Beach Cottage Old Vintage Suitcases…going White…& Tulips!

Mon 12th, Apr, 2010

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Good morning my lovely Beach Cottagers.  How are you going this fine day?  All here is all well and good.  The weekend was completely non-productive, I needed that, and if you follow me on Facebook, you will know I didn’t get out of bed until lunchtime on Saturday and while the cottage was empty while all were out at a soccer match I stayed home to ‘clean’ for guests who were coming on Sunday.

But, once the Beach Cottage crew had left for soccer I proceeded by pretending to scrub and polish but in fact threw some bleach down the toilet and then plumped up the cushions on the sofa, fixed myself a nice cup of tea and settled down with a new home decor book.  Which I will show you soon and will definitely be running a giveaway for…soo lovely.


What I did find the other weekend though was an old vintage suitcase and though to be very honest I should begin to pass these up as there are quite a few of them in here now, I couldn’t really not add this one to the collection, seeing as it was free, could I?

I love all the details to them…old stickers peeling off, scratches, dents and scuffs, the old leather, the history, the romance…


I picked it up and decided that seeing as it was in fairly good condition I would use it under the coffee table in the Sitting Room to store napkins, table mats and all that sort of parapernalia, it was just slim enough to fit and pull out without having to lift off the table (which is what happens in the Family Room, you can see that trunk here, and is a pain in the proverbial butt).

Once getting it home I thought it rather heavier than normal and with a bit of trepidation opened it up, wondering just what I might find.  That’s the thing in this game, one must be prepared for a little bit of grunge.  Luckily what was inside was a nice surprise.  Another one.  In miniature.  Yum.


The smaller one is, in fact, much tastier than the bigger one…on closer inspection and after getting through the dust and grime it seems it is made of the loveliest old hide…they sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore.


..and it’s often interesting to see what’s inside, I wonder who these people were, what they did, where they went…


Russell George Henry and Mrs Eileen Marie Stretton, I wonder who they were?  Guess I’ll never know, but they’ll be in my Sitting Room for a while ;-)

I have to say that it looked pretty good under the coffee table in its natural beauty..but you know… it didn’t last long like that…the Beach Cottage white paint obsession needed a fix…I will show you that in the next few days (and I did a video too for all those who’ve emailed me wanting painting-suitcases instructions)

Righto, I am off to the beach, it’s week two of the summer hols, the day has dawned gloriously, the BC Kiddos wanna boogie board and we sure are making the most of it.. 


  p.s. if you have nothing better to do with your time than watch a video from a girl on the beaches of Australia cleaning an old vintage suitcase then go here for the latest episode ;-)) of

{ Beach Cottage TV }


blogged for Rhoda’s event, thanks!




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40 Responses to “Beach Cottage Old Vintage Suitcases…going White…& Tulips!”

  1. flick says:

    Gorgeous cases Sarah! I am always drawn to them but cannot convince Hubby they are practical as well as damn cute!! Can’t wait to see how the painted one turned out..

  2. DeAna says:


  3. susan says:

    what a lovely find! i loved watching your video and hearing your voice! so funny when we only get to read what someone writes isn’t it? have a beautiful week can’t wait to see the one painted!! susan

  4. Elisabeth says:

    I love old suitcases and trunks too, but it seems like the ones I find are always smelly so I don’t want to put anything inside of them. Then I feel like, what is the point of having them if not for storage! Anyway, I have a brown one similar to the bigger one like yours that I might paint white, if it’s not too smelly that is!

  5. Judy Yates says:

    Love the label, his name as it is but then hers “Mrs Eileen Marie Stretton”, definitely a relic from another era, but sooo cute!

  6. Kerry says:

    Can you believe when I was a school girl (long time ago) that we had cases like these to carry our school books in…no wonder one shoulder’s lower than the other!! So wish I’d kept mine.

  7. fairmaiden says:

    Do you boogie board with the kiddos? I love to boogie with mine. I really need a wet suit though…the Pacific ocean(my beach) is very cold and once I’m in I don’t want to come out, even when my feet and legs go numb. I love riding those waves.

    It’s stormy rain here today…made some chili beans with diced grilled chicken breast thrown on top and a jot of shredded cheddar…along with a Corona and lime…yum! Enjoy the hols.

  8. Beth says:

    I can’t wait to see what they look like painted…I never knew you could paint a suitcase! Those are lovely ones! Beth

  9. Reyna says:

    Ohhh, I can’t wait to see the painted version! I just bought two vintage suitcases for $3 total, and would love to try this out! Your suitcase looks adorable under your living room table!

