modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

[ ART ROOM PROGRESS]

Improvements have been slow lately on the house, but on the upside, we’ve been having a lot of fun. We just returned from two weeks in Montana that we’re packed full of family, sun, camping, and swimming pools. 

Now that we’re back, I’ve been starting to hear a lot of “I’m bored” complaints from the kids, since they don’t have all of their cousins to play with. Good thing we’ve made a little progress on our art room. Once they get started on a project, they are easily enraptured for long stretches of time.

We still have lots to do in this room, but here’s what we’ve come up with so far: 



Art Table - We’ve been hanging on to this old table since my first apartment because it folds up so small, but it’s solid wood, and really heavy. It has a bad paint job from my early 20s, so I don’t really care if it gets marked up with sharpies and paint. The thrifted chairs were previously used in the dining room before we replaced them with these.

With all of the windows, this spot gets pretty good natural light, and eventually I’d like to hang a roll of seamless backdrop material from the ceiling like this, so I can pul it down when I need to do product photography for our graphic design portfolio.

Map Shelves - These are a new exciting find that we picked them up from the UW Surplus store for $15. I’ve been wanting flat files for such a long time, but they are really expensive. Even though these don’t have drawers like I originally wanted, they are incredibly deep, and the height of them stacked (we bought two units) makes a perfect counter height for a standing work space. 

Work Bench - I’ve been meaning to share this for a long time, and eventually I’ll get some better photos. We bought this at an estate sale last winter. It has two built in vice grips, a shelf, drawers, and a cabinet. Since we don’t have a garage, and our carport isn’t big enough for a work space, this sturdy but compact work bench has already been put to good use.

We also still have these shelves with my sewing cabinet, though they need a bit of reorganizing. And I’ve been using some vintage suitcases to store all of my fabric.

There is still plenty to finish in the room—ripping out the carpet, adding some shelving and bins to hold all of the various art supplies, and installing some better task lighting. For now, though, the room is serving the exact purpose we had in mind—space to be creative and messy. 

[ ART ROOM PROGRESS]

Improvements have been slow lately on the house, but on the upside, we’ve been having a lot of fun. We just returned from two weeks in Montana that we’re packed full of family, sun, camping, and swimming pools. 

Now that we’re back, I’ve been starting to hear a lot of “I’m bored” complaints from the kids, since they don’t have all of their cousins to play with. Good thing we’ve made a little progress on our art room. Once they get started on a project, they are easily enraptured for long stretches of time.

We still have lots to do in this room, but here’s what we’ve come up with so far: 

Art Table - We’ve been hanging on to this old table since my first apartment because it folds up so small, but it’s solid wood, and really heavy. It has a bad paint job from my early 20s, so I don’t really care if it gets marked up with sharpies and paint. The thrifted chairs were previously used in the dining room before we replaced them with these.

With all of the windows, this spot gets pretty good natural light, and eventually I’d like to hang a roll of seamless backdrop material from the ceiling like this, so I can pul it down when I need to do product photography for our graphic design portfolio.

Map Shelves - These are a new exciting find that we picked them up from the UW Surplus store for $15. I’ve been wanting flat files for such a long time, but they are really expensive. Even though these don’t have drawers like I originally wanted, they are incredibly deep, and the height of them stacked (we bought two units) makes a perfect counter height for a standing work space. 

Work Bench - I’ve been meaning to share this for a long time, and eventually I’ll get some better photos. We bought this at an estate sale last winter. It has two built in vice grips, a shelf, drawers, and a cabinet. Since we don’t have a garage, and our carport isn’t big enough for a work space, this sturdy but compact work bench has already been put to good use.

We also still have these shelves with my sewing cabinet, though they need a bit of reorganizing. And I’ve been using some vintage suitcases to store all of my fabric.

There is still plenty to finish in the room—ripping out the carpet, adding some shelving and bins to hold all of the various art supplies, and installing some better task lighting. For now, though, the room is serving the exact purpose we had in mind—space to be creative and messy. 

Comments
[ JEWELRY HANGER ]
Most of the time I try to avoid buying things without a specific  purpose in mind. It’s been a habit that has helped me avoid cluttering  my home and wasting my money. But every once in a while, I come across  an item at a thrift store or an estate sale that I just can’t pass up,  even though I have no idea how I’ll use it. Back in January I picked up  this Japanese woodcut panel at an estate sale. It was only $1, and I  fell in love with the pattern. So far, I’ve used it a few times to clip  up photos and mementos for social events like baby showers, but mostly  it has sat in a closet getting bumped and banged.
Yesterday, it occurred to me that it would function really well as a  jewelry hanger. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before, because  I’m always dropping earrings off of the crowded hooks that I was using. I  grabbed a few nails and hung it up behind the bathroom door. I could  probably do a better installation job, but I really just wanted to get  it up quickly, before I lost the motivation, and give it a test run. I’m  also considering giving it a nice shiny coat of paint to spruce it up a  little. For now, though, I think I’m satisfied—$1 well spent!

