Thursday, June 5, 2014

* * * modbox * * * KICKSTARTER ends June 12th!

    ...don't forget about me, I'll get your mail for you every day...

                         - - - Kickstarter deadline - 3:10pm EST Thursday June 12th - - -


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Giant

Today's post goes against my normal grain. If I succeed, it will be long on visuals and relatively short on verbiage. Please stop clapping. This means you will be doing the heavy lifting. Ha.

Let's begin.

Take a look at the first 20 images below, then ask yourself the following question (I'm sure this will be easy sledding for many of you...but it's still amazing)...

                                     ...what do they all have in common?


...thanks for reading my drivel...



Monday, June 2, 2014

..,mailbox? no, MODBOX ...go to Kickstarter NOW...

All you kids are familiar with the concept of 'curb appeal'. And if you're reading this blog, the term 'Atomic Ranch' is no stranger to you. If by some chance this reference is foreign to you, simply read on.

There is a rapidly growing segment of home buyers who are choosing to specifically seek out homes built during the Atomic Design era. If you happen NOT to be among this group of forward-thinking folk, allow me to paint you a picture of the style. Pretty sure I can do this in a couple of short sentences.

Think 'Brady Bunch' house. Okay, now think 'I Dream of Jeannie' house (...I said house). You should be seeing huge windows that in many places reach floor to ceiling. And long, slanted, angular rooflines. Interiors with brick or stacked stone fireplaces also stretching from floor to ceiling, most times having been positioned so as to be a key focal point in the main living area. If that's not enough, just google 'Atomic Ranch style home'...or 'Richard Neutra' (maybe I should've suggested that first).

Now, on to the primary point of this post (...I know, I know).

All you Atomic Ranchers out there are gonna want to click this link...

...which will take you straight to Greg Kelly's ultra cool Kickstarter project page. You should see the following image:

Greg and I have not yet had the opportunity to meet face-to-face, but I can tell you he's a real gentleman when communicating by computer. 

Greg was kind enough to back my own personal Kickstarter project, the Modwagen Mid-Century Modern Field-Guide (...this is known as shameless self-promotion). 

Through our KS correspondence, Greg learned that I was attempting to create this Blog, and simply asked if I'd mind giving 'The MODBOX' a mention. How could I not?'s freaking cool! 

Greg's Kickstarter page tells the MODBOX story much better than I can, so allow me to step out of the way and let you click the link above. Watch his excellent video, and immerse yourself in the details of his master MODBOX plan. 

The MODBOX's funding deadline is 3:10pm EDT on Thursday June 12, 2014...less than 10 days! Backing is looking good at this point, but keep in mind what Greg clearly explains - you can't just run down to the hardware store and buy a mailbox that will adequately adorn your Atomic Ranch curb like the MODBOX can...just check out these colors!

Below are a few more images that you will also see on the MODBOX page.

...THIS is what we're after...

...THIS is how Greg intends to get us there...

Thanks for checking in on the *modwagen*


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Super Sofa, or Super Sucker?

As I understand it, blogging is nothing more than the sharing of experiences. And only a jerk would write about nothing but the great things that are happening in his or her world. Kinda brings to mind that annoying kid we all knew in school that always had the best, always had the most, and always loved to tell us about it.

Well I'm not that guy. And now is a great time to prove it. Right on the heels of this blog's first 4 posts which outlined a handful of my good solid scores. Anyone reading this with any picking experience knows that the wildly successful scores are not the daily norm. That pesky 'Law of Averages' exerts itself evenly on all of us. I hate that.

The incident I am about to share with you occurred super early-on in my picking career. I'm thinking it was only my second estate-sale ever. Whenever telling this tale I always classify it as a 'fail', and rightly so. However, the more time that passes, and the greater the number of experiences that get tucked under my belt, the clearer the value of Lesson #1 becomes.

First, a photo of the prize...and aside from whatever you may think of the choice of upholstery, it was to me quite a stunning sofa. Remember what a newbie I was...a significant factor, and the whole point of this post. The plastic packet on the right contains the extra remnants of the original material covering this piece...which was a the original buyer's interior 1964...and I was standing there talking to him. A retired Atlanta psychiatrist whose estate it was that was being saled. (Can you feel the mystique of this 'find' slowly but surely building in my inexperienced brain? Oh yeah...please pardon the grammar in the previous sentence.) 
Take in the view for a moment. It helps to visualize Mrs. Armstrong in an upholstery type, texture, and color that better suits your fancy (as mentioned in previous posts, I like to name my furniture...this sofa was manufactured by the Armstrong Furniture Company).

Adrian Pearsall's designs, manufactured by his highly successful Craft Associates furniture company, were among the first MCM pieces that really grabbed me. And even though Armstrong was clearly the maker of this little lady, I made the critical rookie error of equating the Pearsall-like gondola sofa style with a potential Pearsall-like gondola sofa dollar-value. Stop laughing. Please. I already said it was a mistake. Geez.  

(Go ahead...try to deny that this solid walnut base is not gorgeous. Yeah, I didn't think so.)

The treasure-of-great-worth about to be gently loaded into my picking vessel. That's not me in the photo...I don't own a purple t-shirt.

