Vacation Finds

Over our short holiday hiatus I spent time visiting family in Pennsylvania. While my favorite part of any holiday trip is spending time with people I don’t get to see that often—especially my two adorable nephews—my second favorite part is finding vintage things along the way. Vacation finds are the best not only because you find them in places that aren’t your regular haunts, but also because they double as souvenirs of the trip. My first find, however, did come right before I left.


In the midst of frantic holiday preparations, this set of six walnut Gunlocke chairs was brought to my attention by my mom. It’s always nice to have an extra set of eyes looking when I’m too busy to look for myself. These were being sold by a business who had “upgraded” their conference room chairs to ones with wheels. At $10 a pop they were a no brainer.


I love the sculpted frames and though they’re intended use is office furniture, I plan to pair them up with a dining room table. They’re also great if you’re short on space—they stack!


So, after jamming these haphazardly into my garage, we were off to Pennsylvania. It’s roughly a 12 hour drive from Iowa and we generally drive straight through, but there’s always time to stop at a thrift store or two along the way. Despite a car packed to the roof with luggage, gifts and my cat, when I saw this sitting in an Illinois thrift store I knew I was going to have to do some repacking:


What’s better than finding an Eames shell chair at a thrift store? Finding it on half price day for a whopping $2.50. And what’s even better than finding an Eames shell chair for a ridiculously low price?


Finding an early production Eames shell chair in sought-after elephant hide gray at a ridiculously low price.  The solid metal “x” base legs were used on the first two generations of shell chairs—later generations have hollow tubular “h” bases. This is a second generation chair since it lacks the embedded rope edge in the shell that was present on the first generation chairs. All that greatness aside, it does have a pretty big flaw.


A two-and-a-half inch crack in the seat ruins an otherwise pristine example. I’m going to research possible restoration methods, but it’s very likely I’ve just bought a set of legs. Even so, not too shabby.

My last find came a couple days before the end of the trip. Whilst holding a sleeping baby in one arm, I couldn’t resist the lure of Craigslist. There at the top of the page, posted only minutes prior, was this:


A Drexel Declaration surfboard coffee table! For only $60, it was a steal. I feverishly typed out an “I’ll take it!” email with my one free thumb. Nearly an entire day passed without a response and I was quite certain some other person had snapped it up. But at the day’s end I got word that it was still available and it was all mine for the taking.


I was the first in line! But I wasn’t the only person who realized what this was from the few tiny pictures in the post. Other buyers had been making her better cash offers for two solid days—fortunately she was an honest seller and held it for me at the posted price. You meet good people on Craigslist sometimes. I was happy to haul this 70-inch monster home with me, even if it was a bit of a squeeze to get it in the car. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it or where I’ll put it, and it doesn’t matter—because I got it while on vacation and everyone knows that you don’t have to have a plan for souvenirs.


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