The Copy Cat

The Kid - Dillon

My oldest - Dillon - was helping me with furniture in January -- on a particular dresser - I told him to use the wet/dry sandpaper over the entire thing and then polish it up.

Now this kid has been helping with furniture (for pay) since he was 16 -- at my comment he looked up at me, shocked.

"I thought you did that right before the customer got here."


Why does the kid only see and remember my bad habits!

You see, in the final stage of refinishing a dresser, end table, dining table, is necessary to use emery sandpaper over the entire item to even out the final finish and make the wood smooth to the touch.

Then, the entire item needs to be polished up. It sound like a lot of work, but really takes about 5 minutes.

Looking at it, before and after,  it looks the exact same - its the touch that feels rough or smooth - so before this final step, I usually take photos and post the item.

Every time, I do the same thing - when someone wants to see the dresser, desk, etc... I find myself  running out to the garage to do the final sanding and polishing, many times minutes before they arrive.

It's a sickness. I don't consider myself a procrastinator in other parts of my life - but somehow, I must derive some inner benefit from panicking and running out to the garage at the last minute to smooth the wood and polish the item--

How I Envision myself working on Furniture
This looks more like my reality - Bummer

Somehow Dillon has observed this bad habit and decided that it was the WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE!

Kids don't pick up on good habits BUT somehow can zero in on bad ones -- parenting is tricky.

See you soon-

What's up With the Hairpin Legs....

I have used a lot of hairpin legs lately -- and have had a ton of emails/texts about it from those of you who follow this blog wondering what's up with the hairpin legs and... where can you get these legs....

Okay - here is what is going on....I'm 10 years into this business and have turned away a countless number of dressers or credenzas that had broken mid century peg legs, or water damaged bases. Believe it or not - those adorable, sturdy legs can be snapped rather easily if you don't moved it correctly.

On really amazing items, I would still take the legless dressers, refinish them and then go on the hunt for peg legs -- it's not as easy as it sounds - they are expensive, they are never the right size, and... they are elusive.  I found a source a few years ago, but it dried up in months.

Don't get me wrong - there are many internet sites that sell the tapered legs - but they run $20-$40 EACH!! That is an added $80 to $200 added to each dresser -- not my thing

So, last Fall...on one of my scouting trips up North - I ran across a guy who made custom furniture - he had hundreds of hairpin legs that he had ordered in years ago for items that he no longer made... we came to an agreement on a stellar price and I came home with a van FULL of 8" and 6" hairpin legs!!

Add caption
The reason I haven't blogged about them  - is:

a. I won't sell them - I am hoarding them for myself

b. When I run out - I run out --so they will not be a permanent thing.

However, I usually put one to two things on hairpins each week - so at that rate I have about a year left of hairpin mania!

They are a great way to "save" the vintage mid century items that have lost their bases and I LOVE them! Maybe I will find another source after these are gone - maybe it was just a blip on the radar of this business -- time will tell

So - now you know!

See you soon!

Before and After - Mid Century Tall Dresser by E. Saarinen for RWay

I don't do a lot of "Before and After" photos but this Saarinen transformed so beautifully that I couldn't help myself -- I love these dressers - this baby came in with a base that had cracks and water damage - it had to come off and hairpin legs were added --

The entire dresser was sanded and sealed so that the natural wood came out like it was new...
The maple, birdseye maple and oak just lit up in the sun
 ...and shimmered in light
 It's already sold and gone off to a new home --

My pleasure at having this great piece of history pass through my hands...

See you soon

Happy New Year - Welcome 2018!

2017 was a mixed bag -

There were the bad/ sad things-- 

I lost my healthy, active dad to a fast-growing cancer- he fought it with all he had and I think that was the hardest thing to watch and I miss him terribly....

...the dotard is still a twit, tweeting out his stupidity -dividing this nation more ever day,

Marla Kiley
...there were/are so many natural disasters and gunmen, hate-rallies attacks (never a gun-woman...or a group of predominantly hate-spewing women -- think about that!)

