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.
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)
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:
Where do you want to go most when the world chews you up and spits you out? For me, it’s home. Lately I’ve felt that way. I’ve desperately needed a place to curl up and drink my tea, read a book, and otherwise tune-out the rest of the world. Sometimes people can help us do that. But…when your 4 year-old tires of your pathetic neediness, who will cuddle with you?
I prayed for this chair. No seriously, I did. Here’s the scoop: I was absolutely honored to be invited to preview an estate sale hosted by Finders Keepers Estate Sales. Thank you, Finders Keepers! The catch was (much to the estates’ delight) that everything was off limits until the big out-of-town buyers came through; claimed and paid a high price for the fabulous furniture they wanted. Walking through this home was like being in another time. A better time. A fashionable time. Absolutely everything was in mint condition and the owner had impeccable taste. As I walked through, I spotted the orange chair. I coveted it…just like the bible says we shouldn’t. I’ll admit. So I said a little prayer. “Please, God….have ’em leave that one behind, will ya?”
And so it was…I mentioned my prayer, made my intentions known and much to my delight and surprise, the chair was left!
So this beauty has been keeping me company during my time of need. I’m ever so thankful….and ever so in LOOOOOVE.
Shout out to my awesome Aunt Di who called to ask if I was still looking for cushions for my Saarinen tulip table and chairs. Here’s the summarized back story:
I recently found a steal of a deal on a less-than-perfect mid-century replica of the famous Saarinen tulip table and chairs. They had rust….which I was able to remove with the help of an awesome product however….the old cushions could not be saved. Not only were they 40-something year-old cushions and kind of yucky, they made all my guests feel fat as they wheeeeesssshhhhed when sat on.
Since the resurgence of all things mid-century modern, and the popularity of shows like Mad Men, the prices of furniture relating to that time, including accessories for said furniture have become ridiculously expensive. Exhibit A: Tulip Chair Replacement Cushions.
Check this out. You can’t get new cushions for less than $89/piece. Try it…I dare you…..scour the internet. I bet you won’t find a better price:
Ebay is the best price I found for replacement cushions at $89 each. (Note: If you want to cover your existing cushions, consider yourself lucky. You can do that for 40 bucks a pop):
Featured on AllModern.com, Knoll offers them for $327 per cushion. I bought the whole damn set of tables and chairs for less than that. Knoll be smokin’ crack, y’all!
And my favorite website of all time, Etsy.com features them at $89/piece by Studiocityloft, competing with Ebay.
News Flash: Unless I win the lottery, or my son finds buried treasure in our backyard, I will not be spending $89/per cushion. Ever.
Back to my Aunt Di who spied these cuties on Ikea.com. Thank you Aunt Di. Guess what? They fit the chairs just fine….and my butt doesn’t know the difference. Bonus: When my kid spills spaghetti sauce on them, instead of having a heart-attack, I can smile like I’m on one of those Bounty commercials and casually toss the dirty cushion in the washing machine. Tra-la-la!!!! Dirty Cushions? Oh, neveryoumind. Remember, you only paid $4.99 a cushion at Ikea! Thanks Bounty and thank you, Ikea!
Are they perfect? No. Do I care? Wait….um, NO. Do I love them!? YESSS!!!!
According to Dictionary.com “Kitsch” is defined as: something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. As clean and classic as I’ve tried to keep my home, I haven’t been able to completely escape the kitsch. I admit to loving the mid-century crazes of owls and grapes.
I complained about the price of some mid-century modern accessories. More specifically, glass grapes. Having become a Etsy.com shop owner and attempting to start a business of my own based around all things mid-century modern I have become keenly aware of the time, research, effort and GAS it takes to find these sought-after treasures. I better understand now why some items I see are so very expensive. Readers, I stand corrected. (That’s not to say there aren’t complete rip-off artists out there in the MCM world…because there are. It’s up to you to decide for yourself what something is worth to you.)
