My first and last trunk rehab

Facelift, Paint, vintage

Oh, the trunk. Where do I even begin? Mr. R&R found the trunk buried under old furniture at the family farm. When I saw the initial picture, I was eager for the opportunity to bring new life to the trunk. The trunk has a dome-top style with vertical slats popular in the 1870s-1900s. When I saw the trunk in person, I began to think that the trunk had been sitting in the barn since 1900.

Before and After

Before and After

The tin on the dome and sides was rusted something fierce. The wooden slats were missing nails. The metal trim was curled away from the wooden base. Only remnants of the inside paper liner remained.  There were broken and rusted latches. The only remaining pieces of the handles were the rotten leather secured by rusted nails (I had to chisel the leather away from the nails). The leather hinge inside the trunk was hanging on for dear life. I had my work cut out for me.

Rotten to replaced handles

Rotten to replaced handles

After cleaning the trunk, inside and out, I had serious concerns about the amount of rust. Since my goal was rehab, not restoration, I made the brave decision to paint the punched tin pattern with white Rust-oleum. The white was then too bright, in my opinion, so I gently hand sanded the tin for a distressed look.  The edge metal trim was painted with black Rust-oelum. Don’t yell at me for painting it (I was focused on rehab and I wanted the trunk to be clean enough to spend the rest of its days living indoors). I used the Dremel to sand the metal accent pieces leaving a smidgen of rust for character. For added protection, I went over the trunk with Rust-oelum clear coat spray. Mr. R&R used the trunk as an excuse to purchase titanium drill bits to affix to sturdy handles.

Inside- before

Inside- before

The inside of the trunk was sanded and painted chocolate brown. I stapled upholstery fabric to soften the interior lid and make the trunk more family room friendly (yep, I got to use the staple gun!). At this point, I was exhausted by the sight of the trunk and Mr. R&R relieved me of the final duties. He mounted new internal hinges (so much better than the single leather strap) and used a Dremel accessory unknown to me to shave off any nails poking through.

Inside- after Great for holding blankets

Inside- after
Great for holding blankets

Truly, a labor of love.

I should consider buying stock in Rust- oleum!

If you are interested in adding this rustic trunk to your personal collection, please send Rae and Rose a Facebook message.


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