Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New Haul

Anyone that has read my blog for some time can probably guess my weakness. (Coach purses and music cds, yes.....but they are not house related)

I like old furniture. I admire the valuable, pristine, predigreed furniture that gets ooohs and aaahs on the Antiques Road Show. But, the kind I really like are the odd pieces of misfit furniture that end up in the back room of some small antique shop. You know the kind.....painted way too many times, scratched, dirty, and no maker's name to be found. But like a mutt puppy, they have their own charm. I think I like the story they tell.

Well, long story short......I adopted two new pieces last weekend. On weekends when I am bored.....I wake up late on Sat......run to the local coffee place for my iced latte.....and drive a quick loop to a few of my favorite antique stores. My favorite shop puts pieces outside, so I can drive by and stop if I see anything that interests me.....or continue on my way. This past week nothing caught my eye, so I continued on my route.

My second favorite place has a brisk turn over......some of it good, some of it on its last leg. The place is piled floor to ceiling. The prices are good. It's small enough that I can do a quick walk through and not spend an entire afternoon (I am not a good shopper). This week out on the sidewalk in front of this store was the cutest, tiny folding table I have seen. It had the usual bumps and bruises.....but on top was a hand painted checker board. It is just the cutest little thing. I wondered how many games of checkers and chess were played on that table by the painter.

After I spot something I think I "need" I force myself to take short a "cool down" walk before I buy it.

This brings us to the store next to my "Second Favorite Place." The stores are kind of attached, so I've walked through this place a bunch of times. It has always seemed to me that there is something odd about the furniture in this store. I've been in there when the owner has been stripping down a piece of furniture with a vengance. I've never been able to put a finger on it, but I've suspected he uses some odd process. They have a dull look to them...they just look off. I don't buy furniture that has been refinished......if it needs to be done, I prefer to do it myself. So, I've never bought anything in this place. But, I was on my "cool down" walk after deciding to buy the checkerboard table....so I decided to swing on through.

Sitting to one side of this shop, I spotted a cute little bird's eye maple desk with - lo and behold - it's original finish. I've been looking for a maple desk to put upstairs, so I went over to check it out. Like any good antique shopper, I asked for and received a nice discount......so I made up my mind to buy it.

The owner asked me how I planned on finishing it. I told him I had no intention of touching the finish and would just clean it up with the traditional mineral spirits mixed with a few drops of boiled linseed oil. Hmmmm....he then told me this would not work and showed me a product he uses to "repair" the finish, with steel wool.....and then puts on a coat of straight tung oil. Ah, suddenly it was clear......I don't think he knows he's damaging the original finish and then putting on another finish over the existing. How he gets tung oil to dry over varnish or laquer is a mystery. But this explains that wierd look to the furniture in his shop. I nodded to him and smiled sweetly.

So, home I came with two new pieces :-) (Wow, that wall looks really purple)


Carrie said...

Hi Stucco. Turns out I live in your neck of the woods (somehow I'd thought you were in Minneapolis). I know where Timelines is - where is your "second favorite place", if you don't mind sharing? Steel wool and tung oil! I don't know a lot about refinishing furniture, but even I know that's a bad idea!

StuccoHouse said...

I am in Minneapolis.....I drive up Lake Street to Marshall...down to Snelling....turn on Ford Parkway...down to Fairview....up to Selby....back to Marshall.....sometimes over to Lyndale.....or to Washington. Thats my "loop."

My "SFP" is on Fairview (I think) and Selby. It's those two corners filled with shops (Puerta Azul is also there - scene of the best pork chop I have tasted in my life). I think the place I like is called "Oldies but Goodies." I also like Lyndale House. Timelines is my favorite though :-)

What places do you frequent? I always like getting tips of places I haven't been to yet.

Carrie said...

I wish I could reciprocate with some tips on other places. However, I'm relatively new up here (I've been here only since last summer) and I haven't finished re-doing the pieces of old furniture I hauled up here from Texas last year, so I haven't bought any more yet. If I ever find any places of hidden treasures, though, I'll share them with you! I enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing.

StuccoHouse said...

If you like old things, check out Bauer Bros. in NE Mpls. Its coll just to go there and look even if you don't intend on buying anything. I've heard there is an antique store in St. Paul near Payne (I think) that is good....I keep meaning to check it out.

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