Would you have taken this troll home?

I admit I was caught up in the moment. An estate sale in my very own town, in a mid-century home whose inhabitants had lived here for at least 50 years. The house was packed with great stuff and the basement was dank, dingy and dirty. In other words, perfect. After a cursory tour, I sniffed out a beautiful old mirror that I was able to negotiate for a tenth of its value. I paid quickly and was headed out the garage door with the mirror under my arm. And then I saw this table. Filthy and long-unappreciated, I casually asked what they wanted for it.

They had to have thought I was crazy. The thing was filthy with car grease and smoke and God knows what else over the years. Both the top and the lower shelf had been covered with a speckled yellow linoleum, secured around the edges with chrome trim, but the bottom shelf had lost most of its trim, so the linoleum piece was barely hanging on. I knew it was old, and I knew no one had monkeyed with it in so long that it would be a good candidate for a makeover.

I handed over the $5 and away I went.

The project took months, and mostly because I was lazy.

My first task was to get rid of the linoleum and chrome and finally discover what was hiding underneath. The top surface was just as I’d hoped: protected for 50 years. Rough and begging for an upgrade. And anything would have been an upgrade.

I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned it. I really didn’t think the dirt would come off. When the paint turned out to be a cream color, I couldn’t believe it. I honestly thought the stuff was cooked on, it just looked so roached and black.

After cleaning, I scraped paint off. The bottom shelf was a really pretty dark stained wood, which suggested the idea of highlighting the natural wood on the shelves.

Then I sanded. And sanded some more. I was lucky enough to have found the perfectly beautiful and breezy day to do it on; it was no chore at all.

I grabbed whatever stain we happened to have in our workshop and I got down to staining the shelves. The color for the legs and such was also an easy decision; it’s elephant gray, a color we have a ton of. After staining and painting, I put two coats of poly on it and almost called it done.

Somewhere along the way, my husband suggested I make the drawer knob white. He thought it would give it a little “umph” and I think he was right. I didn’t actually paint the drawer pull; it is just how I found it, only scrubbed clean.

I think it turned out gorgeous! And now I use it as my printer stand/ an extension of my desk.

Of note: The table is identified on the underside of the drawer as “Davidson’s Furn. Co., Kansas City, MO.” Davidson’s was a high-end furniture store that opened in Kansas City in around 1918. At one time, they had a 20,000 square foot show room. And, of particular interest to me, in the late 1950s they acquired the remaining furniture stock of the local Abernathy Furniture Company, which had closed up shop in the 1950s.

 

Brenda’s High School Project gets an A+!

Many Saturdays ago, I found myself meandering through the rural parts of Clay County, looking for garage sales. There were a few out there, but not many. But they were in the right places, so I found something really cool at almost every stop. Which brings me to this guy.

It’s no secret that I’m somewhat obsessed with anything between Tiffany blue and seafoam green. This stein fit the bill perfectly, although it had obviously been in a barn for many years. As a matter of fact, the woman who sold it to me, Brenda, said that she and her husband moved it for 30 years and just never really used it. She had made it in an art class in high school.

I brought it home and cleaned it up. I think Brenda did a pretty good job! I love the color and I love the relief  and that it’s still all perfectly in tact. It’s a great piece for someone who wants a splash of breezy blue in their design. Isn’t that floppy-eared dog so cute, resting his head on his master’s leg? I just love it.

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Too Pretty to be Single: Beaver Falls Tile All Alone

I don’t know anything about antique tile. Well, I know only what Nicole Curtis has taught me on her show.

So here’s what Nicole Curtis has taught me so far:

  • Old tile is thicker
  • If you can save old tile, do it.

So I was out and about today – it’s been a great weekend for treasure-hunting – and came across this inconspicuous green tile. She was sitting all alone among figurines, ashtrays and other bric-a-brac. I almost didn’t see her, but I did.

First thing you do when you find something old and made of glass, ceramic or porcelain: turn it over. So I did. The lighting in Savers wasn’t that great because when I checked the underside, I didn’t see any identifying marks. I could see that the glaze was crackling, which told it me it was old. (It’s awfully hard to fake that.) She was only 99 cents, so home with me she went.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls green checkered tile

In the better light of this beautiful day, I was able to make out the word “Beaver” (tee-hee) under the barely-scraped-off price sticker, so I did a search.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique tile bottom

Turns out “Falls” was also under the sticker poop, and that’s who made this tile: Beaver Falls. They were in business 1886-1927 and made some of the most beautiful cameo and relief tile in its day. I found some incredible examples, and even more here.

