Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Vintage Steamer Trunk

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law texted me a picture of some things that she had been storing in her basement and asked if I wanted any of them.  Well... you know me, OF COURSE!

There was this funky cool bench/trunk thing that caught my eye right away...
I loved the detail on the front, and even though the top needed some love, I thought it would be a great piece to have in our mudroom (you know...if I ever get around to finishing the floor). 

I started taking the seat cover off when I noticed something...

There were little bolts holding the seat on, which told me that the seat itself was an add-on at some point.  I got a bit excited at that point, because that meant this might actually be a real steamer trunk! I started pulling more of the padding off to find that this add-on  must have been done a while ago...because this? 
This is real horsehair padding! This is when I learned that horsehair smells like...well...horses.  And it is super messy. 

I decided to just go for it and see what was under that seat, and wouldn't you know?  The top is beautiful!
The trunk isn't in pristine condition, and it definitely could tell some stories.  In fact, I later found this Morocco label inside, and MAN! I wish I could know where this trunk has been. 
From what I can tell from online research, this style of steamer trunk was made around 1880-1920, and the patterned paper is probably an original feature.  I never knew that steamer trunks had such pretty decorative features. 

 Most of the original hardware and leather handles are long gone, but I am so excited to add this piece to our collection.  I love things like this that clearly have their own story to tell. If I wasn't worried that the boys would destroy it I would say it would be an awesome coffee table!

*For the safety conscious - yes, this is what I would call a 'finger chopper' so we will definitely be securing the lid so the boys can't open and close it.  I don't plan to put it in an area that they have free reign (they don't go in the mudroom alone) so it should be ok!

Have you ever inherited a cool piece like this from your family members? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. That is gorgeous!! I've never seen one like that before.

    I have a (plain) lovely old trunk from the family covered in shipping labels, it's still in my room at my mum's house at the moment but I love love love it.

    1. Oh thats awesome! I love the old shipping labels!

  2. That is so awesome!

    1. Thanks! If it were smaller I would say it would make a good card box ;)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! I am so glad she held on to it for so long AND that she was willing to give it to me!

  4. What a neat find! It's amazing how some things that were made so long ago are still in great shape. :)

    1. I know!! I am pretty sure that my suitcase will NOT still be this cool in 100 years...

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks! Im so glad she passed it along to us!


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