Doing projects around the house has proved to be an excellent keep-busy-and-take-your-mind-off-your-grief activity since we learned that Patrick wouldn’t be coming home with us. Ryan has built, filled, planted, and installed a drip system for four garden beds on the north side of our house (more on that next week) and is in the middle of a trellis project for the south side.

Me, I refinished two and a half pieces of furniture in the first four months after September (I’ve been out of commission for the last few months because of some back troubles). The dresser that I started for Patrick sat in our garage, sanded, primed, and painted with one coat of dark blue, for about a month before I tackled it so I could park my swagger wagon in the garage again. (The dresser is currently holding our TV and AV equipment in the family room until it finds a permanent home).

Then there’s the desk that I finished just in time for the holidays. I love it–the turquoise makes me so happy, and I’ve had a lot of fun creating different vignettes on it to welcome visitors to our home.

My other refinishing project is now tied with the desk for my favorite project to date.

But I should back up a little. Remember what my living room used to look like?

The old tired couches were on their last legs, and we purchased our new leather sectional the day after Christmas. After waiting impatiently for two months, we finally pushed aside the old and welcomed in the new.

Wah-wah. The dark brown couch and the dark brown and black coffee table just were not doing it for me. That coffee table has been good to us over the years–each of our girls pulled themselves up and cruised around it in their pre-walking phases, and the rounded edges and distressed top have been perfect for kids. But I think it was time to move on.

This trunk was a part of my childhood home. I remember my mom storing her Christmas sweaters and her Mexican poncho (vintage, from the 70s!) in it, along with other heavy duty clothing items she didn’t need in constant closet rotation. She and my dad brought it out to us, along with the desk and Ryan’s ultimate chair, in September. Using it as a coffee table would provide the added bonus of lots of extra storage for the blankets I always need in the winter.

But when I tried it with the new couch:

I just didn’t love it in its current state. It was too dark and heavy–it pulled the room down. I loved the black wooden straps, leather handles, and brass hardware, but the green color had to go.

Initially I tried painting it with some Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white.

Once I got it finished, we tried living with it for about a week. While I liked the brightness, the stark contrast of the black and Old White was just too strong for my taste. So my sample of Old White turned out to be the most expensive primer ever. Ooooops. I tried again, this time with a soft, warm gray I’d picked up at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore ages ago.

Ahhhhhhh. Isn’t she pretty? A few more gratuitous beauty shots:

I adore the texture of this piece. It fits so comfortably into our home.

Added bonus?

My husband tends to break out in hives if there are too many pillows on the couch, so I can store my extras in here when we’re not expecting guests. Then when I want to pull them out, they are super accessible.

Oh, and just because I love the ranuculus I cut from my garden for these photos, here’s one glory shot of them.

Aren’t they pretty? Though in the interest of full disclosure, this is the far more likely view from today.

But look, at least I have groupings of three–the flower vessels, the discarded hair things, and the rumpled pillows in the background. *snerk*

What have you been doing to keep busy?

Linking up with Miss Mustard Seed, the Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk, and,

Home Stories A2Z

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9 comments on “the hand-me-down trunk

  1. Claudine

    Loved you trunk!
    I recently did one and I am going to paint another one soon, but they are different than yours!
    I love how yours has an old “luggage” look!

  2. Kira

    Everything looks awesome, Jan! I think I need you to come over and give me a few pointers. I’ve got a few projects to do, but I’m not sure how I want to do them….it looks like you would be a fabulous consultant. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. jani Post author

      Thanks, Kira! I have certainly had a lot of fun with all my projects. I’d be happy to help out anytime!

  3. Denice

    you are one talented woman!! Do you actually *live* in your house or is it all just for show ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. jani Post author

      Lol, Denice, when I photograph one part of my house, there’s a reason I don’t do a whole house tour. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. jani Post author

      Thank you for trying, Linda! I think because I host my blog on my own server the google friend connect will no longer work-thanks for reminding me I need to remove that widget! I hope you’ll consider following my blog through your preferred RSS reader.

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