Sarah's Chandelier

I've been shopping on Craig's List again. It's a bad habit of mine.

Actually, I take that back. When I look around my house at all the things I have thrifted, I am quite pleased with them all. So let's just call it a habit. Nothing bad about it. In fact, just recently I have sold our old kitchen cabinets, an armoire in our guest room to make way for a chair, and our old stove and microwave. We are delivering the latter to town tomorrow and I am hoping to bring home a $20 set of bookcases for our storage room (from another seller). Win win!

Although Sarah's room hasn't been on our target list of projects yet, I have had in mind to buy her a chandelier. She is my princess, after all. Through all the light shopping I've done for the kitchen I have kept my eye out for a good deal. This listing recently popped up on Craig's List:

Genuine Crystal 8-Arm Chandelier, $250


I took note but moved on. It was more than I wanted to spend and a bit traditional.

And then, a week later:

Genuine Crystal 8-Arm Chandelier, Price Reduced! $100

This time I bit. I pulled out the measuring tape to make sure it wouldn't clock us in the head when we walked through her room, then offered $75. It was ours!

I was a little unsure at first. It was covered with that dusty/greasy grime that all things accumulate when they are over 50 years old. I laid it out on the kitchen table and spent several hours cleaning the entire chandelier and every individual crystal.


It sparkled! It was worth the effort.

And after putting it up in Sarah's room I was even more sure of the purchase.


Fit for a princess.

As with any thrift purchase, it is fun to try to find out if you scored a good deal or not. The chandelier bore the mark of Palme&Walter KG, which we identified as a German chandelier maker. However, the only lead we could find on its value was a listing on eBay for another Palme&Walter chandelier (which looked very much like ours) that had rare Strass crystals on it. Apparently those crystals had signatures in them which could be seen with a magnifying glass. This chandelier sold for $6,000. Ahem. Needless to say I got out a magnifying glass. But I couldn't find any such signature. And the likelihood of a chandelier of that value ending up in an unknowing Great Falls citizen's home? Yeah, right.

In any case, although it would be nice to have a better idea what the value of this fixture is, I'm confident either way we scored a good deal. And Sarah is ecstatic.

new wall unit

Hello. My name is Joellyn and I'm addicted to Craig's List.

I wasn't actually looking for a wall unit. This wall unit was looking for me. I saw the ad as I was browsing one day and noted that it looked cool—I even showed it to my mom—then moved on. 

photo from Craig's List adAbout a week later I found myself thinking about that wall unit again. For some reason it occurred to me that my dream of having built-in bookshelves along the back wall of my living room wasn't likely to happen for a very long time. So why not buy something that would stand in (and look ever so cool) in the meantime?

This is what the back wall of my living room looked like before:

The bookcase that is sitting there was removed from the other wall and was just sitting there for lack of a better place to put it (it is heavy, man!) but it is obviously wrong for the space. 

It had been at least a week since I had first seen the ad, so I was thrilled to find it still listed. It took several more days to finally get into town to check it out. She had listed it for $100, but she took my offer for $80. This is why I love Craig's List in Great Falls. In any big metropolitan area this unit would have been snatched up within hours, and would have pulled MUCH more than $80, I'm sure.

This might not be everyone's thing, but it is so very mid-century (1960s) and perfect for this house. And if we do build those bookcases someday, I can resell this unit for a profit. Just look up "Danish wall unit" online and you will see several very similar looking wall units for more than two or three thousand dollars. It's all about finding the right market, baby.

This is what it looks like in my house:

Since it is partially covered by my couch, here is another view:

The book stand unit on the right will be mounted on the rails as well, but I was missing a bracket that I have to pick up from the seller today. And after a good polish, I will of course style this baby and post more photos for you.

It is in excellent condition for its age and is all solid wood. I love how the color warms things up and lightens up the dark leather furniture I have. 

Oh, and did you notice one more thing?

I stripped the wallpaper off that wall and painted. (More on that later). I just couldn't bear to put this up over that old wallpaper so buckled down and got the job done. One wall down, 240 to go. Ha.

The unit is marked with the manufacturer's logo, "Kopenhavn". A little research revealed that this is not actually Danish, but is Danish inspired. Kopenhavn was a line trademarked by the Northern Chair Co. (based in Tacoma during the early 1900s), and this particular "wall planner group" was designed by Noral Olson. I looked for his name in other places and just found someone who designed miniature furniture. Same guy? I'm not sure. The Kopenhavn line seems to be somewhat rare. If you know more, do tell! Here is the coolest thing I found during my research—an ad from a furniture store in an old newspaper clipping:

I love peices that have a history, and it was fun to see the other units offered as part of the line. And the prices: $319 for that first living room set!