  10. Carole says:

    How strange to see that it’s Monday morning for you already–9:40 p.m. Sunday here.
    Love the yellow tulips!

  11. Alison Gibbs says:

    Great suitcases, way back in about 1975 I met my husband at dance classes in Brunswick Victoria where a Mr Stretton ran the dance classes. Can’t remember his christian name though. My husband was at the classes to learn to dance for his sisters wedding(he still can’t dance though – no rhythm) and I was there with my cousin just for fun.

  12. Decoralora says:

    Always enjoy your posts….this time the bleach in the toilet and the plumping of the pillows to settle in with a new home decor book!!!!!!!!! I love that!

  13. gretchen says:

    I don’t think I could paint a leather suitcase, I just really like the look of the scarred old leather too much to even think of hiding it!
    Maybe if it wasn’t leather….

  14. cherrie says:

    I love old suitcases. Would love to have enough room to stack them up to act as a bedside table. Sigh. Do you have your white paint sitting on the kitchen bench like I do. Only two more picture frames to go and I should be rid of it but I still haven’t got there. I’m scared if I put it away it will never get done. Enjoy the hols.

  15. Becca says:

    have fun boogie boarding! i want to be on the beach right now. we have 2 months til summer and i’m dying slowly on the inside. on another note, come visit and enter my very first giveaway for a pottery barn giftcard and some of my designs at http://www.barefeetonthedashboard.blogspot.com.

  16. Debbie says:

    Wow! what a great surprise to find the smaller suitcase inside the larger one! makes it an even better find. Can’t wait to see them after you paint them.

  17. *Alex* says:

    What gorgeous finds! Love these new suitcases! They look gorgeous and like they will fit right into your little cottage :D

  18. Tiff says:

    I was just commenting to a friend last night who still uses old school ports to carry her things in. It’s so quaint! She would drool over your find.

  19. Wow, twice the joy there Sarah. We seem to have an abundance of old suitcases here too. How do you know when you have too many? LOL
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

  20. Hi MRS SARAH…
    GReat find….& with the other little suitcase in the Bigger one..

    (last week in Melbourne was THE story of a vintage suitcase being purchased at the op shop by a couple…& there was $200,000 CASH inside…!!)..

    they kept it…silly people…& traced down etc & charged with theft…

    soo that was a find & a half??? SHORT lived…

    I ONCE had nearly 75 vintage HATBOXES & SUITCASES…!!! yep…
    then decided I was sick of all of them…& sent them to auction…
    WHAT A >>>>>>>>>>>>>> ending in something!!!

    anyway…posting off some little CHANEL stuff for you tomorrow…

    take care…xxx andrea..

    ps..would have invited you to the tea party if you lived nearby…

  21. Robynne Heesterman says:

    Hi Sarah,
    My name is Robynne and I am an aussie who moved to u.k last august. My husband works for a u.s. based company and has been sent here to run the u.k. business. We have brought our 14 year old son with us but have left our 22 year old daughter and 20 year old son in the family home in Melb. So like you we are on a bit of a budget as we are running two economies!! We can only rent here in the u.k. as its too expensive to buy without sellin our aussie home. We don’t know how long we will be here either. So we are renting a bungalow in a village in buckinghamshire….and I hate renting! The landlord has let me repaint the walls so I am slowly making it feel like home. I have brought all of my ‘stuff’ with me, including 4 dinnersets and all my vintage ‘crap’ as my husband calls it. Every time I read your blog I laugh as we have very similar ideas. I couldn’t live without Ikea, I am thrilled to be able to visit Anthropologie in Regent Street, and I’m having so much fun haunting antique markets and old dusty emporiums. I’ve picked up some great bargains including 2 fantastic old leather suitcases just recently, complete with black monogram letters on top, and some old labels plastered here and there. I have been thinking about starting up a blog for sometime but have been waiting for my son in Aussie to try and help me out. He is visiting soon I hope so I can chronicle all of my great finds and purchases, not to mention our travels in a way that my friends in Aussie can follow. I am really enjoying your blog and it does make me very homesick. Keep up the good work.
    Regards Robynne, the english housewife.

  22. Ruby Wand says:

    can’t wait to see the how to paint a vintage suitcase video – cleaning one seems easy enough. the tulips are beautiful!

