Stalking the Chiclets

This past week I got to live out one of my thrifting fantasies: being there the minute something great walks through the door. Seeing that terrific thing pull up in a truck and get carried through the doors—and making a move on it before a single other person lays eyes on it. As I was leaving a thrift store parking lot, I saw these pull up:


They were buried in a huge pile of junk, but even at 20 yards there was no mistaking Ray Wilkes’ modular seating group designed for Herman Miller in 1976 (affectionately known as chiclet chairs). Thoughts of running up and offering the donor cash did cross my mind, but he was giving them to a charity, after all, so I decided to wait at a safe distance.


Once the donor left, I went back into the store and asked for the manager. I told him I had just seen the chairs come in and wondered when they’d be out on the floor. He said they’d probably be out the next day. Knowing their floor was overcrowded with furniture and their donation area is the size of a shoebox, I countered with, “I could take them right now.” Sold. The best part is he shot me a price that is exactly what I would have offered the person donating them. Everybody wins! Well, except the guy who gave them away, but presumably he feels good about making a donation.


The chairs still bear their original Herman Miller tags as well as a date stamp identifying their origin as 1981. It’s hard to find information about the line, but I suspect they produced into the 1980s or 90s.

IMG_7914While these might not be the most amazing things anyone has found in a thrift store, they certainly make up for all those times I just missed something. This is also a good reminder that finding great stuff in thrift stores means going there often. Like really often. This particular store I visit once a week—if I had left the store five minutes earlier, these would have come in and sold by my next visit. Of course the last thing I need is any sort of justification for visiting thrift stores any more frequently than I already do.

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Front Door Dilemma

You know when you wake up one morning and shout, “I’m tired of looking at this maroon front door!” That’s where I am. Despite fifty other projects halfway started, I’m on to thinking about paint colors. Sorry everyone who lives with me and my project ADD.


Oh my, our front entryway is so sad. Except for our cat, Truffle, peeking through the glass. Back to the maroon. I’m pretty sure it is the original color, because there are heavy aluminum awnings in our back with maroon stripes. The storm door was aluminum originally and is now black. We’re going to replace it with a door that is one panel of glass so you can actually see the door. Our doorknob is currently gold, and that will be replaced with a black knob to contrast with the escutcheon.

Here’s the fun part. Paint! I’m glad I put these in Photoshop, because some of the beautiful colors in my mind look…less beautiful on the door.

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In my mind, the pencil yellow color was perfect and now I’m definitely having second thoughts. What do you think?

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Don’t Forget the Free boxes

A few weeks ago I had one sale on my radar. That day it just happened to be raining but it was an indoor sale so I ventured out in the pouring down rain. I was disappointed when I left the sale. There was not a single item that interested me and if there would have been something, the prices were crazy high anyway. Still pouring, I made my way to the free boxes outside beneath a tree by the curb. To my surprise it was one of the best free boxes I have ever dug through.

You might call me crazy but I was not alone, another lady who was equally disappointed by the indoor sale, was also digging though the boxes. We both drove away from the sale smiling and soaking wet!

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A handful of amazing wooden fruit and a wooden leaf tray.

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The hand carved wooden tray is marked “Blair Hawaii, Monkey Pod”.

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A ceramic owl and a large wooden bowl.

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My best find was this owl candle holder.

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I’m so glad nothing was ruined by the rain or broken in the free boxes!

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Weekend Finds: The Best of Scandinavia …and a Hooker

Like so many of my weekends lately, I have been too busy with other things to spend much time thrifting. Yet it always seems like I find just as much when I’m not looking aggressively. A quick stop a thrift store or a casual flip through Craigslist and boom, I’ve got just as many great things as if I had spent days hunting them down. Good things, too, like this Dansk serving tray.


Granted this wasn’t priced as though it was at a garage sale (or even a thrift store where it actually was, for that matter) but still a solid find. Designed by Jens Quistgaard in the 1960s, this teak was produced in a few different sizes. Often riddled with knife cuts, this one is no worse for wear.


My next bit of Scandinavian wares did come with a thrifty price tag of $2.99 and is a good example of why you should always open interesting looking boxes.

IMG_7877I almost overlooked this box on the shelf entirely—viewed from straight above no text can be seen. But it’s colorful pattern drew me in and the minute I picked it up, I saw the name of the legendary mid-century modern Finnish sculptor, Tapio Wirkkala.

IMG_7885Inside the box, nestled in their original styrofoam packing, were six “Niva” cordial glasses designed by Wirkkala for Iittala. Wirkkala’s work ranged from mass consumption items like vodka and ketchup bottles to artful ceramics to one-off works of art. His masterful use of small patterns and textures are showcased here in ice-like glasses that sparkle like crystal in the light. After seeing the glasses, I particularly liked that the pattern on the box is a dramatic close up of the glassware.

IMG_7894And finally, my last find of the weekend is that Hooker I mentioned in the title of this post.

IMG_7866She might be a Hooker, but she’s got class. The result of a quick Craigslist check, this desk was a good Sunday afternoon find. Other than needing a little polishing up, I was surprised to find it in such good condition. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover a finished back panel.


I don’t come across pieces by Hooker every day, but I’m always happy when I do. They’re always interesting and finished very nicely. They’ve become one of my favorite makers to hunt for.

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Weekend Finds: Puppy Love

The only sale I hit last weekend was a Saturday morning tag sale where I found this vintage Gund Creations plush stuffed dachshund. I’m guessing this scruffy puppy dates from the late 1940’s.

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My other find was from a trip to Goodwill. I usually walk out of Goodwill empty handed but last week I was happy to snag this vintage wedding cake topper. I have a small collection of wedding cake toppers but this is my first one complete with a base and arched floral surrounding. The best part was the $1.99 price tag!
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