The Long Haul: Part II

If you read last Wednesday’s post, you may be wondering how there could possibly be more from just one short week of shopping. Let me set the scene for you with a pic I snapped in Goodwill the day after we got to Pittsburgh.

SculptraYou’re looking at a Broyhill Scupltra room divider and small china cabinet. They also had a matching dresser and buffet. Less than $175 for all four pieces. Sadly I couldn’t get my hands on these, they had sold the day before and were awaiting pick-up. Of course, what you can’t see in this picture is a zillion years worth of cigarette smoke emanating from them—I was actually a little relieved they were sold and I didn’t have to deal with that. Nevertheless, these are the kinds of gems popping up in thrift stores. My agony of not scoring these amazing pieces was quelled somewhat by my first find.

Credenza AltI found this amazing credenza at the Ohio River Antique Mall in Bellevue. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, it’s definitely a stop worth making. There are two dealers who sell almost exclusively mid-century modern plus several floors of great antique and vintage finds at reasonable prices. I fell in love with this credenza when I laid eyes on it and the seller even gave me a deal. The drawers are lockable and behind the black leather-clad door lies walnut shelving that slides out with built-in electrical access. The seller did warn me that it was heavier than it looked. He was not kidding. This was far and away the single heaviest piece of furniture we moved on the entire trip—maybe the heaviest piece I’ve ever bought. The entire cabinet is solid wood, even the drawer bottoms.

Credenza Back

When I first saw this, it was up against a wall and when we moved it out I was very pleasantly surprised to discover the backside was completely finished as well. Perhaps the adrenaline from that discovery gave me the strength not to drop this hulking beast before we made it into the truck.

Just around the corner from this, we found another fantastic bargain.

Brasilia HutchThis Broyhill Brasilia china hutch top was an orphan, having been separated from its base in favor of a faster sale as a topless credenza. The result was this piece being offered for just $50! SOLD. If you remember a couple months back, my mom purchased a Brasilia buffet and this will look perfect atop it. It could also be used on top of any of the dressers we brought home, too.

Even without the base, Brasilia can be easily identified by the hardware

Even without the base, Brasilia can be easily identified by the hardware

On the way home from finding all of this wonderfulness, we stopped at a consignment store where I picked up this little beauty:


The design and construction of this nightstand make me want to label it Drexel or American of Martinsville, but those makers usually marked their pieces well. A nameless beauty it remains. Like most night tables I find, I wish I had a pair. They’re tough to find. Often people only bought one because in smaller homes beds have to be pushed into a corner leaving no space for two tables. But never say never—I found these at a thrift store a few days later:

Sceptre Nightstands

The best part, these Kent Coffey Sceptre night stands were only $5 each! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I can’t get enough of their unusual shape.

Good things often come in pairs, like these arm chairs I snagged the second day of our visit at a flea market for just $30. They need new upholstery, but that looks simple enough and I love the lines on them.

Orange Chairs

A visit to Salvation Army yielded another brush with our friend Kent Coffey.


Perspecta Imprint

This Kent Coffey Perspecta nine-drawer dresser also included a mirror that I wasn’t able to photograph. Designed around the time Broyhill introduced Brasilia, Perspecta borrowed a lot from that look but is a little more subtle. Still the lines are lovely and, like all Kent Coffey pieces, the construction is superior.

Perspecta Detail

My favorite part of this dresser, however, might just be the amazing brownstone-themed 1960s drawer liner I found inside.

Drawer Liner

Up to this point we had been picking up pieces in our car and either leaving them on my brother’s front porch or shoving them in our crowded storage unit. We picked up the rental truck a couple days before we planned to head back, affording us the opportunity to pick up some larger things. We had been stalking some items since before leaving Iowa and now that we could pick them up, we decided to jump on them. The first was an enormous chair.

Round Chair

Although it is every bit as dirty as it looks, this picture still doesn’t do this amazing early 1960s round chair justice. In person you’d grasp the reality of its 60-inch diameter and want nothing more than to just flop down on it. I’ve seen this chair a few times and although it’s almost always attributed to mid-century furniture designer extraordinaire Milo Baughman, there’s really no evidence I can find to actually tie him to this piece. It needs new legs and new fabric, but for just $50, there’s room for all of that to be done. Oh, and if you’re wondering, it is super comfortable.

