Hello, Gorgeous!

23 Nov

I can’t write those words without trying to say them aloud in a Barbra Streisand accent. Not an attractive attempt from a Catholic Southern girl. If only. But it’s my stab at making a statement about my new thrifting find.

As you all know, I have lamented my inability to shed the ‘why-pay-less’ attitude of my youth and engage in the kind of seeking behavior that lands my friends and fellow bloggers the most wonderful used furniture. I found one chair last summer, which is still sitting un-upholstered in the living room. (Though, I plan on remedying that soon with some help from a friend and her JoAnn 50% coupon.)

Recently though, we had dinner at the lovely MCM house bought by some friends of our and designed by our other new friend, Jerry Gropp. While ooohhing and aaahhing over their view, architecture and overall house-wonderfulness, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy admiration as Kathy pointed out all her mid-century finds. This from the Mercer Island Thrift Store for $100 and that from Goodwill for $50. Oh and the table and chairs from an estate sale for $150. Mind you, these are all pieces that would easily go for $1000+ in new condition at Modernica or Herman Miller or Thrive or Perch. Pick the MCM furniture company of your choice. (Rex Kelly has some wonderful MCM replicas as well, for very affordable prices.)

My latest desire has been an MCM armchair, ever since I saw and considered buying a rocker version at Urban Outfitters, just because it was SO affordable. (After reading the reviews, it was clearly a case of you get what you pay for.) Then of course, I saw this Finn Juhl on Rex Kelly’s blog (replica for $925) or the new Eisenhower chair on Thrive ($899). Desire became fixation.

So on the way home, I talked Brett’s ear off analyzing why I never found these jewels until he finally said to me, ‘You’re just not made that way.’


‘To find those things, you have to be a bit like a dog on a bone. Look and look and look and look until you see it. You don’t really have that kind of time.’

Of course, I read between the lines and know that time = patience. And of course, I know he’s right. I want it and I want it now. But having recently turned 40, I think maybe stretching myself and long in-grained habits may be in order. (Which is a lofty way of saying that I’m 40, I have two houses, four kids and can’t just buy stuff when I want it anymore.) Plus, if you tell me I can’t do something, I love to prove you wrong. (I am contrary like that; I do better with negative reinforcement!)

So driving home one day, I decided to pop by the Mercer Island Thrift Store and…EUREKA! Two lovelies just sitting there waiting for me for…wait for it…$45 each. (There was also an amazing dining table but at $600 wasn’t in the ‘Buy It Now’ category for me.) I grabbed them so fast that I almost knocked an old lady down as she was walking toward them. One man laughed at me carrying them out of the store putting everyone and thing in my may in mortal danger.

But they are home and they are mine. All mine. The cushions are mis-matched but the frames are exactly the same. A little worse for probably 50 years of wear, but nothing a little sanding and staining can’t fix. (I do need to figure out how to deal with the loose springs on one, but details, details.)

I am imagining them with cushions in a nice nubby orange or perhaps charcoal gray. They will be heading to the upholsterer with the previously mentioned chair this December. Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Maybe I do have a knack for this?


17 Responses to “Hello, Gorgeous!”

  1. Brad January 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Wow! I’m totally jealous. My wife and I have been scouring craigslist for over 3 months now for those exact style of chairs. I too have debating buying new or vintage and you’ve inspired me to visit thrift stores!

    • Brandy January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Do it! You have to be pretty diligent though. (Just don’t visit my stores! Kidding. Sort of.)

  2. Melissa January 6, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Love the chairs! Question for you, you mentioned sanding to touch it up. Wondering how this is done. Used google to search for it without any luck. Watching those designer shows on TV they talk about it but can you really do a bit of sanding and then use ? to spruce up wood? Tried it on our wood floors with bad results! Maybe the new kit from Rust Oleum would work.

    • Brandy January 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Hi Melissa,
      I will sand the chairs and then restain them. It’s really easy, though you need one of those special electric sanders that gets in corners and tight spaces. I will most likely stain them, as I don’t think the wood is all that great and would need more than teak oil. Give it a try! Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  3. kathy November 23, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Wow, nice work. You only got because I am out of town 🙂

    • Brandy November 24, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      That’s so true! But I was inspired. Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving!


  4. Sara In AZ November 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Wow!!! What a great score!!! Awesome!!!

    • Brandy November 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks! I was SO excited to find them!

      Happy Thanksgiving!


  5. Tina November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Awesome finds! Kudos to Brett for making you prove him wrong. I have a new love for MCM chairs. We are investors in a new restaurant in Logan Square. The designers sourced all the MCM dining chairs from Craig’s list, ebay and thrift stores. I’ll send you a couple photos via email. I have a bit of that “why-pay-less” in me as well. But, wondering into a consignment shop in Lincoln Park paid off for me last week. I got a never worn pair of Prada pumps (still in the box) for $125. Price on the box … $485. I had that same “Hello, Gorgeous” feeling. (That phrase is actually special to me because that is Brian says whenever he picks up my calls.) I threw in the Chicago neighborhoods on purpose to try and make homesick for Chicago! Have a great Thanksgiving.

    • Brandy November 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      So jealous. Your plan worked. Made me so homesick! I would love to see the photos from the restaurant. Please email when you have a chance!

      Happy Thanksgiving!


  6. Kate November 23, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Congratulations! Gotta love that MI thrift store.
    p.s. If you find an upholsterer you like, please let me know.


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