Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thrift Score Monday...on a Tuesday!

Sorry for the late Thrift Score post!  I got back a day late from a trip to visit family for Thanksgiving, and just didn't manage to get this posted in time.

Now that Thanksgiving is in the books, it's time for all things CHRISTMAS!!!!  Here are a few holiday-related finds I've picked up over the last few weeks:

First some adorable vintage ornaments in their original packaging!

I love the blue/green/gold tones of the glass balls and the retro font of the package. They appear to be circa the 1950s; I can't believe they survived without breaking all these years!

Next up, a HUGE and fabulous brass deer!

This guy is about 16 inches tall and over a foot wide!  He could be (and...yes...has been!) used as a barbell. He'd be an awesome decorative piece any time of year, but I think he'll make a particularly cool holiday decoration.

I also picked up this vintage holiday cookie jar for under a dollar:

Isn't it cute?  It's HUGE (1 gallon capacity), and so retro-cheery. I especially love the vintage font:

It looks like early 70s to me...what do you think?  And speaking of cool fonts, I also found this HOPE ornament:

The person I got it from told me that he's had it a very long time, yet I think it looks really modern and cool.

I also found a set of six green glass Dansk votive holders recently for less than three dollars. Even though these turn up often, I thought they were a great buy--until I realized they were full of melted wax that was seemingly impossible to remove due to their hourglass shape. More on that adventure later in the week!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving. As usual, I'm linking up to some of my favorite blogs to see what treasures everyone else has unearthed!

Flea Market Finds at Her Library Adventures
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
The Pennyworthy Project at Hey What's For Dinner Mom?
What I Love About the Thrift Store at Cap Creations

Sunday's Best Linky Party!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thrift Score Monday: Happy Thanksgiving!

It was a busy (work-wise) and dreary (weather-wise) week, so I wasn't the thrifting and treasure-hunting tornado that I usually am. I still, of course, managed to find a few things. ;)  Here are my favorites:

I loved this delicate ceramic vase. It's not a find of the caliber of, say, finding Rookwood at Goodwill or anything, but I still thought it was elegant and lovely...and in perfect condition.

I was also psyched to find a set of eight Fire King gratin bowls. I always refer to this color as peach lustre, though I think it's technically called copper. [Must research further!]  In any case, they are in PRISTINE condition--clearly have never been used. I love them; they feel so cozy and wintery to me--perfect for chili or french onion soup.

I've had this Pyrex bowl listed in my shop for a while:

It's the Spring Blossom Green (aka Crazy Daisy) pattern from the 1970s.  On a thrift shop foray over the weekend, I found the larger and smaller (green on white) bowls that go with this set, giving me an almost-complete nested set!  I've pulled the listing from my Etsy shop and I'm going to photograph the bowls as a set and relist them. I love reuniting broken sets of vintage objects!

Another reuinited set of sorts was this grouping of roly poly glasses:

I had three of them from earlier in the year, and I happened upon five matching ones at another thrift store. So weird when that happens!  These are unique in that there are various types of houses (tee-pee, log cabin, igloo, tiki hut, etc.) etched into the bands. The etched design is only noticeable up close:

I don't know who made them or the significance of the houses. If anyone knows, please share!

A final favorite from this week was this milk glass compote:

This is the "lotus blossom" pattern from Indiana Glass. I love the shape of the bowl and the delicate stem. It's not a pattern that I've seen before in milk glass, so I was excited to find it.

Overall, still a pretty good haul for an "off" week, I thought. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving! 

Linking up with some of my favorite blogs to check out everyone else's scores:
Flea Market Finds at Her Library Adventures
The Pennyworthy Project at Hey What's for Dinner Mom?
Anything Goes at Type A Decorating
What I Love About the Thrift Store at Cap Creations

Sunday's Best Linky Party! HOG

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Current Obsession: Brass Desk Lamps

I know it's kind of weird to be inspired by decor from Woman's Day, but I was impressed with a spread they did on decorating a home office in the September 2011 issue.  Specifically, I though the brass desk lamps they featured in two examples were gorgeous.

