Does your home tell the story of who you are?

My stacked Anheuser-Busch wooden crates serve as end tables in my home and remind me of some special times with my late husband Ace and his family. I started collecting random wood crates after moving from my apartment to my home. I ended up getting one for free at a friend’s garage sale and my collection grew from there.  I just love the bold graphic detail on some of them and they are a perfect storage solution.

One second Sunday at the Sacramento Antique Fair, I found a rustic wood crate with Hunt’s Tomato Sauce printed on the side – food themed and a fun crate to add to my collection. It was a score at $20. I’ve seen them on eBay and Etsy for as high as $65.

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I continue to find inspiration (Pinspiration) through Pinterest. I liked the idea of adding wheels to vintage crates, so I knew my Hunt’s Tomato Sauce crate would be perfect for that.

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My idea was to use it for cookbook storage under the bench in my entryway. This is just a small selection of my larger cookbook collection. I can never pass up a good cookbook. I actually grab a stack and just thumb through the recipes for fun or when I need some culinary inspiration. I study the ingredients, the food photography and absorb as much as possible about new terminology and technique. Food blogger nerd, check!

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Several months after the crate purchase, another second Sunday happened and Paul, Aaron and I hunted through one of the regular vendor’s spaces. It was filled with all kinds of vintage knobs, front door hardware, hinges, house numbers, keys, wheels, hooks and other salvaged metal items. The wheels were not always together, but for the most part, they were tied off into pairs.

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Paul found one set of the above wheels. I immediately fell in love. I liked that they were wooden wheels instead of metal – especially since I knew I was going to place the rolling crate on my entryway tile floor. We dug through 3 big bins until we found a matching set. Our hands and jeans were covered in orange rust. I paid a whopping $3.00 a pair and $6.00 later we were on the hunt for some sort of hand sanitizer. Paul found a bottle on a nearby table and squirted some into his hand and I followed… it was SOAP, LOL… soap requires water and towels… both of which we didn’t have. We found some napkins and tried to wipe the slimy orange goop off our hands as we laughed hysterically. Antique hunting = good times and lots of laughs, that’s for sure.

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I took supplies up to my Dad’s workshop, and he selected screws that would work with the wheels and crate. We opted to only use two screws in each wheel, so we could hit the thicker wood supports. It wasn’t perfect due to the uneven surface of the worn crate, but it was just the look I wanted. While a bigger wheel would have worked great scale-wise, I needed my crate to be a certain height so I had plenty of clearance under the bench.

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I did a little research on the crate after purchasing it and I found a vintage ad on GoAntiques.com that featured the crate.

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So cool! It was a Hunt’s Catsup magazine advertisement from June 14, 1968 – It didn’t mention what magazine it came from. According to Wikipedia, Hunt’s brand preserved tomato products owned by ConAgra Foods, Inc. was founded in 1888, in Sebastopol, California, as the Hunt Bros. Fruit Packing Co. by Joseph and William Hunt. The brothers relocated to nearby Santa Rosa in 1890, and then to Hayward in 1895. This small canning operation grew rapidly, focused on canning the products of California’s booming fruit and vegetable industries. By 1941, the plant shipped a hundred million cans of soup, fruits, vegetables, and juices annually.

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I found the above image on the Hayward Area Historical Society’s website. The photo was taken at the Hayward Hunt Foods plant in 1942. Stacks of my beloved wood crates ready to be shipped out. The Hunt’s cannery operated from 1895 to 1981 and was a major employer in the Hayward area.

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My cookbooks are perfectly stashed away and Finn hasn’t felt the need to investigate. I can simply pull them out and select the ones I want with ease. While I would love to have all of my cookbooks in the kitchen, I was finding that they took up way to much counter and cabinet space.

Inspiration/Find #2

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I found this metal stool on Pinterest. It was a C.G. Sparks Calder Stool from a past Joss & Main “Beneath My Heart” event. The stools were the reason I signed up for Joss & Main. Every time similar stools are part of an event, they sell out quickly. I ended up closely watching an upcoming Joss & Main event and was able to score similar ones from C.G. Sparks. They were dark brown in color, (the Madurai model) which ended up working out great. Although different, they were still stack-able steel, but they had seat handles – which I thought added a nice design element.

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I got the pair  for 1/2 off – score! and I put those in my entryway as well.

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Nate Berkus is one of my design idols and he asks the very important question in his book: The Things That MatterDoes your home tell the story of who you are? I really do think my home does. It continues to change as I change and I think that is what people often tend to ignore. It’s easy to swap out clothing in our wardrobes to go with the seasons or to mix and match items to change things up depending on our moods… this also needs to happen within your home.

Sure it costs money to by new home decor, but switching out photos in frames, re-organizing things, re-purposing furniture, switching up paint colors and adding cheap thrift store and yard/garage sale finds, can really make a huge difference in a space and how you feel as you walk into a room.

I’ve even thought of doing a friend home decor swap… find friends that share the same style and trade a few key pieces to change things up. It doesn’t have to be permanent and it also keeps the cost down. I have closets and cabinets full of items I switch out to create new vignettes. I can’t even tell you how many times I catch myself staring off into space dreaming up new design or decorating ideas and where I could put or place things I already own. Just last weekend I took down art work, patched holes, used touch up paint and moved things around. I really do think that is why I love holiday decorating so much. I get to temporarily change everything several months out of the year. I’m working on a couple of other projects right now. I need to hit up the hardware store and a few craft stores to get supplies.

Does your home tell the story of who you are? Do you collect things? If so, are they on display in your home? Name one thing in your home that has special meaning to you and why?

My Answers:

Does your home tell the story of who you are? Yes, like I said above… it’s taken time, but I now purchase and keep things that speak to me or have special meaning… I don’t just buy things to fill a space. 

Do you collect things? If so, are they on display in your home? I do collect things – wooden spools, vintage wooden cobbler shoe forms, vintage crates, wooden cheese boxes and old metal signage letter K’s. They are all on display in my home.

Name one thing in your home that has special meaning to you and why? One of the most special things in my home is my Mom’s childhood dresser. My Dad and I painted and distressed it and it makes me smile every time I walk by. One of the drawers opens into a desk, and I store spools of ribbon and other craft supplies there.

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2 comments

  1. I’m generally not a fan of collections, but I love things in the home with special meaning, that you look at and always “remember when”. That Hunt’s crate with the cookbooks is awesome. I don’t do a lot of vintage decorating but would totally love to have something like that. Nice job!

  2. I have a couple of wooden wine crates that I use to store sheet music in by my piano — I love the idea of attaching wheels and using them for cookbooks — yours are adorable!

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