When you’re peeking around thrift stores and rummage sales, how do you know whether you’re looking at a great deal or a piece of junk? Sometimes it’s obvious, like with my bedside table that uses the cabinet door panel as part of it’s structure (hey, it was free and I wanted something to put my glasses on at night). Junk is quite obviously junk sometimes, shortcuts to a sale for a company that has no remorse about filling the world (and landfills shortly after) with garbage.
Other times, you have to do some investigating. When I saw the lovely little jem that is currently my “after hours” project, I wasn’t first aware of the value that was in front of me. I noticed it because I thought it was a cute little (ok, big) piece that had vintage charm and looked like it would be right at home in a 1960s boudoir, complete with a makeup table with beautiful family antique mirrors accessory trays. Simply stated, it stuck out.
I walked up to it, crouched down and look a closer look at the trim that outlines the center drawers and wraps around the sides (a detail seldom seen today). Next I took a little peek inside the drawers to see if it was in good condition. The outside finish was in rough shape and it was missing a few pieces of trim, but inside the drawers it was as if it was brand new. Peeking around the side of the drawer I discovered the magic detail, beautiful dovetail joints. In awe, I close the drawer and take a step back to look again. Certainly this piece was going for several hundred dollars and was just above the price range of the other dozens of people who have walked past it before me. I grabbed hold of the price tag wrapped around the drawer hardware, flipped it over and took a look.
WOW! It was almost a sign I was meant to have this dresser. Granted, this piece is from the manufacturing company Link-Taylor (a detail I discovered from the stamp in one of the drawers). Which was by no means an extremely high end manufacturer. They were part of a larger corporation and they mainly manufactured mid-range (but decent quality) bedroom sets. (I googled them when I came home, and although I haven’t found this same dresser anywhere else, it is quite obvious that they had various other styles and a full line of pieces). Nonetheless, someone saved up their pennies and purchased this after much thought and consideration. This was most likely a piece that was bought for a starter home when a couple was finally able to purchase their own things (instead of just taking everyone’s hand me downs to fill the house). I had no idea how this dresser slipped through so many other fingers to fall right into my hands, with such a great deal I felt as though it was a bargain I could not pass up.
I had no place to put this piece for the refinishing it was about to endure, and I wasn’t even sure how I was going to get it into my apartment (vintage buildings with tiny elevators do no one favors when it comes to moving furniture). I just knew I had to take it or I’d regret it for months to come.
*Stay tuned for a full post with detailed info on how to determine if a vintage (or new piece) is junk or a jem!