[ JEWELRY HANGER ]

Most of the time I try to avoid buying things without a specific purpose in mind. It’s been a habit that has helped me avoid cluttering my home and wasting my money. But every once in a while, I come across an item at a thrift store or an estate sale that I just can’t pass up, even though I have no idea how I’ll use it. Back in January I picked up this Japanese woodcut panel at an estate sale. It was only $1, and I fell in love with the pattern. So far, I’ve used it a few times to clip up photos and mementos for social events like baby showers, but mostly it has sat in a closet getting bumped and banged.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that it would function really well as a jewelry hanger. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before, because I’m always dropping earrings off of the crowded hooks that I was using. I grabbed a few nails and hung it up behind the bathroom door. I could probably do a better installation job, but I really just wanted to get it up quickly, before I lost the motivation, and give it a test run. I’m also considering giving it a nice shiny coat of paint to spruce it up a little. For now, though, I think I’m satisfied—$1 well spent!

Comments
[ RECENT FINDS ]
Sadly, my weekly thrift store outings have been quite sporadic as of late. I have picked up a few small things in the last month, though. The first was this unmarked canoe-shaped bowl that I bought for $5 at the same estate sale where I found Tula’s embroidered artwork. It’s bigger than it looks in the photo, measuring almost 17” from end to end. I’ve been keeping it on the dining table and lining up a few oranges or apples in it. 

I also found this teak tray at the flea market, that is marked “RAINBOW Products Sweden” on the bottom. I have found a few other vintage Rainbow teak products, but I can’t find any details about the company. The tray was also $5, and in excellent condition, just in need of a little oil. 

It’s a great size for holding bathroom things, though its beauty makes me want to take a hammer to the tile that we’re currently stuck with. Thank you previous owners for thinking diamond patterned tile would be a good idea in our house.

[ RECENT FINDS ]

Sadly, my weekly thrift store outings have been quite sporadic as of late. I have picked up a few small things in the last month, though. The first was this unmarked canoe-shaped bowl that I bought for $5 at the same estate sale where I found Tula’s embroidered artwork. It’s bigger than it looks in the photo, measuring almost 17” from end to end. I’ve been keeping it on the dining table and lining up a few oranges or apples in it.

I also found this teak tray at the flea market, that is marked “RAINBOW Products Sweden” on the bottom. I have found a few other vintage Rainbow teak products, but I can’t find any details about the company. The tray was also $5, and in excellent condition, just in need of a little oil.

It’s a great size for holding bathroom things, though its beauty makes me want to take a hammer to the tile that we’re currently stuck with. Thank you previous owners for thinking diamond patterned tile would be a good idea in our house.

Comments
[ TULA’S ROOM ]
I didn’t set out this weekend to do any projects in Tula’s room. Actually, I had hoped to reupholster a barstool, but coming out of two different fabric stores empty-handed, I switched gears. I popped into the Ballard Goodwill and found this great little pendant lamp shade. It was missing the fixture portion, but I had an old plug-in ikea one that I’d been saving in a drawer. The style of the shade is identical to the Le Klint Pendant 172 that retails for about $400, but mine is about 10” in diameter, and all of the ones I’ve seen online are 13” so I don’t know if this is a knock-off or not. It doesn’t really matter, it was $2 and I think it’s beautiful.
After Goodwill, I drove by an estate sale that had a line out the door. I figured it must be something special, so I found my place at the back of the line, waiting nearly an hour to get in. There really weren’t that many people there; it was just a very small house that belonged to an antique dealer. Most of the items inside were a little fancy for my taste—a lot of crystal and china—but I did find a couple of nice things. One of which was this framed floral embroidery. I knew instantly that it would match Tula’s curtains and bedskirt, plus I figured the frame and glass were easily worth the $9 that I paid.
Those two little items snowballed into a several-hour cleaning, organizing, rearranging session in Tula’s room. I know I’ve shared a few pictures before, but I thought this would be a great chance to show the rest of her room. I know it’s not as fancy as a lot of the other kids’ room tours out there on home blogs, but I think it’s pretty cute for spending hardly any money.

