A few weeks ago, I posted a “pin” on Pinterest of a vintage photo of a house we used to live in. As I noted in the text, it was my favorite house among the five we had lived in during the nine years we lived outside of Michigan.
Since then I have enjoyed my recollections of that house and have found the photos I took when it was time to sell and move west (and a bit north). I will be posting those photos soon, and during my search through the myriad folders on my laptop to find those pics, my mind wandered to the event that led me to become aware of the “mid-century” moniker.
My husband had just finished renovating our master bedroom and bathroom, and I realized our small, cheap dresser could serve a better use in the walk-in closet. I began my search on Craigslist for a new dresser, not only because we could not readily afford new furniture, but also because I was looking for something “different.” It did not take me long to find and fall in love with two matching painted dressers for sale: one long chest of drawers, the other tall.
The seller said she had decided to paint them white to match her décor, and the job was a sloppy one complete with obvious brush marks. But I didn’t care. They were heavy and solid and the drawers boasted dovetail construction. It was, to coin a cloying phrase, love at first sight. We loaded them into the truck, and after she confessed that perhaps she should have charged more than $100 for both, we left.
Stripping the paint from our new finds was a long and tedious job. At one point we had to carefully use a heat gun to loosen the paint, and after several days we discovered that the dressers were made of walnut and a thick veneer. We sanded judiciously and then applied a walnut stain.
By this time, I had found the stamp “American of Martinsville” on the inside drawer of the tall dresser, and little did I know that my innocent internet search of this attribute would send me into a rabbit hole so deep and widespread that I could not—nay did not—want to leave: the world of mid-century modern.