Treasures from the Basement: Wild & Wonderful Wooden Animals

For those of you who read my blog posts somewhat carefully, you may have noticed that on several occasions over the last 2 months, I’ve mentioned things like “marathon organization weekends” and “cleaning out,” and “purging.” While I do things pretty frequently in my own home, I have actually been referring to my oldest home…my very first home. In the wake of my mother’s death, my sisters and I (alongside my father) have begun the Herculean task of cleaning out my childhood home, a house my parents have lived in for over 30 years.

To say the least, it has already been a humbling and exhausting experience sorting through a lifetime of memories, collections, and treasures as well as a hefty dose of junk and trash. In the coming months, I will likely talk about this experience in various ways and from various angles; in fact, I’ve already written a long reflection about the accumulation of “stuff” after one of our cleaning weekends. But one of the things I am really excited to chat about here on the blog are the “treasures” I have un-earthed, dragged home, and transformed or incorporated into our home.

I’ll have a series of these posts in the coming months, as I have found quite a load of fun finds in the depths of my parents’ home! As I tackle each one, I’ll reveal it here on the blog and title them “Treasures from the Basement:_______.” Let’s start with a simple find I tackled right away: some lovely wooden animals destined for the charity box!

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When my sister and I came across these wooden elephant bookends, we laughed, then cringed and then literally almost threw them into the donation box. And then in a blink of an eye, I looked at my sister excited and wide-eyed and said “Henry’s new jungle bedroom!!!!!!” She thought I was nuts, but I had a vision, and so these came home with me!

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This before picture is a little deceiving; the wooden backings are actually held on with hinges and are meant to go under the books while the elephants stand up right. I started their transformation by removing the wooden bases, priming the bookends with spray primer, and giving them each 2 good coats of high-gloss orange spray paint (from my stash!). Once they were dry, I used a small brush and some white craft paint to paint the husks back to white!

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Once they were dry, I added them to the bookshelf/hutch in Henry’s bedroom (which has gotten quite the makeover, I’ll be sharing on Friday!). Guys, I LOVE these elephants! I know they are crazy weird, but I love the high-gloss orange pop and that they bring out the subtle jungle theme I’m working into this room. Talk about a a great FREE accessory for this room makeover!

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Another find was this wooden (3-legged) rhino. I’m bummed his leg is broken, but I knew he’d work so well in Henry’s room, I just had to bring him home and give him a quick makeover too!

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He also got a coat of spray primer, but then I discovered my can of yellow spray paint was mostly empty – whoops! In an effort to keep this a free project (I’m trying not to spend, remember?!?), I used three coats of yellow craft paint instead. Honestly, I always forget about my craft paints for projects like these, but I shouldn’t. You can get great saturated color for a fraction of the cost in a much wider array of colors – it just takes a few more coats. Despite missing a leg, this guy is a sunny addition to this same hutch!

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These were fun projects to up-cycle for Henry’s new room makeover. Using 100% stuff I already had on hands (combined with basement finds!), these wooden creatures went from tacky to tasteful….and pretty darn fun if I do say so myself!

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After weeks of slow progress, I feel like I am FINALLY moving on Henry’s room makeover. I am hoping to have this hutch update done and up for you here on the blog by the end of the week! See you then!


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