The second purchase we needed the truck for was more than a long shot but it’s by far my favorite find of the whole trip. I had been stalking this on Craigslist for weeks, but the price was far out of the range I wanted to pay. I nearly passed over it, but finally decided I was here, it was what I wanted and I had nothing to lose by making an offer. So I did. I replied to the ad with a reasonable but way below asking offer that I never, ever expected to be accepted. They accepted.

Drexel Table Set

An eight piece Drexel Declaration dining set! My forever dining set. A china hutch, two arm chairs, four armless chairs and a full size dining table with three leaves. Although not pictured here, the hutch has milk glass shelves in the upper section and sliding glass doors.

Drexel Hutch

I’ve wanted this since I found out it existed. It was about a two hour drive through mountain roads in a large moving truck to get these, but it was so worth it. I was thrilled to find the set in great condition. Since I already have one Declaration china hutch, I had originally intended to sell this hutch and only keep the table and chairs. But when I met the lovely woman who owned the set and she told me that she cherished this and her late husband had purchased it for her from an antique store years earlier, I decided not to split the set. They’ve spent 50 years together and I won’t change that now. Besides, who doesn’t need two matching china hutches? My current pieces, however, have the optional white porcelain pulls instead of the Formica inlaid brass. I’ve managed to salvage enough extra porcelain pulls from other pieces that I can replace the hardware on this hutch to match mine.

Drexel Captains ChairThe chairs are my favorite part of this set. I can’t wait to get new foam and fabric on them. They are so beautiful and impossibly delicate. The backs even have wooden diamond inlays.

Drexel Chair Detail

That was a high that was pretty hard to come down from. It was our last planned purchase before loading up the truck so I was glad it was a showstopper. But, as usual, I can’t be trusted to stop when I say I will. After the truck was completely loaded, I found myself on the phone working a deal to buy these:

Bertoia Group 2

A set of five Harry Bertoia for Knoll wire chairs. When I contacted the sellers initially, I discovered these were in fair to poor condition and I decided to pass. But in a twist, the sellers actually contacted me back and we worked out a deal that left enough room to have the chairs restored.

BertoiaAlthough beautiful, my work is cut out for me. Each chair needs several welds repaired as well as sandblasting and new paint. This will be a new adventure for me, but I’m anxious to give these chairs new life. I love the original white and black combo, but I’m considering custom ideas as well. Any thoughts on what color you’d like to see these chairs end up?

While I was retrieving these, the sellers also showed me this Cosco molded fiberglass stool.

Cosco Stool

It has a cool shape and adjustable height so it can be used at a range of table heights. I couldn’t resist.

And just when you thought I couldn’t fit one more thing in the truck, I visited the thrift store just a couple blocks from my brother’s house and found this:

Sofa Painting

A fantastic sofa-size, oil-on-canvas harbor scene from the 1960s. I love the color palette and the frame. Most importantly, this was flat and easy to squeeze in the truck!

So, that’s what my vacation looks like. Some people bring home some sea shells, others bring home a few knick knacks or a t-shirt. I prefer a whole house worth of furniture from wherever I’m visiting. To each their own. I still have a ton of smalls to unpack from the trip, and I hope to be able to show those to you soon. If you’re curious about how to move a truckload of furniture across the country yourself, don’t miss Thursday’s post where I’ll be sharing all my tips and tricks for packing furniture for a safe journey.

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  1. Susie
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m drooling over all these treasures. I think my favorites are the kent night stands, just wonderful! Yes, yes , yes, I can’t wait to read about how you moved all these treasures “safely”. I’ve tried to move a tell city dining table and chairs in my van, I thought they were packed up safely but the whole way home they were shifting around. I would love to know how you did it with all those pieces. You mentioned a few times about “working a deal”, I’m curious if you have any tips, techniques for getting the best price on purchases. Maybe you could do a post on this subject sometime :).

    • Austin
      Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      I’ll admit I was nervous about this trip and all that delicate wood stuff, but everything made it without so much as a scratch so we must have done something right 🙂 We’d love to do a post on negotiation strategies! I’m sure the three of us have different techniques we use, so we’ll get to work on making a list.

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