Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ice Box with a Chilling Story

This little ice box was once owned and loved by my grandmother.  But when "lectricity" came to town, it was shoved aside to make way for one of those new-fangled refrigerators.

 That was when a chilling tale of furniture neglect began.  She was stuffed with foul smelling moth balls and delegated to the most dank, spooky corner of the basement, left for dead.  Decades went by until one day my mother  discovered this poor little box.  After years of neglect it had lost most of its original charm but my mother could see the potential.  She dreamed of breathing new life into it as she brought it home.

 But it was not to be quite yet.   Just when it looked like life was going to get good for this little ice box things went from sad to tragic.   Her doors and hardware were taken off and she was stripped of her finish but only on the top and one side.  The project was just too big to finish so back she went into the garage.   Doorless, stripped half naked down to her bare wood and left out in the cold again.  She hid her shame under a tarp for several decades more.

  Then one day while nosing around in my mother's garage I pulled back the tarp and discovered the awful crime scene.  This poor abandonded antique was in need of an intervention.  Amazingly I was able to locate all the doors, the hardware and every last screw in the garage.

I gathered up all the parts and took it all to my good friend Cody who did our stair remodel.  He knew just what to do with the water stained wood and the ring left on the top from a rusty coffee can.  He lovingly put her back together and made her good as new.  It almost brought a tear to my eye the first time I saw this ice box all restored.  I could imagine my grandmother bringing it home new from the store with pride.  Then putting her milk, and cheese and ice berg lettuce inside for the first time.

It now holds an extra set of silverware and many treasures that once belonged to my mother and grandmother.  Oh, so that's where I put those jello molds

Here is her new home in the hall just outside my kitchen where I hope she will live happily ever after.  Although originally designed to keep things cold, I have to say this little ice box really warms my heart

You dear people who have made it this far, I have just one small favor to ask.  I need your expert opinion.  It looks like my Dear Grandma Q.T. Pie (her real nick name) has painted half of the inside of this ice box.  The original finish must have been the metal.  I'm not sure the paint is chippy in a good way.  Just not sure where to go with this.  I'd sure appreciate you clicking in your opinion.

Thanks so much for joining me today!

What should I do with the inside?

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Rooted In Thyme


  1. Oh, this is just gorgeous. I would sincerely love to have one of these in my house and actually use it to keep things cool. I saw one once at a yardsale, but I couldn't afford to buy it :( :( I'm glad you found a good use for it :) I found your blog post via the Homstead Barn Hop today :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

    1. Ya know, I've been trying to figure out exactly where the ice would go and how it works. Too bad Grams is here to give me a demo. I think it would be fun to put it to its original use too!

  2. This is cool! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this story. You did a wonderful job refinishing it. It looks brand new. We have one too, we've had it about 30 years. We put our glasses and china in it. Love it. Thank you for commenting on my post. Would love for you to share on Simple & Sweet Fridays. Everyone will love the story behind your wonderful project. New Follower.


  4. I have a real old one sitting out in one of the outbuildings on our property. One of the 3 boards making up the top is warped and needs lots of work on it to have it look like yours which is beautiful. I would be showing it off, too. genie

  5. Wow... now THAT is a treasure indeed! Thank you for sharing both the icebox and that great rescue story. What a special item not only because its so gorgeous but it was your grandmothers- even more special. Priceless, Id say! And it look so beautiful right where it is. thanks for sharing, i found you through VTT :)

  6. A wonderful vintage post filled with memories.

  7. You have a family heirloom piece right there, great post and what a great item to have :)

  8. Lucky, lucky you... it is gorgeous! Great story!

  9. My mother found one at the thrift store and re-did it for me. Mine has a metal tray in the bottom left hand cupboard also made of metal. This is where the ice would go she told me. Hopes that helps! I would not mess 9with the paint as it is probably lead based. Maybe spray a clear coat over it or use chalk paint, but don't strip it.

  10. Lynn,
    Thanks for sharing on Simple & Sweet Fridays!


  11. You mentioned the bare metal area. As I remember them, that part was never painted. I think there should be galvanized metal on the floor of that upper left compartment, too. That is where the ice block was put to keep the rest of the box cold.When you wanted ice for your tea, you'd use an ice pick to chip off a few pieces. Don't paint it. Just leave it like it is. Great piece of family history!

  12. Debra @ Common GroundMay 18, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    oh she's a beauty. how wonderful that you were able to save this! you did a super job in restoring her! thanks for linking up to Vintage Inspiration!

  13. andrea@townandprairieMay 18, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    I have one of these, too and I LOVE it! I use mine as a dry bar.

  14. Hi Lynn, love Grandma's icebox! So happy that you rescued it. Grandma would be so happy. I am slow, but I say leave the inside as is. It will remind you of Grandma everytime you peek inside. Thanks for sharing your treasure with Share Your Cup!