After determining that the luscious hifi would not be living at Lloyd’s Landing, I realized that we need something under the window. I’ve got a mid-mod cedar chest that I refinished as a practice project, but that lovely baby is now serving a vital purpose in my own home. I’m not sharing that one, either.
Much to Dave, my husband’s, dismay, I continued going to estate sales, waiting to trip over inspiration. My estate sale habit dismays him for several reasons, but mostly because he doesn’t think we need to fill our home with other people’s junk.
On a sunny day in July, my patience—and Dave’s dismay—was rewarded. I found a mid century kitchenette with three chairs. It was in very rough shape. The sale was at a farmhouse just outside of town, and this table and chairs had clearly been living in the machine shed for many years. One can easily imagine a day when the lady of the house got a brand new kitchen table and chairs, something she’d wanted for a long time and was all too happy to send the “old junk” out to the shed for her husband to use.
From the look and smell of the table and chairs, one didn’t have to be an anthropologist to determine that the set had been the home base for the guys, a place to have a beer and a smoke in their coveralls, after having changed the oil or replaced the spark plugs on the wife’s station wagon.
I attended the sale on a Sunday, when everything is half-priced. Because the set was missing a chair (and because it was in rough shape), the original price was $50. I couldn’t resist the Sunday price, so I bought the set without much hesitation. I was happy to have only three chairs because I already knew that I’d have the table pushed up to the window. I had just bought our new gaming table.
Because of Dave’s ongoing dismay over my attraction to other people’s junk, my usual tactic is to transport my estate sale finds from the sale location to our garage by myself. But this set was not going to fit into the Jetta, so I had to call him to have him come out to the sale with his pickup. I heard his heavy sigh on the phone. But prince that his is, he came right out.
I set to work that afternoon, cleaning up the chrome with my go-to method, white vinegar and steel wool. The chrome cleaned up very nicely, but the table top had stains that I couldn’t remove with my household cleaners. I have a mid-century tablecloth that fit perfectly, but even Dave was drawn to the table top that had a distinctive mid-century design in classic red and grey.
Not sure what to do next, I turned to one of my favorite Facebook groups, Twin Cities Mid Century Modern. The good people on TC-MCM offered a few suggestions, but I went with Neil L, who told me to clean the tabletop with baking soda paste followed by Mop & Glo, “just like Mom used to do,” he said.
The technique worked great. The big rust stain came out and the floor wax brought the whole surface up to a nice glean. I briefly thought about pulling the vinyl off the chairs and re-doing those, but Dave and I agreed that for $25, this project needed to stay simple.
We brought the set up to Lloyd’s Landing on our next trip. As soon as we put everything in place under the big window, it was clear: this set was meant for this space. The yellow chairs play off the animal print swivel chairs, and the red table top reflects perfectly off the plaid curtains. It has the right scale for its location and proximity to everything else in the room.
And situated next to the game rack, it beckons a family to sit down and play. Dave and I tested it out with our favorite board game, Yahtzee! The table and chairs play very well, if I do say so myself. Even Dave is happy with the result.
So Game On, guests!