We’ve been tidying out our house recently: selling old books and tchatchkes, consolidating possessions and assessing what we need and what we don’t. The first step in doing this was tackling the front room, which had become somewhat of a dumping ground for unused but potentially useful stuff.
A week ago I was sitting in the aforementioned dumping ground, working away at preparations for University tutorials, when I glanced over at an old sea-chest sitting in the corner. It was given to us by our dear friend Ramon Rutherford, who passed away some years ago. Ray and his wife Beth saved our finances and our lives after we purchased our house, offering us their granny flat for very little rent when we were unceremoniously kicked out of our rental property in Paddington. We were able to save for all our appliances through their generosity and kindness. After Ray’s death, Beth gave us some of his beautiful objects, including a magnificent 19th century sea chest and some unique marionette dolls. The objects went towards decorating my stepson’s room during his teenage years.
During that time, the sea chest sat in the corner of the front room, the repository of childhood toys. My stepson (now almost 23) cleaned it out a year or so ago, taking all the toys he wanted to keep, and donating the rest to charity. Since then, the chest has been storing blankets and other objects. It’s a beautiful, solid piece, but impractical because of its weight (constructed of leather, wood and metal).
Suddenly an idea came to me: why don’t we convert it into a coffee table? A had already repainted it when we first got it, and did some judicious distressing of the texture of the outside. A got some castors, drilled and bolted them on, and voilá … a new coffee table that we enjoy.