Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rescued, re-stained, restyled.

Isn't it always when you're least expecting to find something spectacularly awesome you the find of all finds? Well, the Thrifting Gods were good to me this weekend. I'll call it good karma.

Mum needed her shrubs and bushes trimmed and I persuaded her to not do them herself and let my able body climb the rickety ladder and shear and shape as good as Edward Scissorhands. (I did do a pretty good job....new career?) Rather than perform this task during the week, I begged her to let me do it on Saturday.

After hours scaling the ladder with a hedge trimmer and inadvertently making patterns on my leg with scratches from pricker bushes, we went to the dump to dispose of the brush we created. My reward for helping? She took me to the swap shop.

My town has a small building and subsequent adjoining property at our landfill at which residents can leave perfectly good, unwanted items ranging from furniture to books and dishes to records. Essentially it's a thrift store with hours only on Wednesday and Saturday... but ... FREE! Yes, free. !
As a lover of books, I headed straight for that section but as a trained thrifter (Haha, thanks, Dad!) I first perused the outskirts of the property. Or as Mike from American Pickers calls it, the primary search before zeroing in on a particular section. And that's when I saw it. The awkwardly cool, triangle chest of drawers.

It was funky, unique and caught my eye. It was stained in an ugly color and slightly beat up. But I could see its potential. I had to have it. It was small, after all. Surprisingly, Mum agreed with my sentiments and with only a small quip along the lines of "You're so your father's daughter," she helped me load it into her car.
We brought it to my Dad's antique shop for him to tell me how to properly sand it for re-staining. I turned it around to show him the label on the back and he gasped and said, "It's a Heywood Wakefield! This is worth money!" Leave it to me to find something relatively valuable at the dump and score it for free.

Heywood Wakefield is a furniture business out of Gardener, Ma which still operates today. All of its pieces were constructed with real wood and originally stained blonde and made in a sort of 70s aesthetic. Someone had stained this piece before I discovered it, so I set to work this weekend to prepare it for my own taste.
A burgundy cherry will be the stain I set on it. Its already had two coats of liquid stain remover and with Mum's help I've removed the majority of the previous varnish and stain. I've removed the thin wood laminate (and weird sticky fake wood kind) from the inside of the drawers to reveal their original color. I'm going to remove the ugly drawer handles, putty the holes and add single drawer pulls to the center of each. It's a pretty good undertaking, but I'm super excited to work on it with Mum and eventually finish!
Two books I found were "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and this little beauty, "How Big is Big? From stars to atoms" by Herman and Nina Schneider. There is no publication date inside but I guessed from the style its from the 50s. An internet search yielded the date 1959 and 1950. The illustrations, by A. F. Arnold, are what got me. There are a few pages inside that are absolutely beautiful. I plan to carefully tear them out (I know, I know, ripping a book!) and later frame them.

What have you rescued from a dump or thrift store and turned into a cool piece?


  1. Great score! And for free? Man, I'd be bragging big time ;)

  2. I can't get over it being free! What luck! :)