{via Woman's Day}

Doesn't the gold tone of the brass look so fresh against the pink?

Like everyone else, I'm coming back around to brass in a big way. I think the absence of gold tones from my life for so long, in favor of stainless steel, chrome, and silver, left me craving something warmer and more (gasp!) traditional. It's been out of fashion for so long that brass now looks super fresh, new and exciting--even when mixed with cooler silver tones.

I actually own a lamp identical to the one in the second photo, except mine is stainless steel and wood. I wonder if I should spray paint it gold?  Any thoughts?  It could be fabulous...but I've had the lamp so long it's technically vintage now, and I'm a bit sentimental about it. Hmm.

I figured the lamp in the first photo was super high end--doesn't it look to be?  But I noticed in the article source list that it's from Bellacor and lists for only $138!  And then, while doing on online search for a similar lamp, I found its twin for sale via Sears.com!

 Same price--$138--and probably the same exact lamp. Still, there's something thrilling to me about finding decor ideas in Woman's Day and realizing those ideas through Sears...so all-American!

I love it when vintage inspires modern, and when the out-of-style cycles back around and looks fresh and new again. It keeps me on my toes, and keeps me entertained and inspired.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Thrift Score Monday: Pottery Jackpot

About two weeks ago, I was in a local Goodwill store. I'd never had much luck at that particular store, but I needed to kill some time.

I was about to give up when I noticed an employee roll a "just arrived" cart of fresh inventory out of the stock room. From about fifteen feet away, I suddenly spotted an ivory pottery vase that called out to me. Even from that distance, I knew it was special--I could tell by the quality of the glaze, the design, the shape. Pottery never fools me.

I've been collecting art pottery from the 1920s, 30s and 40s for twenty years. It's one of my favorite things on earth. It's not something I can explain--I just love the cool heft of the clay, the qualities of the different glazes, and the art deco and arts and crafts shapes. Green in my favorite, and ivory is a close second.

As I got closer, I began to hear the soundtrack to "Chariots of Fire" in my head. [Really.] I'm pretty sure I began to move in slow motion. The other people swarming around the cart became blurs in my peripheral vision. As I reached the cart, I was temporarily confused by the stuffed animal that had been shoved into the mouth of the vase, but I quickly figured it out. I picked up the vase. I felt the weight, the coolness, noted the sophistication of the designs on the side panels. And then, I flipped it over, already suspecting what I was about to see. . .

That's right, folks...ROOKWOOD.  For those of you unfamiliar with vintage pottery, Rookwood is an iconic American pottery company that produced work between the late 1800s and the 1960s. Their work is gorgeous, highly collectable, and often valuable. The backwards "R" and the "P" surrounded by flames is their trademark; the "XXXIV" denotes the year of production (1934); 6476 is the shape number.  The hideous underlined "2" in black marker is courtesy of the rude Goodwill employee who priced this item. (Sorry to sound bitter...it always bugs me that Goodwill sees fit to write all over their merchandise in marker, but this time it really upset me! Didn't they know this was a treasure!? Since they priced it at $2.99...I guess not.)

After checking the mark, I held my breath, closed my eyes, said a quick prayer to the pottery gods, and inspected the piece for damage. One rarely finds collectable pottery at Goodwill...NEVER anything of the caliber of Rookwood...and on those rare occasions when a lone McCoy or Hull piece turns up, there is ineveitably damage.  I was, therefore, beside myself when I realized that this vase appeared to be in mint condition, save for a little surface dirt. MINT CONDITION! 

The vase was gorgeous. Each side panel featured a different animal, in a very arts and crafts style:

{Bird on a branch}

{Birds--swallows?--in flight.}

There's another panel featuring tree frogs, but I didn't get a shot of that one. I love the organic, natural design and the crystalline ivory glaze. The piece is so intricate, yet so subtle.  Love at first sight would be an understatement.

