Show Off Your Antique Trunks

Trunks are excellent pieces of furniture to have in a primitive styled home.  Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are excellent for storing goods.  We all could use extra storage in our homes.

The trunks above and featured throughout this post comes from Randall Barbera, who combines high-quality woodworking, ornamental upholstery and a fresh face to antique trunks.  Inspired by the likes of Goyard and Louis Vuitton, he finds weathered trunks and drawing inspiration from the grandiose style elements employed by the great trunk makers, transforms these antique trunks into  “designer trunks.”

Many of his trunks feature grand color schemes which work together with coordinating metal, wood and leather.  Full-sized steamer trunk have corner binding, heavyweight leather cross patterns secured by large brass rivets. The interiors are often lined with white linen.

A trunk back in the day was used as luggage.  They were most commonly used for extended periods away from home, such as for boarding school, or long trips abroad.  Today trunks are not commonly used as luggage, but rather for furniture.  Many people use them in the living room for coffee tables, end tables, or  decorative storage in the bedroom for blankets and linens.  They are tremendously popular in kids rooms to house toys.

All Photo Credits- One Kings Lane

Considerations With Antique Trunks:

1.  If you come across a good deal on an attractive trunk, inspect the trunk for wood damage.  Trunks with only moderate damage can often be repaired because replacement parts such as corner trim, latches, rivets and leather handles are available through companies specializing in trunk restoration.

Buy new hardware from ebay.  There are tons of vintage, and new polished hardware that could dress up an old trunk.

Some of the better known trunk makers are Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat, Haskell Brothers, M. M. Secor,
Leatheroid, Clinton, Hartmann, Oshkosh, Molloy, Truesdale, and Taylor.  Other rare and fine malletiers still in existence include La Malle Bernard. One of the largest American manufacturers of trunks at one point—Seward Trunk Co. of Petersburg, Virginia

Check out this link with dozens of before and after pictures of trunks which have been restored.

Shenandoah Restoration gives some very helpful hints and trunk tricks of the trade

Ebay has a number of spectacular trunks which are very affordable, making it possible to collect a few to stack up tall on a small feature wall. The brass hardware and wood details often make them irresistible to collectors.

Stacking Trunks- Some Ideas For Decorating With Trunks

With ebay and craigslist you can purchase trunks at affordable price points that make it possible to collect a few that could be displayed together as a set of 5 trunks stacked.  Consider coordinating all the trunks to be in the same color tone, perhaps with different overall designs of trunk styles.

Consider painting your trunks with a repetitive monogram pattern.  Buy an overhead projector and copy a pattern on to overhead projector.  Get that Louis Vuitton look for less.

We hope that Randall Barbera's trunks have inspired you with color combinations.  Look at his trunks for color guidelines.

Angelina Personal Steamer Trunk, C. 1890

1920s Henniker Full-Size Steamer Trunk

Sarsaparilla Steamer Trunk, C. 1890

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