Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ottoman Week

Every once in a while it seems like when it rains it pours! I found two nice Eames Era ottomans at garage sales that I stopped at on my way home from work. Nothing better then putting you feet up after a long day! They are both looking for new homes on ebay!
White Ottoman

Brown Ottoman


Dedicated to All the Garage Sale Archeologist Doubters

My son doubted my expertise with furniture but when he sold a $10.00 garage sale chair for $120.00 he told me that he'd never doubt my judgement on furniture again. It didn't last long. Last night when he saw my latest archeology find he was not to impressed. These two high back wing chairs were a mere $15.00 each. They are not in the best of condition. I spent 3 hours cleaning them up. A little wood is knocked off and the fabric needed a serious cleaning. Now, after a thorough upholstry cleaning, some tacky glue and a touch up pen, they look like what I thought they could be, nice. The best part of all is that there is a pair of the same chairs on ebay for $1300.00. Those chairs are in much better condition and are upholstered in leather but I can't help but feel that my find was not so bad after all.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Modern Yesterday Modern Today

This is a new garage sale find. My son's little dresser just isn't up to snuff and he needed something a little more solid and this little chest of drawers fit the bill for only $35.00. It's sleek sculptural design hales from the late 50's. I was attracted to the warm rich tones in the finish and the cedar lined dove tailed drawers. It has a few dings but they should clean up well with a touch of brown acrylic paint or a touch up marker. This was modern in the mid-century and it's modern today. Some pieces are just classic.

True Confessions of a Lampaholic

I have a deep dark secret that isn't so dark when my addiction is turned on. I am a lampaholic. I quit counting at 32 in my home. Of course, I should share that we don't have many ceiling fixtures so the lamps do fill the void. There's just something about an old lamp that I can't seem to resist and they're such a big part of decorating a room that several rooms in my home have been decorated around the lamps. From the 19th c. Carl Unger Schneider base with horses and cart to my mid 60's drip pottery lamp they all add greatly to finishing a room off. Simple and sleek, hand-painted or sculptural lamps complete the design of any room. You can purchase good used lamps at any flea market, garage sale or second hand shop for a reasonable price. It's not difficult to re-wire them, and I do strongly urge one to do just that. Better safe then sorry. I have to wonder how many people have turned these on and off through the years. When you think about it electric lamps brought us out of the darkness and into many good books. They lit the way through the 20th century.

Here are a few lamps from my collection. I tried to put them in order of decade.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Early American vs. Victorian

Victorian furniture is so incredibly gorgeous. Who wouldn't want a few walnut or mahogany pieces? The problem is that everyone wants something Victorian so that means the prices are going to be higher then usual even at a garage sale. I was at a garage sale last week that had some very dinged up but nice Victorian pieces and they still wanted over 100.00 for them. If you have a more traditional taste in furniture and love solid wood pieces I would urge you to look for Early American. You can find great pieces out there for great prices. I'm not talking about all those oversized veneered colonial pieces that were popular in the 60's but the classic pieces: Empire, Shaker, Phyfe, Federal, Early Colonial, Georgian, Windsor and so on. Many times you can find high quality Early American pieces at garage sales, used furniture stores and even antique shops for a very reasonable price. Depending on the damage the price varies. The table in the photo, top left, was purchased at a rummage sale for $5.00. It's important to know thy woods! You can tell if it's solid if the same wood grain pattern is on the top and underneath side. I recognized that it was a solid rock maple table and had the potential with a little tlc to be brought back to life. I stripped it and refinished it to match a pair of Windsor chairs I purchased at a local antique shop for 45.00 each. I never refinish chairs. It's the perfect size for a small eat in kitchen. Total price for the set 100.00 plus the re-finishing supplies that have been used for several pieces by now.

So who are the manufacturer's you need to keep an eye out for? Certain companies are always going to equal quality and timeles value. I have listed them in the order of my preference. I have to admit I have a thing for Pennsylvania House. I own 3 pieces and they are just as gorgeous as the day I brought them home 30 years ago.

Pennsylvania House
Ethan Allen
Tell City

Yesterday's garage sale find was an well preserved Ethan Allen Colonial Coffee Table, extimated era the late 50's or early 60's. It's looking for a new home on ebay.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Designing With Color Made Easy

Color theory isn't difficult but to an amateur decorator on a budget it can be daunting. Furnishing a room, apartment or home doesn't need to be stressful. If you're on a budget and have decided to garage sale, flea market and second hand shop for your furnishings you can, with a little effort, create a space that is both color coordinated and stylish. I can spend an entire post on color theory but when you're out on an archeology expedition you won't have the Internet to refer back to so I'm going to share exactly how I do it. Most artists have extensive training in color theory. So what I do is find a painting with all the colors and lighting I'm looking for in a room. It doesn't matter what style just look for one that inspires you. I like to use Wassily Kandinsky because his range of colors and styles is so varied. There's something there for everyone. Once a painting has been selected print it off and put it in your wallet or purse. Now you have a reference point for the color theory you want in your room and you didn't have to go to design school to do it. In general select two dominant colors and one contrasting accent color. From this Kandinsky painting I chose warm browns and greens. My contrasting accent colors might be blues, golds or black. Let's see how I did. The style of furniture was Danish Modern.

You never know what you're going to find at a garage sale so you have to keep an open mind. I found a pair of green Simmons Danish Modern daybeds from the late 50's for $30.00, a black Carter's Brother's Scoop chair from the early 60's for $5.00, the pole lamp for $ 7.00, the step table was $8.00, the Nakashima style 60's clock was $12.00 and the two green side chairs were $30.00 each. That totaled at $122.00 dollars for this room. The Carter's Brother's chair ended up in my son's apartment so we can deduct $5.00. It was just that cool.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Out with the old and in with the old!

We have had an old porch swing on the side porch that I purchased at a garage sale for 10 cents 5 years ago. The side wood rotted and we decided to pass it on to a handier member of the family. So today I found this old aluminum chaise lounge that should fit the bill. I'm guessing it's from the 40's or possibly early 50's. The fabric on the original cushions are in mint condition and very retro style. Which now brings me to share a couple of haggling tips when you're on an archeology expedition. I always assume everything is 20% off when I walk into a sale. I never ask them if they'll go lower I just make them a lower offer. If they want a little more they will counter but rarely do I get a "no". Always be polite and thank them for what a great deal you got on such a nice item.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Garage Sale Round Up

Today's find is a Homecrest Swivel Rocker era 1960's. It's an extremely comfortable chair and I was happy to see it at a garage sale of a 95 year old lady. She was downsizing so she could move in with her son and his wife, both in their 70's. Some of the best pieces I've come across have been by little old ladies. This chair is currently listed on ebay. It's perfect for gaming in front of that super sized tv screen.


Yesterday's find was an awesome little sofa that I'm attributing to Heywood Wakefield, as there is no manufacturer's mark. This was a rescue piece as the owner had left it outside......fortunately I came along after the 2nd day and saved it. It's a beautiful example of Mid-century 1950's style and check out that Bark cloth upholstry. It's also looking for a new home on ebay.


The Kings of Mod

I have a background in interior design and an interest in furniture design and have spent a lifetime searching for the perfect pieces. I can furnish a one bedroom apartment for 500.00 and so can you. The first thing you need to do is know your time period, styles and designers. One of my favorite eras is the 50's and 60's Mid-century modernists and I especially love Danish Modern. Hey don't get me wrong I am all about Early American and Victorian but you have to admit the 50's and 60's produced some phenomenal game changers in how we think of architecture, industrial design and furniture design! So watch this little clip introducing some of the "Kings of Mod".