The Steamer Trunk – Part 1

Summer is the perfect time to dream, the perfect time to create, and the perfect time to start multiple giant projects at once. I knew when I applied for my undergraduate elementary education program being a teacher would come in handy! (Although I was probably thinking more along the lines of beaches and less along DIY goodies). And when it comes to DIY goodies, I definitely love a challenge.

Oh boy, is this a big one.

Last week, I inherited this amazing steamer trunk from the little back room of Nate’s grandmother’s old farmhouse. When I originally saw it back in January as we were walking around with Nate’s dad, I never dreamed it would end up on my back porch! So, in the spirit of being a major project-jumper, I dropped everything and starting researching and thinking about this guy.


I have wanted one of these for ages but definitely never considered the possibility that I could actually get my hands on one to fix up (if you buy them already refurbished they cost around $500 – no thankee!). This style, from the quick research I did, is from around the turn of the 20th century. How cool!



We’ve been letting it air out for several days now to help rid the inside of a musty and nasty smell. Today we took it a step further and pulled the fabric off of the inside. It was pretty ratty and old-looking, and definitely smelled like something rotten! Because the glue holding the fabric to the trunk was so old, most of it peeled right off. A sharp razor and a damp rag should do the trick for the rest of it. And thanks to the fabric protecting it for so many years, the wood that lines the trunk is actually in decent shape!




We’ll let it air out a few more days and see where that leaves us. I’m hoping to avoid the vacuuming nightmare of baking soda or another scent-absorbing solution, so as long as the sun does its work… In the meantime I’m slowly and carefully wiping down the leather and canvas that cover the outside. Most of the leather is in great condition, as is the canvas. I’ll have to look into replacing a few things, but overall the trunk is in excellent shape!

Eee! My excitement level is at an all-time high.


4 thoughts on “The Steamer Trunk – Part 1

  1. I feel like I read somewhere once with smelly old wooden furniture you could wipe it out with a vinegar water mix and it gets rid of the smell / doesn’t end up smelling like vinegar. I don’t remember all the specifics of it though, but something to look in to!


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