An oft read blogger dropped a more-or-less rhetorical question at the end of one of her posts a few months ago, and it's stuck with me for a number of reasons. She wrote, "What do those of you who live in places without IKEA do when you need something beautiful and cheap and you don’t want to thrift for it? I have no idea."
And I know she meant it light-heartedly, but it feels like she's saying that those of us that live in the poor impoverished areas of our country that don't have local IKEAs are at a disadvantage. And while I'm sure it's very difficult to find nice modern furniture at thrift stores in, of all places, New York City, it is near impossible in most parts of middle-America and of course requires a bit of a shift in one's sense of style.
Anyway, I know a lot of people are out looking for mid-century furniture and unfortunately, in this neck of the woods, when you do it's outrageously expensive for even beat up examples. I swear, if you want to start a gold mine of a business, open a Danish Modern store in Wichita, Kansas and just ship in stuff from elsewhere in the country--you'd clean up.
So what do we do for furniture that has that sort of style that we're looking for? Our answer: mid-twentieth century office furniture. Office furniture? You bet. Designed for function, built for mass production (often by war-time aircraft parts suppliers), and created with a little of that post-war optimism that seems so hard to fathom these days. Want an example?
A Browne-Morse office chair. Weighs a ton, needs to still be shined up a bit, but a beautiful and comfortable chair that rolls like a dream. $3.50 at the DAV. Evidently Browne-Morse makes things like laboratory tables these days, but these chairs were fairly common at one time.
Or how about this wonderful old chair, I don't remember exactly but let's say $5-ish. You see these all the time on TV in shows that take place in the '50s and '60s, and I've even seen them more recently in shows like Law and Order, SVU--not that I ever watch that of course.
Or this, although, I'm not positive the age or whether I'd really call it office furniture, seems more like school-house furniture. Still though, about $7 at the DAV, and it's in really great shape.
Katherine is the best thrifter I know, and to her goes the credit for these great finds.