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 to  - 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 the 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!

Nightview
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 --

Secret Shed Plans...


Last summer I lost the 2 car garage next door that I had been renting for six or seven years. It was where I stored my furniture. Bummer, but our new neighbor is great and life goes on. I moved the furniture to one half of my garage.

A month ago, I lost a parking spot I was renting from my neighbor on the north when he bought his vintage dream car, a 1988 Mercedes 500 5L, and needed his spot back.

So...now I have to wrestle the neighborhood for parking spots. Coming home anytime after 7pm makes finding parking a real challenge.

The spaces out back are for my teen sons - I need them to have a constant and safe place to park. My parking challenge will only last for a few years - as they kids move on I will have plenty of room....but in the meantime...I have made plans for a new shed!!

I want the one on I found on pintrest that I've copied and added to this post. I want it to house furniture, but I love the way it looks so much...I'm not sure I want to clutter it up.

I'm thinking of using it for summer dining and winter furniture storage -- then I can park in my garage.

My plans are brilliant!

Now...I just have to run it past Kevin and get him and the boys to build it....I'll let you know how it goes.

See you soon-

Marla

Adventure vs. Traditional

This 1830s-1860s Antique Sheraton Solid Cherry Dresser came to me 2 months ago. The reason that is remarkable is because it just sold yesterday. I never have items for 2 months - I price items well and they sell quickly.


A lovely family who were from back east bought it - and really appreciated the history of the old dresser...the irregular handmade dovetails, the hand-forged nails, the hand-planed marks and chisel marks that can seen on the back and some peg joinery.

There is even a handwritten sticker in the drawer that says it's a Sheraton Dresser that was bought in 1956 for $145 which in 2017 dollars is the equivalent of $1306.26 - it was purchased from a woman in Pennsylvania. 

I have noticed there is something about really old antiques that just don't "sing" to us natives of the West. I had a 1750's slant desk one time and it took 4 months to sell. Items from the last 100 years sell well, but the really old - museum type stuff just doesn't get a lot of local attention.

I think of "Out West" people in a general way as friendly, easy-going and adventurous. I think stereo-typically of the East Coast as very polite, orderly and traditional. So it makes sense that East Coast transplants appreciated this almost 2 hundred year old dresser. It was a rare find.

Yet, I was sorry to see that it took East Coast transplants to appreciate it and the natives weren't interested.

I don't have anything to add to that. It was just something that struck me. Not everything I write has an interesting ending...

See you soon,
Marla


Hello Again!


I have often wondered if furniture I sell ever comes back to me to be resold. Then, this teak desk came to me from one of my favorite Pickers.





As I cleaned it up, I saw a minor repair that I had done years and years ago on the edge - there was no doubt in my mind that I had handled that desk before.

It sold quickly so I only had it for a few days - but it was great to see it again!

The Denver / Metro area has 3.4 million people, but it really is just a small town...



June! Summer!


After a two week hiatus - I am looking forward to working this summer!

I have been working but not on furniture -

Repainted my old front porch


Painted side door blue


I had a party last Sunday for my son who  graduated High School.

I spent my first week off doing house projects that were long overdue. Having a large house party is the best way to motivate me to actually care about that piece of missing trim or patch that hole in the wall, etc..




Then, this past week, I had my daughter all to myself because everyone else was gone or busy. Although I intended to work, we ended up just hanging out all week and I loved it. We watched all 5 Terminator movies in 5 days - it became a bit of a chore - but we did it.

The trick to relaxing is to set the proverbial "bar" way low. Feeling a sense of accomplishment from watching a movie series is that kind of bar. 
4 out of 5 of us - middle son was doing the lights for the ceremony.

Now - the garage is packed with great stuff that either needs to be cleaned up, touched up or completely refinished. The pickers show up even when I'm not working so I always get behind when I take time off. Then, I feel overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of me and I procrastinate.


I'm going to take it slow, but I will start posting new items today and ever day for the next 2 weeks until I take off on a trip at the end of the month. I will return mid-July.

Expect to see scattered commentary here and there....like always, summer is a catch-me-if-you-can time!

Wishing you all a great season of sunshine, family and laughter -

See you soon-
Marla

May, Prom & Furniture!

Yay! We made it through April! Happy, Happy May!