Tell me what you think of my find! I'll be back with more after I do some decoratin'. Bye for now!

Craig's List find—claw foot tub

I have been thinking for awhile that I would like a claw foot tub in this bathroom:

The brown fixtures are cool-retro and all, but they have years of hard water deposits on them and don't fit the aesthetic I hope for in this room. So I started to search Craig's List. We have no immediate plans to start on this room, but I figured it might take awhile to find the perfect tub. Surprisingly, tubs popped up for sale more often than I expected, but most of them weren't in the best condition and would need to be reglazed.

A phone call to a professional revealed a whopping $795 price tag for reglazing a claw foot tub. Considering they go for at least $2000 brand new, that might not be so bad. But considering the finish is only guaranteed to last 10-15 years, I was sadly beginning to feel this option might not be for me.

And then I found a listing for a tub that looked like it might work with its original finish. I called to set up a visit. And here is where it turned into one of those situations that felt like it was "meant to be". I talked to the guy to ask a few questions and told him I would call back when I had an opportunity to bring my husband in to look at it. (I don't like to look at Craig List finds alone. Never mind the fact that I would never be able to load a claw foot tub by myself.) The next day it rained (yes!) freeing up Tom to go with me, so I called him back and got his voice mail. When I heard his first and last name on his voice message, it clicked. I knew these people! It happened to be my brother-in-law's sister and husband. 

Long story short, we brought home the tub, and even got a good "friends" discount out of the deal. This is what it looks like:


It definitely needs a little TLC. The outside needs sanded and painted—I'm thinking a charcoal gray. I will paint the feet oil-rubbed bronze (or white?). The tub was built in, so their is caulking and paint along the top edges that needs to be scraped off. And the inside just needs a good scrubbing. There is a bit of yellowing around the drain, but overall the inside looks great. There are a few chips in the enamel, but only around the edge of the rim. We will either live with the imperfections or try a little enamel patch kit since it isn't on the interior of the tub.  

The second part of this equation is now I want to find an old dresser to retrofit for the vanity. I have shown you this inspiration photo before:

Source unknown.

I love the mid century vibe of this desk/credenza and I think something like this would be very appropriate for this house.

However, yesterday this popped on on Craig's List:


This seems like a pretty legit antique to me. I love that it is meant for bathroom duties, complete with spot for a wash basin, towel bar, and "potty cupboard".


Of course I haven't seen this in person so I have no idea if it would work for what I need. They are asking $300 for it. So, help me out. What do you think? Do you like the antique or should I hold out for a vintage mid century cabinet?


Craig's List find: Midcentury Motherload Part II

When we visited the storage unit found on Craig's list, we came home with more than we planned on. Actually, I picked out the chairs and desk I wanted and got back in the car to feed Eva, and Tom continued browsing. He's the one who lured me back in. Trouble.

So here is the rest of our loot:


These white lamps were $5 each. I need to find some drum shades for them, but I think they are a great find. The drafting table lamp was Tom's pick. We hope we can find florescent bulbs that fit it.

Cattails, thrown in for free. (One set on e-bay currently listed for $17.99. I have 3 different sets, not all pictured).

This magazine rack really raised my mom's eyebrows. That's because they had (have?) one just like it for years that held my piano music. (I just realized it is missing one of the wood pieces in this photo, but I have it.) I think it features my Atomic ranch mags and Eames book nicely, don't you?

This Zenith radio actually works! Quite well, in fact! I think it cost me $5.

These candy dishes currently hold pretzels and nuts that are a bit too convenient for our holiday snacking. I lost track of how much he charged me for all these little items. I ended up just making a pile of everything I wanted and he named a price for the whole lot.

I bought these canisters—wait—I believe he said "oh, you can just have those"—inspired by Modern Thrifter. I'm not quite sure if I will paint mine or not. I kind of like the original patina. And this wooden vase, well, I'm sure I'll find a use for it somewhere.

Finally, this oil and vinegar cruet. He said they were a rare find unbroken because they are rather fragile. A quick search of my own didn't reveal anything quite like it. But they are useful if nothing else!

That's about it. I did leave most things there. Really. He had artwork, a million lamps, lots of dishes, furniture, etc. The list goes on and on. Tom has been looking through my Atomic Ranch magazines and on eBay to see if there are any treasures we left behind that should have been snagged. LOL :) The more he looks into it the more he is amazed at what a craze midcentury design is. There was a middle-aged man looking through the storage unit while we were there and Tom asked, "Are you looking for someone else or are you into this for yourself?" His answer, "I have a '61 Atomic Ranch." So apparently these savvy people do exist in Montana, behind the faces of very ordinary people. Not everyone in MT has to own rustic log cabins. Yeah! I'm glad we beat him to the storage unit. Ha!

