Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DIY Trunk Makeover

For years and years, I've pined for a steamer trunk. I just love the look of a big, clunky old trunk in a living room, all worn-out looking with lots of rusty metal pieces. And I wanted one. I wanted one bad. And (joy of joys!) for Christmas two years ago, guess what I got? (No, not a puppy, although I did ask for one.) The steamer trunk I've always wanted! Jeff found a great one at a thrift store for me and snatched it up. But there was only one problem . . . 

 (Pardon the baby in the before shot . . . he knows it's his toy box and oh, the treasures hidden inside!)

It was a wee bit ugly. I don't know what color it originally was, but Jeff thought that this brown would match our living room well (which it did), and painted it. It was a lovely thought, and really a fantastic gift that he put a lot of time into, but I never cared much for the color.

And in light of my recent epiphany that a rental home does not have to mean an undecorated, impersonal home, I decided that what our living room really needed was some color. I love color, and I've always wanted to live in a space that's bright and cheerful and full of beautiful color, but I guess I've been waiting to own a home that I could paint, because our apartments have always been brown, brown, and more brown. How boring.

No more, I say!
It was really time to bring in some color, and I sure do love yellow. Don't you think yellow is the happiest color? So I took my beloved ugly duckling trunk and gave it a facelift. What do you think of its cheerful makeover?

It was very easy to do, although time-consuming, and I am wildly impatient, so it was a bit of a struggle. As you can see, I got the trunk of my dreams--it's just covered with curvy old brass hardware, which really gives it that antique look I wanted, but was a complete nightmare to tape up before painting.

After about three coats of spray paint, I let it dry for a few hours and then started distressing it with sandpaper.

Have you always thought distressing was easy? I mean, you just kind of bang your furniture up and rub it with sandpaper, right? How hard could that be? I was really surprised at how difficult it was . . . I didn't really know where to begin (I walked in circles around my trunk for probably a good 5 minutes before finally just picking a spot entirely at random and attacking it), and I was shocked at how hard it was to make any progress. It would probably help to use a palm sander (but heaven knows I try to avoid spending much money on projects, so I did it the old-fashioned way), and I think I didn't let it dry long enough before sanding, because nothing was really happening except for the occasional little gloop of paint rolling up. I finally started making progress when I stabbed at the paint job a few times with a screwdriver, which I think gave the sandpaper something to hang on to. After a light coat of wood glaze to bring out the distressing job and give it a top coat, it was complete.

(Hideous lining inside, right? And it really smells like pee, although I febreze the heck out of it. I should probably just re-line it, but . . . meh. Who ever sees the inside? Except for, right now, all of you . . . )

It makes a great coffee table/toy box and brings such a great punch of color into the room, and as you can see, Forrest thinks it's his personal playground. I'd show you more of the living room, but it's undergoing a decor overhaul at the moment in my attempt to bring in more color, and is a bit of a disaster area right now. I'm in the midst of another furniture makeover and holy moly it is kicking my pants. Cross your fingers that I emerge victorious with a great new piece in the room. Although if you don't hear from me in a few days, you can probably assume that my project ate me alive. It's been nice knowing you.

I'll be sharing this project at some parties! Check 'em out!

22 comments :

  1. I love it! It's absolutely gorgeous - you've done a fabulous job. Have a lovely week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love yellow too! I always claim to NOT have a favorite color but somehow I always drift to sunny yellow everything. Magnificent job with the trunk by the way! You've inspired me to get my butt in gear to decorate my own house! Good luck with your other projects.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the yellow!! you did a fabulous Job Rachel! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love this! I've been eying a few trunks myself - didn't even think about painting one - what a great idea! Thanks for sharing:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have a big old trunk like that in my family room too...but mine is UGLY...I should copy you and try painting it.

    Also---my kids would like yours a lot better---all filled with toys instead of our 24 hour kits.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great choice! I am having a yellow moment too!

    http://sisterbatik.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. This trunk is so awesome! I love the new color on it. I helped out this old lady that had a big trunk like that, too--passed down from like 1910--old trunks have the best history along with them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Really cool, the only thing that sends shivers down my spine is.... the top comming down and slamming on that poor baby or his little fingers. We used to have a trunk that was a killer!!! I'm sure you are a safety monitor, just like me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your trunk looks lovely. I love the creamy color. I agree that distressing is difficult because you want it to look just right. Like years of wear and tear and not just something you threw together. Not as easy as it sounds.
    Great job!!

    Ruth

    ReplyDelete
  10. I LOVE the yellow---and yuck I am imagine that taping that thing up before you started was NOT fun! But well worth it! And I have to say you did a wonderful job distressing....but trust me a hand sander is worth a million dollars when it comes to stuff like that----break down and grab one it is SOOO worth it! I use it for much much more than just distressing furniture... I use it when I mod podge wood/glass to get smooth corners.... and I am sure I use it for lots of other things too---you would love it! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ooooh how I adore steamer trunks! I've been on the lookout for one for photo shoots, but I'm too cheap to spend lotsa dough on a prop, I'm still keeping my eye out though! LOVE the distressed look, ya done good girl.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love everything about it! You picked the perfect color!

    And I noticed it isn't the only thing you've changed...your blog header is different again, no?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Look at you Susie Homemaker!! Love the color choice!!...and the child chucking things!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The color is PERFECT, Rachel! Love it!!! And I especially love that Forrest fits in it perfectly...;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. How awesome! I wish I had a trunk like that! You re-did it beautifully!! Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  16. CUTE trunk! So much prettier than those plastic toy boxes. I love your comment about the lining smelling like pee. That's good that it doesn't bother you so much, because that would drive me crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love a good hidden toy box....and the yellow is awesome.

    And I agree about the brown....I have slowly been recovering from when I painted my whole house taupe when we first moved in....I am down to just one wall left....and it's gotta go soon.

    YAY for the yellow!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Next to pink, yes, yellow is the happiest color indeed. :0) Love the re-do. Forrest obviously digs it too!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love those trunks and it looks like it was originally supposed to be the color you made it. Maybe it was just confused for awhile:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love it - looks really awesome! And it's so big! What a great gift! Wish my hubby was so astute!n nThanks for sharing - I just completed a suitcase makeover as well - come visit me sometime!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is so cute! You really did graet job!

    ReplyDelete
  22. That looks so good! I love vintage trunks and suitcases and yours is such a great size. Great colour too!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha @ 5 Minutes Just for Me

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting!