Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dream House: Estate Sale Edition

Good morning!

How's tricks? I'm chugging along at work this morning, deeply immersed in my Patricia Highsmith audiobook, still a little sonambulant from my lack of sleep due to horrifying video-on-demand rental of hier soir (I'll have to tell you about it later; still too spooked)...maybe some coffee and some vintage chatting will do me some good? I wanted to tell you today about this estate sale I went to last Friday. While the only thing I scored was the Masonic poster I told you about yesterday (slim pickin's for a magpie like me!), I am still, five days later, getting over my astonishment at the eye-poppingly perfectly preserved atomic age decor of the house. 

Wanna see? You know you want to see. I grabbed these from the estate sale people's Craigslist ad, so if you're liking what you're seeing and live in Nashville, be sure to keep an eye out for Bishop Estate Sales on

OH LAWD, LAWD, LAHHHWD. Look. At that couch. And the two still life paintings hung in those fifties' kitsch รก go go frames. I scream, you scream, we all scream "WHY IS THERE NO MORE ROOM IN MY HOUSE FOR COUCHES". At three (living room Broyhill, den leopard print sectional, green room other-Broyhill), we are at critical mass for couches, but I could die over how much I wish this living room set could go in my living room. Other than a sale in Hendersonville a few years ago, I can't rightly remember a sale I walked into where everything was as immaculate as whatever day the family set up house keeping in the fifties (the house was built in 1954, I'm guessing a lot of this is from the same year). Can you imagine going to Cain Sloan department store or one of the old furniture stores downtown and just going "Yes, I'll take that....that....and that...." knowing it was an investment that was literally going to last you a life time.

THE MATCHING CHAIRS. IN BEAUTIFUL SLATE GREY. I ACTUALLY FEEL MY HEART STOPPING. Furniture-in-suites wise, my dad told me about a receipt he still has in his family mementos from the mid-thirties', when his grandma married his granddaddy and moved from a farm in Hartsville to the big city, Nashville, Tennessee. The receipt is matter-of-factly for every piece of furniture you would need in a new house-- bedroom suite, kitchen table and chairs, living room set, radio, stove, refrigerator. They were by no means rich people, but like I said, it was an investment for furniture they would use the rest of their lives. How novel that sounds in our buy-it-use-it-up-buy-another contemporary culture! I like thinking of being in the new house, a pretty young newlywed, the day everything arrived at your tiny but pleasing-as-punch first home. "Where do you want this, ma'am?" were probably the second best words she'd ever heard in her life, after "Do you take this man to be...." only a short time earlier. How wonderful it must have been to sit down on your very first, very own furniture. 

Aren't these side tables unusual? There's a set of two and they match the coffee table.

Which is a KIDNEY SHAPED TWO TIER COFFEE TABLE (she says while hyperventilating into a paper bag):

There was furniture of a similar age throughout the house, and the most immaculate high-pile, vintage color carpet I think I've ever seen in my life underneath it to boot. Seriously-- if you removed the detritus of having lived in a house for sixty years, then blindfolded and spun me around a couple times, I wouldn't have argued with you if you said it was 1956. Actually, I would probably be really pleased that it was 1956. I wonder if it was because the family didn't have kids that they somehow managed to keep the house in such pristine condition? They might have had children for all I know, but those tell tale fifties' toys and seventies' albums indicating a former baby boomers residence were missing. They DID have a lot of vintage dog beds and clothes, some of which Rae snapped up for her little pug babies (see mind-blindingly cute evidence of this purchase here). I was there a little before her and missed getting to gab about the outrageous furniture, but I did see Mr. Kitsch going through a box of old cleaning products for Eartha, right as I was about to text her to tell her there was vintage Borax at this sale and she might want to get down there. Now that's a good husband! :) Matthew, to his credit, did try to convince me that maybe a green vinyl couch in the house could somehow be squeezed into our den, but cooler heads prevailed.

I don't remember that tiger painting being there at the time (believe me, I would remember that), but all those beautiful fifties, sixties, and seventies' shoes in a size 5B were still kicking around in their original boxes. Oh, to be born with tiny flippers instead of these clodhoppers I'm saddled with! To be fair, if I had a size five foot and was my current six foot tall height, I would have freakishly short arms for my frame and would probably tip over in a strong breeze due to an insufficient base for my center of gravity...BUT THE SHOES I COULD WEAR, PEOPLE. The shoes I could wear.

