Meet Emily Reed of ReedPurposed
My husband and I were 20 when we got married; that was almost 11 years ago. Both working full time and going to college, our household income was less than 40K, so we didn’t have a budget for things like furniture and decorating, but I still had a desire to create a beautiful space to live in.
I kept a set of city maps in my truck so that I knew when all of the nearby cities were putting out their bulky trash items. My husband and I would go driving late at night once a week to search the streets and pick up any items we thought we could resell. We would drive in suburban neighborhoods where people threw out perfectly good working appliances when they got an upgrade, so I would take their old vacuum cleaners, microwaves, and mini fridges home, clean them up, and sell them on Craigslist. This started to bring in a pretty good cash flow. We were making an average of $800-$1,000 a month. Through this process, I discovered that I had a love for fixing things, repurposing and making things new again.
I started experimenting with refinishing furniture. The first power tool I bought was a sander, which helped me transform pieces and increase their value exponentially. From there I started ReedPurposed and took on commission pieces of furniture to refinish for friends. This grew over the years and eventually I started tackling larger DIY home projects.
With the help of my husband on a few projects, over the last 4 years, I painted the exterior or my house, built a fence, enclosed our dining room to make it a 3rd bedroom, completely renovated our kitchen, built furniture for the home, tore apart and rebuilt a vintage camper, and installed 100 year old reclaimed hardwood floors, Working on my own house gave me confidence and experience I didn’t previously have, and eventually I got hired to work on other peoples homes and even a church renovation.
No, it has not been a smooth road. Three years ago, I had a mental breakdown. I was working on a 14,000 square foot church renovation. I was the general contractor and interior designer for the Grace Covenant Church renovation in Red Oak, Texas. The church happened to be where we were attending so this project was extra special for me and I wanted it to be perfect. I worked long hours, was not sleeping very much or very well, and lived on caffeine and the rush of adrenaline that I got from juggling multiple projects at the same time. I slipped into a manic episode and was insanely productive at work, but I couldn’t juggle home life and work life. I was short tempered with my husband and three-year-old daughter, and I stopped checking in on friends and engaging with one-on-one relationships.
Two months into the church renovation, we had one final project left. We had carpet installed and realized that the die cut was all wrong. It was a manufacturer problem and it took them over four months to fix it. We were at a standstill and all we could do was wait. During this time, I also had two family members pass away suddenly. I quickly fell into a downward, depressive spiral. Depression looks different for everyone, and for me, a person who is constantly very active, you might not notice it like you would in someone else because it doesn’t look the same. I was still fairly active during the day, so most of my family and friends were probably unaware that I was depressed. I started seeing a counselor and then a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with bipolar II. Although I started medication right away, I kept getting worse. I was having hallucinations, migraines, and panic attacks, I slept way too much and was very short tempered with everyone around me. I felt alone, helpless and didn’t see how things would ever get better. Consumed by my fears, one day I decided that I just couldn’t handle the pressure of life anymore so I ran away from home and family in preparation for ending my life. I got to a small town five hours away from Dallas to stay the night. My husband and a few friends were working hard to find me and praying ceaselessly for me. Thank God, I was found that night and immediately checked myself into a hospital. My loving Heavenly Father had other plans for me. I went through one week of intensive care at the hospital where doctors were finally able to get my medication stabilized. Lots of counseling and psychiatric care came after that.
It was a hard nine months for me, but I was finally able to get stabilized. I started doing projects again, slowly. I had to learn a new, healthy balance of work and family life. I took on some jobs, but for the most part, I started focusing on my home and my family. That’s when I started using my house as a way to express myself, to get my energy out, and to be creative again. I made a few big changes for myself, I only did projects that made me happy; I slowed down when I started going too fast, and I asked myself if this new idea was a manic decision or if I had given myself enough time to think it through. I am happy to say that I have now been stable for two-and-a-half years and am pregnant with my second child, due in April. I would not be where I am today without the support of my close friends and family who have stood by me, supported me and helped me through the hard times. They have continued to remind me of truth and to lead me to the only one who can really fix any of my problems, God. I am beyond grateful these close friends and family! If you do not have a close community of people you can trust, I encourage you to find one.
With ReedPurposed, I offer furniture restoration and home renovation services. Deep down, I am a painter. I specialize in painting furniture, cabinets, converting old pianos into desks and wine bars, and restoring antique wooden furniture. I love all things renovation, but bathrooms and kitchens are my favorite because there are so many possibilities and every space is a new canvas. I especially love helping my clients find the exact color, design, and function they are looking for in a space. I pay a lot of attention to detail and like using reclaimed materials whenever possible. I believe there is charm and character in old things that many people overlook and that is part of why I love surprising people with furniture and renovation transformations.
My heart is to share my knowledge with people who want to learn and encourage them to do projects on their own. This is why I am so active on my Instagram account and share the process of all my projects. The more I learn, the more I want to share that knowledge with others. I learn from mistakes just like everyone else, and I share those too. I also do product reviews. I don’t support brands and products that I don’t believe in or that don’t work, but I do share all the products I love and where you can find them. If you are looking to get inspired, if you need some positivity or a laugh, go follow me on Instagram. I promise to always keep it fun and honest.
Success can be measured in a number of ways. For me it’s not at all about fame or making as much money you can possibly make. I define success as doing something that you love, and by doing that, you are able to make an impact on the people around you and change lives for the better.