Be still my midcentury-lovin’ heart

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Wipe your chins.  No need to drool.   But, I know, right?? 🙂

These are the tables that I found at Goodwill recently. I saw their mid-century lines from afar and practically trampled people ran up to inspect. Upon opening their sturdy, dove-tail-jointed drawers I discovered this…

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Which I googled on my phone only to realize that these are bona fide antiques, and that similar tables in great condition go for pretty decent amounts.  Now, to clarify… these were NOT in stellar condition, so I had no illusion of grand fortune. I mean, there were scratches….

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And issues in the finish…

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But, for ~$25 bucks a piece, I decided to take them home even though we really didn’t have the space for them.  I figured, at the very least, I could fix them up and sell them if I couldn’t find them a home with us.  Even if I made little profit, I still felt it was my duty to give them a little TLC. Because their midcentury lines are killer. Those brass accents rock my socks. And I love them. And I do crazy things for love.

Once I got them home, I had no game plan whatsoever since I had no idea how bad the finishes really were. The tables were filthy. So, gameplan = CLEAN them. I used a damp dishrag with water only, and began to wipe down the top of the coffee table. This white mottling started happening immediately…

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Which made me think that waxy polishes must’ve been used on the table in the past.  I gently scrubbed with the damp dishrag and then went to a VERY mild mixture of water with a few drops of castile soap….

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And discovered that this alone was removing the glossy(ish) finish. Wow. Once I got the tabletop clean, I realized that the finish was still pretty bad (I hadn’t touched the legs yet in the photo below)…

Just to see it if would work, I gently wiped the top down with a magic eraser to remove any leftover waxy build-up and applied some Restore-A-Finish (which you can read about here or here). Unfortunately, the Restore-A-Finish was no match for the tabletop’s damage.  It still looked like this once I was done….

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My guess is that the household that previously housed this furniture had either cats or very small dogs. The scratches are numerous and very thin and deep and I question what caused the black spot in the photo above (as well as a similar spot on the larger side table) as the finish was actually eaten away rather than simply having colored marks in the finish.

So, this is where I left off for now.  I’m still deciding how to proceed.  I’m thinking of lightly sanding the top to neutralize some of the scratches (VERY lightly as the table has a thin wood veneer as seen here)…

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….But, I question exactly HOW to sand the top as each inlay has the wood-grain facing a different direction.  I thought about using Polyshades to give them a deeper stained look (and dubbing the deeper scratches “character”) but I suspect those dark patches will still show through.  Or possibly filling the deeper holes and then priming and painting the tables and leaving the beautiful brass accents intact.  I do think these would look stunning in a crisp white, although I’d hate to cover the beautiful details on top.

So, I pose this question to you beautiful people… Has anybody worked with similar pieces??  What did you do?  Do any of ya’ll have any advice or thoughts regarding the fate of these tables??  I’m open to any and all suggestions.  Please.  Help me.  🙂

Modern Vintage Happy

As some of you may know, I’m a thrift store/Craigslist junkie.   I love finding and revamping (or not revamping) vintage pieces.   They lend so much personality and warmth to a room.   I would LOVE (with a capital LOVE) to grow our collection and am constantly on the lookout for new, quality finds.   Pairing vintage with modern allows both elements to shine in their own right and it’s a combo that makes me happy.   So, when I received an email from One Kings Lane promoting their new Home Decor Resource and requesting a post on how vintage and modern team up in our home, I jumped on the opportunity.   Here are a few examples of what we’ve got going on….

First, we have My Beloved desk chair.  I wrote about him in detail in this post, and yes, I still hear cheesy 80’s love songs in my head every time I see him (and Joey blames me for this happening to him, as well.  Mission. Accomplished.).   I got him for a steal at our local Goodwill.   He’s a mid-century modern bombshell of clerical chicness with beautiful wood construction and an original vinyl seat.   He currently is the only vintage piece in the sea of modern furnishings that composes our front room.

