A Storage Chest for Baby Joey

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,



Master Bedroom Dresser Flip

How is the beginning of your week going? I’m feeling a bit of nostalgia as I work on this post. I was just editing the pictures of my husband’s dresser restoration that I did well over 3 months ago. Looking through pictures of our bedroom and our things is making me miss him. I’m currently 2,322 miles from him as I type. And after only 8 days apart, I’m having a hard time imagining how I’ll handle the next two weeks. However, I am sitting in my best friend’s kitchen in Tucson, Arizona awaiting her second baby… so I don’t have anything to complain about!

I couldn’t have been more honored when my friend asked me to come help ready her home, freeze some yummy home-cooked meals, and actually be present for the birth of her new daughter. Today is the “actual” due date, but we are currently waiting and praying for a safe delivery whenever it’s supposed to happen… no signs of baby yet!

Today has been wonderful. The cool air has been drifting through open windows, the curtains dancing in the breeze. The sky has been the dark kind of cloudy and slightly rainy, covering the tops of the surrounding mountains with blanket-like clouds. Fall feels like a welcoming embrace, doesn’t it? On top of my favorite weather, it’s been a day full of soup, which is my favorite food. Needless to say, soup plus a cloudy day equals nothing but joy and comfort in my heart. I prepared a double recipe of my mom’s cheese broccoli and potato soup for the freezer (it’s soul food) and for lunch we snuck into Tucson for some spicy vegetable pho… maybe that will kick things up a bit and get this labor going! We left with clear sinuses, full stomachs, and happy faces.

Until I return from my travels in mid October (I’m Texas bound after the baby is born), I’ll have to settle for FaceTime moments with my husband and a suitcase for my stuff. For the rest of this post, I’ll just day dream of our room and being together in the future -because, duh, that’s what young married people do.

I had already painted this dresser a couple of years ago. It was actually my first General Finishes milk paint experience. I originally loved it, and it turned out well for not really knowing what I was doing, but it got a couple of solid chips in it on our moves to Mississippi and Maryland.

I have started to redecorate our bedroom in soft grays and whites, so I wanted this to match the fresh feeling the rest of our room has. Take a look at my before and after pictures and let me know what you think!


Before it was a two-toned gray. (also, I’m so bad at leaving drawers open when I take pictures and not seeing it!) I really did like the way it looked at first. Now that my taste and decor have changed (and I’ve grown in my ability to restore and paint furniture…) I didn’t want to look at this finish anymore. -> that’s the nicest way  I can say I don’t like my paint job. 😉


Since I painted the walls in my bedroom Agreeable Gray, by Sherwin Williams, I didn’t want the dark gray to clash… it has much more of a purple undertone.


My goal is to slowly change our decor into lots of soft whites and grays. I would like an industrial farmhouse feel with a touch of pretty. 🙂 My headboard has also been repainted a solid white to match the base of this dresser.


Since we were on a tight budget when we first were settling in, I opted to just paint the knobs. I’m glad I did because they look much better, but I can see this looking even better with some bigger knobs. However; in real life… sometimes we just need to make due, right? At least for now.


I stained the wood in General Finishes Java Gel, and I painted the base in Rust-Oleum’s Linen Chalked Paint. I sealed the stain in a polyurethane and the chalk paint in General Finishes High Performance Top Coat. I love this chalk paint because it hardens like a rock and I’ve never had it chip!


I found this Bassett mirror at a garage sale in Texas for $20. I stripped it, stained it, and then painted over it so I could distress it.  It’s been perfect for what I needed. If you ever need to find a mirror, don’t be afraid to paint a used one! The sign over the mirror was a decoration at our wedding.


Rentals are so tricky, but now that we have been in Annapolis for 4 months, it’s starting to feel like home. I could use any recommendations you have for living in a rental! I love to hear real feedback from renters. Thanks for day dreaming with me today. Hope your week is full of only goodness. -Beth

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!