More to that point, the process of decorating my living room in mid-century style is now complete and I’ve moved on to what we’ll call the “den.” It’s the room that we actually live in: the one that’s most often covered in my son’s dinosaurs and super heroes. When clean, it was an “okay” space; it was missing something. I figured out what that something was when watching an episode of my favorite show on t.v. right now, New Girl. If you haven’t seen it, you should. The star of the show is the ever quirky and adorable Zooey Deschanel who is surrounded by an equally bizarre but charming cast.
Do you see them? Are those lucite grapes not PERFECT in all their blue glory? They were taunting me…making an appearance in episode after episode. I had to have them. They matched my “scheme” and accent pillows….but where would I find them? Answer: Etsy.com, where everything is.
So, after all my lecturing about how much things should cost, I will admit to my hypocrisy. For some things, I’m willing to stretch the budget just a bit; even if it is “kitsch.” If you want them bad enough you can have your grapes and eat them too.
My favorite song right now and my sons as well…(the PG version of course) has to be Thrift Shop. Just like in the song…I really do have your grandpa’s style. If only they had a song about Craigslist too. I’d be all over that.
As I’ve written several times before, thrift shops and Craigslist are the BEST way to affordably update your digs.
Case in point: 2 weeks ago, I stumbled upon the exact matching end tables to my long and low mid-century coffee table on Craigslist. I had to travel into L.A. to get them, which was hard for me. My throat starts to close the closer I get to downtown. I’m not a Hollywood girl. Not an L.A. girl. Never have been….I’ll take the beaches, thank you. Peace, love, and waves. You can have your crazy drivers and people literally living on top of each other. When in L.A., I feel claustrophobic and begin to understand what a caged animal feels like. No offense, Angelenos. Your city has much to offer. If only there was a way to hover in and hover out, I’d be visiting a lot more.
I digress….here are the new additions, thanks to Craigslist and one very hip seller in L.A.:
Now I can finally leave this room alone and stop taking photos of it.
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:
P.S. Be sure to login to your craigslist account and “renew” your listings every couple of days. Good luck!
So two weeks ago in my Christmas Wishes post, I was writing about the ultimate Christmas wish. This week, I have in my kitchen a sleek and gorgeous vintage Saarinen-style tulip table and 4 chairs, courtesy of my loving and enthusiastic husband. No ladies, you cannot have him. Christmas came early for this MCM blogger, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
Let me preface this gift explanation by saying the table and chairs I’ve been wanting run from $900/used-$2500/updated or refinished. If you were to want to purchase a new tulip table and chairs that are reproductions; you’d be paying no less than $1000 BEFORE shipping. So even though its torture, I am continually scrolling through Craigslist, estate sale photos, and Ebay on the look-out for the elusive fairly priced and very much in demand tulip table and chairs. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an Ebay auction for one said set for a fraction of the price that I’ve been seeing them online. The only catch to this auction was that the merchandise had to be picked up locally – in Long Beach. Long story short, I am convinced that the only reasons why I “won” this auction: because I didn’t have to compete with the rest of the world, it was a Wednesday night and I’m the only crazy person trolling for tulip on a Wednesday that and they were totally meant for me. I.AM.SMITTEN. Do you want to hear something amazing? This set isn’t a Saarinen original, but it is mid-century, and it was manufactured by Frank Bros. Furniture, who were commissioned to furnish the Case Study Houses! I love vintage furniture, but I love it more when there is a story behind a piece. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2009/08/the-jaunty-guy-on-the-left-in-the-above-photo-is-ron-frank-son-of-one-of-the-two-co-founders-of-famed-long-beach-furniture.html
Before I show my sweet new set in its little cozy corner of the kitchen, let’s change gears do a little Rust Removal 101. The base of the table and chairs are paint on metal, and there was quite a bit of rust on them. The tulip stems clearly needed some TLC, and I was only too happy to give it to them. Kudos to my mother, who said, “Why don’t you go to Home Depot and get some of that stuff that removes rust but is safe for the finish?” To which I replied, “Geeeeeeehhhh?” I had no idea that something like that even existed. Obdient and enlightened, I headed to Home Depot with a picture of my rust problem. The helpful guy in the paint department asked me a strange question, “Can you be gentle?” I hesitantly replied, “Yes?” not really sure what that meant. I was prescribed the following – and instructed to apply the magic potion to my table with a cloth. I was positively delighted with the results (after about an hour):
No, I do not work for Krud Kutter….but I wouldn’t mind being a spokesperson, now that I’ve seen their stuff in action. It actually dissolves the rust, is water-based, biodegradable and easy to use. In fact, I have been running around the house applying Krud Kutter where the shaving cream bottle left rust in the shower…and I have some vintage bar stools with rusted metal bottoms that I’ll be tackling next. If you’re looking for remarkable results and immediate gratification, this is your DIY project.