For example, our unassuming Ikea desk…

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Our clean Friheten Ikea sofa…

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As well as our hacked storage cabinet

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And I love the combination.   The contrast in colors and textures and the simplicity of the other furniture in the room allow My Beloved to truly steal the show (whilst smiling back at me through the glare of stage-lights…  Yup. I’m going with it.).  

Next, we have Drex…

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Our mid-century, Drexel dresser that I scored on Craigslist after an exhausting hunt.   I love his tarnished brass hardware and rich wood tones.   This area still desperately needs some large-scale wall art, but in the meantime, I’ve done my best to style him in a more modern way with a linear tray (which I lined with some retro-patterned fabric),  sleek vases and a simple, brushed-nickel Ikea lamp (and, of course, Hootie… Nothing completes a room like a white ceramic owl in my book ;)) …

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I feel like the differing metal finishes plus less-is-more styling gives Drex more of a modern appeal.

Our living room is another space where modern plus vintage come out to play.  This combination speaks to our personalities so well.  Updated, with a hint of quirk.  Our media cabinet was in sad shape when I purchased him at a local thrift store.   After a little makeover, he shines his vintage aura across the land….

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The contrast of rich, cozy wood plus our clean, white floating Ikea shelves totally puts the wind in my sails.   The simple leather chair adds some sleekness and masculinity to the space while the floral pillow and garden stool help to balance out that manly vibe.  In my opinion, this wall wouldn’t have a speck of the personality it does without our media cabinet.   He adds warmth to an otherwise linear, modern space that might have come off cold without him.  In fact, when I placed him in his current abode, I stated, “Character, I’d like to introduce you to our living room.”  (I mean, it’s only polite to make introductions).   Fortunately, they happen to be getting along swimmingly.

Then, we have our coffee table.  After we adopted Kivvy (our beloved Kivik sectional from Ikea), I was dead-set on finding a coffee table with character to balance out the cool, clean lines of our new sofa.   I searched high and low and finally found our sweet rattan coffee table on Craigslist, which we purchased for a song…

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A spit-shine was all this baby needed to reach his full potential.  I absolutely love the tone of the bamboo which plays perfectly with our media cabinet.   He adds glorious texture without taking up a ton of visual space thanks to his glass top.  I love the straight lines of the bamboo which have just enough curve to bring in the interest he deserves….

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Coffee table…  You. Complete. Me.   Now, I must name you.

Lastly, I thought I’d throw something small into the pot.   Our train whistle, which belonged to Joey as a child…

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It currently resides in our hallway frame collage as the centerpiece for the mix of more modern frames.  I simply hung it from a nail with a piece of twine (as described in detail here).   And here’s the wall as it stands now…

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You can see I’ve made some changes recently, which I’ll describe in another post soon.  The mish-mosh of modern frames and differing finishes along with the antique train whistle forms my very favorite wall-hanging in our house.   It just wouldn’t be the same without our “something old” thrown in.   The train whistle is the cheese to the frames’ macaroni.   The peanut butter to their jelly.   I’m not ashamed to admit that I have crushes on inanimate objects.  It happens.

So anyways, Modern + Vintage is a combo that I cant resist.   They compliment each other so well.  And I’m the first to admit that I’m still happily learning about this subject as fast as I can soak it up… I’m definitely no expert.  But, I know what I like… and this is it.   Non-cookie-cutter.  With personality.  Quirkiness, if you will.   And nothing helps to match that description better than a good vintage piece.   Which, coincidentally, is easily complimented by the clean lines of modern decor.  Peas and carrots, people.  Peas and carrots.  🙂

I have to tell you… right now, as we speak, I’m throwing mental hugs at all of my vintage finds and appreciating them all over again after having written this post. So, tell me… Where does modern + vintage fall in your style?  Any one-of-a-kind finds that make glow in adoration whenever you glance their way?