Well, this happened this weekend:
What began as any typical Saturday waiting in line for a tag sale, ended with a truck rental, indenturing myself to friends and family for their manual labor, and a new storage space full of great mid-century furniture. Saturday was a long day. Let’s start with the show and tell.
The first item on my list for this sale was a Stanley dining room set. I had seen it in the listing photos for the sale. I’ve seen pictures of this line online but had yet to encounter it in person and I was really curious to check it out. I was one of the first five people in the door for the sale (having stood in line for nearly two hours) and I headed toward the dining room where I quickly nabbed the whole set. This grouping includes a large rectangular table with three leaves and protective table pads, six chairs, a china hutch and a small three drawer server. The table and chairs could use some TLC—new fabric and glue on the chairs and some buffing and spot repair on the table—but overall they’re really lovely. I love the graceful tapering of the table top and the airy construction of the table and chairs.
Despite its back-breaking weight and one-piece construction that made it a thrill to extricate from a house with a complicated floor plan—the hutch is my favorite piece. It and the buffet share gorgeous detailing that includes triangular rosewood inlay as well as stainless steel pulls and toe caps. The back of the hutch is not real wood, so I’m contemplating covering it in fabric to match whatever I recover the seats with. Perhaps a neutral tweed?
The most-questionable-purchase-of-the-day award goes to this Webcor console stereo. I turned away from the dining set, saw this, and just said, “and I’ll take that, too!” I’m blaming it on the adrenaline from scoring the dining set. There was a little voice in my head saying, “What?! No! Stop!” His cries were in vain.
It’s actually super cute, but I bought it without testing it (lest the time it would take to plug it in should keep me from other finds) and I doubt it will work. I haven’t tried it yet though, so my fingers remain crossed.
At this point I had only seen and conquered one room of the house. On to the den! The first thing I saw was this amazing seven foot monster dresser from American of Martinville’s 1959 Dania line. At first glance I thought it was two separate pieces. Nope—just one hulking super dresser. I had to have it.
I’m calling this beauty my best find. The louvered-look drawer fronts disguise the six side drawers entirely and three more are hidden behind the center doors. This had been used as an office credenza and I think its look and design lend it to a variety of uses outside the bedroom.
It’s solid, too. And heavy. Really heavy. Oh and did I mention it is huge? We ended up having to take a door off the hinges and flip this beast six ways from Sunday just to get it out of the house. The poor soul who agreed to help me move it might disagree, but it was worth it.
While I was pillaging the first floor, I had sent my mom to invade the bedrooms upstairs. She managed to find this beautiful cherry Bassett bedroom set. The three piece set includes a gentleman’s chest, dresser with mirror and a king size bed.
A king headboard is a rare find in vintage furniture because most older homes couldn’t hold a bed that large. Initially I didn’t want to buy it because I didn’t want to have to take the mattress. Later in the day when we picked the set up, the price of the bed dropped dramatically—negotiated by my moving team—and I had no choice but to say yes. I had no idea what we were going to do with the mattress, but as we were moving it down the stairs we overheard another shopping asking about the bed. I asked her if she wanted a free king mattress and she was overjoyed to take it. Sometimes problems solve themselves.
My favorite piece is the gentleman’s chest. It’s huge and dramatic with all kinds of storage options.
After everything was purchased, the reality of having to fish all of this massive wooden furniture out of a small house filled with shoppers and glassware began to set in. A friend volunteered to help with the heavy lifting, but I also needed to find a truck and somewhere to put it all. Both proved to be a challenge on what turned out to be the biggest moving weekend of the year. After several hours of making calls and visiting storage facilities, I managed to lock down both and get the house unloaded in the nick of time.
So what did I learn? I played the first half of the game by the book. I got there early, I brought help to split up my list and I set some firm price limits in my head. Buying it all was a piece of cake. The second half of the game lacked planning. I was counting on having more storage and transportation options than were actually available on short notice and ended up with options that worked, but weren’t ideal. I also underestimated the effort it would take to move all of the furniture out of a crowded house and pack it in a van. I owe a lot of gratitude and perhaps some vital organs to a couple people as a result of that. It was a learning experience. Next time, I’ll be prepared.
My favorite exchange of the day happened as I was carrying a load of chairs to my car and saw a couple of long-time collectors that the Snag team has befriended waiting in line for many sales. They were packing up their massive pile of spoils and I yelled across the street, “Aren’t we ridiculous?” She yelled back, “Yes, but we’re enjoying life.” Well put.