads of humidity and heat. It’s been a wonderful month that has held two visits from sweet Texas friends and family, my 26th birthday, dinners with new friends, trips to D.C. and the eastern shore beaches, ice cold beer with salty popcorn, summer runs in downtown Annapolis, and the completion of some fun projects, one of which being this Tiger Oak dresser I acquired antiquing in Pennsylvania (which is a dream, by the way).

I’m really excited to share this with you, and instead of posting all my before pictures, and then all my after pictures, I thought I would interchange them so you could keep soaking up the transformation. I’ll include some tips and the products I used along the way if you’re interested in that kinda’ stuff!

When I first found this antique dresser my online community of painters were screaming at me in all caps to not touch it. No paint. No refinishing. That’s what the majority said. Huh….

I debated, because I know refinishing an antique can decrease its’ value, but its finish was so dry, crackly, and gross that I couldn’t help myself. Being the person I am, I wanted this piece to have new life. To be used and loved again. So I turned off my notifications and went with my heart. I got right to work, and I’m so glad I did.


I carefully sanded this piece with 80, 120, and 220 grit sandpaper. I had to do most of it by hand, though I did use my electric sander a bit. Once I began working on it I marveled at the construction. Everything looks to be handmade and solid oak, though not every piece is Tiger Oak. There isn’t a compromised piece of wood on this dresser. Strong and heavy, it’s going to last for many years to come. Having worked on quite a few dressers, this is the most solid piece I have ever seen. No particle board, no screws, no staples, no plywood or veneer. Solid oak, people.

Take a look!


Here is a great picture of the dismal condition of the top of the dresser. It was dry and had old glue and paint crusted to the top. I sanded the top for hours before revealing the beautiful Tiger Oak finish underneath this mess.



In person, the top is so smooth and the color is so rich. I used my favorite gel stain on this piece and it worked wonderfully on the porous grain: General Finishes Java Gel.


I love the grain on the top of this piece. It’s so unique and beautiful, furniture just isn’t made like this anymore.


The sides were just as dry and in need of refinishing as the rest. It took a lot of patience to make it happen, but I did sand down to the wood to reveal the beautiful oak beneath the old stain. I also oiled the back of the piece to condition it and give it a glow.




The drawers are dovetailed and solid. They look to be handmade but I’m not for sure. No matter how they were constructed, they are truly a work of art. I oiled all of the drawers inside and out to condition them and highlight their natural beauty.


The bottom of the dresser boasts a beautifully designed piece of Tiger Oak. you can also see Tiger Oak on the bottom drawer towards the top left.


I cleaned all of the key holes with ketchup and it brightened them right up!


I couldn’t be happier that I went with my heart and gave this piece the love and attention it needed. I know that it will soon find its new home and be a quality piece of furniture for years to come. I sealed the entire dresser with General Finishes High Performance Top Coat to protect its new stain.


What do you think of the transformation? I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you for reading and sharing this project with me. Happy Hump Day!




Beth’s Buffet

I was gifted this wonderful buffet during my sophomore year at Texas State University. Having absolutely no furniture, I thought it was gold! The buffet graced my first home as an entertainment center, my second and third home as a tea bar, fourth home as a tea and COFFEE bar (everyone starts drinking coffee at some point, right?) and its fifth home in my dining room as a tea and spirit cabinet. I have loved this buffet since the day it was given to me six years ago, so this restoration was special and long overdue!

I’ll shut up and let you meet its beautiful self!


Disclaimer: I don’t think the buffet was in this bad of shape when I got it. Having survived many moves and many, many morning coffee rushes when either myself or one of roommates were late to work, it’s a trooper to say the least!


Every cup ring has a story! 😉 You can tell how much life is lived around and on this piece of furniture!


The finish was in pretty bad shape all the way around… just felt like stating the obvious.


The veneer was chipping all over the doors, drawers, and sides.


I started by cleaning and sanding everything down. I then repaired the broken wood and veneer. I primed with Zinsser Shellac spray paint. I painted the base with two coats of Rust-Oleum’s Linen White Chalked Paint (which I love), and stained the top with General Finishes Java Gel Stain. I protected the paint with General Finishes High Performance Top Coat and the stain with a MinWax polyurethane . It took me about a week to complete this and I’m so glad it’s done! Take a look:


I slightly distressed the details, but even with the antiquing she looks as good as new!


This buffet had earned the time and care I put into it!


It was fun distressing this piece because it really highlights all its unique details!


The top is now durable and beautiful. I love it!


All the gold accents were used as decor on my cake table at my wedding! I love the memories… and I’m living on a budget.


