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Friday, 30 May 2014

Art Deco-rating 101

Let’s Art Deco-rate!

Okay, so last week we covered the rise and fall of an Empire, and by Empire I mean a Bus Station. Same difference.  This week I thought that I would switch it up and talk a bit about decorating…er… Art Deco-rating! Now, I won’t be directing you to dealers or high end furniture stores but I will be giving you advice on how to Deco-rate without breaking the bank. After all, I don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to throw at a high end dealer presented living room set and I don’t think I’m alone there. I do however, wish that I had tens of thousands of dollars to throw at  high end dealer presented living room set, so let’s be clear on that. I mean, I would LOVE this.

$18,000 for both...seems reasonable at only a years worth of rent!

 A main reason for my doing this is because I have seen so many people buy reproduction pieces at outrageous prices, not to mention sub par quality. Yes, Art Deco is coming back in a big way and that makes it trendy, but wouldn’t you rather own a small piece of genuine history, something that’s got soul? Why I love Art Deco furniture and décor as much as I do(apart from style) is in part due to the fact that these pieces were built to last lifetimes, not a few years. Now, those close to me know my secret but now I’m going to share it with the rest of you. Two words: Craigslist & Kijiji. To my American friends: Kijiji is like Craigslist, but better. I’m sorry you don’t have it…

What’s really great about Art Deco is that it hasn’t hit antique status yet. This means that prices aren’t yet astronomical unless you’re hitting up dealers or stores like The Art Shoppe. What’s more important is that with these buy and sell websites, most people just think they’re selling their grandparents junk and that it holds little value. These are the people you want to encounter.

My first success in this realm was when I was looking for a set of dressers for our bedroom. After searching through the bowels of Craigslist, I found a pair for $60. Yes, that would be both dressers for $60. Did I mention that included cross-town delivery? I was absolutely floored. Don’t get me wrong, they were in horrible condition and needed major TLC, as you can see.

Scratches, paint splatter...she had seen better days.

This one fared no better....

Circa 1940, these are a great example of what is known as Waterfall Style. They feature soft, rounded edges and simple streamlined details that inspire movement. I saw the potential in them and decided to execute a full-blown restoration. Using a sheet sander with a 60 Grit paper, I stripped these dames down to the grain.

Grain and bear it!

Once that was complete, I smoothed them out with 220 grit followed by two coats of stain in Dark Walnut and two runs of semi-gloss polyurethane to seal the deal. I sourced out some original Art Deco pulls ($15), cleaned them up and there you have it.

Like a phoenix from the ashes!

Cat cameo bonus!

 Check out this link. Not quite $30, but for $300 this is a real beauty.

 Now, these babies are for keeps but I was curious to see how much they would fetch for in the open market. Re-listed at $400 a piece, I was contacted by two eager buyers. To their dismay, I said they had already been sold. It’s perhaps unfair to get one’s hopes up but I was curious! Needless to say, it was certainly a testament to the value of furniture restoration. After the original cost of $30 per dresser and approximately $30 on materials, they cost me a total of $45 each; talk about a profit margin!

Our home is a mix of Art Deco and Mid-Century (hubby’s favourite) and we’ve done quite a few restorations since, you can see Adams favourite chair below. All of the items here were found on either Craigslist or Kijiji and I’ve included the prices for your bewilderment. 

Stunning Danish Mid-Century Teak Chair: $35

Even the smaller décor pieces can be found for unreal prices.

c.1929 Solid Brass Statuette of a Woman Dancing  $40

Streamline Moderne Chrome Lamp w/Milk Glass Shade $45/Pair

 Craigslist ALERT!!!!! Art Deco Dresser for $30!!!! A real fixer upper - great details!

There are even times when you’ll find a piece that doesn’t need a lick of restoration and looks amazing. Honestly, I still can’t get over the price of this one; the details are just stunning! All we need now are nightstands…Summer mission?

Late 1920's Double Bed $100 + Cat Cameo Bonus!
Amazing details!
Well, here is a steal for one nightstand, check it out for $30! Kijiji baby!

While using a search term like “Art Deco” is a surefire way to find what you’re looking for, I prefer to use “vintage” plus whatever item you’re seeking i.e. Vintage Dresser. I do this because it generally means that the seller isn’t aware that what they’re putting up for sale is Art Deco, which usually means a lower end price and results in the “OMG look at the deal I got!” euphoria. Win!

The Art Deco era is known for is grandeur, opulence, and glamour. Art Deco-rating your home to reflect this isn’t necessarily reserved for the wealthy; all you have to do is dig, and be willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty.

Until next time!


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