Hello, Mary here, and before you go any further you should know I have a deep, abiding love for mid-century modern furniture. Even before design school and knowing how important that era was, I loved it because it was in Wes Anderson movies and everything Wes Anderson does is cool.
In some parts of the country, mid-century modern furniture crowds every thrift store and resale shop. Texas is not that part of the country. Around here, if you want authentic mid-century furniture, there are a few places in the design district to shop and you’ll pay more than its West Elm equivalent. So, when Grant and I were driving through our neighborhood and saw those tell-tale tapered legs we stopped in our tracks. Out on the curb, set out for bulk trash, there was a frikkin beautiful, perfect mid-century dresser. Just kidding – it was a frikkin disaster. It had about an inch of uneven paint on it, the side was split, and the drawers didn’t close. Grant was looking for a project piece so we loaded it in the truck and took it home.
I fully expected this dresser to sit in our garage for a year and then get a light sanding, repaint and maybe shove it in a corner to hide the side that was split. This project was just for us, after all, and I honestly thought it was beyond repair. I seriously underestimated Grant. First, he spent 20 hours sanding it down to the original maple. For two weekends he looked like the guy on Breaking Bad.
He took apart the drawers to sand the curved pulls properly and somehow sanded past the water damage in the back. It was already so, so beautiful. Next he glued and clamped the split side and the joint miraculously held. He rebuilt all the drawer slides that were damaged and finished it in a very mid-century golden tone (Minwax Ipswitch Pine). In three weekends he had undone 60 years of damage.
I would have loved the dresser no matter how much it was worth, but it’s always fun to find out you have something valuable. Tucked into one of the drawers Grant found the original manufacturer’s stamp. It said Crawford Furniture in Jamestown, New York. A quick Google not only told us about the company, but also showed us several identical dressers currently up for sale – going for $2000! We were floored but would never sell it. First, because I have one of those nagging consciences and I would probably have to give the money to the folks that threw the dresser out. Second, I smile as I pass it every day and that’s got to be worth at least $2000. Ha! It’s totally not, but I’m keeping it anyway.