my brief flirtation with the cubist period.

Yesterday started the neighborhood garage sale season in the Twin Cities.  I was so looking forward to it!  I’d been suffering serious garage sale withdrawal all winter.  Every year the Diamond Path neighborhood is the first big neighborhood sale.  They had over 100 homes in a fairly small area that were participating.

We’ve been going to this sale for many years and we know what to expect.  Crowds of people happy that spring is here, amazing homemade eggrolls for $1, but not a lot of fabulous finds.  We don’t usually come home with much of a haul, although last year we found quite a few things for Bees Knees new apartment.

Here’s what I came home with.

2014 spring blog7Definitely not a haul.  At the same time, I feel like each of these is a little treasure.  The little metal measuring cup with a lid is just like the one my mom always uses to make gravy.  I think I’ll use it to mix paint!  The little books are from 1905 and were a quarter each.  How do you pass that up?  The hand-painted creamer and sugar were $1 for the pair.  And look how pretty they are.  I still have a weakness for floral china, I just can’t help myself.

Underneath the china is a pair of embroidered pillowcases.

diamond path pillowcase

They are made out of the most delicious linen, you know, that heavy vintage stuff that you never find in new pillowcases.  And they are embroidered in white.  I looked all last year for white on white embroidered pillowcases and didn’t find any.  Now I have this pair for $2.  I’m guessing that these were never used, and likely never even washed because they still have the blue lines of the design under the stitching.  Those should wash out.

chintz teapot

The chintzware teapot was a total find at $10.  It will be added to my collection.  I’ll post about that later.

There is one thing that I came home with that isn’t pictured.  A mid-century Lane cubist credenza.  I found it early in the day.  I hesitated about buying it.  Why?  Mainly because it looked heavy.  Yep, this is the way my mind works sometimes.  It looked heavy, and I knew that if I bought it I’d be moving it around a bit.  Into the truck, out of the truck, into the garage to store, into a better spot for painting, into another spot to take after pics … you get the idea … I move furniture around A LOT.  But the price was right, $20!  And mid-century is SO hot right now.  Plus I knew it would be fantastic painted.  So I whipped out my $20 and bought it and asked if I could come pick it up at the end of the day.

Well … here’s what happened.  When we went back to load it up, there was a note taped on top.  Someone “really” wanted it and would pay “good money” if I would sell it to him.  Hmmmm.  Interesting.

We loaded it up (and as suspected, it is very heavy) and drove home.

I tried to do a little research and found that similar mid-century credenzas were selling for anywhere from $500 to $1,200 online.  But, I couldn’t find this exact style.  Also, the pieces on line were in good shape for those prices.  This one was really beat up.

I have since found the exact piece online, and here it is.


 I am sure that if there are any mid-century aficionados reading this, your little hearts are beating a little faster now knowing that I paid $20 for one of these.

In the end, I decided to pay it forward.  I’m not a mid-century expert.  I don’t have any mid-century dealers in my rolodex.  I suppose I could have put this on craigslist and sold it for more without doing anything to it at all, other than moving it around and taking pictures, but instead I texted the guy and said I would take $175 for it.

He wins, I win.  I make a tidy profit for nothing more than being the first person to spot this.

Does he wish he’d seen it first for $20?  I’m sure he does.  But is he thrilled he got it for $175, probably so.  Does the original seller wish he’d realized the worth and priced it higher than $20, I’m sure he does.  But is he happy he got rid of a heavy piece of furniture that he didn’t want to move again?  I’m sure he is.

Do I wish I’d asked for something closer to $300 or $400?  Maybe a little.  And to be honest, I was kind of looking forward to transforming this with paint.  But am I happy that I don’t have to move this heavy piece around and around, definitely.  And who can complain about making a little extra money in a span of less than 8 hours?

And thus, my brief flirtation with the cubist period comes to a close.  But you can bet I will snatch the next one up much more quickly, even if it does look a bit heavy!

Update on 5/28/14:  Just saw an ad on craigslist for this credenza asking $550 at a shop in Minneapolis.  Do I think it’s the same one I sold?  Yes, I do.  Does it sting a little that the buyer lied to me and said it was for his own home?  Yes, it does.  And it’s unfortunate because both the dealer and I could have benefited from making a connection.  When I find future mid century pieces, I won’t be calling this guy.

12 thoughts on “my brief flirtation with the cubist period.

  1. Since the buyer probably asked the garage sale person what they sold it for, I think you did well. 150.00 for the flip was a good days work! And who knows, but this demographic that wants this furniture may want it with the original finish. You did well!


    1. I wonder about that as well … do the mid-century lovers retain the original finish or do they re-finish? I know this guy did NOT want it painted! But refinished with stain? I don’t know.


  2. Thank you for paying it forward. I don’t see this piece being painted. It reminds me a piece of furniture my parents had when I was a child, brought back some good memories for me today!


    1. I have a sneaking suspicion (based in part on your email address) that you and I are exactly the same age Barb! And I remember my parents having furniture like this too. I believe a credenza was the thing to have back then. I don’t think my parent’s had one that was quite this hip though. My parents did have red shag carpeting and a fondness for the “Spanish” things as well.


  3. I think the mid century purist don’t want it painted. And I think you did a good turn here as long as the buyer isn’t going to turn around and get what it’s worth? You never know about these things. I love the chintz ware love it love it. I don’t have any and back in the 90’s when the original Victoria magazine was so popular and they were kind of promoting it. I SO wanted some. Nice find!


    1. Well, I truly think it could go either way. The buyer implied that he was purchasing the credenza for his own home, but realistically I know he could just as easily be someone who knows full well that he can resell it at a profit. I too used to get Victoria magazine back in the day, and I used to be more serious about looking for chintzware. Now I generally don’t pick it up, unless I find something that I just can’t pass up, like a $10 teapot!


  4. I do a quick furniture flip once in a while too. I tend to buy at auctions and can’t pass up a good deal. At one sale dressers were going for $5-$10. They weren’t anything special, but I bought a few. I know there are people out there needing a cheap dresser, so I put them on our online garage sale site for $25-$50 and delivered them straight from the auction to their homes. I also bought a vanity once that was in such good shape I couldn’t paint it. Listed it on CL and sold it for a nice profit.


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