But there were good things too:

My oldest son graduated high school, the kids are healthy and as happy as angst-ridden teenagers can be, we traveled a lot, Kevin made me a dining shelter outside that is beautiful, I finally saw the Grand Canyon, I turned 50, my front porch was re-designed, I met a 1st cousin for the first time since we were babies and reconnected, I intentionally made time for current friends and saw some old friends that I haven't seen in years, I joined Orange Theory last summer which has helped me more mentally than I could have ever imagined ...

I don't know if the list of good outweighs the bad, but it is where I choose to focus.

In addition, every day in my job, I get to take a piece of furniture that looks like this:

And give it a new life-

There is something deeply rewarding about finding, refinishing and bringing a little more beauty into the world. Even though the world will continue to spin without my furniture additions, my soul feels a sense of joy in rediscovering, restoring and reusing old pieces.

It's not a purpose that changes the world, but it changes one teeny, tiny aspect of our surroundings and with everyone else adding their own bit of beauty - the world does change...slowly, almost invisibly, but it changes for the better.

May 2018 be the year where all the collective beauty comes together and we change the world!

The Problem With Weird

When you are in an industry for a long time, you get what I call - "insider-crazy" --. For example, I used to work for a company that sold tabletop items like this:

I thought it was so pretty and useful -- after a few years of seeing every kind if dish, serving platter, plate and charger -- I went insider crazy and bought a bowl that looked something like this:

After a while, normal seems so boring and anything really off-the-wall was amazing!

It's the same in any industry - My niece sells wedding dresses, she went from liking this type of dress:

To thinking a dress like the one below is so cool:

After a while everything in your industry looks the same and anything really different stirs your imagination. I know she would never wear the dress above - she will probably get married in jeans and a tee-shirt someday - but "insider-crazy" is all about loving things that the average joe would not look at twice...

Which explains this lamp I have:

I know its weird - I know its somewhere between kitchy and mod - its mostly strange... and I JUST LOVE IT!

The whole family has poo-poo'ed it - and I know I will eventually get tired of it too - I have it for sale on craigslist and so interest -- I know I'm on the "insider-crazy track", but I can't help myself.

So This Happened!


The dresser that has a curse on it!

When I bought this big guy - it was a referral through a friend of a friend - I usually avoid those referrals because nothing ever goes right.

When I arrived to see it - it was on the second floor and the house was raised with a staircase outside to get to the front door. I have moved countless items from basements and second floors but I don't do that anymore because -- well, it sucks.

It needed more work that I wanted to do but, it was for a friend of a friend so I bought it and my ever patient partner-in-life -- helped me strong arm it down two sets of stairs to my double parked van.

I let it languish in the garage for two weeks - too angry at it to do any work. Finally, I plowed through the work, posted and sold it.

When the truck came to pick it up - I broke the back leg - totally my fault - total refund -- BOO!

Waited another two weeks, repaired the leg - re-posted it - went to move it for showing and I broke a DIFFERENT leg!! (the base wasn't weak - I was being lazy)

It's a heavy dresser - but I move these big boys all the time and never break legs... STUPID CURSED DRESSER!!

I will have to take off the base, add hairpins and maybe do something really special to the dresser to make it spectacular -

The best way to lift a curse is to smother it with beauty and kindness - someday this beast will be a blessing in another person's life -- I forge on...

See you soon,


Love Creativity

One of my favorite parts of this job is seeing how creative people can be -- occasionally I have customers who send me photos of items they have fixed up or just placed in their homes -

 I love that...over the past few weeks I have had several photos sent to me and I have enjoyed them so much, I thought I'd memorialize them here!

The credenza under the TV was mine - (now hers) - Love the way the white/wood theme is reflected in the doors

Before Photo - this baby had great bones but is as heavy as a dwarf star - I was happy to have an expecting young couple take it for free and give it a second life

AFTER - they painted it navy and white - added legs and now it is in their nursery! I love it!

Beautiful dresser bought by some long-time customers that I always enjoy seeing! It looks right at home!
Loved the "z" shape of these arms - but after a few months I accepted I would never recover it - moved it along for a great price and in exchange I got these photos!
Recovered Beautifully by a customer/artist in Franktown on its way to a happy second life!

