Mid-century furniture treasures

I love mid century pieces.  

I started collecting them on a small scale before the "mid-century craze" blew up! Quite by accident I might add.  I picked up my first little "lamp table" at the apartments one day and started to pitch it in the back of the truck to take to the dumpster.  It was pretty nasty but I realized it was a nice sturdy table...no wobbles...and I strongly suspected it was oak and walnut (it is!). So I brought it home and refinished it and started doing a little research.  Lane Acclaim...late 50s, early 60s.

It was my first piece and I have been in love with the mid century pieces since!

I have been able to pick up a few Lane Acclaim tables for a decent price here and there. Now there is no way I could pay the prices most people are asking.  

My Lane tables are one of my favorite things....

These are just two of the many I have. I absolutely love the clean lines and beautiful design of these tables. They are as sturdy as the day they were built 50+ years ago. And the walnut?  Just wow! 

They are great pieces to refinish IF you do it right.  Most pieces pre-mid 1960s have a varnish finish. Varnish tends to "muddy" over time and of course they have had decades of wear and tear, so you really do have to "refinish" them.  Not hard if you use the right stuff.  I absolutely love the Formby's products...especially the furniture refinisher. Basically it just melts the old varnish off and leaves the wood clean and hydrated. After I have stripped ALL the old varnish, I give it a mineral spirit "wash" and then apply 3-4 coats of the Formby's tung oil.  You can use REAL tung oil, but honestly, that is not something a "novice" DIYer wants to tackle! Most "oils" sold in stores, whether it is Danish, Teak or Tung, are basically the same chemical makeup.  But they all provide a beautiful and durable finish that is easy to apply, super easy to maintain and more importantly for me (and anyone who has kids or pets), crazy easy to touch up or repair scratches and dings! 

Poly?  Don't even get it close to these pieces...nothing upsets me more than to see a beautiful vintage piece of furniture slathered in poly. Grrrrrr......

I have 7 of these little tables...one I found in an apartment, the others I never paid more than $40 for...carefully restored they sell for hundreds...EACH!

Months ago, I posted about this little tv cabinet I bought at an auction for $1 and refinished. Cosmetically it was in pretty bad shape...but structurally perfect! Solid walnut top and really nifty sliding doors.


I never could find out anything about it. Usually I can google a description and find out what something is...origin, style, date, etc. But I never could on this piece.  

Recently I stumbled across what the doors on this piece are called...."tambour" doors.  

Specifically, this piece is described as a "Cabinet or side table by John Kapel for Glenn of California."  

There were a few minor differences between this cabinet and mine, but there is no doubt they are by the same designer and manufacturer.

I found this piece on firstdibs.com.  And just so you will understand that it is worth the time to scrounge around at auctions and garage sales...they list this piece at $2200.00!!!!!!

Now I'm not naive...I know that I could NEVER sell this piece for that price...but it does tell me that it is a very desirable, unique vintage piece...and my time and effort to refinish it was worth it!

Same with this coffee table I started refinishing this weekend....

I bought this table at an auction as well....for $22! As you can see, cosmetically it is rough...but structurally it is perfect. I didn't know exactly what it was, but I knew it was "mid-century" and walnut and I loved the style. When I brought it home, I found the "Drexel Declaration" stamp on the bottom.  Again, highly desirable mid-century piece...one that will be worth 20 times or more than what I paid for it after I refinish it.  I will make sure to post before and after pictures when I am done!

Again, I don't have any intention of selling this piece.  So the "profit value" isn't what motivates me...it is the confirmation that my time and efforts to hunt down and carefully restore these pieces are valued!

I found two of these chairs on Craigslist for $40 each....


To date, I have only refinished one of them...someday I'll get to the other!  While I normally wouldn't pay $40 for a chair, they are mid-century and solid walnut.  And the caning was in mint condition which is rare on older pieces! So in my book, as a lover and collector of mid-century pieces, they were worth every dime and worth the time and effort to restore them! 

Whether your decor taste is mid-century, shaby chic, farmhouse, deco....it is out there. If you are patient and take the time to scrounge Craigslist, garage sales, thrift stores and auctions, and have the ability to put a little time and effort into the pieces, you can create beautiful pieces that will become timeless treasures in your home!