Actually, there is one more item I forgot to photograph, so I'll have to save it for a later post. So, what do you say? Cuckoo or brilliant?

Craig's List find: Midcentury Motherload

I have a habit of scanning Craig's List every few days (obviously). Around here it is small enough to scan every entry and not have to filter your results by type. I think this is the equivalent of "impulse shopping", or scanning the goodies lining the checkout stands. Because you often find appealing things that you weren't actually looking for.

This time it was an ad for Eames chairs. What???? That doesn't come up on Craig's List every day around here! Unfortunately it had a been 2 days since the ad had been listed, and I was sure they would have been snatched up. And the stuff was in Great Falls so I wasn't sure when I would be able to get away to go see them anyway. Nevertheless, I called on them and they were still available. Even better, the guy had a storage unit full of midcentury goodies.

(I've ceased to complain about the fact that Craig's list is so under utilized up here. Because you know what I've learned? That means there is less competition when something great is listed! That and nobody up here would give a hoot about midcentury modern furniture anyway. What's that?)

The storage unit was in Cascade, another 25 miles past Great Falls. So I made a special trip to go see this jackpot of midcentury furniture. My family rolled their eyes but my husband kindly accompanied me. (After all, meeting some strange guy at a storage unit by myself generally wouldn't be advisable). Turns out, the guy was a designer dude who lived in California and helped manage a midcentury furniture gallery. He started his collection there and then moved back home to Cascade where he stored his entire collection in a storage unit. Recently he up and decided to move to New York City for a new job opportunity and can only take, like, one piece of furniture with him and a suitcase full of clothes. So, he is liquidating the contents of his storage unit in a rush. His loss was my gain, right?

The chairs in the ad were these:

He was asking $40 each for them. They have the original stickers and Herman Miller emblem on them. (Look up Eames shell chairs on e-bay to see what they normally sell for. Typically between $100-$300). I was planning to buy 2, but ended up with all 4 for $120.

Then there was this desk:

This is a Paul McCobb desk. My family isn't impressed. But look up Paul McCobb Planner Group desk on e-bay. (Original condition: $600+, refinished: $900+). Tom needs a desk when we finish our basement and confiscate our current office furniture for my craft room. He can use this for now (until we can buy something he likes better) and I can refinish and sell it for a significant profit. They'll be laughing at me then, I'm sure. All the way to the bank.

By the way, I purchased the desk for $100, and got him to throw in this Danish modern chair for free.

I love this chair. The designer dude said he recently re-upholstered the seat, but I think it deserves some cuter fabric. Like something by Orla Kiely perhaps.

My family thinks I'm a little nuts and some of you do too, I'm sure. :) Abby ran by why I was taking pictures, sat down in the chair, and said "Mom, this is comfortable!"

At least someone is on my side.

Craig's List find: followup

The dresser and nightstands have been acquired!

Not that I needed another project right now, or more furniture in my garage. I was able to purchase them without the bed, so thats good. She told me they were solid wood so I didn't look very closely when we picked them up, but when we got home I could see they were not. So I am a little dissapointed, but I don't have a lot of money into them and will try to refinish them anyway. It still has dove-tailed drawers and has has held up pretty well over the years.

I had a few of my own things to get rid of, so I listed this couch on Craig's List:

We bought it from my Grandpa for $5 in our family auction. I think it has a lot of mid-century charm, but the apolstery is thread-bare, several of the legs are broken, and it is missing quite a few buttons. I didn't have time for the project, nor did I have a good place to put it in our house. So I sold it for $50. Not bad! :)

I also sold the washer and dryer that was in the house. We intended to use them at first and sold our old set in Salt Lake. But when I ran the first load I noticed the water wasn't flowing in very well and ran my finger along the base of the rim to find lots of mucky hard water deposits. I wasn't too thrilled about washing my newborn baby clothes in it. We opted to buy a water-efficient front load model and so far I have no regrets. Water shortages are unfortunately a common occurance around here, and we do a LOT of laundry, especially with the cloth diapering. I cleaned up the old set and sold them very easily.

I am a huge fan of Craig's list (aside from the occasional creepy stuff) and I'm going to be a selling fool! I have some things to sell on ebay. I'll share my successes (and failures) as I go!