I saw this Broyhill couch and chair set in the preview photos for Dogwood estate sale this weekend and went, "Thaaaaat might just be the couch of my dreams". Full knowing that 90% of the really stellar furniture pieces at estate sales are usually snatched up by resellers in the first ten minutes after the doors are opened at 8:30, I nevertheless crossed my fingers and ventured out to Bellevue with my sister in tow. Sus couldn't go until she dropped her fiancé off at work, which pushed us back to 9:30; we then tried three different iterations of "Hicks Road", including one that simply led to the driveway of Ensworth Academy, crossing the Harpeth River twice, before happening upon the fourth and correct one around 10:30. I plodded through the neighbor's yard with no high hopes that the set was still there, but upon wading through the Friday-morning crowd, lo and behold! It sat patiently in the front room under several trays of jewelry and two sets of sterling silver flatware, looking even better in person than in the photos online! Maybe the furniture-snatcher got called in to work or was under the weather? Or still stuck on another version of Hicks Road in Bellevue?
Having had the heartache of dry-rotted cushions on a vintage couch before, Sus and I cleared off some of the merchandise from the couch and started squeezing the cushions to make sure that the foam was still viable (this is totally normal behavior, btw). Hurray! One nickel sized cigarette burn on the underside of one of the cushions was the only noticable flaw to an otherwise mint-condition couch. The Broyhill tag lettering and the wild, seafoam and sky blue and green and dark blue pattern makes me think this is probably from the late sixties' or early seventies', possibly a cousin to the "Gracias" line featured in this advertisement. The price for the chair and the couch together ended up being around $200...while the parsimonious side of me was coming down hard on that price not being, say, $100 for the set, the slightly more reasonable side of me offered the argument that it would have been twice that in a vintage-resell setting. Which was probably where it was heading if I didn't pull the trigger on it. I made a brief, harried call to my dad to make sure he would be able to help me pick it up the next day (with his always-comes-in-handy pickup truck), and marched up to the checkout desk with my credit card. Mark it sold! MARK IT SOLD!
The sofa set that predated this great change (see here, from the Magnificent Magnavox origin story post in 2010) was a hand-me-down from the original owners, my aunt and uncle, who bought it in the early seventies', and gave it to my grandma in the early nineties'. She, in turn gave it to me around 2008, when I moved into this house. While they weren't my dream couches, I had managed to style the room and all the knick-knacks around the insane gold-velvet trim of the three piece suit (chair, sofa, and love seat). Plus, there was a certain "jungle room" charm to having so much crazy gold in one room. Just before I started moving the furniture to go back to my grandma's, I had a tinge of regret-- had I done the right thing? Was it going to be a lot of work to make this big of a change?
On Saturday afternoon, after going to get the pieces and safely moving them into their new home, Matthew and I were out at the Rivergate Goodwill when we found this tension-pole lamp. With its 1890's oil lamp style fixtures, I was momentarily "wow'd". I'd never seen one at a thrift store, and the ones that I'd seen at estate sales were always in the sixty dollars and up category. This one was only $20! As I was lamenting the lack of shades, an employee pointed the box of them out to me, a few feet from where the pole sat. "Somebody brought that in just this morning!" he said. "We were all surprised because usually, all the chimneys are scratched up or missing...these don't hardly have a nick on them." My war whoop of MARK IT SOLD! came rushing back to me. After some initial struggling with the extension part (which Matthew's mechanical brain somehow figured out, and I'm still not sure how), we had it installed. I am apparently medically incapable of taking a good photo of the inside of my house (remember, I'm working with an iPhone camera, not a Nikon), but this is about what it looks like:
In our haste to get the pole attached to the ceiling, we forgot to check and see if the lights worked. Switching it on, only one lamp lit up. After some Yosemite Sam style stamping and dog-cursing, I went back to the pole, and switched it again. This time, the two lamps on the left lit up. A THREE WAY SWITCH. Of course, Watson! I flicked it a third time and all three lit up like Christmas. Hurray!
The last big change for the living room is the tv situation. I have a great Motorola tv from the mid sixties' that does work...however, as anyone who was there in the mid-sixties' can attest, the picture is less than perfect and liable to start "skipping" unless you keep an eye on the vertical and horizontal holds. A neat find, but not suitable for every day use after fifty years. I also have a RCA Color TV from 1962, which is extremely cool looking, but doesn't work (to my knowledge...there might just be something I'm not doing or a loose switch). I bought the RCA at a Patterson sale, then ended up finding the Motorola two months later for fifteen dollars. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. I put the RCA in the den and the Motorola in the living room. I think my new plan is to sell the RCA to a good home, keep the Motorola in the den, and buy a larger, flat screen tv for the living room, to sit on top of this (again, beautiful, but nonfuctioning) Telefunken console. Here's an idea of how it will look--again, this is a horrible picture, but I love how fancy the base looks and how functional having-a-tv-in-the-living-room will be for inviting people over to watch movies.
In spite of the bad photos, what do you think? Have you ever been through a dramatic restructuring/re-decorating of one of the main rooms in your house? Any hints for the novice furniture slinger? I'm happy as a clam with the pieces, but I think it will still be awhile before I feel like I have it "exactly right".
Hope you guys had similar luck at the sales this weekend and the fish were bitin'! Have a great Monday, I'll see you tomorrow.