My husband and I have a slightly klepto tendency to collect bits and pieces from the places we’ve visited: sea glass from the Jersey shore, coral from a beach in Mexico, stones from a river in Vermont, sticks from the forest floor in Northern California. I never unpacked our bits and pieces when we moved into our house 5 years ago, because knew I needed the perfect piece to display them. So our poor little box of bits sat on a shelf in our laundry room.
Last fall, I found printing type drawers from a dealer at SOWA Vintage Market in Boston. They were in great condition — no cracks, stains, or mold — so I picked up two, thinking I’d keep one and hold onto the other for future client. And buying two gave me a little negotiating edge to get a better price.
Thanks to Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, I put this project on my list of things to get done this month. First, I wiped it clean with a damp cloth, and used a Q-tip to get into the corners of all those compartments. Some of the residual black ink came up, but I didn’t go crazy trying to get it pristine. Then I rubbed the wood with a few layers of danish oil to deepen the color and give it a slight sheen. I installed a cleat-style bracket on the back to hang it on the wall, which also helps keep it level.
This vignette in a corner of my living room brings a warmth and character to the space that had been missing. Displaying your personal collections can help make a house feel like a home. Don’t worry if they “go” with your décor — they go with you, and that’s what makes it work. Just find the right way to display them.
Here are a few pieces I’ve had my eye on: