Thankfulness….

When I think of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel totally and completely blessed.

It seems silly to complain at all, really. But just for fun….let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind that I’m NOT so thankful for: The price of mid-century modern furnishings these days.

I’ve talked about it before….and it seems to only be getting worse; as the popularity of the mid-century modern and retro movement gains momentum, so do the price tags of these items. Okay, okay….so I do benefit from that myself. I am an Etsy shop owner. I do make a very minimal profit on each an every item I find and offer for sale. However, my husband would tell you it’s just enough to keep me shopping and barely covers the cost of me driving all over the place “treasure hunting.” There are others that make a living, or supplement their incomes by sourcing, repairing, and subsequently selling MCM furniture. More power to them! However, with my budget, I’m better off on my own.

Recently I was in an online forum where we were discussing the price of items on the west coast. Comparatively speaking, most California prices are hefty, and it’s better to source what you need from people who are willing to ship to you from across the country. Or, you can do as the pilgrims did, and work for it yourself.

Take my advice and make it a habit to seek out your nearest thrift store. You might be really surprised by what you find. One of my favorite local shops is Angel View. There are stores in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet and Palm Springs as well. Their organization supports and employs the disabled, so it’s not only fun; it’s also for a good cause. Let me tell you…I’ve scored treasures unlike anywhere else at Angel View. The trick is to go during the week in the early morning hours. That’s when the pickin’ is best. If you are a 9-5er like so many are, maybe make it an occasional lunch break outing. Find a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you, pack your lunch and head out for a quick hunt! Another tip is to sign up for EstateSales.net notifications. They’ll send you weekly emails on estate sales in your area. Most of the estate companies feature photos, so you’ll know what to expect before heading out the door. For you 9-5ers who can’t “thrift” during the week, most estate sales are featured on weekends-Fri/Sat/Sun.

Here are a couple of my most recent scores located at a thrift shops. They will be recycled and re-loved in my home:

Thrift find.
The coffee table in my den is a thrift find.
Sugar/Tea/Coffee/Flour aaaaand Bread Canister by Crestline 14.99 at Goodwill - and $100 on Etsy.com
Sugar/Tea/Coffee/Flour aaaaand Bread Canister by Crestline. These seem to be pretty rare in this condition, and the only similar one I could find on Etsy is now going for over $100. Say what?! I had to scrub a thick layer of tar off this baby, but it was so worth it. Turns out tar is not just a nasty by-product of the smokin’ mid-century, but it also happens to be an EXCELLENT preservative.

 

Look at her! I found her, in all her original upholstery and glory this week. She's not perfect, and needs a tiny bit of work, but she's mine forever, and I would have paid out the nose for her elsewhere.
Look at her! I found her, in all her original upholstery and glory this week. She’s not perfect, and needs a tiny bit of work, but she’s mine forever, and I would have paid out the nose for her elsewhere.

 

So take it from me, you lovers of MCM: If you’re on a modest budget and aren’t happy about the prices you see out there, do your research and get to steppin’! So as the pilgrims learned to sow the ground they landed on, you too shall reap the benefit of your own sweat and tears! And that my friends, is something to be thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finders Keepers Estate Sale

Earlier this week, I blogged about Finders Keepers Estate Services and how I was honored to get to preview a very upscale estate’s sale they were hosting. I’d like to give you more information on how to get there for yourself.

It’s where I got this beauty:

Courtesy of Finders Keepers Estate Sales
Courtesy of Finders Keepers Estate Sales

Here are some pics of what has already been snapped up by an out-of-state company who KNOWS it’s value: (P.S….If I were the owner of the estate, I’d be delighted by the clout this sale has brought out)

Danish Teak everywhere you look. Psssst! That tall lamp in the corner is now mine too...more on that later!
Danish Teak everywhere you look. Psssst! That tall lamp in the corner is now mine too…more on that later!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

NOW! There is more to be had and seen….the sale begins tomorrow, Friday the 21st in Hemet, CA. Property will be shown by appointment only and you should email Finders Keepers for best results in obtaining an appointment. Make it happen! These guys are waiting for you:

8779440

ChAIRS

For more information, photos and how to schedule an appointment, please visit: http://www.estatesales.net/estate-sales/440382.aspx

I see dead people…

http://youtu.be/0YppxEYkqTU

Let’s talk Estate Sales! Tasteless, tacky, but really true: you can’t take it with you, so I’m going to buy it!

