Planting a Seed

There are certain pieces of furniture that are, thankfully, no longer needed for their original intent. Because of that, you can usually pick them up for next to nothing. Like this solid wood cutie. Any idea what it's original purpose was?

I will give you a hint. It is NOT an end table!



It it a commode! Long before homes had indoor plumbing, this piece of furniture held a chamber pot. It was your toilet, often in the bedroom (hence the word "chamber"). In the fancier ones, there would be a ceramic pot. In this type, there was usually an metal bucket coated with an enamel surface. They were typically used at night as an alternative to a taking a stroll to the outhouse in the middle of the night—and of course someone had the task of empting it every morning.



My grandparents lived on a farm when I was growing up. They didn't have indoor plumbing (except for a pump for water in the kitchen) until I was about six. I lived in the suburbs of Chicago and I just assumed all farms, like my grandparents in Northern Indiana didn't have indoor plumbling, like we did in "the city." I vividly remember having to go outside behind the house to the outhouse to do my business—there are pictures to prove it which I won't show here! We couldn't use the chamber pots unless it was night time. My grandparents had commodes in each bedroom. The one in the room we stayed when we visited was much fancier than the one shown in the above photo. It looked like a regular chair and the part of the seat lifted up to reveal the chamber pot.


I paid a whopping $1 for this chamber pot. I had an idea on how to repurpose this piece. Although I doubt anyone has done their business in this commode for a long time, the first thing I did was scrub it. It wasn't dirty, but I felt better giving it a good cleaning.

I removed the lid and saved it. It won't be coming back onto the base. I will find another use for it on another project. It was a little wobbly so I glued the joints and clamped it until it dried. Now it is super solid.



Then I coated it with a coat of polyurethane for exterior use. This is going to be spending some time outdoors so I definitely needed the exterior coating. I love the way it adds richness to the wood.



I found a plastic planter that fit that opening exactly at the dollar store. I planted flowers in the planter. This commode turned planter box can now withstand the weather and would look charming on a porch or a deck.


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Whether my junk is from a garage sale, estate or farm auction, flea market or the side of the road, I love to find it, fix it, clean it, sell it or keep it. So come along the backroads of Indiana with Junk is My Life (me), let's find something vintage and do something cool with it! Formerly Junk Journal.