Ooohh...ahhh, an Armstrong label...clearly stating it was made only "for those who desire quality"!  The hook was in really deep at this point.

Crazy fabric, right? Crushed velvet. Big flowers. Yet I must admit, over the 6 weeks I housed Mrs. Armstrong, I did grow rather fond of her upholstery...although I never would've chosen it myself. I'm more of a nubby, tweedy, woolly, mustard-yellow or turquoise guy...with buttons. Just sayin'.

Well, that's it. Not gonna tell you how much I [over]paid. Not gonna tell you how much I sold it for. But I am gonna tell you that I basically broke even. More importantly however, I had the privilege of meeting a super nice couple who were to become Mrs. Armstrong's new parents, as well as learning Lesson #1 mentioned above. I choose to call it ESSC (estate-sale-self-control). 'Nuff said.

Thanks for checking in on the *modwagen*...please tell your friends.

-Christo ... older, and wiser.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

GOODWILL: Not what it used to be, BUT!....

Hopefully not the case in your town, but the GW's around here have gotten a little big for their britches. Seems someone in the control-room has discovered the world-wide-interweb.

Not breaking news, I know. The primary purpose for this post is simply to lift the collective thrifter-spirit by showing you the magnitude of mistakes that are still being made IN OUR FAVOR at Goodwilliam. Check it out.

One pristine, black and chrome Eames DCM chair by Henry Miller. Waiting just for me. For $9.97. That's a big swing-and-a-miss for Goodwill (thanks any more?). I've lovingly named this little guy Blackie. I like to name my furniture.

Pictured below, Blackie is trying to talk his new roomie into wearing both his cushions for this photo. Big-K (the green Kroehler sleeper sofa) is a bit of a rebel most of the time.

I don't even think Blackie ever saw any actual real world butt-time. In addition to his overall immaculate condition, he was still wearing clear protective plastic covering on his chrome base as well as both painted seating surfaces(!).  

Shock mounts and screws all brand new.

Bottom line...I'll still be leaving time for semi-regular TML's at Goodwilliam. Who knows, I may happen upon the rest of Blackie's family. One can dream.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

First Date with Laurel

I remember it like it was last September. My first day in a strange land, unfamiliar with the territory. Google maps indicated 2 specific locations within a 4 mile radius that offered hope. The possibility of connecting with a like-minded soul.

Shortly after venturing out, I found myself at location #1...the Salvation Army Store of North Myrtle Beach. Yes, Myrtle Beach was the 'strange land'...and yes, this WAS last September. Anyway, allow me to continue.

My TSR (thrift-store-regimen) has been honed to the following basic behavioral pattern:

1) Enter the store. This is an absolute must...ALWAYS do this first!

2) My eyes immediately shift to wherever the lamps happen to be, scanning their silhouettes as a tourist would gaze upon a cityscape at night. I'm looking for the strange, the unusual, the teak, the Fiberglas, the tension-pole, etc.

3) The eyes then swing to the furniture, typically adjacent to my beloved 'lamp-section'.

4) Smallsville...anything-goes-time...I'm now picking up the pace, lapping the store with increased focus looking for rejected valuables of all kinds. You know what I mean. Maybe they're of monetary value, and maybe they are just so funky, funny, cool, and cheap that I can't leave them behind. Fun.

Even though I had no idea at the time, this was to be a good day.

Within 30 seconds of entering the store, I saw her waiting for me. She was quite homely. But there was just something about her...the right shapes, in the right places. Unusual looking at first, yet I could not stop looking at her.

After getting up my nerve, I made the decision. The decision to go ahead and buy her. How could I go wrong at $2.59?

Oh, I forgot to mention...her name was Laurel, and she was a table lamp. With her original shade.

You can probably see what drew me to this one - the overall shape of the solid cast brass base, and the pristine original lamp shade. At this point, I'd never even heard of a Laurel lamp...but at $2.59 I was positive I'd be kicking myself if I didn't grab it and enjoy it while researching it. I also relish the challenge of restoring and repairing. All this old gal needed was new walnut veneer inlay panels on all 4 sides. Couldn't wait to try that for the first time!

Here are the obligatory Before, During, and After photos of the veneer repair:

A few very good things came my way as a result of the chance encounter with my little Laurel. 

Through research on this lamp I learned quite a bit of valuable info on the the Laurel company, including the fact that their products are very sought after and that they often used fine solid woods such as pecan, teak, birch, and walnut combined with sold cast brass. While on this subject I was also introduced to the safest and best brass polishing techniques, as well as a reliable and ultra simple method of testing whether a piece is solid brass or is merely brass plate (the magnet test).
Additionally, I learned that no appropriate adhesive exists that will adequately attach real wood veneer directly to a brass surface. There MUST be a thin substrate of some kind that is is glued to the brass, then the veneer can be attached to the substrate. Interesting!

Well, I've bored you long enough. Please enjoy these last shots of my finished Laurel (wish I had a matched pair!), and always feel free to let me know what you think. 

One more time... I only paid $2.59 for this sweetie!! I love you Laurel.