  23. Hi Sarah…I have painted quite a few of these pretties for my booth. Beautiful tulips! Enjoy your day with the kids!!

  24. Clare says:

    I love old suitcases but they are surprisingly hard to find here in Brisbane and the ones that do pop up cost a fortune. I passed up so many while living in Melbourne and now regret it!

  25. anita says:

    Okay, so are you like walking down the street and just come across these great things? Where do you find such lovely FREE things? I think I need to move to Australia!

  26. Floss says:

    So sweet. Because my only vintage suitcase belonged to my grandparents, and has initials and stickers on it, I’m not going to alter it in any way, but I’m on the look out for others! This is going to get harder, because I’ve spotted a trend for British teenagers to use vintage cases on their travels – I was geting vintage suitcase envy in Gatwick last February, of all places!

  27. Alicia says:

    I do love the old suitcases. I have painted a couple of mine but cant bring myself to paint the old leather ones anymore as they have such a patina to them. Plus arent the insides just gorgeous? Well done finding another inside the big one, lucky it didnt turn out to be a dead body or something ;0)! A friend of mine has her collection of cases all stacked on top of each other from large up to small. Looks fabulous and a great storage idea too.

  28. tina howard says:

    hi there, i have stumbled across your web site whilst looking for bead board wallpaper here in sunny west midlands, ENGLAND.
    all i can say is that you are a woman after my own heart.
    here i am trying to persuade everyone here that white everything really is lovely. i have managed to convert a friend or two so far.
    you reaffirm my belief that you dont need to spend mega bucks to acheive this sort of look in a house. love the tulips too, but would probly have got white ones, i always go for the white ones!
    love the site, many thanks, teen.

  29. Wendy says:

    It looks lovely!

  30. Gaelle says:


    You know what I love the most in your old suitcases? It’s that there is actually a name in there. They really were owned by someone, and they traveled with these someones. Isn’t that great. I would be already imagining all kinds of story about these suitcases and their adventures.


  31. Hi Sarah,
    It’s been spring break and I’ve been away – I just got caught up with all your posts for the week, and feel like I’ve been on a little Aussie holiday! Your beach pics, the flowers, your bathroom re-do (can’t wait to see the finished room pics)and the LBD – fantastic. How funny, I just had a black dress delivered and still deciding if I can pull it off….
    I found a vintage teal leather suitcase on the side of the road with a “free” sign on it. It’s home with me now and I’m loving it, and would never paint it because of the fab. color. The three old brown ones are a different story, they’re pretty ratty with water stains & etc. I have will get the treatment once I learn how to do it properly. I don’t want any peeling paint!! Tell us, quick!
    Have a nice day, enjoy your sun – it is pouring here again. So tired of the rain!
    Heidi – Heart and Home

  32. rachel says:

    Oooohhh…lovin the vintage suitcases!! Yum! I have two in my living room at present and am always on the lookout for more. Thanks for sharing!


  33. Vicky Watt says:

    Hooray! I’m so delighted to have found you! I’ve been surfing around wondering if there’s a like minded lover of the seaside out there in the blogsphere and here you are…

    I’m based on Scotland’s East Coast and recently began writing
    Postcards From The Coast (at Acoustic Wave Cafe). I’ve just found you and had to write – your blog is going to be an inspiration ;) x

    Vicky – Acoustic Wave, A Boutique Media & Entertainment Partnership
    (based by the sea, East Neuk, Scotland)

  34. Vicky Watt says:

    Sorry, I meant to send you the other link, to the blog…

  35. Marsha says:

    Such luck to find a suitcase inside a suitcase with straps and all!

    I store extra bedding in trunks and big baskets – magazines and inspirational pics are in the suitcases…

    See ya tomorrow -


  36. Kathleen H in Indiana says:

    Hello Sarah!

    Great suitcases….what a find. Can’t wait to see you paint them. I received my RealLiving magazine in this morning’s mail, thank you so much. All I have done today is read each article and what fun I’ve had. So excited to see your feature article. Love the ads and comparing everything with American advertising. Have a fun day with the kids.

  37. Allison says:

    Nice (free!) find! Dropping by from Rhoda’s.

  38. Cindy S says:

    What a great find!!! You didn’t tell us how you got it for free, though. Inquiring minds must know… anyways, it really is a wonderful old couple of suitcases. And they just look so great in your cottage.
    Btw, THANK YOU for the Canadian House and Home, I received my first one! It is a wonderful magazine and I love it. I will be blogging about it this week.
    Hugs to you! Cindy S

  39. Tita Carre says:

    Hi, I like your blog soo much,
    I am from Brazil, I love craft…

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