Every now and then in a rare Chicago moment, you’ll find something at an unexpected yard sale that is a steal. We often say that Windy City peeps are too smart for their britches, and landing a deal on a piece of furniture is like finding that needle in a haystack (or finding that ever-elusive 5 panel door). Most things are sold at a premium, and typing the words “mid-century modern” or “danish” into the Craigslist bar is no different price-wise than purchasing brand new.
We’re currently in a state of refurnishing this home, since up-sizing from 675 sq ft to almost 2,000 sq ft has left us with a lot of bare rooms. It’s ridiculously exciting to know that we’re essentially starting over (our sofa looks teeny in the new living room), but it’s also daunting. (A fun daunt, if you know what we mean.) But! A few weekends ago, we stumbled upon an alley sale, and $15 (and a good clean-up) later, we came home with this:
As we wind down summer, those neon SALE! signs are plentiful, but this time, a very unassuming alley sale held an insane amount of old bureaus, cabinets, tables and decor knick-knacks. Scott is constantly coaching me to keep my poker face (I’m terrible at this, just awful), but even he got excited when we pulled up and found all this:
In the way back of a Tetris-stacked garage, we found our little end table – when it comes to rummage sales, we always say, you don’t know what you need until you see it! – and a quick internet search for American of Martinsville (which was branded on the inside of the drawer) turned up some pretty hefty price tags. (Right away, I found our table’s twin on Etsy for $200; score!) It was beautiful as-is, but a 30 minute conditioning and new hardware was all it needed to take it from so-so to whistle inducing.
THE CLEAN-UP: The wood felt dry and slightly brittle, and there were a few water rings that needed to be buffed out. We didn’t go crazy sanding the whole thing, but Scott took out the mouse sander for the tabletop and drawer front, then I followed that up with our tried and true 3-step wood refresh method using Murphy’s Oil Soap, Danish Oil and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax.
There was a simple decorative inlay on the tabletop that shone through (and seemed to pick up more contrast) with every step, and with the exception of a slight burn mark, the rest of the imperfections buffed right out. Overall, the color of the wood darkened nicely, and the Feed-N-Wax pulled through with a pretty, low shine.
We ordered these Richelieu pulls from Myknobs.com (the same place we picked up the hardware for our fauxdenza), which, I mean, can’t you see? They’re the icing on the cake! Yum. (They’re so pretty, I’m saying things like yum.)
Eventually, this will go in our living room, but considering that we don’t yet have a ceiling… well, for now, it’s sitting in the studio (which is equally unimpressive) until we start seeing drywall above our heads. Update: our contractor’s job prior to us has taken a bit longer than planned for, so we’re still waiting for them to officially kick things off here. Are we antsy? Yes. Are we flustered at the exposed studs, mis-matched floors and the inability to do anything about it? Yes. But ice cream helps.
At a time where we’re still hanging out in this very bizarre in-between stage – there’s no point in starting any larger projects until all the drywall dust has settled, after all – it’s so nice to knock out something small and very, very satisfying. How this will fit into the living room plans is still unraveling in our minds, too, but you can’t go wrong with lines like that. (Insert whistle sound here.)