Over the past number of weeks Steve (my step dad in case you forgot how I’m related to this blog) has been working along with his brothers to help clear out his childhood home and mother’s long time residence. She recently took up a new, more manageable home and the family came in to help make the transition.
The Stories were Flowing…
Throughout the small number of hours I spent helping I heard story after story from these brothers (uncles, dads, grandpas) about their time spent there – from passing beers out their bedroom windows up to their rooftop hangout to getting ready in the basement shower where you’d have to scrape the ice off the walls before you hop in, the stories were flowing.
Along with the rest of the family I was invited to select a treasure or two from inside the house that wouldn’t quite fit in Steve’s Mom’s new place.
I specifically aimed at the run down stuff that needed a second chance. As it turned out there was a number of things to choose from! It seemed over the years and after many children, girlfriends, sons, wives, dogs, birds etc have lived and left this home, there were many things abandonded along the way.
My first victim was this super great brass picture frame that reminds me of a pineapple.
Do you see the pineapple? Not sure why, but I can’t get that out of my head. This sweet thing no longer had a photo in it and was a very simple clean up project. If you’ve never used a brass cleaner, do it! One of the more satisfying projects you can find. Smear that thing up and wipe ‘er off.
Some elbow grease in the cracks and voila!
Now, not much we can do about the weird old-photo size, but I found something to stick in there for the time being…
Next I discovered a cutting/cheese board.
It seemed to be a piece of cherry. I would admit that Keven was justified when his jaw dropped at the thought of me bringing another cutting board into the house, but I just couldn’t let it go.
I mean, the potential!!
So with about 10 minutes of pressure on the hand sander with a 60 grit sandpaper, another 5 with 150 and a final finish with 220, I couldn’t believe the difference! The original finish was some sort of polyurethane, but I decided to embrace the natural awesomeness of the cherry as well as a more traditional butcher block treatment and went with simply mineral oil.
It now looks awesome:
Finally, the second day I was over at the house with Steve, my mom and step-uncle Mike (Steve’s older brother) sitting in the kitchen taking a break (also where I learned the house itself was in it’s THIRD physical location! moved the property twice, whoa!), the four of us noted all the original awesome turn of the century woodwork and it’s unlikely combination with the rad 70s wall paper.
I spotted this:
I couldn’t believe everyone else had looked past it! As I gently unscrewed the flat head screws affixing it to the wall (flat heads always a sign of old!) and the whole thing sort of fell apart, and which point I maybe understood slightly better. But if you lived with my current paper towel holder:
You may have also pulled one off the wall. Or perhaps you would have run to target and purchased one for 10 bucks, to each his own…
I pulled it off the wall, fixed and painted it and it was totally worth it:
So if you’re looking for a project, just look around the house, there are probably 5 things right in front of you that deserve a second chance.