Last year, whilst scouring Craigslist for random cheap pieces of furniture, I came across a cedar chest for $45.

DH and I had been talking about putting a chest of sorts at the bottom of our bed. And while we had looked at a few of them from Craigslist already, we hadn’t found a GOOD one. They were either too short, in horrible condition, or too…. 1980s.

This one, however, was different.

The young man selling it said he had gotten it at an estate sale for $45. And his wife didn’t think it would work for their needs. It was apparent, from looking at his home, that it wasn’t as modern as her tastes 😉

He wanted to sell it for what he bought it for just to get it off his hands.

So we looked at it some. He assumed it was really old… but in looking at the hardware, I told him it was less than 100 years old. The hinges looked too new and too clean to be pre-1900.

And I was right! There was a small remnant of a tag on the inside of the lid…

After taking a piece of paper, and rubbing a pencil up against the tag for an impression, I got that it was the Standard Line Company. A Google search resulted in me finding out the company did, in fact, make Cedar Chests in Chicago, IL around the 1940s.

Huh. Well that’s cool.

An image search produced similar chests, but not a direct match. But an image of one made me realize that the bottom of the chest was missing a support bar. Doh. The legs were turned out a bit because of it.

But that’s nothing that we couldn’t fix. I mean… it had a certain charm! Look at those details!

So DH and I decided we’d fix it up. The only question that lingered was: to stain or to paint?

The piece was obviously covered in a veneer. Parts were chipping off, and due to a particularly rough ride in the back of DH’s car, we needed to wood glue on a piece from the lid.

I consulted a few bloggers who refinish furniture as their profession (Mandy and Rachael from They suggested, based on the photos and history of the piece, to paint it. It was worth between $80-$100 in good condition, and it wasn’t in “good” to me. I figured what we paid was what it was worth. And paint wouldn’t hurt it.

The piece did also come with a key… so it can lock 😉 COOL OLD KEY GUYS.

So off came the veneer on the spots that were chipping! And on went multiple coats of primer.

And we fixed the support beam! I’m not sure it does anything, but at least it’s restored to it’s original look/feel. Right?

Then the paint.

The back on the original finish was black. So we decided to keep it! Why not?

We aren’t sure what we’re going to do with the detail on the front of the piece yet. We sort of like the look of it being all the same color. But we have plenty of paint to return it to the original if we want to later on.

So there’s our piece! About $65 in the end. And well worth it. It’s a beaut!