If you’ve been in my house for a meal, or a movie night, or a party, you’ve probably used this buffet as well. I love that it allows me to serve people yummy food and my friends to make a hot cup of tea or mix a drink at the end of the day. I think that’s why it holds such a special place in my heart, it helps me gather people I love for drinks and conversation.

If you don’t have a buffet I highly recommend one. They are such versatile and fun pieces of furniture that will allow you to serve in an array of ways. Keep a lookout for one at a decent price on Craigslist or at a local thrift store, you never know what you might find!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I did. I would love to know what you think. As always, if you’re in the Annapolis, Maryland area, I’d love to do some custom work for your home!

Until next time,







Becoming an Artisan

Over the last couple of months I’ve embarked on a journey I didn’t quite have a name for originally. The journey of becoming an artisan.

It all began when my husband and I moved from our Texas home to Biloxi, Mississippi so he could begin his career in the Air Force. I found myself having many hard moments in the weeks that followed our first move. After the chaos of moving settled into the new routines of life, I began to feel isolated, alone, and directionless. As everything started in my husband’s career, I felt the ideas I had about mine slip slowly through my fingers. While most of my friends were/are thriving in their mid-twenty careers or grad-school ventures,  I placed mine on the back burner, and turned the heat to low, so nothing would scorch while I contemplated my next move. You can ask any of my close friends, I’ve been a quarter-life-identity-crisis prototype. But, in all seriousness, the last ten months have been full of introspection and self discovery. It was scary, humbling, and challenging, but I wouldn’t change it and I finally feel like I’m embracing the direction this next season of life is headed.

As of this time last year, I wanted to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work to become a therapist; however the last ten months have held two big moves, which means two new homes, and, what might as well be, two new worlds. I felt like I couldn’t put roots down for myself, much less my career. I also felt my peace shift away from grad-school. I really felt sure it was my next step, but that certainty left me at the threshold of a black door, waiting for a light to click on and illuminate my new purpose.

So I waited.

I started to rethink what I wanted out of this life now and in the future. My brain became the space of a great life inquisition.  What did I want my career to look like as a wife and (hopefully-one-day-not-too-too-soon) mother? How did I want to affect the world around me? I started to think about my passions, the things that make me feel alive. Words like restoring, recreating, hospitality, love, faith, warmth, home, family, writing, painting, food, and peaceful environments kept coming to mind when I envisioned my passions.

I asked myself what my natural strengths were and what did I have the most fun and challenge doing? And those thoughts pulled me further away from the “professional” world back to here. “Here” being Restored Living, both the blog and my customized furniture company. Here being my home, and your home and the relationship between the two. All of these thoughts, all of the introspection and “dark nights of the soul” led me to embrace this totally new world of artisan furniture recreations and attempting to document so my readers can be inspired to create beauty in their homes as well. And I feel on fire!

It’s with passion and hesitancy and a little fear -but way more joy, that I’m officially declaring Restored Living as my next career move. Sometimes you just have to say, or write, something to make it feel real.

My dream for this next season of my life would be that I can enable people to make their homes as peaceful and beautiful as they long for them to be. I’ve been polishing my skills as a painter, designer, writer, and photographer to create great content here and in real life so I can make happier homes in Texas, Mississippi,  Maryland (& wherever we end up next)!

I’ve learned a lesson in looking on the inside, on the things, thoughts, and ideas we have burning in our soul, and just embracing life with those dreams in the forefront of my intentions. Because I believe that embodies what I know as truth. So cheers to overcoming fears, and embracing the challenge of something totally new and unknown.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the newest addition to my project gallery, these two Mid-ish-Century Modern Accent Chairs. I found them at an estate sale the third week we were in Maryland for $3 a piece during the final hours of the sale. They are solid wood, heavy, comfortable… and they were hideous.



Beneath the already horrid material sat the original old glory. It was thick, and a good place to start from after I cleaned them up.


I pulled, tore, and played tug of war with this old material. I took everything apart, sanded and stained the wood -then reassembled. I then took my cushions, new fabric, and measured, cut, and stapled away. The whole project took hours, of course.


But the end result was TOTALLY worth every minute and struggle. These turned out to be quality gems that are now headed to Virginia to a new home. I absolutely love their funky soul and think they will be perfect in their new space. What do you think?


The stain is in General Finishes Java Gel and it has three layers of General Finishes High Performance Top Coat.





If you’ve made it to the end of this lengthy post I thank you for letting me share my heart and for your support in my new adventure. I’d love to hear your feedback or give you any help I can offer. I hope the rest of your week is full of nothing but goodness.