We stumbled across a shop a few years back on our way back from a VW campout in NY state. I had a chance this spring to stop by again and realized I need to go back and save some more! Everything needs some work and that is fine by me because I am starting to nest my winter projects! Yesterday I embarked on a grand adventure. Me, the kids and our 89 VW Vanagon. My husband had a family emergency so he headed off to Pittsburgh and I was setting off alone. I promised to not exceed 65 MPH and keep my eye on the temperature gauge. This van can't really get to 65 MPH, by the way! hahaBut I had many mountains to cross on this route and that can cause overheating and trouble if the van decides to malfunction.
Travelling via a 25 + year old vehicle does require avoiding the fastest way to get somewhere. We avoid highway driving as much as possible. So it only makes sense to take the most historically pleasing route across PA, ROUTE 6. It runs East-West across the whole state just south of the NY border. Meanders through small towns, up and down mountains and not only is quite scenic, there is much fun to be had shopping and eating! We passed many antique shops, but I had one in mind to spend my money at, so did not bother stopping.
My 2 trusty helpers were pretty decent travel buddies. I only had to yell at them twice for beating each other in the back seat. They have been raised in the van so it is like an extension of home to them. They have been on some crazy long trips and camping adventures, so it was just like another day to them.
We arrived at our destination and immediately got to talking shop with the adorable owners. A father and son team who have many years of estate picking, sale going and show selling under their belts. They only buy Mid Century Modern items and have a shop full of gems, if you know what you are looking at and can see past the non elegant presentation, full of dust, spider webs and issues that need to be tended to. They always treat me fair and I can get some nice pieces for my shop. They are in love with the history of the designers and pieces, just like me, so you can imagine how much I treasure the few hours I spend conversing with them both. They also have the largest stash of Hey Wake I have seen and their shop is somewhat of a museum to those in the know. Many folks came through while I was there, but I could see by the blank looks in their eyes that they were not MCM fans and had no clue what they were looking at.
I had plenty of time to ponder items in my price range and go over a loose plan for restoration. Talking myself up to the task perhaps, or mainly building my self esteem to know I could tackle the job, with dignity and integrity because no restoration job should be half assed. :) I came back around to a set of Gio Ponti Shaker Style chairs. Gio Ponti was probably the most popular Italian modernist of the era....an architect, furniture designer and industrial designer. His spin on the traditional ladder back chair is pretty neat. It's exaggerated in a cartoon kind of way. I just thrifted a smaller back Ponti chair the day before, so it quickly turned in to Ponti fest this weekend! These chairs are dainty and light, another Shaker tradition. They need restore work, but after my last cord restoration, I know I can do it. :) I got a set of 4 in chippy black lacquer....rustic and nice for those who like to mix MCM with more traditional pieces and a pair in a blond finish, which look great with the little HW cart I picked up for a friend. He gets first dibs on them. I have been wanting a full set of chairs in the shop because I have done well with them, so that made me happy. These chairs definitely are not for everyone. They are very dainty. My almost 6' and plus size stature feels very large on them. They would do best in a household with lighter folk and no kids or people who are rough on their furniture. I love Danish modern, but I have Hey Wake in my dining room.....it can handle larger people just fine and it's more comfortable to me. Just something to keep in mind when shopping. Shipping my stuff does not allow my customers to try before they buy so I want to make it clear what thoughts I have on it, in case that helps someone make a decision!
So now you are wondering about those Eames chairs? Yes, they are Herman Miller Eames shell chairs. Structurally, they are great, on a swivel base. They have upholstery issues so I am going to try to deal with that and bring them into a new life. I have 3 options, try to clean up the fabric on it (I picked 2 of the cleanest) but the foam inside is degraded, paint the fabric if I can OR remove all of it and clean the glue residue and try to polish the fiberglass. I found a blog with someone else's adventures in restoring one of these so plan to use it as a reference. They are a great chair and actually comfy even in this degraded state. They hug you or at least hug me because of my wide butt. :) The fiberglass is moss green. I think they are pretty.
Last but not least. The coffee table. Recognize it? Yep, Paul McCobb planner group! Such a simple design, yet oh so stunning! The simple splayed legs scream sexy. We discussed it in length and Tom is convinced it is an early model and that the 2 toned presentation is original. He has found no examples of it to prove it, but he has a personal collection of McCobb and I trust his valuation. The label residue is still on the underside over the black finish. It has some chippy spots around the edge and some areas on the top are rubbed through the black. I have not decided how I will attack that or if I should leave it as original wear. I do think it adds character to the piece. I am smitten with McCobb and because he was America's designer, and massed produced, his stuff turns up. Definitely consider adding one of his pieces to your MCM collection.
And finally, no road trip is complete without some great eats! There is a stretch on route 6 somewhere near Wyalusing boasting a few road side BBQ joints. We try to hit Chris' Western Beef whenever we are travelling through. It is a kitschy little joint and we just love it! They close for the season sometime late September, and we have been there on their closing weekend, just barely getting through in time!
We had a great trip! The van behaved and I did not have to call AAA! It was a good day. Today I will repent and clean my garage, organize my hoard maybe work on my slat bench and keep on trucking! CHEERS! xo Malissa