Free dresser, thrifted ceramic giraffes, thrifted books 

Thrifted rocking chair and doll on left, the quilt was a gift, and the other doll is mine from childhood. Free bookshelf, bed frame was given to us by friends, garage sale fabric, Ikea sheets and comforter, estate sale art. 

Cabinet was a gift purchased from an antique store (it’s awaiting a paint job), free and thrifted canisters, owl postcard from Birch Paperie.

Tula can usually be found happily in her room, wearing both a dress and a tutu, dancing or playing happily in a corner. I’m glad to have made her a special place without going broke.

[ TULA’S ROOM ]

I didn’t set out this weekend to do any projects in Tula’s room. Actually, I had hoped to reupholster a barstool, but coming out of two different fabric stores empty-handed, I switched gears. I popped into the Ballard Goodwill and found this great little pendant lamp shade. It was missing the fixture portion, but I had an old plug-in ikea one that I’d been saving in a drawer. The style of the shade is identical to the Le Klint Pendant 172 that retails for about $400, but mine is about 10” in diameter, and all of the ones I’ve seen online are 13” so I don’t know if this is a knock-off or not. It doesn’t really matter, it was $2 and I think it’s beautiful.

After Goodwill, I drove by an estate sale that had a line out the door. I figured it must be something special, so I found my place at the back of the line, waiting nearly an hour to get in. There really weren’t that many people there; it was just a very small house that belonged to an antique dealer. Most of the items inside were a little fancy for my taste—a lot of crystal and china—but I did find a couple of nice things. One of which was this framed floral embroidery. I knew instantly that it would match Tula’s curtains and bedskirt, plus I figured the frame and glass were easily worth the $9 that I paid.

Those two little items snowballed into a several-hour cleaning, organizing, rearranging session in Tula’s room. I know I’ve shared a few pictures before, but I thought this would be a great chance to show the rest of her room. I know it’s not as fancy as a lot of the other kids’ room tours out there on home blogs, but I think it’s pretty cute for spending hardly any money.

Free dresser, thrifted ceramic giraffes, thrifted books 

Thrifted rocking chair and doll on left, the quilt was a gift, and the other doll is mine from childhood. Free bookshelf, bed frame was given to us by friends, garage sale fabric, Ikea sheets and comforter, estate sale art. 

Cabinet was a gift purchased from an antique store (it’s awaiting a paint job), free and thrifted canisters, owl postcard from Birch Paperie.

Tula can usually be found happily in her room, wearing both a dress and a tutu, dancing or playing happily in a corner. I’m glad to have made her a special place without going broke.

Comments
[ OUR BIGGEST ESTATE SALE FIND ]
As I previously mentioned, we happened to come across a fantastic deal on a couch for our family room. It was the first thing I saw when we walked in the door at the sale, and I bolted for it so quickly that I may have bumped a few people out of my way. The $125 price tag was attached to the end table so after confirming that it was indeed one piece, we claimed it.

I’m not excited about the upholstery pattern, but the condition of the couch is fantastic. I never thought I’d find a couch in this price range that I would love more than our other couch, but this one wins hands-down. It is far more comfortable, which I am assuming is because of better quality cushions and springs, and the end table is just icing on the cake.

Look at the wood detail on the back of the couch when the cushions are removed. From straight on, you can see the wood peeking through between each of the back cushions, but I couldn’t get a good photo of it.
I wish I felt confident enough to reupholster this myself, but I think it’s too big of a project for me. Plus, I think this couch deserves to have the upholstery done by a professional and not be my trial piece. Right now we have a horrible combination of stripes going on—striped curtains, striped couch, and striped lamp shade. The lamp, by the way, is something I picked up last weekend at Goodwill. It is temporarily wearing an old lampshade, which is ridiculously disproportionate, but for now, will have to do.

[ OUR BIGGEST ESTATE SALE FIND ]

As I previously mentioned, we happened to come across a fantastic deal on a couch for our family room. It was the first thing I saw when we walked in the door at the sale, and I bolted for it so quickly that I may have bumped a few people out of my way. The $125 price tag was attached to the end table so after confirming that it was indeed one piece, we claimed it.

I’m not excited about the upholstery pattern, but the condition of the couch is fantastic. I never thought I’d find a couch in this price range that I would love more than our other couch, but this one wins hands-down. It is far more comfortable, which I am assuming is because of better quality cushions and springs, and the end table is just icing on the cake.

Look at the wood detail on the back of the couch when the cushions are removed. From straight on, you can see the wood peeking through between each of the back cushions, but I couldn’t get a good photo of it.

