Mid-Century House Update vol. 3

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With a bit more time on my hands, I figured I’d get another section of the mid-century house painted. On the agenda this time around was the master bedroom bathroom. Now, don’t get me wrong, bathrooms in general offer their own set challenges. That being said, this particular bathroom truly tested my patience. From my experience, the worst/least desirable part about painting bathrooms is often painting behind and under the toilet. This time around, the area behind the toilet was the least of my worries. The wood paneling on the wall was different than that of anywhere else in the house. The seams between each plank were much deeper and required substantial brushwork with each separate coat of paint. To help with that particular task around the crown molding and the baseboard, I actually caulked each individual crack top and bottom. Definitely no small task.

When working in rooms that’ll need to stand-up to moisture or messes, semi-gloss paint is a good choice. So, even the ceiling got a coat of white semi-gloss paint. All in all, plenty of sanding, a good round of masking, two coats of primer, lots of cleaning, so much caulking (definitely my favorite step), and two coats of Repose Gray. Believe it or not, the toughest parts for me were painting behind the light fixture on the wall (which inconveniently doesn’t even allow the glass parts to come off) and painting behind the drawers near the door. YIKES!

Alas, it certainly turned out well and only took a day longer than I had planned. Definitely happy with the results, as per usual.  Until time permits, this will be my last round of work on the house for a while.  Another room, done and done.

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A Bit About the History of Waterfall Furniture

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Since my recent scores of the waterfall dressers, I’ve gotten a few puzzled looks when I mention the term “waterfall”. I’ve tried my best to explain it…to the best of my knowledge. Upon further research, I’ve learned a bit more about this particular niche of furniture.  Figured I might as well share what I’ve found out with others.

Here’s a little bit about the history of waterfall furniture:

Produced primarily between the 1920’s and 1940’s, waterfall furniture gained popularity due to its affordability. During the Great Depression, it was not uncommon for a newlywed couple to occupy a room in (often the bride’s) parent’s house. The purchase of a set of waterfall furniture was a way to make the bedroom their own space.

Why this particular style of furniture, you may ask?  Up until that point, most furniture was produced from solid wood.  It was painstakingly created, resulting in a high price tag.  The conservation movement and the invention of plywood changed the game when it came to furniture construction.   Plywood furniture was relatively inexpensive and soon became the style of choice for middle class newlyweds.  The use of plywood in furniture allowed for some creativity with re: to actual design.  Waterfall furniture doesn’t have a frame. It relies on the strength of the molded plywood to give it structure, enabling makers to give it curved or rounded horizontal edges.  Because of the furniture’s free-form and curvy lines, people called it “waterfall” furniture. The distinct curved wood that “fell” over the edge of the front of these pieces and their clean lines made them feel modern to newlyweds and a far cry from  the heavily carved pieces of their parents.

There are all types of waterfall furniture pieces, including dressers, nightstands, benches, chairs, vanities, desks, end tables, bed frames, dinning tables, china cabinets, billiard tables, and cedar chests.  In 1930, a typical Bedroom Suite (bed, chest of drawers, vanity, and bench) would have cost between $19.95 and $39.95. More luxurious sets sold for slightly more.  A full dining room set included a table with removable leaves big enough to seat six people, five chairs, china cabinet, and buffet, all of which sold for $103.50.  Manufacturers often incorporated an unusual veneer design called “bookmatching” on the fronts of pieces (creating unique patterns) and ran the grain of the veneer from front to back on the top surfaces. Drawers often featured the much-coveted Bakelite handles.

Today, one can find waterfall dressers, night stands, vanities, and more at antique shops, Craigslist, and the occasional yard sale.  Because of its plywood construction and wood veneer, waterfall furniture tends to “show its age” due to age, heat, and moisture.  That being said, there are definitely pieces that have been treasured for decades, the result of sentimental attachment, and are in wonderful condition.  Other pieces just need a little attention to help re-vitalize their former glory days.  Anyway you shake it, waterfall furniture definitely has a place in the hearts of many of us.  And to think, it all started with a conservation movement, the need for affordability, and the invention of plywood.

