Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend Finds: HellllLLLLOOO Kroehler China Cabinet (1950's)

Good morning!

How was your weekend? I hope you were out enjoying some of the sunshine and good weather we had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday-- you KNOW where I was...the flea market! As was everybody else, and they momma...that place was crammed packed full of people on Saturday! On Friday, I dropped by just to spin my wheels and picked up some baubles and trinkets I'll show you tomorrow...Saturday, I apparently just lost my mind and bought, on the spot, right there in Shed 2, a 1950's blonde wood china cabinet. 

Check! Her! Out! Folks!


My dad and I were making the rounds of the sheds when he went over to take a better look at a china cabinet I'd seen the day before with a matching sideboard. "Did you see this?" he asked, already taking a look at the sliding glass doors with their notched handles. I hadn't even gone over to it on Friday, figuring the sideboard went with the cabinet, and both were probably out of my price range, but today the sideboard was sold, and the china cabinet remained, and didn't it look even better than it did the day before. "Look at how little it is!" Pappy said, pointing out the unusually diminutive size of the cabinet. Maybe this was originally to fit in a little dinette-style kitchen like I have? Or an apartment? At any rate, it is both shorter and slimmer than most midcentury china cabinets I've seen in real life.

The kicker was when Dad opened the long drawer and we saw this stamped into the wood of one of its panels:


Um, YES?! Kroehler ("say Kray-ler", its forties' and fifties' ads mentioned beseechingly in their bylines) was a Chicago based  furniture company that was TOP O' THE HEAP in the midcentury. While I'm mainly familiar with their couches (see this ad that is making me cry, or the series of sofas I wrote about in this post and this post), this was no average stick of furniture! The asking price on the tag dangling from the drawer pull was $225, and the man running the booth said he'd take $195 as he watched us oogling and ogling, in our best non-committal way, the different working parts of the cabinet. I don't know if you can see them in this picture, but the whole thing sits on tiny, atomic-slanted legs, and the drawer pulls are just adorable. Dad: "That's a good price, but it just depends on whether you want it or not." Me: "You think it's worth two hundred bucks? I'm asking, because any time I spend more than like $20 on something it's gonna bother me like maybe I was suckered or being foolish." Dad: "No, it's a solid piece of furniture, if you want it, I'd say it was worth that." I approached the dealer, still feeling the pang of despair from an earlier encounter in the antiques shed, where my hopes of acquiring a fifties' western fringe shirt were cruelly dashed by the man's not-budging price of $50 (and my unwillingness to pay more than about twenty dollars for it). "You couldn't do any better on that cabinet, could you?" I asked. He looked at it for a second and said, "I could do $175." Really, I wanted to pay $150 or less, but heck, fifty dollars off his original asking price...AND I was going to buy it either way....I'LL TAKE IT! We negotiated how to get the thing out of there and where to pick it up, and the dealer wrote us a pickup pass.


I spent the next forty minutes nervously walking around the fairgrounds, looking at other things, trying to quell mounting fears. I knew it was a good price and it was a great piece, but the buzzing in my head wouldn't stop after forking over about 90% of my bankroll. Would the china cabinet fit in the space where the baker's rack currently sat? Was it wider than it looked? What if the yellow clashed with the paint in the kitchen? How were we going to get my dad's truck up to the shed? Would we try to move it and realize the construction was way more fragile, sixty plus years down the line, than it had been when it moved off the floor room in the early fifties'? What if we got back and the guy was actually gone? We picked it up with little to no trouble after grabbing lunch at Nuvo Burrito, and had it in the house and ready to be loaded up with goodies not long after. I'll show you for yourself how well my dad and I eyeballed and judged the size of it, in this side by side comparison of what my kitchenette looked like Saturday morning and what it looked like Saturday night:


Not bad, huh? The second photo is a panoramic view of my kitchen, which doesn't weirdly veer off in the right in real life-- I just haven't got the hang of the technology yet! Here's a more static photo, again, demonstrating how much more ROOM and how much classier the joint looks with the addition of this china cabinet:


The hulking microwave you see in the before baker's rack photo is now down at my grandma's house-- she had a smaller one she wasn't using, so I brought that one up to go on the counter under the cabinets. The aluminum/wax paper/paper towel holder is awaiting being mounted to the wall in a different place, but other than that-- ALL the items that were on the baker's rack to begin with have found a happy new home in the china cabinet! I worked like a turk (something my mom used to say all the time...see the unexpected origins of this phrase here) to clean the whole thing out and get everything to rights before dinner, and I can't lie, I kept coming into the room and admiring how well it had turned out the rest of the day! As for the baker's rack, we collapsed it into its original, disassembled state to store until such a time as I have a big enough kitchen (or formal dining room, please, vintage house gods, hear my plea), and wah-LA! That's it!

While I was taking way too many pictures of this one item, I thought I would show you some of the things inside the cabinet, just for kicks:


I bet you recognize some of these things from previous blog posts, if you're a frequent flier here at She Was a Bird! There's a set of chartreuse planters from the forties' or fifties', a cup from the Texas Centennial in 1936, that little deer planter from the Shawnee Pottery Hendersonville sale, my Bee Gees lunchbox, and some Ben Siebel pieces from an estate sale and Goodwill (I never use them, but it's because I just love looking at them enough to own them), and a desk basket featuring Raby Castle (from this post).




This opens into a long, large drawer for table linens and napkins and placemats (so! fancy!) and even more storage in the bottom (where I hide my blender and other kitchen implements out of sight).