And finally, second only to my gorgeous son, this is my favorite sight in the morning:
Patience is a virtue…that which I do not possess. I am convinced that right about the time this goal is achieved, I won’t be far from the grave. Ask anyone of my loving family members and they’ll tell you when I decide I want something, I will pretty much stop at nothing to get it. That can be a very positive trait or a negative one, depending on which way you look at it. Wanna know why my preschooler can’t wipe his own bottom?! EASY! It’s SOOOOO much faster when I do it! Lines? I don’t do lines. I’ll go shopping at the crack of dawn to avoid them. I have given up Starbucks completely. There are a couple reasons for that, but one of the main reasons is that I abhor the lines in the morning. You expect me to wait 10 minutes for coffee? For REALS, yo? Do you have any idea how much crap I can get done in 10 minutes? It’s just coffee…and I will brew it at home thank you very much.
In light of my ongoing struggle to practice what I preach, I have a great story to share with my readers about how patience is rewarded….and revenge is sooooo sweet. I made mention in one of my September blogs about a particular shop owner Henry of Vintage Treasures Antiques in Hemet who was friendly and passionate about his furniture. I must have caught him on a bad day at my last visit, because he wasn’t the same gentleman I’d met before.
I’d been looking for a mid-century men’s valet rack like the one pictured below found on Ebay. It would be a great addition to our guest room-but I didn’t want to pay Ebay prices. I was delighted when I spotted one in Henry’s shop. However, I knew he was a bit steep on his furniture, so naturally I was reluctant to hear the answer when I asked how much the unmarked wooden valet was.
My butt has great instincts, because it was puckered in waiting for the bottom line. Henry began by explaining how “this piece” was in his private collection and he’d brought it from home to put in his shop. I was a bit confused, because I’m not sure how that adds value….but I’m certain that was the point of the explanation: to idolize it’s worth. He paused to think for a second, and said, “I will sell this to you for $79.00.” I politely smiled and said, “Well, thank you but that’s a bit out of my price range.” I started to move away from the pricey valet, and he added, “or you could make me an offer.” I said, “No thank you. I really had no idea of its value and I was only curious how much it would cost.” He again prompted me to make him an offer which I made a point not to do for fear of insulting him with my comparatively meager budget.
As I perused the shop, I recalled that on my last stopover when I inquired about an unmarked table, he had given me the same story about how it was a piece that he’d used in his home. I looked around and noted that I was the only customer in his shop as was the case last time I visited. I quickly took inventory and was struck by the fact that the same merchandise that was in the shop three months before, sat there still. Perhaps I’m not the only one that thinks he’s a bit steep. But wait! Just as these things were running through my mind, in walked a customer and he and Henry engaged in lively conversation about old German record players. A few minutes later, I decided to make my way to the exit, and Henry interrupted the discussion to turn to me, “So why don’t you make me an offer on the valet? Do you want it? Make me an offer.” Reluctantly, I made him the offer he’d been pestering me for…damn the fact that he may be insulted because by this point I remembered that we were in Hemet, not Hollywood. “Okay. $25?” It was more of an apology than an offer. He snickered, and nodded to his gentleman shopper while replying to me disgusted, “$25 dollars? Those are Wal-Mart prices.” As I pushed through the doors to leave, all I could think to say was “Sorry….Thanks anyway.” I was furious after I left and went back over our exchange in my mind. What a jerk! Wal-Mart prices?! First of all, there’s NOTHING wrong with Wal-Mart, and second of all, your shop is in Hemet, a**hole! It’s not exactly crawling with rich people in the market for overpriced mid-century valets! I tend to think there are more of the populace concerned with making the mortgage or feeding their kids. Also: those who have been dealt a better hand? Not coming to Hemet for a visit. Did I say any of this to our Henry? Of course not. I shooed the angry thoughts from my mind and decided to let it go and just wait. This would be an exercise in patience, and I would find a stupid wooden valet some day.