Prom was a success despite the freak-snow storm. Both boys and their girlfriends made it through the After-Prom party without falling asleep but when they got home at 4am - neither were able to talk except to say, "I'm so tired."
This photo is so my 2nd son - he can't do anything traditional
They would be so annoyed if they knew I had their photos on this blog - but too bad for them!

Doing their best James Bond
It was the only Prom they will be at together.

The oldest graduates in 3 weeks (Dear God, Please let him graduate ...he is fully checked out these last two months!) and the one on the left is a Sophomore with a girlfriend who is a Junior. So it was luck that threw them together at the dance.

I filled out the calendar for May - and it is daunting. Graduation activities, play rehearsals and soccer games will keep us hopping through June 4th.

Which leads me to Furniture! I am working all month and have several nice items coming up BUT I will have to fit work around my LIFE schedule so it will be hit and miss.

My oldest will start working for me full-time in June so expect a radical increase in MCM and other Vintage items this summer. Until then, I will muddle through, doing what I can to bring you the best stuff!

Thanks for letting me Mom-Brag about my kids...See you soon!

Marla

P.S. - Izzy and I finally saw the new Beauty and the Beast - with (hold your breath - Izzy just loves her) - Emma Watson!

Hmmm... its a repeat of the animated version with people. About as original as a sneeze. Just my 2 cents.

HOW DO I SPEND MY DAY


I had a message a few days ago from a person who said they would like to do what I do and was wondering what a "typical" day looks like for me.

I though that was funny because I really don't have a typical day. I have Ideal Days, Normal Days, and Perfect Days... thought you might find it interesting too...


Here is my IDEAL DAY and believe it or not, sometimes it happens.
 
6:30 – 7:30 Wake. Get the kids out the door to school.

7:30 – 8:30 Walk with Neighbor Friend

8:30 – 9:00 Shower. Get ready

9:00-12:30pm-  Find /Pick up Furniture / Worker with Furniture Pickers moving items

12:30 -1pm - Lunch

1pm-3:30pm  - Repair, Refinish Furniture

3:30 – 5:00 – Cook early dinner / Feed Family (I insist we eat together as a family then the kids go off to sports/play practice or do homework)

5:00 – 7:30 Paperwork / Showing Furniture 

7:30 -9:30pm – Family Time / Reading / Bed


My NORMAL DAY  

6:30 – 7:30 Wake. Get the kids out the door to school - hand out a gazillon dollars for dances, projects, fund raisers and Einsteins Bagels on the way to school. (No food in the house because I forgot to grocery shop yesterday)

7:30 -8:00  Pay Bills, Return Email while waiting for a customer

8:20 – Customer is 20 minutes late but buys a Dresser – Load into car

8:30 – 9:15 Walk with Neighbor Friend who is flexible with time

9:15 – 9:30 Throw on clean clothes, brush my teeth – head out the door.

9:30 -9:45 Head back home because I left my phone in the garage when showing the customer a dresser. Get a text from another customer that wants to see a buffet at 10:45

9:45-10:30am-  Meet with Picker, find nothing and race home

10:30 to 10:45 – Re-polish the buffet and realize there is a loose slider under the drawer. Frantically re-screw the loose slider and then realize it’s the wrong size screw. Search my bins for the right sized screw and repair the slider just as the customer pulls up.

10:45 to 11:15 Show the buffet to a customer who is very nice, visits for thirty minutes and decides against the buffet.

11:15 -1pm – Head back out  - 50 minute drive to meet with Picker up North. Find two small pieces that need to be refinished and realize a leg is broken on one piece while loading it but too tired to argue about the price and I take it.

1pm to 2:00 Grab Chick-fil-a in drive through (stuck in line while electricity goes out for ten minutes) and drive home

2pm-3:30pm  - Work on a drawer that is wobbly, add 2nd coat of polyurethane to three items, drip some on my good jeans that I forgot to change out of before working with polyurethane. Take photos of furniture that is ready to be advertised.

3:30 – 5:00 – Cook early dinner / Feed Family – I’m not hungry because I just ate. Run to Walgreens for school item my daughter needs, answer texts and email.

5:00 – 5:30 Unload my car, move in furniture drying in the sun as it starts to rain.

5:30 -6:30pm – Listen to kids complain while I wait for two customers. One is early and one is late. Both buy.

6:30 -8:00pm Talk about day with my husband while answering emails, doing laundry, playing a game on my phone and helping with homework. Listen intensely to a story my daughter is telling and try not to think about if the last text said the customer was coming tonight or tomorrow night - I don't want to look at my phone while she tells me about her day.

