Craigslist Navigator

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years, Craigslist can be a great resource for buying and selling mid-century modern furniture. (Not to mention anything else under the sun that you’d like to buy/sell.) Part of how I’ve changed out much of my furniture has been thanks to Craigslist. Craigslist can be a great way to rescue, recycle or reuse furniture, or turn unused items into cold hard cash!  Sellers, beware though: You can expect emails from scammers, experience a whole new level of flakiness, and receive text messages at all hours of the night. In order to keep your head, I have some guidelines to share about using Craigslist.com.

1. Expect to be haggled. Sometimes, it’s more than a haggling…I just experienced a beating from a buyer in Long Beach. At the end, I was ready to GIVE him the furniture just so he would leave.

2. Do your research. See guideline #1. You should know about what you’re selling, or at the very least, know what like-items are currently selling for. Take into consideration age and condition. Check other Craigslist listings for like-items, as well as Ebay and Etsy.com for comparables. Knowledge is power, and it will help you when negotiating.

3. Do not invite strangers into your home, as friendly as they may seem.  If possible, ask them to come around to the garage, or wherever makes sense for you. Keep what little privacy you have left. I purchased an arc lamp from a gal who was living in an apartment complex. We met at her car port. Easy.

4. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures. If you are listing an item, clean it and stage it before you take pictures. Get different angles, and if it’s relevant, take photos of any markings – especially for brand-name makes in mid-century items. 9 times out of 10, consumers will be going for the items that look clean and well cared for. No one wants your kid’s crusty stained car seat. Throw the cover in the wash, and THEN get a picture of it.  Don’t give buyers an excuse to haggle you over condition. Seriously, people.

5. Keywords are key. To increase the chances of your item being pulled, at the bottom of your listing, enter keywords that match or describe the item you are selling. This will in turn amp up the potential viewers.

6. Silence your phone at night. There is nothing worse (for me) than being woken by a text or email “Is the item still available?” at 1 in the morning. Only to respond, “Yes.” and never hear back.  You’ll never know who to kill, and you’ll never get that time back.

7. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt. If the timing is right, you can find anything. Sometimes even unexpectedly. I accidentally stumbled upon the exact matching step end tables to my living room coffee table. I didn’t even know they existed! Look at those sexy legs already. Dear Lord, they make me weak. I’m still trying to get a response out of the seller….but check this out! They’re an exact match. They are priced cheaply because they need some TLC, and I’d be more than happy to oblige:

Come home to Mama.
Come home to Mama.
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Aforementioned coffee table. The danish modern nesting tables are now up for sale on my etsy shop. Go to http://www.etsy.com/shop/MidCenturyObsession for the tables and other fun stuff.

Happy Craigslisting!

P.S. Be sure to login to your craigslist account and “renew” your listings every couple of days.  Good luck!

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Mid-Century Warmth

If it’s cold in California, I know it has to be pretty cold wherever you are right now. Many of my Texas friends are enjoying snow days. Overnight temperatures in Big Bear Lake, California have been below zero recently. You can’t think of snowballs, ice and freezing temperatures and not think of sweaters, mittens, and sitting near the fire with your hands cupped around a hot beverage. Fire. It’s what brings warmth and that cozy feeling when it’s cold outside.   It is because of the uncharacteristic chill for this area and our love for cuddling near dancing flames that our family was forced to address the empty fireplace.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an adequate before photo for you….suffice it to say we had your typical soot-covered, unloved fireplace complete with a dirty grate and nothing else. Oh… and it was covered by gaudy gold glass doors. That about sums it up. My firewood habit was getting expensive and the clean-up would have been enough to drive any fellow OCD-type insane. I knew we needed to do something, and my husband and I were considering gas logs to alleviate the upkeep. However, one night my husband of all people came home with the idea of a “glass fire.” Someone at work had mentioned it, he Google’d some pictures, and was awestruck.

I put some thought into what a fireplace would have looked like in the mid-century. After all, the whole mid-century modern movement was founded on the notion that life should be simple and streamlined. More room and less mess, allowing the few key pieces in the home as well as it’s inhabitants to shine. Here are  examples of mid-century warmth as well as their renovated counterparts.