Beaver Falls tile is often highlighted/found on fireplace surrounds as well as stoves and walls (and I’ve seen something similar to the portrait below used in a fireplace mantle too) in homes built in that time. You know, the tile that Nicole Curtis finds many times in the homes she so lovingly restores, the tile that can’t be duplicated, where replacements can’t ever be found should any tiles become damaged… In other words, this tile is the bomb diggity. Unfortunately, because tile can only really be identified on the underside, we may not know when we’re looking at Beaver Falls when it’s in place, and considering the tile artists of the day were moving between and forming new tile companies somewhat frequently, it would take a real pro to discern one from the other without the benefit of the underside/I.D. Whereas mine is a 4 1/4″ squared tile, Beaver Falls also made the smaller subway tiles that we also see in those older homes with the original fireplace tile work, and many other sizes and orientations.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique 3-tile set floral swag

I wasn’t able to find anything that looked exactly like mine, so here she is!

Photoshop and Restoration

It’s pretty rare that I find a piece of furniture that I like in my price range that doesn’t need some kind of attention, whether it be a thorough cleaning, tightening of screws, paint job, Windex or something. In order to decide which direction I will take on its upgrade, I use my graphic design chops. My most recent case in point: this door-less Empire style tiger oak buffet. It’s got amazing bones and the original bevel mirror, and all of its drawers are in tact and accounted for. But how do I make it look fabulous with no doors below and old, unsightly wood exposed?

tiger oak empire buffet

Tiger Oak Empire Buffet

Well, that’s just it. I don’t know. So I start playing with the image on Photoshop. I can add whatever color I want, whatever texture I want, whatever design I want…

I just started playing with colors on it, and the jury is still out on what to do with it, but I have some ideas now. It appears as though someone tried to give it another stain/poly job and it didn’t do it any favors. So we’ll see. I don’t want to have to paint the whole thing but this poor thing has been through so much, I just don’t know if she has another life exposed in her.

I found a few examples of buffets like this that were painted. I’m weighing all options.

What do you think?

Empire Buffet painted by Moxy Liberty

Excelsior Springs Soda Jerk Sign

Talk about a step back in time! I found this lovely at a garage sale here in Liberty this morning. The house was half of a block from William Jewell College, and the home was a gorgeous Century home with three stories, each 1,000 square feet. The man having the sale said he was downsizing. He didn’t look all that happy to be selling, but he was friendly enough.

The sign came out of a diner in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He bought it when the place closed for good. But he couldn’t for the life of him remember what the name of it was. It drove him crazy, like it was on the tip of his tongue. So the mystery, for me, still exists. He probably remembered the name as soon as I drove away.

I love its simplicity. I love that it’s a little dirty and just a little beat up. I also love that there are tape marks over the .25 price for Malts & Shakes. And I love that this still exists! And that it’s still in Clay County! And that we know where it came from!

Garage sales are so cool. It’s finds like this that keep me going every week.

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Pretty, Purple Princess Chandelier

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a chandelier with potential so I could redo it for a pretty, pretty princess. Enter Goldie here. I picked her up at a garage sale over the weekend and immediately started cleaning her up.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier – Before

She wasn’t in horrible shape, she really just needed a warm, soapy water wipe-down. I loved her shape and I loved all of the bling. The crystals (plastic, by the way) all came off and got cleaned, and so did the light cup/fake candle combo. The glass dome got hand washed and set aside while the frame got detailed and painted.Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 04 before collage.jpg

The fun part, of course, is the painting, so I got busy on this beautiful day, and painted all day, starting with the underside. In the sunlight, it almost looks white, but it’s actually a flat lavender color from Valspar.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 02 during and after collage.jpg

The end result is a little big magical. I can only imagine the fabulous room this beauty will end up in. I’m a little bit jealous already. On to the next one!

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 03 after.jpg

Roached-out Silver Still Holds Its Appeal

I started with one. One that my belonged to my great-grandmother. Then I saw one at a yard sale for next-to-nothing. Then some time went by and I saw another one, all seemingly cheaper than the last.

And so it began. I didn’t set out to collect old silverplated pitchers, but I do. Some are art deco, some are frilly and some are so old, they don’t even shine anymore. Hahaha!

When I was in Miami, I saw these OFTEN. The things people sold down there always killed me. Folks in Southern Florida have little appreciation for everyday antiques, so I was in heaven. But I digress.

I snatch these up anytime they’re marked at my magic number or less. Today I actually paid a little more for one, but I don’t usually go above that “number”. So that brings my number to nine silver pitchers. I met up with some old-timer antiques dealers a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t all that surprised to see that they had a collection of them too. They were asking more than three times my magic number, so I know I’m on to something good here.

My favorite use for them is as a vase. They kind of elevate the presentation of the flowers in a charming way.

Silverplated pitcher with roses

Antique silverplated pitcher as vase.

I decided not long ago to start using some of these things in my everyday life. So I use one of my small silver trays for a catch-all on top of my dryer. It holds things like buttons and change and lots of lint I’m sure. I don’t know, it still makes doing laundry seem more… civilized.

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