Surrounded by hidden gems, a local veteran is using the pandemic to start a new business

TOWSON, Md. – Tucked away in a corner on the first floor of the Kenilworth Mall, you’ll find Latoyia Smith working with her heart and her hands.

She’s an antique collector and interior designer who never thought she’d end up here.

“They want to see talent. They want to see change. They want to see diversity, and so I think I’m very, very welcomed,” she said.

Picking out a favorite room isn’t an easy task for Smith, she’s surrounded by hidden treasures like a chest of drawers she paid for $15.

“My favorite thing to do is a chest of drawers, I love to touch it up and paint it and make it unique because you get it and it’s just brown and broken down,” Smith explained.

She is a veteran who worked for 20 years in various government agencies, from the Department of the Army to the NSA.

During the pandemic, she couldn’t work from home, add to that Smith has been living with lupus for seven years. Over time, she found something she loved.

“After COVID hit I had to think about what would make me happy again, what do I want to do,” she said. “I started restoring old desks. I would get them from Goodwill and then paint them with Ravens logos or unicorns.”

This is where it all began.

Then, in June of last year, still in the midst of the pandemic, Smith opened Lavish Furniture Flips and Interior Design.

His inspiration to create and renovate was exactly what many people needed.

“They can’t buy furniture. They can’t afford it. People don’t ship it, so be sustainable, don’t go out and buy everything, save those heirlooms and create a home that’s you, only you,” Smith said.

“You come here and say, Oh I got this thing. It was in my basement, my grandma loved it. She used to sit on it every day on her porch, this rocking chair. I am like giving for me, it’s gonna be fantastic when I’m done. You’re gonna love it and you’re gonna think about your grandma every time you sit on it on your porch.

Her hand-picked pre-loved pieces and refurbished relics bring her joy.

“I love what I do every day. I love it every day. I wouldn’t change it for the world. The less stressed I am, the better I feel with my lupus,” Smith said.

And with their craftsmanship at their finest, Smith is able to transform your old furniture into something special…into a piece that’s more than nearly new.

“I want it filled with positivity, with a great vibe instantly. It doesn’t come out of the box. You didn’t get it from Amazon. You got it from me and every swipe, every swipe, it’s from me,” she said.

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