How To : Turn a Vintage Mechanics Tool Box into a Jewelry Chest.

One of my top rules when antique shopping is to keep your eyes peeled for pieces that speak to you. If you fall in love with a piece for some reason, sometimes you just know it needs to come home with you. Trusting your gut is a big part of truly finding treasures while you’re out at antique stores or sifting through vintage shops.

On a recent trip to Cashiers, NC I came across a true gem of a shop, an antique hardware shop that was housed in a drafty barn literally carved into the side of a windy mountain road. I spotted it on the way up the mountain as we started our trip, and decided I just had to stop in on my way home. So glad I did.

Among the many things I picked up at the shop, and the many others I sadly left behind, I spotted this vintage mechanics tool box. It was situated on a table near the front of the store, a single room with a tin roof that was much wider than it was deep. I stopped to examine it my first loop around the shop, opening each of the drawers in the chest and giving it a good once over before moving along.

As I shop antique markets and shops I usually snap a quick photo on my phone of pieces I am kind of interested in so before I leave I do a quick swipe through all my photos to make sure I’m not leaving anything amazing behind. I have a terrible memory so this helps with this little issue but it also helps on items the are too large or heavy for me to carry around while I’m still looking and also for making a good assortment for my final buys, because let’s be honest I just can’t bring *everything* home.

So, after making my final rounds I decided this was one piece I just had to have and I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. You see, finding these treasures is just one part of the process. Sometimes you have to get creative about what you’re actually going to do with them, giving them a new life and story of their own once you bring them home.

I’ve been needing a place to store my jewelry for some time, as long as I can remember really. I had a small chest on my dresser just for small pieces but was in need of something that could organize my go-to and special jewelry that would allow me to see everything and easily sort through it to find what I needed.

And so, I brought it home.

I love the little details of the chest, a great size with little brass rings that encompass the drawer pulls, a strong metal handle and corners. Different size drawers make this great for jewelry as some art longer and shorter, deeper and more shallow. Something that probably made it great as a mechanics tool chest as well.

Luckily the pieces didn’t need much in the way of repairs, aside from some new felt to line the drawers which had been worn from years of housing tools. I opted for a charcoal grey instead of the emerald green that graced the original lining. It’s a little musty and I’m still working on that one a bit. Now that it had found a home on my dresser, it was time to fill it up.

The number of drawers was perfect for what I needed and I even found a few pieces of jewelry I had forgotten about for awhile. In the end everything was neatly sorted, everyday pieces to costume jewels and even the most special heirloom treasures I own, like my Grandfather’s wedding ring and a few vintage brooches + bangles from my Grandmother.

I even left in two of the original tools that were stashed in the drawers when I bought it. Just for good measure and so this piece could keep a little part of its own roots.

I love sharing the journey of these vintage pieces that I find and hope you enjoy them too.  Giving new ideas for how to use old pieces, in a current + purposeful way is all part of the circle of life when you’re out sourcing antique goods.

I’d love to know what heirloom pieces you’re struggling to find a new use for or hear your own ideas for how you’re creatively using a vintage piece of your own. #HEIRLOOMED

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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of “keeping heirlooms around for another generation.” Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of “goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy” with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

I’m an old soul based in Atlanta, GA and mom of 3 with a deep love of all things from the past with a story to tell, on a mission to keep heirlooms around for another generation - whether it be a tradition, splattered family recipe, or historic home.

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