Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Mysterious Grey Box

What would you do if you had a box like this?
What do you mean you would throw it away? Can't you see just a small hint of beauty and fine craftsmanship beneath the weathered and toxic paint and rusting hardware?

I always thought it was an electrical box, but the chart affixed to the lid makes me think it might have been a plumbing tool box. Or maybe it's just a general compartmentalized tool box.

I've had two in my life. The first I inherited from my grandpa. He passed away and didn't take it with him and then when my grandma died and we cleaned out her house, there it was. I guess she didn't want it either.

This one was procured in a similar fashion. My dad died in November and he left it behind. I'm pretty sure that means he wanted me to have it. Weird how sometimes one gets messages like that from beyond the grave. Actually my brother was going to take it, but as he had several other trunk/boxes that were similar, he relinquished this one.

The first box, the one from my grandpa, was not in as good of condition, in fact some of the metal corner pieces had to be replaced because they were rusted all the way through. The paint refused to adhere to the lid as it had been soaked in grease and oil. Naturally, the best choice was to attach the old back door (also from my grandma's house; another thing she left behind) and put on some legs, made from bed posts from a bed frame I found alongside the road. I made a new top from leftover pieces of the living room floor that had been stored in the rafters of the garage and some hooks across the top for hanging things. It is also likely that the center panels were so weather worn that I covered them up with bead board. The window panes were replaced with metal so it's now a hall tree and a place where I can hang Christmas cards, wedding announcements, birth announcements, thank you cards and other things that I want to trade out at regular intervals. Most people use the kitchen fridge, so I guess having a hall tree makes me classy. Yes!

The second box, the one from my dad, was in much finer condition. I thought and pondered, debated and mused, and finally determined it would be nice to put up on one of the shelves in my living room. They were supposed to be plant shelves, but it doesn't really get enough light, so a trunk might be a better option.

I opted to paint it a pale blue to contrast the brown and green walls and to compliment the bench seat and curtains, so I sanded down the old paint (probably lead) and filled in the holes from the old handles. I probably could have taken the time to fill in ever nick and attempt a flawless finish, but I like the character of the weathered wood. I also sanded down the metal so it would accept the final coat of paint.

Once that had been done, the whole thing was sprayed with grey primer. This was especially important on the edges so the rust didn't soak through. When the primer had dried, I sprayed on the blue paint. One could easily go through and paint it with a brush and/or roller, but spraying has more even coverage and is easier to put into the hard to reach and make smooth corners.

I let that dry for a few days and then taped off all the wood areas that I wanted to remain blue, and then used a hammered finish spray paint for a top coat on the metal.
I know what you're thinking. Wow, that was a lot of work to go through for it to look exactly the same. But you are wrong. Originally it was a bluish shade of grey. Now it is a lovely grayish tinted blue. Fetching isn't it.
Maybe it helps to see the whole picture.
So my issue is I have this plant shelf in the living room and it can't really house plants due to poor lighting. (Maybe I said that already). So rather than have the vacant space, I am attempting to find something lovely and noteworthy to fill the space of the wall adjoining the vaulted ceiling. I've thought of a few other decorations to put up there, but by all means, if you have an opinion, feel free to voice it. The best part is that whatever I put up there can be stored inside the trunk when it's Christmas time, because that is the shelf for my annual village.

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