This week on a family adventure day in Idyllwild, California, I did just that. Again, I found myself looking through an antique store mostly disappointed by the frilly crap I was seeing. Then I spotted it. A wooden valet almost exactly like the one I’d seen in Hemet. Only this one was sturdier. Not quite as delicate…certainly this ones cost would be about the same, or possibly more because of the wood? There was no way of knowing because it was unmarked as well. So I half-heartedly asked the gal behind the counter how much she’d want for the wooden valet in the back. She walked back with me to inspect it and said “$15 dollars?” I pretended to think about it for a nano-second and replied, “Sure. I can do that.”
Friends and fellow hunters…I happily pass on this nugget of knowledge once again: patience and persistence pay off eventually. Revenge via redemption? It tastes of sweet, sweet honey. A revision to my September post is yet another gem for you: Should you be passing through Hemet; skip Vintage Treasures Antiques. Walk directly across the street to Finders Keepers on Florida Ave. I walked in after my little visit with Henry and found a gorgeous mid-century modern amber vase and the gal behind the counter actually offered me two dollars-off the already reasonable asking price. When I shared with her that I was looking for mid-century modern wares she candidly offered that Finders Keepers had a shop in Beaumont that I should visit, being that most of their MCM stuff is sent up there because of the market. Finders keepers indeed.
In retrospect to my last blog, (Vintique-New Favorite Destination) it wasn’t exactly fair to my readers who are not southern Californians. I’m not patting myself on the back here, but I have readers in Spain, Alaska and Ireland for goodness sake! Certainly people outside of my direct area would love to know where they can get affordable MCM stuff too! I would not like to be known as yet another egocentric American. For my loyal readers near and far, ’tis for you a lucky day indeed. Behold! There is something called Etsy.com. Anything you can imagine wanting is on Etsy.com. Generally and comparatively speaking, I find Etsy prices to be lower than that of Ebay’s. Etsy is the new black my MCM friends…so jump on the bandwagon and let’s go for a ride!
So do it! You know you want to. Do it. Do it. Do it. Go to Etsy.com and enter mid-century _ whatever__. I can tell you….it will be there.
A few weeks back, a friend and I journeyed to Lake Elsinore hearing tales of a place called Thriftique. (See August Archives “She’s Thrifty Thrifty Thrifty”) We heard a rumor that Thriftique would be launching a new store to be called “Vintique” just around the corner. So to get my husband and child to go along with yet another “treasure hunt” I used a “quick pit stop” in Elsinore as a ploy to do some investigating. So en route to San Juan Capistrano, we pulled off at the much-anticipated “Vintique.” SUCKERS! Our pit stop turned into a time warp. What a joyous occasion!
The fab owners graciously allowed me to take photographs and drool all over their premises. It must be said: Vintique has it all: French country to kitsch, Victorian to mid-century modern. You will find reading rooms for young and old, sewing and fabric rooms, there is something for everyone. Whatever makes you hot, baby….come get your fix at Vintique. I’ll just shut up and let the pictures do the talking….but before I do, can I just say NEW FAVORITE PLACE!??!
If you’re a local reader, you’re in luck. Lake Elsinore’s Vintique is just a drive away. If you’re not….get your own fave! Seat’s taken!
I will open my heart and home to anyone who wishes for a day jaunt to Vintique. Let me be your guide. Really. Holla at me.