Before you write me off as completely insensitive…stay with me for a second. I have “dead people” in my life too. My blog is dedicated to my late grandmother. We’ll call her Nana. In my very first post, I alluded to the fact that her personal life was a bit messy….and that it affected her fabulous furniture, some of which I now own. And I’ll tell you….I’m torn. The bedroom suite that started it all – my obsession with Mid-Century – it’s actually damaged by the hand of my grandfather whom I’ve never met; during a drunken rage. Fasten your seatbelts for a tale of drama, people! My mom says he took his pocket knife and sliced giant X’s in Nana’s velvet couch as well as lines down the front facing of the bedroom suite because he knew that was the way to get to her. The neighbors called the police because of a glow coming from the inside of the house. It was my grandmother’s entire wardrobe. Furs, gowns and sequins were all in the process of being incinerated in the fireplace. I don’t have a picture of the fire or the couch sliced with X’s, but I do have an aftermath picture of the kitchen and I know what you’re thinking: Nice stool, right? You know the ones with the little step stand? Gosh, they really don’t make things like they used to.

Admit it, MCM isn’t just an obsession, it’s a syndrome that we share.

As for the credenza, I’ve thought about refinishing it myself, or having it re-finished. You know what? I don’t think I have the heart to.  Because every time I see the lines in that beautiful credenza, I’m reminded of how much my grandmother endured, and how she came out on the other end a stronger person. Sure, there’s a couple cigarette burns in the top of the end tables. So what? Each time my eye is drawn to it, I can picture her holding a Belair between her those long fingers and her always perfectly manicured nails. I know she’d love to know how much I value the things that she did and that I embrace the beauty, warts and all. And that’s the reason why I love estate sales. I like to think that every piece that I acquire has a story and perhaps a very interesting dead person behind it. I know that somebody’s beloved something will live on in my home and hopefully someday grace the home of my son, or someone else who will appreciate it for what it is: Beautifully crafted things bought, sold or traded through time creating a story all their own.

How much did you say you want for those glass grapes?!?!

One of the things I love most about HGTV now is that show The High/Low Project http://www.hgtv.com/the-high-low-project/show/index.html where they feature for example a 20K designer room, and then they recreate it for whatever the homeowners budget is. Sometimes they have to do a lot of searching, but it seems like every time, they manage to come very close to an exact match of the designer room and often they improve on the original.

Part of my sharing the “Adventures of a Retro Re-Deco” with the world is to serve as a reminder to my readers that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your hands on some really beautiful and unique vintage pieces. I’m on a very tight budget myself.  I have to redecorate by selling items I already own.  As I mentioned in my first blog, I have found almost every one of my pieces from a flea market, Craigslist, or Goodwill.  If you look at this photo of my formal living room, it’s essentially a mix of old and new….

The Brass Cats? They were purchased for $9 dollars at Goodwill. When I researched some comparables on EBay, I found an uglier version of just two cats for $99. Can you say, SCORE!!!?!?

The Teal Couch is vintage and I nearly soiled myself when I found it on Craigslist. Sometimes when I’m by myself, I sit and just caress it’s wooly exterior. Not really, but sort of. I do.

The colorful painting on the wall was only $50 as part of a deal for buying a desk from the same vendor at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

The Green Chairs? They were a bit of a splurge, but I found them at Long Beach Veterans Stadium Flea Market. I’m told this is one of the best places to get antique and MCM furniture and accessories in SoCal. As my Mom and I carried them out, people were actually stopping us asking where we found them and how much we paid. Okay, okay…..I’ll tell you….gulp…..$500. A splurge for someone on a budget like mine, but a priceless find as far as I’m concerned. The arms are SOOO curvy and comfy and the lime green? Hello! TO DIE FOR. One woman actually pulled on her friends arm, nodded to us and said; “Now THAT’S the PERFECT find.” I nearly floated out of there.

The Big Dipper Arc Floor Lamp from CB2 I bought used on Craigslist for ½ of its retail value.

Morganton Nesting Tables? Under $150 including shipping for a set of 3 on EBay.

The wooden dolphin was a thrift store find, and the glass pieces and sheepskin were Ikea and Target. I actually spied the green piece on my favorite MCM blog, Mid-Century Modern Love. http://midcenturymodernlove.com/  But I waited until it was on clearance at Target and got it for under $10.

So patience is the key. Wait until you find the right thing. If it takes your breath away, by all means go for it. In my experience however, if you just wait it out, something within your budget will reveal itself to you with a little persistence and patience. Case in point, the aforementioned glass grapes. What is the deal with the glass grapes anyway? Even as I learn the ropes of flea marketing and bargaining, I am astonished by how much some of these Mid-Century favorites cost. $50 for a bunch of glass grapes? Have you been drinking??? It’s GLASS, not GOLD!

So I have held onto my glass grapes cash and waited patiently.  Low and behold, as I was “treasure hunting” with my son at the Goodwill this week I spied these babies. They’re green….part of my color scheme…in all their hideous glory, they were…..wait for it…… wait for it….$5.99. That’s all crusty old glass grapes from the 50’s should cost in my estimation..but what do I know?

Happy Hunting Friends!