I caught my breath, cradled the vase with two hands, and headed to the checkout. The teenager who rang me up may have thought I was a bit crazy, seeing how I refused to let her touch the vase and instead held it up myself for her to scan. I refused her offer to wrap it and instead gingerly placed it in my large purse. (Yes, she stared at me a little.)  When I got to the car, I wrapped it in a blanket and placed it in the passenger seat next to me. And I'm not afraid to admit that I seatbelted it in.

The vase is worth several hundred dollars in today's market (closer to $600 a few years ago, pre-recession).  I want to sell it. I should sell it. I have enough pottery in my home to decorate ten houses. The thing is, though, that I love this vase. And for a lifelong thrifter and pottery collector, it will always remind me of one of those rare moments when all the foraging, the sorting and the scrounging pays off. Will I list it in my shop? Maybe someday. For now, though, I'm savoring the moment and enjoying this beautiful piece, which sits in a place of honor in my living room.

Did anyone else unearth any treasures while thrifting this week? I'm linking up to the following blogs to find out!

Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday
Her Library Adventures' Flea Market Finds
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Twice Owned Tuesday at House of Grace
Club GW with Charm Bracelet Diva
The Pennyworthy Project at Hey What's for Dinner Mom?
Debbie Doos Newbie Party
What I Love About the Thrift Store at Cap Creations
Thrifty Things Friday @ The Thrifty Groove
Sunday's Best Linky Party!
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

House Tour: A Midcentury Masterpiece

I visited my aunt and uncle recently and was lucky enough to stay in their fabulous mid-century home. I hadn't been there in several years and had forgotten how astoundingly beautiful it is. I've been in a lot of mid-century modern homes in my life, but this one is something truly special.

Built in 1968 by architect Francis "Will" Willsey, the house sits on a large corner lot. Willsey was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, serving for several years as a fellow in Wright's famed Taliesen School in the 1940s. Willsey was also chosen to build the fifth and final house in Wright's Michigan Usonian community "The Acres." The other four houses in the community were designed by Wright himself, and Willsey designed the fifth house following Wright's death. It was around that same era that Willsey designed and supervised construction on this house.

One of the many impressive features of the house is that it looks completely different from every angle. Here is an exterior shot taken from the side street just beyond the carport:

These shots are taken from the other end of the driveway, which adjoins the main road:

The clerestory windows are amazing and keep the house bathed in light at all times.

Another exterior angle:

 And a shot of the side yard, looking into the kitchen. You can see the influence of Wright and the Prairie School in this one:
My aunt and uncle are master gardeners. I'll have to do a follow-up post next summer, when things are in bloom,  to showcase the amazing garden, in-ground pool area, and gazebo they installed.

Even the carport is a work of art!

{At this point, I'll just apologize in advance for my cruddy cell phone photos. They get worse as we venture into the interior shots. What can I say...this wasn't a planned photo session!}

The interior is amazingly original. There have been a couple of updates--namely to the kitchen countertops and one powder room, but the original house has survived suprisingly intact.  My aunt and uncle are, thankfully, appreciative of the original features of the house, so it's in safe hands!

The kitchen is gorgeous, with wood paneling and tons of original built-in storage. Someone added granite countertops along the way, and while I normally detest granite, whoever chose this did a good job. It's shiny and thin and modern, and has just enough texture and the right color to complement the warm tones of the cabinetry. The kitchen is almost completely open to the outside, yet still manages to be cozy and inviting.

The adjoining dining area is just large enough for a table, and features another bank of cabinets plus some built in shelving. I just love the rustic-yet-modern brick floors.

{Blurry...UGH!  Sorry!}
The house has three original bedrooms, plus one in the finished basement. All feature amazing hidden closets, built in shelving, original built-in bookshelf headboards, and built-in dressers. Here's a vignette from the guest room:

You can see some of the built in drawers and shelves here. My aunt and uncle are collectors and artists, and have done a great job accessorizing the home with their own funky style. I love that the furnishings are era-appropriate, yet they manage to avoid that overly-authentic "museum" feel. An added bonus to all those layers of wood paneling, built-in furniture and recessed ceilings?  The bedrooms are virtually soundproof. Trust me. There were SEVEN children under the age of 13 staying there when I visited, plus about twelve dogs, and I didn't hear a thing from that room. Great design is not always something you can see. :)

As I mentioned, the house is extremely well-preserved and still has most of its original features, right down to the hardware.

