The $750 Dollar SOB

My day job is working for my family’s construction company.  I am the fourth generation to work in the company, and am very proud that we have been a part of building roads and bridges for over 85 years.  Part of that history is the fact that the company has weathered a LOT of modernization over that time span.  One of my favorite stories about the adaptation of ‘technology’ was when my great grandfather bought his first adding machine.  He spent $750 and never trusted a number it spit out, double checking every number by hand, essentially doubling his work instead of making his life easier.  And so it has lovingly been referred to as his $750 SOB.


Although I don’t know the first thing about how to properly use an adding machine, I love having that little piece of history in my home.  It felt like my office would be the perfect place to display this little piece of history.  I paired it with an old typewriter that belonged to my grandmother (another basement find) and an old rotary phone. The typewriter is one my grandmother had in college and it was a big deal because it is a ‘traveling’ typewriter, complete with its own (VERY HEAVY) carrying case.


I remember using these rotary phones at my grandmother’s when I was a kid.  And funny story… a few years ago I was trying to fix a problem on her computer and called customer service on a phone like this.  Remember when they used to say “Press 2 on your touch-tone phone” ? Well they don’t say that anymore because NOBODY HAS ROTARY PHONES ANYMORE, but those systems don’t work with rotary phones! I appreciated the irony of the fact that my 90+ year old grandmother has and operates a computer, but is still using a rotary phone well into the 21st century.


I’ve got all these things displayed on a flat mirror laid over a bookshelf from Pottery Barn that is similar to this one (mine has a bookshelf instead of a top drawer).  The mirror was a builder grade one I removed from the bathroom downstairs but liked the shape, so it fits nicely as a platform for these items!

office-bridge-books The other cool piece of history was a gift from one of my mother’s friends who found these books in an antique store.  They are the specifications books for how to build a bridge from the 1920s.  I love how they match up with the colors and the theme of this little display!

Do you have an obsession with antiques too? I love these that have both meaning and significance to me!


I am named after my grandmother, whom we refer to as Nannan (my oldest cousin’s rendition of Nanny).  Born in 1920 she grew up in western Kansas in the heart of the depression and dust bowl, which means she throws away ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.   Not only does she not throw things away, but thanks to a good ole Kansas basement, she has plenty of space to store everything. Probably you would refer to her as a hoarder… but in my world this just means a world of treasures that was available when I went to set up my own house.

When I moved into my house I had absolutely zero cash to invest in good furniture pieces, so I went to the only place I knew that I could get quality furniture for free… Nannan’s basement.  As I go through the house tour you’ll notice that several pieces of furniture originated from her basement and got facelifts before taking up permanent residence in my house.  (I’d show you a picture of the basement, but everyone deserves a dirty little secret or two… so I’ll leave Nannan’s a mystery)


One of my favorite pieces of furniture to come from her basement is a single oak bed.  It had been passed over by aunts and cousins because no one needed a fairly ornate single bed.  HOWEVER, this fit my goal for the office perfectly.  It is a great second guest room option (especially for when my now widowed grandmother comes down to visit with my parents) and I didn’t mind the single size.



The only drawback was that after being in storage for so long it was in pretty sad shape.  A piece of the side had chipped off and it had a white film over most of the bed.  Sadly I don’t have any before pictures for you since I spruced it up before blogging.  But I will tell you this stuff: Howard’s Feed-N-Wax is a miracle worker.  Twenty minutes later and my sad looking wood bed was shining like it was brand new.  And this stuff smells citrus-y so it was nice to use.

I love all the intricate details that add so much character to the bed.  I also love that it belonged to my great grandparents, so it feels like it has a lot of history.

As for the chipped off corner, I used a little wood glue and a clamp put on overnight to fit the piece back on to the corner, and now you can barely tell it was ever missing!


Don’t you just love re-purposing an old piece of furniture and giving it some new life?!