Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mid-Century Madness

Today's post will have absolutely nothing to do with our feathered friends.  Rest assured, everyone is fine and I have some fresh leg gashes and bruises.  :)  Throughout the better part of this year I have been collecting mid century items.  My addiction started with inheriting my Grandmother's Heywood Wakefield China Hutch (premature to her death).  Of course I bought a book to learn more about the furniture and realized that what my Grandmother had, although a quality piece, was of their Colonial line.  It was not as sought after by collectors as their STREAMLINE MODERN blonde.  I aquired my first piece this year....followed by a second...and a third.....and the other week I doubled my collection in one purchase.  I'm hooked, needless to say.  In my quest for all things mid-century, I've been checking out the local used furniture shops.  You can tell the economy sucks....they are popping up everywhere.  I don't mean little boutique places.....I mean HUGE warehouses full of stuff!  Every period imagionable is covered...victorian...queen anne...colonial.  You like it, you can find it.  There are 3 of these places in my county alone!  My experience has been that the prices are lower than typical retail at antique shops, but you really need to look the pieces over as they will require elbow grease and possibly refinishing.  Now the real deals, they just sneak up on you!  Take, for instance, the lovely Heywood Wakefield twin bed with footboard and rails.  A complete bed...add mattress and boxspring.  Immaculate shape, no refinishing required and not a scratch on the thing.  $30!!!!  Found this at a newer local antique shop.  I'm sure they had no idea what it was worth.  It could have gone for easily $150---and more like $200-300.  We did not need a bed, but decided it was too good to pass up.  Genny has fallen in love with it and it is now hers.  It's in the Wheat finish, compared to our other pieces which are in the Champagne finish.  The wheat reminds me of the old wooden school chairs we had in elementary school, which were most likely also made by Heywood Wakefield! 
Genny's new 'vintage' $30 Encore Twin Bed in Wheat finish.
Next up, the gentleman who hooked me up with the china hutch and dining table was coming to the area.  I had agreed to purchase 3 tables from him for $100 each.  Delivery day came and I was so excited to see the pieces. 

This fabulous table is a LAMP table.  It is a Heywood signature piece in this era and line.  I've seen them selling for as much as $400 fully restored.  This one needs some TLC as the finish on the top is rough.  It will be a future project for me and I hope I have the ability inside me to do it justice!

The TWIN end tables date to the early 1950's and were only made for 3 years.  There were many other step end tables made in this line, but this is the only one with a drawer in the front.  They usually sell for more than the standard step end tables.  The storage drawer is huge!  They are not immaculate and one is better than the other.  Future projects, but usable in the mean time. 
Here's one of the tables all set up in the living room.  I picked up that sweet pottery base lamp with 3 tier fiberglass shade for $60 at the Extravaganza in Kutztown.  It's ugly and screaming mid century!  Looks great in my otherwise bland living room. 
We are having a fun time sourcing these pieces.  I look to find some matching dressers to Genny's bed at some point.  We will be heading to Philadelphia in the morning to check out a place called Mid-Century Furniture Warehouse.  They have afew pics of coordinating pieces to Genny's bed, but I do not know their finish.  Prices are higher than I'd like, but looking through a place like that full of teak, walnut, blonde and other atomic finds just makes me giddy!  :)  I figured it was worth the trip to check it out.  Ikea's MDF based melamine furniture is definitely not heirloom quality as this stuff was!  If you find any of these pieces in your family heirlooms, please take care of it!  A little scrub with Murphy's Oil Soap followed by some beeswax polish is all you need to bring it back to life!  I'm done with cheap modern furniture! 
 Poppin' Tags.   I'm sure by now, especially if you have older children, you have heard Macklemore's rap THRIFT SHOP.  If not, click on the link and check it out.  Warning....there is swearing but the song is hysterical and the video is well done.  It plays in my head every time I'm walking around Goodwill!  Yes, I admit it.  I check out the Goodwill when I am in the area!  I hit 2 stores in one day yesterday.  I made a trunk load donation and found a rockin' vintage pottery dish for $8.  Now, if you see anything in Goodwill marked more than $2 or $3, you know it's worth something.  I'm sure there is an employee that has the challenge of valuing the junk that is given to them.  Someone is looking this crap up on ebay and saying....oh hell no....we aren't selling this fine piece for $.97!   So be skeptical when you find something that looks like it might be old and has a higher price tag.  Lucky for me, my ghetto pay-as-you-go cell phone plan has internet access.  As I waited in line to buy, I quickly found my piece selling for $20 on ebay.  That was a pretty good score!  I knew it would look good on my new tables too! 

The piece was signed so it was easy to find.  The markings underneath said Cal Orig 895 USA.  I searched for that and found one fast.  Can't find any info on California Originals Pottery, but they made lots of stuff in this vintage from ashtrays to candy dishes and serving pieces.  Love the paint and glaze!  They aren't worth tons of money, most likely because it seems they put out alot of them.  But the piece will add the vintage look I was going for to my room and that is worth the $8 I spent! 
The second Goodwill of the day was a SUPER SCORE!  I found this tin contraption with a metal carry handle that wrapped around to keep the compartments together.  3 layers....pie on bottom, cake in the big middle and a small layer up top.  Pretty neat.  The illustrations on the side were sports themed and definitely had a retro vibe going on.  No markings, though so not sure who made it.  No rust either!  We had recently found a tin plaid cooler from the 50's and it had some rust going on.  This was in pretty fab shape.  Then I thought, what if it isn't as old as I think it is?  Well, for $4.97 it was worth the risk!  I bake ALOT.  I camp ALOT.  I will definitely use this piece!  So I purchased and when I looked it up, they go from $30-60!  The triple tiered ones seem to be the most expensive.  SCORE!  I'm very pleased with this awesome piece.  Very sad that there was also a silver tin cannister set there and I glanced at it, but did not jump on it.  I found 2 today at vintage shop for $25 each set.  That would have been a good score too, but then again, I didn't really need one.  You have to draw the line somewhere I guess!  Maybe some day I will try to get in the antique game of buying low and selling high.....would be fun but not sure how profitable.'s the J L Clark (still in business by the way and made all sorts of tin packaging from band aid tins to mint tins!) Picnic Pal or Triple Decker Food Carrier!

Will hope to have some more stories of fabulous finds after tomorrow's road trip.  Not sure if I will actually come home with anything, but spending the day out browsing will sure be fun!  And to make it more fun, we are going to be taking the Vanagon! 
Thanks for listening to my non-feathered friends update! 
Peace out cluckers....