Yet Another Dresser

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As if I don’t have enough projects on my plate, I simply could not resist acquiring yet another dresser.  I know, I know, there is such a thing as too many projects…especially since I seem to be struggling with the completion piece.  Needless to say, I was checking out some local and not-so-local Craigslist sites this afternoon.  Imagine my surprise when I came across a pretty cool dresser.  Asking price: FREE.  That being said, I haven’t actually seen the dresser in-person, but from the Craigslist post pictures, it does appear to have promise. I’ve been told (by the person who actually picked it up) that it is a bit rough (and probably needs work), but there’s got to be something there. Right?  Figured it was at least worth a shot. Unless I’m mistaken, it sure does look like another Waterfall dresser. Now, I do believe I’m done acquiring dressers…for a while (at least).

At this point, I guess I should finish working on the ones I’ve got, ‘eh?

Mid-Century Chair

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Well, talk about the discovery of the century…or rather, the past century. A few weeks ago when I was picking up the Waterfall dresser, the folks I bought the dresser from asked if I might be interested in a mid-century chair they were trying to re-home. Well, you know me and all things mid-century…what could I say?!! The only giddy-up was whether or not it would fit in the car along with the dresser. I must say, once I saw the chair, I was hooked. But would it fit? Lucky for me the individual was able to JENGA that chair and the dresser into the back of my car. Yes, it was a tight fit. But, it all fit. I knew upon agreeing to take the chair that it needed some work. In this case, re-upholstery…which is not something I’m super familiar with. So, I’ve got plans to contact a couple local companies about how much it would cost. If it is too much for my budget, I may have to pay-it-forward. But, you never know.

Mid-Century House Update vol. 2

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This week, I was able to complete some additional work on the mid-century house I began updating earlier this winter. On the docket this time around was a bedroom. Simple enough, you say. Think again.

Two of the walls had the same wood paneling as we worked on in the dinning area and two were just sheet rock. All four walls were painted the same color, Cool Vapor. This particular room includes two window frames, a closet frame, the door frame, and plenty of baseboard…so, lots of trim to paint. I’m beyond pleased with the way it all turned out, not so say that it wasn’t plenty of work.

One more room done…plenty yet to go. I’ll take progress when I can.

 

 

Waterfall Dresser

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About a month ago, I began the search for a dresser. I know, I know…yet another dresser. Stay with me here, this one isn’t for me, but for a family member. With style and size preferences in hand (figuratively-speaking), I started my search on Craigslist. Over the course of a couple weeks, I eventually expanded my search to include six different city sites. Obsessive? Absolutely! I’d peruse each site for dressers in the price range I was working with. As I was looking for an upright dresser, about a third to half of the options were automatically eliminated. No worries, as patience is the key. My strategy included emailing a lot of links to possible options and waiting for a response. If the dresser received a favorable response, I would then set about emailing the Craigslist seller with questions and displaying interest. Obviously, with such a complicated process, I missed-out on a couple of ’em. But, as luck may have it, we ended-up being able to score a beautiful Waterfall dresser. In awe of such a beauty (and excited to get such a reasonable price), I failed to do a very thorough exam before I purchased the dresser. Alas, perhaps I’ll learn one of these days. Until then, I’ll just have to continue to gain additional skills with each challenge presented before me.

The dresser itself is quite a beauty. The distressed finish will be a perfect addition in a coastal home. The drawers are a little sticky. I’ve read that wax can help to ease the wood-on-wood slides. Check. Upon cleaning-up the drawers, I discovered that the second one from the top wasn’t wanting to close with any sort of ease. Upon further inspection, I realized that it was completely missing the wooden drawer slide on the right side. No wonder it had trouble sliding and closing. So now, I need to work on building a replacement drawer slide. I almost forgot to mention that the dresser had little wood casters. Well, as cute as they were, I’m going more for functionality this time around. Luckily, I was able to remove the actual caster with little trouble. With the caster removed, the caster sleeve or socket remains. I’m not sure if I want to leave them in or if it’d be better to take them out. Time will tell if it might be better to replace them with self-leveling feet. I mean, we are talking about a piece of furniture from the past century. None-the-less, once the drawer slide business is figured-out, the rest will eventually fall into place. In the meanwhile,

I’m beyond thrilled to have the chance to work on a true piece of history…no matter how many headaches it gives me.