Wink of Wood

 
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This pair. This pair of 3 drawer chests. This pair of 3 drawer chests with their clean lines and their gold buckle hardware. I wanted them so bad that I drove two towns over to pick them up. Twice.  No - not because they didn’t fit in my car but because for the first time in my furniture flipping career, I had to call an audible on account of the screaming baby in the car.

When I set up the meet, I figured all I really had to do was get baby H and me dressed enough to be considered decent, drive out there to pick them up, throw them in the car, then head home. Easy, peasy lemon squeezy.

That was my first mistake.

Baby fell asleep on the way. The seller was running late - no big! We can just wait in the car.

Strike two.

I had scheduled this pick up during what I learned later that many moms call “the witching hour” - that hellish time of day where baby can seem inconsolable…

YOU STRAIGHT FOOL YOU.

Never. Stop. Driving. If baby is asleep in the car, you keep that magical motion going or you’ll have hell to pay. Unbeknownst to me, the delicate window to get these pieces and be on our way without a nuclear meltdown BEGAN TO CLOSE as soon as we pulled up to the rendezvous. After 10 minutes of waiting, baby H went all Chernobyl and we had to evacuate STAT.

Driving home, my hormones triggered a meltdown of my own. I had been so hell-bent on maintaining my need to create that I hadn’t stopped to consider her needs. What if we drive all the way out there and we can’t get the pieces to fit around her car seat? Where will baby wait if I have to finagle them down some stairs?? What if something breaks in transit and there is super sharp debris rattling around her in the car??? These questions were raising an unforeseen growing pain of new motherhood (emphasis on the pain): how to rewire a ME to better think about SHE.

As she was wailing for relief from the car seat, I realized I had popped her in the car like an accessory. Something I could just bring along with me on a craigslist pick up like a tape measure or moving blanket. Yeah… NO. Babies are not tape measures people. And they will (un)happily let you know that.

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It was a valuable lesson about new motherhood and I have a hunch that I’m not done learning it. And perhaps never will be. Yes these dressers were a great buy for the business but if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I pulled a new-mom mulligan and reached out to the seller to explain our no-show. She was gracious enough to reschedule with me the following day so I had a second chance to make juggling baby and a small business work. So we set out again - this time I made sure that baby had a full belly and a clean diaper first, and that the pieces were grab-and-go ready, and that they would fit safely around my most precious cargo (the baby… not the dressers). Fortunately for us this time, it worked out in the end but I’m acutely aware that that might not always be the case. And that’s ok. The beauty of owning your own business is that you should make it work for your family. Not make your family work for it.

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With the challenges of my first postpartum pickup behind me, I worked on the dressers when it wouldn’t interfere. Stringing together bursts of productivity during naptime or when Dad was home - and even sometimes with baby snuggled up and strapped to my chest.

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A series of nicks and dings meant I had to paint the majority of the pieces after all the repairs. I chose a favorite sIlky black paint finish for the body but still wanted some way to keep at least a touch of wood.

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The only place I could salvage ended up being a unique opportunity for a wink of wood. I knixed the original concave metal backplate in favor of staining the recessed cavity behind the gold buckle pulls.

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It’s just a peek but I hope someone will appreciate the subtle detail.

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I added dark walnut legs with brass sabots (that’s fancy furniture talk for brass shoes) to play up this little detail.

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With such richly dark pieces, I decided to keep the styling simple with a couple white accessories and a pair of arched floor-length mirrors.

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These babies are ready for a new home and I’m ready for a new project - provided I’ve figured out how to be a mom and a maker… *wink*

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Black 3-Drawer Dresser Set
Now Available for Sale
32”W x 18”D x 30”H
$795 for the pair

If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, email me at cate@stylemutthome.com

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Heywood-Wakefield Restoration

Yeah ok. I was warned. Newborndome is no joke. Midnight feedings… sleep deprivation… a bazillion dirty diapers. How have people been doing this for centuries?!? Jk. Baby H is totally worth the effort - even if I officially can’t have a cup of coffee in the morning without it going cold.