8:00pm Fall asleep during a show on Netflix. Wake when my phone rings. My customer who owns a furniture store has sent her guy to pick up two pieces she bought a week ago. I help him load and visit.

8:45- 9:00pm Make a weird response when my husband asks me a question because I (irrationally) don’t want him to know I have fallen asleep during the show.

9:00pm – Starving – I eat a pint of ice cream and a handful of trail mix (mostly chocolate).

9:30-11:30 Can't sleep because the chocolate had too much caffeine - I post furniture on craigslist and catch up on school newsletters

11:30pm Fall into bed wearing my clothes from the day before, too tired to
change.

The schedule above is way better than it used to be back when I had to take and pick up my kids from school, practice and sports (now my two older kids can drive themselves and their sister.)


My BEST DAYS  - Also known as: Why I Keep This Job!

6:30 – 7:30 Wake. Get the kids out the door to school.

7:30 – 7:35 Cancel walk with Neighbor Friend because it Snowed/Rained/Too Hot/Someone is Sick/Don’t feel like it

7:35 – 9:00 Long bath. Put PJ’s back on.

9:00-12:30pm-  Read a book. Practice my French. Read Blogs. Call a Friend or Sister.

12:30 -2pm – Go to long Lunch with Husband (also self-employed at his own company)

2pm-3:30pm  - Read. Nap. Computer Surf. Watch TED talks on Youtube

3:30 – 5:00 – Leisurely Grocery Shop. Cook early dinner / Feed Family

5:00 – 9:30 - Play a card game with my Kids / Long Phone Call With my Mom. / Walk with Husband to Wash Park / Start to read that book I got on vacation/ Bed


These three days and many, many, many variations of them are how I spend my days. I imagine they look a lot like yours! 

I need more of the BEST DAYS - don't we all!

See you soon!

Back With a Cold


Just got back from another trip to London!

My daughter is graduating 8th grade in May (our baby!) and each kiddo got to pick a trip to anywhere in the world (with a few limits) for their 8th grade gift.

My oldest skied Whistler in Canada for a week, my 2nd son went to Alaska for a week and Izzy picked London --even though she was there 6 months ago.

Why? She is not an adventurous type, she likes schedules, routines, tried-and-true methods - therefore out of all the places she has traveled, London was her favorite (Harry Potter connection? Yes, of course) so back we went!

Sadly, the day we arrived she went down. Sick. Really Sick. For two days she stayed in bed for the most part. Finally she perked up and we squeezed in all the plays, shopping and Harry Potter events that were possible.

Me? I read books and drank tea in the Waldorf Hilton for two days -- not a bad vacation for me at all -- and...well... I ended up in a "Rear Window" type of story.


...maybe through the hotel window I watched an elderly man who lived in the bldg. behind me,
...maybe I know more about him, his routines and his life than I should,
...maybe I was a concerned neighbor,
...maybe I watched him watch TV at night  (he stays up late)
...maybe the police should have been called on me

Maybe, as Izzy said, I'm really "a bit of a creeper."

Who knew what two days alone in a hotel with a sick, sleeping teenager would bring out in me.

I'm as surprised as anyone.

AND

I really miss him.


And now, I have the wicked cold...serves me right



See you soon,

Marla

Buried in Furniture


So, I let my garage get a little buried in MCM furniture over the last 10 days or so....

I kept trying to get out there but at first it was the wind, then my "sander-guy" was sick, then I had a lunch scheduled with a friend, then another....it seems I could always find a reason to not work.

But today - I conquered!

I posted 6 items and have several more coming up....I am back in full swing. There is now a path through the garage.

And, it's a good thing. I have another truck coming in early next week so I pulled it together just in time.

Love our beautiful Spring-like weather. I know we have a few snowstorms to go, but being outside on a day like today was a gift-

See you soon,

Marla

I Named Something!

It's silly, but I find it very rewarding.

When I search the internet looking for information on a dresser, many times I find pictures of dressers that I have sold and forgotten FROM my OWN BLOG!

The Diamond Series
But that's not what I find rewarding...the fact that I "named" several of these items and my "names" are now being used by the Mid Century World...I find that, rewarding.

Many great dressers from the 60s don't have Manufacturer names or Series names...so...I made up my own as a way of describing the dresser.