Here's a beautiful vanity with matching stool and two lamps that called out to me from the photos. Notice the ficus plant and the leafy guy to the right of the vanity...these people were all about artificial plants! I almost bought that vintage scale, but I already have one that I cuss at all the time, it seemed overkill to have two.

Matching dresser to the vanity...the headboard might have been there but I didn't see it, bummer. How about those unusual handles and the blonde wood finish?

A second matching dresser and chest of drawers in the second bedroom...again, not a mark on it, perfect (the Eames bucket chair peeking out from behind the mirrored dresser was already sold BEFORE THE SALE BEGAN, wth):

And last but not least, a larger but very similar china cabinet to the one I bought the other day at the flea market, I bet it's about the same age as mine. Are you loving the metallic gold wallpaper? Because it's killing me how much I want this exact room in my house. I hope, someday, when I do buy a house, a) it already has wallpaper like this in it and b) I have a formal dining room like this. I will never eat a meal at the kitchen table again after that lucky day! (As I have visions of myself and Matthew seated, Tudor style, at either end of long dining table with some huge candelabrum obscuring our view of each other from one another...haha, that'll be the life!)

Sadly, when I got to the sale at 8:30 that morning (after an open time of 8 am, Friday, first day), the weird tropical plant above was already in the back of someone's pick up truck, and the living room set was bought over the phone by someone out of state and waiting to be shipped accordingly to its new owner. What do you think about that? It doesn't make me as mad as that time I drove to Lebanon, where I didn't even get to see the 1920's dresses advertised in the sale, but I would have been pretty steamed if I lined up at 7 to score my new living room set only to hear some out-of-towner had beat me to the punch by telephone. The dining room set and the bedroom vanity were still for sale, but two skinny East Nashville kids, younger than me and flannel clad, were already paying sixty dollars apiece (!!) for the atomic age lamps atop the vanity's surface. Le sigh. Why does it bug me that I can't have ALL the 1950's furniture in the world? Or that buyers should have to go through some kind of personality assessment before bringing home swag I think belongs in a good home? We'll have to address that on another post of She Was a Bird, labeled "Ongoing Mental Issues", "Vintage", lol.

So! What do you think about the house? Which piece of furniture or room has you sighing the dreamiest sigh over it? If you were there, would you have pulled the trigger on any of these fine fifties' artifacts? What's inspiring you in terms of interior design or vintage collecting lately? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll catch you back here tomorrow with vintage goodies and gewgaws. Have a great Wednesday! The weekend'll be here before we know it! Take care, til then.


  1. Wowee wow wow wow!!!! Talk about a time capsule! I wonder what the prices were like on the furniture; in these parts each piece would have gone for an exact price of one million bajillion dollars!

    1. They were high, but not like INSANELY high for around these parts and at-an-estate-sale (versus in Pre to Post Modern or other resale places). I think the dresser with all the hats on it was like $300, and everything else around the same. Didn't get a read on the couch as they'd already just marked it sold. SO. GORGEOUS!

  2. I want those slate grey yesterday.

  3. I want the entire living room set, the yellow table, the china cabinet.... ok I want it all but couldnt even afford the $60 lamps ~sigh!

    1. I'm in the same boat as you...and there are so many couches already in my house. UGH. WANT ALL THE COUCHES.

  4. oh it was so good! i missed out on seeing almost all the cool stuff in the add, and it was only about 9 when i showed up! i was glad i got the dog coats! but i wanted one of those big fake house plants! something my cats couldn't destroy!

    1. It was crazy how fast stuff went ON THE FIRST DAY! I would have been into one of those plants, too-- talk about instant drama for your living room.

  5. Fabulous furniture, indeed! It's the furniture that give life and color to a home, in my opinion. My favorite would probably be that lovely coffee table at the center of the living room - and yes, I would have pulled the trigger on it! Wish you'd take a picture of the house though. Would have been nice to see it too.

    Keith Teynor



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