Vintage Trunk

Last summer we bought a circa 1900 steamer trunk made by L. McBrine and Co. – rather unique having drawers. It was in pretty rough shape, especially the interior with torn and stained fabric.

Since I was repurposing it to use in our living room for my knick knacks I didn’t go for a full restore.  The first step was to strip off the exterior canvas to get down to the pine wood to refinish.

The material inside was attached with wallpaper paste. I soaked the material with water which helped with the removal. I then had to scrape the paste off the wood and then sand. I sealed everything with varathane and gave it all a wax.

I loaded up the drawers with all my goodies and put some of my favourites on display.




  1. Without peaking beyond the first two photos, I was feeling bad about stripping the old trunk. But it WAS in bad shape, and with that unusual feature of the drawers, well, I can see where you’d want to spruce it up. Still, I never would have imagined it looking as fabulous as it does here! It was totally worth the effort and looks so beautiful they way you’re displaying it. Have you been able to find out anything about the trunk or that style of trunk?

    • Thanks for the comment and compliments Lynn. It was a bit of a conflict on whether to strip the trunk or not. I knew there would be pine underneath but I wasn’t sure what shape it would be in. Fortunately it was fairly sound and any cracks and stains just adds to the trunk’s charm. As mentioned, if I was going to sell it I might have gone the restore route instead.

      The trunk was made by a Canadian company, L. McBrine Co. Ltd., probably around 1900. I’ve seen it called a wardrobe trunk or a theatrical trunk.

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