I have my "Diamond Series" my "Floating Series" my "Woven Series"...I'm not claiming that I am the only person who invented these names, but I do see my own blog as a reference for many dealers out there who use my invented, descriptive names as the actual Series name.
My "Floating" Series by Lane

I like that!

It does no harm and gives some nameless dressers the recognition they deserve!

It's Not Every Day...


It's not everyday I get two McCobb items  AND a Heywood Wakefield in...Friday was a good day.



It used to be I would get items like that regularly, but then the MCM boom hit -- I still get great stuff, just not as "name" brand as McCobb & Heywood!

The Heywood is a tall dresser that is coated in 2 coats of bright purple paint...my sander-guy is hating me right now.

Luckily - Heywood Wakefield's are all solid wood and very thick so it's just a matter of time and elbow grease to bring it back to its glory.

I just love these pieces!

The Bad Capitalist

I had a funny experience the other day that has happened before. As a customer was leaving with a dresser they had just bought, they said, "You know, you could have asked twice as much - you sell your stuff too cheap."

Its worth noting because it wasn't the first time or the even the hundredth time that I have heard that from customers, other dealers, family members, or my husband.

And....the way this customer said it, it was kind of a jab at me, like I was too dumb to realize that I could make more money if I... I don't know....maybe...wasn't so out-of-touch. 

Maybe I'm just another bad capitalist. (I love you Bernie, however, apparently, you are a little to the right of me!! : ) 

From the beginning, my philosophy has been to offer great vintage pieces for the best prices that I can - not because I'm clueless  - but because I can!

As long as I can make a living, do what I love, and offer reasonable prices, why wouldn't I?

I find great joy in taking a sad-looking, old dresser and making it beautiful and then finding a buyer who loves it. 

And just for the record, and at the risk of being too vulgar/blunt  --as a vintage furniture dealer I do just fine. It's part of the reason I am still doing this 9 years later.

 For me, it's not about squeezing the last penny out of someone - its about being decent and real -- and fair to both of us, which is why I don't negotiate on price. Being reasonable and fair matters to me ...

I am a small cottage business, I'm not trying to be anything more than that...I don't want to gouge people, and I don't want to be taken advantage of -- I think I have found a happy medium in the way I price furniture.

It's a sad commentary on our culture -- when you try to be decent and fair, some people think you are dumb for not trying to "smash-the-other-guy."

However, the bottom line is that I like what I do....and when it comes down to it...how many people can say that about their job?

I am blessed and I hope you are too when you buy from me and get a good deal...

See you soon,

Marla



Some Things Are More Important Than Furniture


I think the title says it all.

Amazing day yesterday - the first day that I felt a little of my political-depression lift. I am not alone in the fact that I can not get over this - I cannot "accept it." I will never "come together" and "move forward" - not with this moron megalomaniac at the wheel.

I will be at peace and accept the transition of power if Pence takes the helm. He's not my cup of tea, but at least I can say we only disagree on politics. The dumb-as-rock Cheeto is a danger to our country and my children.



History will judge those who were complicit.

Love will win.

Izzy and I - peacefully resisting tyranny

Love my Neighborhood Moms!


Live Edge Slice Tables

Sorry it's been so long since I had my head in the furniture game -- lots of reasons -- none worth blogging about. Let's just say...ice, a fall, hip pain and in those 4 words you have the complete story.

But, I am back - spent a snowy day taking photos and posting the items that are stacking up in my garage. I did take a break for an MLK holiday lunch and a snowy walk with Kevin.

On to furniture...I have a really great piece coming up. A one of a kind live-edge Slice Slab end table - it looks something like this -- it's a vintage piece of wood that is light on the outside and a reddish on the inside.

I'm pretty sure it's redwood, but it could be ash. One guy told me that playing the old-wood guessing game was fun, but its impossible to be 100% conclusive.

I haven't added legs yet and I can't decide between the tapered long wood legs and the hairpin metal legs. I like them both.

I want to keep it because I love live edge wood of any kind and vintage wood slice slabs are even cooler, but I am maxed out on space and use acrylic end tables just to make my small house feel less cluttered.

I want a mansion. Not to live in - I like small space living, but I need 10,000 square feet just to keep the unique items I love.

Check back in a day or two and I will post my table -- by then the decision - wood or steel legs ---will be made.

See you soon...