Each of the ten-gazillion windows features the original brass latch. I have to believe they were custom made for the home, as the style is perfect--a little Arts and Crafts, a little mid-century modern, and very unique!

Here's a [terrible] shot of some of the aged brass hardware on the dining room built-ins:

Again, the perfect mix of rustic and modern--just like the house.

Amazingly, all the exterior doors still sport their original handles and locks:

Seriously, people...the hardware alone had me swooning!

Perhaps most astonishing is that no one has ever replaced the original faucets in the two upstairs bathrooms--and they are complete works of art:

The tops of the gigantic handles and the drain stopper are MARBLE, and the surrounds are solid brass, which has aged to a gorgeous patina. Truly beautiful. Again, I see strong Craftsman/Prairie School influencees, with some mid-century modern and even a little Hollywood Regency flair thrown in. Stunning and one-of-a-kind. I can't believe that someone didn't go on a home improvement kick at some point and rip them out in a favor of some Lowes specials. A minor miracle.

One of the most dramatic areas of the home is the living room.  It showcases the architect's vision to a tee, with floor to ceiling windows that flood it with light and make you feel completely connected to the outside.

Here is a shot as you enter from the corridor that leads from the dining room:

Everywhere you look is something intereresting. From this angle, you can see the built-in sofa and the display shelving above:

Isn't that fireplace and the intricate carved paneling above it mind boggling?  Here's another angle:

There is a movie screen built into the ceiling above the carved paneling. It can be lowered to show movies, which are played on the old built in projector which is hidden on the opposite side of the room in the tray ceiling.

Here's the built-in end table at the far end of the built-in sofa:

Around the corner from that table is the corridor that passes the front entrance and leads to the kitchen, seen here:

Half-way down that corridor, where you see the upholstered chair sticking out, is a "nook" that holds a couple of comfy chairs that face enormous built-in cabinets large enough to hold a good sized television. The nook is so cozy and well-designed that my aunt and uncle tell me they usually curl up there in the evenings to watch TV.  Here's a view of the cabinet that faces the nook:

To the right of the living room fireplace is a sunken area that my uncle uses to diplay his collection of vintage guitars. This part features vaulted ceilings and a second story display ledge, plus yet another wall of floor to ceiling windows. I managed to mess up almost every photo I took of this area, so you'll have to use your imagination. Here is a shot of one lone guitar, displayed against an area of exposed brick:

...and here's a {blurry} shot of a vintage amp nestled in a window well:

...and another {blurry..sigh!} shot of the guitars displayed on the ledge overhead:

Here's a wide shot of that whole area, taken from the built-in sofa across the room:

Just to the right of the shot above is another huge built-in...this time a large buffet cabinet:

It took all my willpower not to bring home that panther television lamp as a "souvenir."   Here's a close-up vignette:

We're a "dog family," in case that wasn't obvious. My uncle has a great eye for vintage treasures--both finding them and displaying them.

There's so much more that I wasn't able to capture. The staircase with its artful woodwork; the stylized recessed lighting throughout the house that eliminates the need for lamps; the layered tray ceilings; the insanely cool hidden closets in the bedrooms...the list goes on. The upstairs hallway ceiling alone merits its own post!

This house is truly a work of art.  I appreciate architecture and design in almost all its forms--particularly mid-century modern--but I've never been so in awe of the design of a house before. It's simultaneously streamlined and complex; modern and rustic; open and cozy. It is truly a privilege to walk through it.

I'll end this post with a shot of the home's main entrance, taken from the driveway. Yet another angle, yet another vista. True artistry, if you ask me.

In his obituary, the home's architect is quoted as referring to himself, when asked what kind of architect he was, as "a good one!"  I'd say that was an understatement.
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