MidCenturyModern_fireplace_03
MCM Fireplace
Updated mid-century home found on modernhomeslosangeles.com
Updated mid-century home and fire found on modernhomeslosangeles.com

So I began to think that if something like a “glass fire” was available back then, that it may have fit quite well with the modern aesthetic of the time. Think about it: the glass used now is simple, beautiful, functional and requires no clean-up. I’m sold. We headed over to Barbeques Galore after much online perusing to see this product in person.

We fell in love. The funny bit is when we approached the Barbeques Galore, my husbands chest puffed up as he gave me the speech about I’d better not get too excited, that he had no intention of buying anything today. (What am I, 4?) SUCKA! I knew the employee who was helping us was in when the hubs started asking him questions like they were on a date. Daniel, it seems, has one at his house too and turned out to be a wealth of knowledge about what we would need. We were putty in his hands.

Glass “crystals” are guaranteed available in a wide variety of colors and finishes (such as “metallic”) and they are guaranteed not to pop or lose color over time. Our dogs are happy about that part….they were starting to develop nervous ticks with all the popping firewood I was blazing.

We went with Caribbean Blue in a metallic finish as well as Gunmetal Gray. You don’t have to stick with just one color. Yessssss! It’s not all glass, folks. You need a burner too. We went with the “Arc” to get a more full look to the flame.

Caribbean Blue Metallic
Caribbean Blue Metallic
Gunmetal Gray metallic 2
Gunmetal Gray Metallic

Best part is this is all a very easy DIY project-and it’s not too late to enjoy it before spring. Give yourself 1-2 days to get it done (2 days if you have to clean and wait for paint to dry). After our purchase, we ran straight to my favorite place on earth to shop, The Home Depot and purchased high-temperature black paint for inside the fireplace. I sent my husband and son to the park as I set out to clean and prep the fireplace. There was soot, buckets of soap and water, mess, wire snips and some light cursing. Thankfully, I made it out alive. The fireplace lost, but is far better for it. One day later, we had FIRE!

004 007 008

We LOVE the new fire. It gives off quite a bit of heat (truthfully, a lot more than the wood burning fire before it) and it’s just so COOL LOOKING! These photos are with the fire on quite low. This baby really gets blazing!

Here are a few websites to get you started if you’re in the market for a quick and easy update:

http://finishingtouchproducts.com/ (available online and at Barbeques Galore)

http://www.moderustic.com/More-Self-Installations.html (DIY tutorial with step-by-step pictures)

Good luck!

Old Soul, Mad Woman

There are many times I think I may have been born in the wrong time. Or perhaps I’m an old soul come again to live in this day and age. (I can hear my dad’s voice not buying that claim with a simple: “bullsh*t.”) It’s TRUE dad! I love all things 50’s and 60’s….the modern furniture, the music, the fashion of the time. Maybe I’m the soul of one of Lucille Ball’s goofy relatives.

Exhibit A: I am never happier than when in an 50’s apron with my house filled with people who I get to serve. Add old-fashioned Christmas music, lovely food, some wine and voila – the perfect recipe.  Heavenly.

Yes. I use the bag. Mmmmm...so tender.
Yes. I use the bag. Mmmmm…so tender.

Think about it: The music was arguably better then. I can’t turn on the radio now without hearing about booty dropping or drunken club hopping. Perhaps it’s a sign that I’m getting older? I’m disgusted more often than not and opt for oldies or classic rock.  Should there have been drunken club hopping back then, as I’m sure there was, nobody was blatantly singing it’s praises. You kept your freak flag rolled up in the closet.

So my latest “mid-century obsession” that I’d like to share with readers is the book Mad Women by Jane Maas.  You can read about said wild happenings and experience life in the 60’s vicariously through the books’ author who actually lived it.  It’s “The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the 60’s and Beyond.” It’s a read I highly recommend if you’re any way interested in what life was like at that time. In addition, it explores what the field of advertising and marketing were like  – from a woman’s point of view. It gave me solace to know that I wasn’t born in a time where women were routinely subject to sexual harassment and sexism at every turn in the workplace. Bonus: I learned a little about advertising in the process.

Mad Women - Jane Maas
Quick and Juicy read. I couldn’t put it down. For those of you who are thrift-savvy, there are used copies available on Amazon.com starting at 9.99. Happy Reading!