I wish I felt confident enough to reupholster this myself, but I think it’s too big of a project for me. Plus, I think this couch deserves to have the upholstery done by a professional and not be my trial piece. Right now we have a horrible combination of stripes going on—striped curtains, striped couch, and striped lamp shade. The lamp, by the way, is something I picked up last weekend at Goodwill. It is temporarily wearing an old lampshade, which is ridiculously disproportionate, but for now, will have to do.

Comments

[ VINTAGE KITCHEN FIND ]

While searching around in the kitchen at last weekend’s estate sale, I stumbled upon this foil/wax paper/paper towel dispenser. A friend of mine inherited a similar version of one of these because it was left by the previous owners of her house, and I’ve been a bit jealous of it since the first time I saw it. I picked mine up for $3, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

Apparently, the paper towels I buy are too big for their designated space at the bottom, so I stuck plastic wrap in there instead. I’m loving the way it looks with my canisters, though I don’t think I’ll be painting it, and look… my little hen has a happy new nesting place.

Comments
[ ESTATE SALE FIND: END TABLE ]
If you missed my post on last weekend’s estate sale, you can read it here. This end table was one of the last things that we snagged, and I’m so glad we didn’t miss it. I love the angles of the wood, the simplistic design, and the colored top. The cantilevered design reminds me a little of the Rian RTA Stool by Semigoods, which is obscenely overpriced for a stool. The end table is in perfect condition, and we only paid $10 for it. 
I’ll try to get the rest of our estate sale goodies posted this week, so check back again soon.

[ ESTATE SALE FIND: END TABLE ]

If you missed my post on last weekend’s estate sale, you can read it here. This end table was one of the last things that we snagged, and I’m so glad we didn’t miss it. I love the angles of the wood, the simplistic design, and the colored top. The cantilevered design reminds me a little of the Rian RTA Stool by Semigoods, which is obscenely overpriced for a stool. The end table is in perfect condition, and we only paid $10 for it. 

I’ll try to get the rest of our estate sale goodies posted this week, so check back again soon.

Comments
[ ESTATE SALE DAY TRIP ]
I hate to admit it, but the furniture sections at the thrift stores have been pretty sad as of late. I don’t mind a short dry spell here or there, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything really exciting. Though I’ve still been hitting Goodwill on a regular basis and finding smaller treasures, I’ve started becoming a weekend estate sale junkie.
I’ve been hitting some potentially great sales, but the only problem I’ve been having with the estate sales in Seattle is that they are so heavily trafficked by people looking for the same things as me, that I’m constantly getting beaten to the good stuff.
On a whim, Patrick and I took the family up to Whidbey Island on Saturday to check out a sale that we hoped would be worth the ferry ride. The Craigslist ad was pretty vague, but mentioned that the house was packed and had a decent amount of midcentury modern furniture. Since Patrick’s folks live on the island, we figured if the estate sale was a bust, we would at least be able to have a nice family day.
The sale did not disappoint, and I only wish we would have had more cash in our pockets and more room in our house. We grabbed what we could fit in our car, and arranged for Patrick’s dad to bring his trailer to the sale so that we could load it with a sofa. I am so grateful that my in-laws were willing to give up their Saturday to help us. After a nice lunch, they even graciously offered to drive the couch back across the ferry to Seattle, and help us haul it into the house.
I can’t wait to share all of the great things that we bought. I’ll try to get them all posted this week.

[ ESTATE SALE DAY TRIP ]

I hate to admit it, but the furniture sections at the thrift stores have been pretty sad as of late. I don’t mind a short dry spell here or there, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything really exciting. Though I’ve still been hitting Goodwill on a regular basis and finding smaller treasures, I’ve started becoming a weekend estate sale junkie.

I’ve been hitting some potentially great sales, but the only problem I’ve been having with the estate sales in Seattle is that they are so heavily trafficked by people looking for the same things as me, that I’m constantly getting beaten to the good stuff.

On a whim, Patrick and I took the family up to Whidbey Island on Saturday to check out a sale that we hoped would be worth the ferry ride. The Craigslist ad was pretty vague, but mentioned that the house was packed and had a decent amount of midcentury modern furniture. Since Patrick’s folks live on the island, we figured if the estate sale was a bust, we would at least be able to have a nice family day.

The sale did not disappoint, and I only wish we would have had more cash in our pockets and more room in our house. We grabbed what we could fit in our car, and arranged for Patrick’s dad to bring his trailer to the sale so that we could load it with a sofa. I am so grateful that my in-laws were willing to give up their Saturday to help us. After a nice lunch, they even graciously offered to drive the couch back across the ferry to Seattle, and help us haul it into the house.

