I am going to miss the chaos of a good estate sale during this time of distancing. My strategy at such gatherings is to stand in one place, ignoring the movement of the crowd. Holding still and looking in that way often reveals something that others have missed. Case in point: my wooden box, labeled “The Box Eternal, made exclusively and only by Anderson Box Company Inc. Henderson KY.”
This one must be 100 years old. On one side it says, “Property of First National Stores” and on the other, “Meat Markets.” It was sitting on the floor, overlooked.
I love old trunks of all types: metal, wood, wicker. I have several. I think I have a trunk fetish. But they are so useful and beautiful. One wicker trunk holds my socks, another laundry. Two wooden trunks hold linens. I have a small red trunk with a domed top for jewelry. A metal one holds towels.
I didn’t need another trunk, but this one called to me. And I realize that it may be passé to make coffee tables out of trunks, but I really did need something for the living room. This was meant to be. I swooped in.
The first thing I did when I got home was give the box a thorough wash with Murphy’s Oil soap. It was grungy.
Next, I consulted with my husband on tools and materials. We dug through our messy cellar, where I came up with the perfect old wheels. I love rusty wheels and I collect them whenever I can find them for moments like these. My husband found some old wooden Victorian stair balusters and cut them down to size for legs. He drilled out holes for the wheel spindles and nailed and glued it all together. Now the legs and wheels look like they were born in Kentucky along with the box. I put my feet up on it to make sure it was steady — important if you’re putting a piece like this to real use.
My new old coffee table is beautiful alongside my Craigslist couches and worn Oriental rugs. When the time comes, I can wheel it around the room if I need to reconfigure seating for guests. For now, I’m keeping it occupied with a glass of wine and a book.