Estate Sailing

collections, kitchen, life-threatening clutter, vintage & retro Style

Get it? Sailing? Sale-ing? Yeah, okay. I’m hot and sticky and grimy and perhaps my humor isn’t its sharpest right now. But anyway.

You know, I really should have bought that pair of 2-tiered end tables I saw today. $20 for the set! They were cheapo jobbies, I mean they were no Heywood-Wakefield, but still, they had nice enough lines. And they were a pair! They wouldn’t fit in my car, though. I really need a station wagon if I’m going to keep doing this. Or that ’60 El Camino I saw for sale on the way home… yeah, because I need MORE car trouble. I don’t think an El Camino would even fit under my carport!

ANYway… I’m really writing to tell you about one particular kitchen that Erin and I saw on our buying expedition today. You know me, you know I love mid-century architecture and fittings. I previously wrote a post regarding a swoon-worthy pink kitchen about which I still think fondly. I love steel kitchen cabinets, but typically when I find them, they’ve been pieced out and now it’s one or possibly two base cabinets that are being used in the basement or garage, and they’re terribly abused. A few times, they’ve still had their original Boomerang (née Skylark) Formica tops! But today, we stumbled across an entire steel kitchen. Only the stove was for sale, an O’Keefe & Merrit 4-burner/griddle model for an unheard of $55. FIFTY-FIVE DOLLARS. I don’t know how well it works, but the pilot light was toasty-warm. And then there were the cabinets. Steel cabinets, uppers and lowers, even a lazy Susan corner unit (rounded door). What a find, right? Wrong. Oh how very, sadly, heart-breakingly wrong. Because someone, at some time in the past, perhaps under the influence of very heavy drugs, had brush-painted all of the cabinetry with flat brown house paint and then GLUED ROUGH-HEWN WOOD PLANKS to each and every door and drawer front. Even the built-in dishwasher, which must have been quite fancy indeed whenever it was installed. I’d have taken photos but it was too tragic.

From that estate: a skirt, a men’s shirt, a few blouses, a lovely cheongsam. More neckties. I seem to have necktie-finding mojo. I think I now have somewhere between 30 and 40 vintage neckties that aren’t yet photographed or listed in the shop. A very nice Style Craft fur felt fedora. Fur Felt Fedora, say it, it’s fun. Fun Fur Felt Fedora.

The next estate yielded more treasures, and the seller was more open to being flexible on the price. I picked up a couple of hats for you (assuming you are my customers and if you’re not, what could I find for you so that you are?) and a box of vintage swimwear which is what I’d been after in the first place. Also a rarely-found maternity dress and a gorgeous lilac-hued strapless gown dotted with violets. As a bonus, I found two Hostess bowls which I do not need, but I already had the red set and these are yellow! I realize that means I really don’t need them, as my kitchen is red and white, but the yellow is so cheery and now I have them in two of the four colors they came in and how else can I rationalize this? Only by finding the matching set of four 7-oz bowls that originally came with the larger bowl. And now I need the little bowls in red AND in yellow. ::headdesk::

I also scored two MCM light fixtures, one still in its original box, and I’ve no idea what to do with them. Or rather, I have at least three ideas: 1. install them somewhere in my house, 2. wait to install them in the MCM ranch I may one day own (HAhahahaha), or 3. sell them to someone who can use them now. Maybe I’ll sell the in-box fixture and keep the other for myself. Or, sigh, sell both.

But truly, the most interesting find of the day? A hand-held breast pump dating to approximately 1924, or at least that’s the date of the birth announcement tucked into the box. Also in the box: a lock of hair from Donny’s first haircut, at 9 months old. I looked up the name in the birth announcement and thanks to online genealogy stuff I know that he married in August of 1946 and he and his wife, Esther, had five children together.

Now I’ve been home for over two hours and I’ve washed twice and I still feel grimy so it’s time to just SHOWER and eat some dinner and try to organize these piles into something I can let you guys look at!

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