Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ghosts and Vintage Steamer Trunk Turned Media Cabinet

A few months ago while perusing my local Home Goods I found four of these industrial wheels.  I didn't know exactly what I was going to use them for, but they were too cool to pass up.  I figured I could always return them, but if I didn't buy them, they wouldn't be there when I came back. 

I thought I would make some sort of media cabinet for my husband's Man Cave and attach them to the bottom. 
Here are some pictures I pinned for my inspiration.

While shopping at my local thrift store I found an old trunk.
 It was marked $25, but I bought it for $20. 
I always ask if they will sell it cheaper and usually they will. 
It never hurts to ask.

It had some old peeling stickers on it that I didn't pay much attention too until I got home.
 After a closer look, I did a little research.
The Norddeutsche Lloyd was German shipping company. It was founded 1857 and merged in 1970 with Hamburg America Line to form Hapag-Lloyd.

Cunard-White Star Line was a British shipping line based in Southampton, England between 1934 and 1968, due to the merger between the Cunard Line and the White Star Line.
Ever hear of a little ship called the Titanic?  It was part of the White Star Fleet.
Unfortunately I can't read the date of sailing.

I also found this Railway Express Agency sticker. 
It says Flushing, NY.  That's were my husband is from.  
I can read Grand Central Station, but again I can't read the date.
The Railway Express Agency was a parcel service started in 1917, much like UPS. 
It ended operations in 1975.

 I wondered who Martin Broones was/is so I googled him. 
There was a Martin Broones from NY, (1901 – 1971) He was a music composer.  "He wrote the scores for many musical comedies which were produced in New York, London, and Paris, and he organized and directed the first Music Department in Hollywood for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. His musical styles range from Classical to Broadway to the Hollywood film scoring of the 1940-50’s."

How cool if this was his old steamer trunk?
The kids were a little worried it might bring a ghost into the house. 
 I hope he plays beautiful music.

I hope Mr. Broones doesn't mind I made a little modification to his trunk.  First I cleaned it up.  It was damp and musty from being left outside at the thrift store.  I sprinkled baking soda inside to absorb the smells.  I Modge Podged over the stickers to keep them from peeling off any more than they already were.
The bottom was rusted out and I needed to reinforce it with ply-wood before attaching the wheels.
I bolted a piece of ply-wood to the inside and a piece to the outside using metal brackets.

This gave the trunk enough strength to support the heavy industrial wheels.
I worried that my modifications would devalue the trunk, but it was so damaged and rusted out, I got over that quickly.

I love all the rust. 
I ended up sealing to whole trunk in Modge Podge because the sheen was different on the stickers than the rest of the trunk.

My husband's Man Cave TV is sitting on it for now, but the TV is going to get mounted on the wall above the trunk.

The leather handles were missing so I added some rope ones. 

It cost me under $100 to make this new/old media cabinet. 
The ones I pinned started around $1000.

On the to do list, make tall industrial shelving to flank each side of the trunk like my industrial shelves I made for my great room.

To see how I made these shelves go HERE.

For under a $100 I have a new media cabinet, a piece of interesting history, and hopefully a friendly, musical ghost.

I hope you didn't mind the History lesson today? 
Sometimes I'm a nerd, I guess it's the ex-school teacher in me.

Found any interesting things at your local thrift store lately?

Thanks for checking it out.


  1. Love it! What a fantastic idea. My mil has several old trunks. I will have to keep this in mind.

  2. I love objects with history! Thanks for sharing that gives the trunk so much personality. Having those stickers on it must have been a treat, especially since one was from your husbands home town. What a great find. Does the man cave right! Lol.

  3. I love that you did all that research on the history of your trunk. Also, that you kept the integrity of the trunk while enhancing it to be a useful part of your home. Very cool!

  4. I love the history on that trunk- glad you didn't peel off the labels or anything, I was cringing the whole time reading your post in anticipation.

  5. Wow if this trunk could talk.....nice restyle! I have a steamer trunk collecting dust in my basement one of these days I'll think of something to do with it. Thanks for sharing....have a great weekend.

  6. Love this piece and the fact that it's so "historical"! Great job as usual!

  7. That is completely fantastic!!!! I love the history of things, too!!! Wow, what a super find and the wheels are such a neat addition!! Your Man Cave is so neat...masculine but stylish!!

  8. Oh my goodness, Shannon! All I can say is "wow"! You have a gorgeous piece here - everything fell into place with your finds. It sure looks like this piece has a lot of history and will be much appreciated - a conversation-started, probably. I have to make more time to go thrifting but found some great pieces for the basement/kids' new lounge/play area which I will share shorty. Great work!

  9. I love everything about this post!!! Well except the ghost part :) I cat believe those wheels were at Home Goods, that awesome! An $20 piece of history! It's perfect, I wish we were neighbors!

  10. So good!
    Please come to my house and make something fabulous with all my junk!

  11. Cute! I wish I'd find something like that! Just one question: How do you stop the wheels from turning (...and thus your TV from falling)?

  12. Omgeeee I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! seriously great job!!

  13. What an awesome find!!! You totally scored!!! And it looks amazing with the wheels on it, and what an ingenious use for it. That's one of those things that makes people stop and go "wow" because most people would never think to turn an old trunk into a media cabinet! Nice work Shannon!

  14. Wow! What a great find. I loved the little history lesson. Looks fabulous as usual.

  15. Such an amazing find at HomeGoods. Those wheels add the perfect touch to that wonderful old trunk. What an interesting and cool t.v. cabinet! Great job, Shannon.

  16. I am in love with the wheels!! What a fabulous piece you created.

  17. What an amazing find! As a Restoration Hardware lover and a mariner myself, I LOVE this project. I love that you were able to find out so much information about such an interesting piece. I'm also in love with those industrial shelves. I'm thinking of doing something like that for a dining room sideboard table now.


  18. I love the industrial wheels and trunk! What a find!


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