Caleb has been fabulously supportive. Even though he is back at work, he’s found ways to give me little breaks when he can like downtime to make a craigslist run or have a glass of wine on our deck. He even gave me a block of baby-free time to knock out a new piece:

A Heywood-Wakefield Airflow Dresser

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I actually scored this dresser somewhere in my 3rd trimester (I think I might have played my last preggo card to convince Caleb to help me pick it up one morning before work) - ha!  It was obvious that the previous owner did not realize what a rare find they had considering they put it in their sticker-loving son’s room.  Just look at the damage to the signature H-W finish! 

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The watermark on the back revealed that it’s a “wheat rub.” This means it was truly vintage and not a reproduction since newer H-W pieces sport their signature Amber finish.  This piece could date somewhere in the 1930’s-1950’s when Heywood-Wakefield art-deco-inspired mid-century modern style rose to popularity.  I debated long and hard about how I was going to tackle this project and eventually decided on:

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A restoration

I was seriously on the fence about restoring vs transforming.  After consulting my brother-in-law the wine-cellar-building-carpenter-and-fellow-vintage-furniture-lover I realized it would be practically criminal to alter it with paint or new hardware.

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First order of business to get it back to its former glory was to SAND THE HECK OUT IT.  Yeah that sticker residue had to go.

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After the thorough sanding came a thorough waxing.

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The wax gives it a buttery finish that’s much closer to that trademark Heywood-Wakefield buff.

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This is actually not the first Heywood-Wakefield piece I’ve gotten on my hands on.  Some of you may remember this gimpy coffee table find from 2017 that I ended up keeping for myself.

 
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Although a little patinaed, the coffee table had an original H-W “champagne finish” which, if you ask me, looks practically the same as the “wheat rub” on the Airflow dresser.  That could be due in part to the fact that all H-W pieces are made out of the same wood: northern yellow birch.

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Sealing the Airflow dresser in a wax allowed the natural golden tones of the northern yellow birch to shine.

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Besides the finish, another trademark feature of a H-W piece is the sculptural lines - like the unique curves in the drawer fronts and the architectural details in the handles.

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I know Heywood-Wakefields can read a little too George Jetson to some so I wanted the styling to show how it can still have its moment in the modern day. The quirky lines of this vintage dresser play well with the mod lines of my velvet cantilever chair flip and cheeky llama prints.  

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And I just had to pull out my face vase and add a touch or two of terracotta.

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This newly restored bad boy is now available for sale if you’re in the market for a piece of American-made history!  Email me for purchasing or shipping options.

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Heywood-Wakefield Airflow Dresser
Now Available for Sale
42ʺW × 20ʺD × 34ʺH
$795

If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, email me at cate@stylemutthome.com

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MCM Dining Chairs ||2017 Flip List Item No.4||

 
 

I must have been riding a real high from last year's bucket list upholstery project when I added item No.4 to this year's Furniture Flip Bucket List.  I mean, what's 6 more chairs right?  So when I stumbled on a set of dining chairs at the thrift store I jumped at the chance to cross another item off my list.  

Mid-Century Modern Dining Chairs

I figured they'd be easy-peasy: just recover the cushions and I'd be in business.  But not only did each chair need new fabric, they also needed to be sanded, touched up, and oiled.  I'd like to say my biceps are bulging from all that elbow grease I put in, but who am I kidding - biceps need actual muscle definition to be visible.  Ha!

Although they don't have an obvious maker's mark, these chairs have the signature Y-backs and tapered legs from the Broyhill Premiere Sculptra line - a collection of walnut pieces "luxurious in appearance...[but] modest in price" dating back to 1957.  

**Update** Since publishing this post, I have learned that although very similar to the Broyhill Premiere Sculptra line, these chairs are actually Kent Coffey Perspecta pieces.  Kent Coffey was also a mid-century designer and a leading Broyhill competitor in addition to being a friend and neighbor to James Broyhill himself. 

But if I was going to restore them back to their mid-mod glory, the suspiciously sticky brown vinyl  on my thifted chairs had to go.

So taking a cue from last year's chair, I recovered them in a white linen. 

I did think about recovering them in a patterned fabric but figure the white linen will make them more versatile for a buyer's decor.  Plus you can easily accent them with pillows or other other colorful accessories.

The set comes with 5 armless side chairs

and one captain's chair.

If you're in the DC metro area and in the market for some restored retro cuties (or a custom order like them), hit me up!

Set of 6 Kent Coffey Dining Chairs
Now Available for Sale
$475

Three down, four to go.  Catch up on the 2017 Furniture Flip Bucket List.