This is what I found:
A beautiful (though somewhat worse for wear) Lane cedar chest. It has real cedar inside!
After some shrewd wheeling and dealing, I was able to purchase it for $100. Not too bad. My husband, and a helpful store worker, loaded into the back seat of our car, and we drove around the remainder of the weekend with a cedar chest filling the back seat of our Hyundai.
We arrived home today in the early afternoon. I washed the grime off the chest and removed the old handles and upholstery fabric.
After searching through my fabric stash, I found a piece of upholstery fabric I had purchased on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I used this to recover the upholstered top. My son helped me pick out some new handles for the chest at our local Home Depot.
A little 0000 steel wool and a can of Restore-a-Finish later, and we now have a beautiful heirloom sitting at the end of our bed.
I am extremely pleased with how it turned out.
Not only does it look lovely, and provide woodsy smelling storage; it also serves as a stepping stool for our older dog who is beginning to have a hard time jumping up onto the bed.
It is very gratifying to go from this:
To this...in an afternoon!