My vegan-is-as-vegan-does cookbook collection (Skinny B Ultimate Everyday Cookbook is the best I think), and a tequila bottle shaped like a little calavera type thing that my friend Anna brought as a gift to my engagement party last year (the tequila is gone, but how cute is the bottle?!):


I almost didn't buy that needlepoint because I was in a "being good about not buying things" phase. Aren't I glad I have feet of clay and unexpectedly weak resolve sometimes!



So! What do you think? Money well spent? Doesn't it look so much more put-together than the baker's rack? I was totally all right with that part of the house until this dreamboat sailed into my life and shook things up! Do you have a china cabinet? What kind of gewgaws and what nots do you decorate it with? There's actually a plate rail on the back of the top two shelves behind glass, but I'm still deciding if I want to mix it up with plates or just have what I have in there, because I like it very much as it is! What did you see out at the flea market or out in the world this weekend? Let's talk!

That's all for today, I gotta go grab my lunch while I can, but you have a fabulous Monday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow with more finds! Til then.

26 comments:

  1. Yes! Money well spent! Like your dad says, it's solid furniture that's going to last. It's perfect for that space. Excellent buy!

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    1. You should have heard the sigh of relief that was heaved when I realized the cabinet was going to fit in that space. PHEW! Now if I could only get a less gargantuan refrigerator and stove, my kitchen-revamping odyssey will be at a close.

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  2. beautiful piece....am sure you will have it forever :) love it!

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    1. Thank you! I was so excited/nervous about it, then just elated it was the right fit for our kitchen.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, thank you! :) I love to death now that all the dust has settled from the buying/putting in place process.

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  4. that thing is a beauty! birch wood? looks like.
    but now the table set looks a little bit to dark in my eyes...........

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    1. Yes, I think it is! The wrought iron kitchen table set is dark, but it's so kooky I can't let it go. However, if the right, tiny midcentury table and chairs come along...who can say....

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  5. That cabinet is somehow even more beautiful than the blue fiesta ware pitcher.

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    1. Haha, thanks, Meg!! I bought that pitcher at an estate sale off Acklen a dog's age ago, sometime in the very beginning of my estate sale going career...it's a cutie!

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  6. That cabinet was meant for the spot, it's perfect. Love how everything looks displayed in it, especially your pitcher collection. Definitely money well spent!!

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    1. Thanks! It's amazing how much more "together" all my little doodads look with this elegant piece to show them off. :)

      The green Hall pitcher is from an estate sale I went to where, hand to God, the woman had a plate rail along the perimeter of her huge kitchen...completely filled with pitchers like this one. You could have knocked me over with a feather, how to choose?! There must have been a hundred of them! I was jealous/surprised/kind of in awe of a collection like that.

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  7. Totally cute, and Saturday was a great day at the flea...the Mister and I were loving the sunshine and buying up jadeite! lol...

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    1. IT WAS SO GORGEOUS. Best weather for picking over the tables at the fairgrounds! :) I saw some jadeite salt and pepper shakers while I was there and thought of you. Maybe we'll run into each other next time!

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  8. LOVE this piece! Totally worth the money. It looks perfect there in the kitchen & really showcases all your unique finds. Sorry I got tuckered out & couldn't join you shopping Friday, but I didn't have any money anyway. I'll save up some for March so I don't have to complain about how badly I want such & such but I only have $15 :)

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    1. Hey, no worries! I am always going to the flea market, I am never stopping-- so anytime you want to join me on whatever weekend it is they do them (I always have to look at my little printed out schedule), gimme a ring! :) I bet next month's will be even bigger, if the weather gets warmer!

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  9. P.S. Thanks for linking that article of Irish phrase origins, really interesting stuff!

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    1. Isn't that crazy? I always figured it was "like a person of Turkish origin". I love words where I thought I knew what they meant and turns out, I was off the mark by a long shot, haha.

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  10. Perhaps you can explain why Mom always says "works like a cranberry merchant."

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    1. The internet says "busy as a cranberry merchant (at Thanksgiving)"...maybe the parentheses part is implied? I've never heard that before, but I love it.

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  11. Im so jealous. You find such great things. I would have been hesitant to spend that much money as well but it was worth it.

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    1. Thank you! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who worries about "big ticket items" like that, I was worried I would sound like a miser instead of an intrepid bargain hunter (slash impoverished worker, haha). Sometimes I'll be reading a blog and someone casually mentions they spent $600 on xyz, and my eyes actually bug out of my head a little bit.

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  12. Replies
    1. Thanks!! I am still over the moon about it.

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  13. it really looks great! i love those cabinets and want one myself for my dining room. i have such a hard time spending more than 20 bucks on anything though! i totally understand your feelings as you walked around the flea!
    have you made the breakfast scramble thing from cooking crunk yet? it has black beans and you bake it in the over with tortillas and salsa and is one of my favorite recipes of alllllll time!

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    1. No, I'm totally with you on the "more than $20" thing. Something about $20 makes it sound like "yeah, that's reasonable" and anything above is thin ice, budget wise! If I see any more not-super expensive, neat china cabinets, I will definitely text you!!

      I have not made that scramble, BUT NOW I WANT TO MAKE THAT SCRAMBLE. I think the only thing I made out of this so far was a black eyed pea/ hoppin' john type thing, I am so addicted to Skinny B and then the Moskowitz books that I haven't done a lot out of that or Betty Goes Vegan. But I definitely want to try that one now!!! :)

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