 And... just a reminder that "Vintage Works" -- I was at an ARC store with my mom two weeks ago, I bought two vintage leather vests, two leather belts and a mcm desk! Score!

Marla Kiley -- Me rocking the new "old" vest !

The Stealthy Dealer

I sell my Mid Century furniture to end users and a lot of other dealers who then resell it -

I have exactly one garage stall in which to house all the furniture that I have   - which includes those that need to be fixed up, displayed for sale, and stored for customer pick up.

Most dealers are fairly upfront about being a dealer or at least don't deny it when I ask them.

I can always spot them a mile away - they buy like I do, have a quick and discerning eye and can recognize a great deal instantly.

Many of the local dealers I know well. My feeling is this - I get what I need, pricing-wise, out of the furniture and if they want to sit on an item to get a better price I wish them well - sometimes it will resell quickly and other times ... not so much -- they have space to store it, I don't - that's how it goes!

So last night I had a pair of stealthy dealers, posing as end-users, come over - they whispered between themselves and then bought an item - they had that deer-in-the-headlight look - that dealers get when they are afraid of being discovered - as though I might say:

"You are another DEALER!   No Soup for you! - One year!"

I didn't call them out on it - I let them think I didn't know - usually I put them at ease so they know I don't care if they are dealers - but I let the charade go on....I guess that's as close to international intrigue and spying that I will ever get.

Although, and this is a true story, when I was in Moscow 18 years ago - I was followed for two weeks by the KGB (really it was the FSN, but the KGB still sounds more dramatic!)

So I guess that was closer to international intrigue than the events last night, which now sound boring in comparison....I will blog about that another time!

Still At It

October 2017

So....maybe I have been threatening to quit hawking mid century furniture for the past few years....I might have blogged about it a few times (Ahem...cough...cough)!

Then I applied for a "real job" - you know the kind of job that I went to school and grad school for - the kind that I worked in for a decade before kids.

Us in Vancouver last week!

I got the INTERVIEW! Then a strange thing happened. As I listened to the HR representative, my face fell. She kept saying words like "daily meetings", "crisis management", "2 weeks of vacation", "marketing goals" -- the final straw was--- "you no longer have to travel overseas, we are now having our team Skype!"

The only reason I was interested in this job was that I would go overseas four times a year.

I stopped her there. I politely declined the job and left.  I'm sure I presented as a crazy lady who had wasted her time - but I was nice about it, when inside I was screaming to myself, "LET ME OUT OF THIS CUBICLE-HELL-HOLE." (for those of you reading this from a cubicle, I've done 15 years in a cubicle, I've served my time too...)

Apparently, the flexibility of being a mid century 
furniture seller for the past 10 years has ruined me! 

I cannot go back to that corporate nonsense - I can't sit through one more pointless meeting, not even an interview - right now its 9a.m. on a Tuesday and I'm sitting in my pj's typing on my blog and sipping tea -- I love my job! 

I do have to brave the cold in a few minutes and unload some new dressers but its a small price to pay for the freedom and flexibility.

Thank you everyone for the past 10 years and I look forward to the next 10!  I'm never going back!

The Shed Takes Shape

You'll have to read the post below to know what I'm talking about - but the SHED happened!

Many of you have met Kevin - my guy of more years than I want to say - and many of you thinks he works with me because he helps me so much with moving furniture, showing furniture and general repairs.

However, he actually owns his own business - his company does the boring stuff that you can read about in the Denver Business Journal - (his words, not mine) - so he loves the "art-ish" nature of my work. He is way more artistic than I am - so when I mentioned the shed project - he jumped on it.

He learned to lay bricks by watching youtube videos and bought 100 year old bricks off craigslist and got to work! He likes to say - whatever you need to learn, you can learn on youtube -

It took him a month:
My beautiful new backyard shed!

I love it - right now it has two outdoor couches in it so we sit in it every day and do our work - we had the dining table in it for a party - It makes me happy every time I step outside.

Much more has happened since I posted in July - but I will get to that in another post --