I have been decorating with vintage finds since I can remember. Since even before, I had a home of my own. So, where did it all begin?
It all began with this piece
A wooden soapbox with a long and interesting back story. It was also my very first DIY project when I was 19 years old. I spotted this soapbox in my dad’s garage while home for a break from university. It was covered in dirt and dust, but I could see faint printed words on it, and I was intrigued.
My dad thought I was crazy for wanting an old piece of trash. Well, you know what they say about one man’s trash…
The history behind the soapbox
According to my father, this wooden soapbox was used by my grandfather as storage while moving herds of cattle for the change of season. On an OXWAGON! Can you even!
The box was so grimy that the lettering was barely visible. I carefully scraped the wood clean with a blade, trying not to remove the painted letters. After many hours of careful work, I sealed it with a clear coat of polyurethane. The same coat it has to this day.
That is where my love for DIY and refinishing furniture began. Seeing how something can be transformed with a bit of work got me hooked for life. I am still constantly busy transforming decor and furniture like this chair makeover.
What do I love most about decorating with vintage finds?
If there is one thing that attracts me, without a doubt, to vintage finds, it is a good back-story. Knowing the previous life of something that now lives in my house gives me immense pleasure, like this Underwood typewriter in the photo below.
I found it on Facebook Marketplace shortly after we moved into our current home. The gentleman who sold it to me was clearing out his garage and decided to sell the typewriter. It belonged to his grandmother, and she used it for work. How amazing is that? Ok, maybe not all that amazing, but I love the story.
It had its original protective cover on and, although dusty, was in impeccable condition. After giving it a good cleaning, I could not believe how beautiful it still was. Not a scratch! And it still works like a new one.
Another piece whose story I know (just a little) is the clock below. Also bought off Marketplace from a guy who was selling it on behalf of his ageing mother that used to live in Northern Alberta.
It has the most amazing chime! My grandparents had a similar clock, but theirs had the loudest and most obnoxious sound (sorry, grandma). My new old clock has a soft, soothing sound. Not just according to me, my husband and both my daughters agree.
It has a few bumps and bruises on the surface, but the inside is in perfect condition. Character, that’s all.
Decorating with inherited pieces
I have furniture that belonged to my grandmothers. That’s right, both of them. It is extremely special, and I treasure all of it.
Below is a sideboard from my paternal grandmother—a beautiful and functional piece with a very busy woodgrain. I decided to paint it black about a year ago, and I am so glad I did! It looks amazing.
I got a 3-seater sofa with two matching chairs from my other grandmother, which are classic and beautiful but not very comfortable. We use it nonetheless because I love it. I had the cushions reupholstered a few years ago. The two chairs in a fabric different from the sofa, because they were in separate rooms in our previous house. They are currently back together, and I need to make a plan to match them up again.
Here you can see the sofa in grey and the chairs in pink stripes.
Other vintage items in these photos are wooden crates, oversized paintbrushes and the remains of an old violin.
I almost forgot about the hutch that my mother-in-law gave to us. Read all about that makeover in this post.
Other miscellaneous items
In the hutch mentioned above, I display various vintage tins. Some were bought from antique stores, and some belonged to my mother-in-law. Two of the three in the photo below also belonged to my one grandmother.
I love decorating with vintage books. I have small stacks all over the house. Did you see the few faded red ones in the photo of the typewriter? Let me show you again!
In the photo below, you can see a small binocular case that was my great-grandfather’s. I have no idea where the actual binoculars are. I probably let my dad keep them when I begged for the case!
Next to it is a small handbag with Egyptian patterns and pictures etched into the leather. It was my granddad who bought that for my granny, in Egypt during World War II, while they were still dating. How special is that?
This should have been under inherited pieces, but I only remembered them when I saw them in the photo which I placed here to show the books. Fact is, it’s impossible to separate all the vintage items I decorate with. They are all intertwined, whether they came from family or were bought from someone else.
Brass figurines and instruments are also amongst my favourites to decorate with.
I am totally in love with this little owl. I am currently on the lookout for a little snail that I saw on one of my favourite Instagram accounts to follow: Inspired by Charm. The irony is that when I was little, my mother used to have that exact little snail. I have no idea where the little snail is now, but I’ll be looking until I find one…
Well, my friends, there you have it. These are a few of my favourite things. I hope this post inspired you to use and decorate with some of the vintage items you have collected and inherited.
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