I can’t wait to share all of the great things that we bought. I’ll try to get them all posted this week.

Comments
[ SAVE OR SELL ]
I bought this shelf for $4 at an estate sale about two years ago. It’s been sitting in Alden’s room holding books, seashells, and way too many other things until our recent reorganization. Now we have to make the decision—keep it, or sell it.

I took these pictures right after we moved it out of Alden’s room, planning to list it on Craigslist that day. I haven’t been able to commit to that decision, though, and instead it’s been hanging out in our entry. We’ve had a few people over this week, and it seems that everyone has been commenting on it, thinking it’s new. I generally like things to be open and minimal, so having it in the entry seems counter-intuitive, but I also am growing a little fond of the cherry colored wood up against the pale turquoise wall.
What do you think? Keep it, or sell it? Have you ever sold anything that you regret?

[ SAVE OR SELL ]

I bought this shelf for $4 at an estate sale about two years ago. It’s been sitting in Alden’s room holding books, seashells, and way too many other things until our recent reorganization. Now we have to make the decision—keep it, or sell it.

I took these pictures right after we moved it out of Alden’s room, planning to list it on Craigslist that day. I haven’t been able to commit to that decision, though, and instead it’s been hanging out in our entry. We’ve had a few people over this week, and it seems that everyone has been commenting on it, thinking it’s new. I generally like things to be open and minimal, so having it in the entry seems counter-intuitive, but I also am growing a little fond of the cherry colored wood up against the pale turquoise wall.

What do you think? Keep it, or sell it? Have you ever sold anything that you regret?

Comments
[ MISSED DEALS ]
Being a thrifter means experiencing the thrill of finding and bringing home a little bit of treasure purchased at a fraction of its worth, but it also means being let down sometimes, knowing that you just missed out on a great deal. Lately, I seem to be experiencing more of the latter emotion.
This couch was listed on Craigslist for $90 last week. I emailed the owner to see if it was available and to inquire about the condition. He was located about 45 minutes from me, and I was trying to make sure that it would be worth the drive. Good deals go fast on Craigslist, and in this case, debating for an hour gave someone else the opportunity to grab the couch.
The reason I was a little slow to commit to buying the couch (besides the stain and cat damage) was that I had seen an ad for an estate sale that was being held the next day. There were pictures posted, but no prices. I saw this sectional couch that I was curious about, but I had no way of knowing if it would be priced reasonably or not.

The sale started at eight, but I had to drop Alden off at school at nine. By the time I arrived it had been picked over by dealers like magpies on roadkill. The couch was being hauled out the door along with every other piece I had been interested in. In addition to the couch, I wanted those little tables—I thought they would look great as bedside tables, and check out this shelf that sold for $35:

The only thing that was left was the dining set, which I don’t really need and was in less than ideal condition.

Instead of sulking about the things that slipped through my fingers (well there was a little sulking), or running to the nearest store and buying something new for a little retail therapy, I’m working on the patience and persistence part of being thrifty.

[ MISSED DEALS ]

Being a thrifter means experiencing the thrill of finding and bringing home a little bit of treasure purchased at a fraction of its worth, but it also means being let down sometimes, knowing that you just missed out on a great deal. Lately, I seem to be experiencing more of the latter emotion.

This couch was listed on Craigslist for $90 last week. I emailed the owner to see if it was available and to inquire about the condition. He was located about 45 minutes from me, and I was trying to make sure that it would be worth the drive. Good deals go fast on Craigslist, and in this case, debating for an hour gave someone else the opportunity to grab the couch.

The reason I was a little slow to commit to buying the couch (besides the stain and cat damage) was that I had seen an ad for an estate sale that was being held the next day. There were pictures posted, but no prices. I saw this sectional couch that I was curious about, but I had no way of knowing if it would be priced reasonably or not.

The sale started at eight, but I had to drop Alden off at school at nine. By the time I arrived it had been picked over by dealers like magpies on roadkill. The couch was being hauled out the door along with every other piece I had been interested in. In addition to the couch, I wanted those little tables—I thought they would look great as bedside tables, and check out this shelf that sold for $35:

The only thing that was left was the dining set, which I don’t really need and was in less than ideal condition.

Instead of sulking about the things that slipped through my fingers (well there was a little sulking), or running to the nearest store and buying something new for a little retail therapy, I’m working on the patience and persistence part of being thrifty.

Comments