Friday, February 6, 2015

I Don't Paint Everything

When I ran across this cute little teak desk at a garage sale, my initial reaction was to paint it. I thought it would look really cute with the body left natural and the drawers painted in different bright, fun colors.

But then I searched the manufacturer's name from the stamp inside the drawer and my plans came to an abrupt and sudden halt!

The sticker indicated it was by Paul McCobb of the Planner Group. Mr. McCobb was a well-known furniture designer in the 50's and 60's.  In fact, this line from from the Planner Group was among the best selling furniture from this time period. Today, original and restored pieces are highly coveted!

Now, I honestly don't know very much about the mid-century furniture era. But I'm slowly gaining an appreciation for its furniture lines, design and simplicity. In fact, the MCM market here in SoCal is booming here with people restoring and/or repainting them. There are of course, the purists that can't stand MCM pieces painted, but then there are those that can't stand antiques painted either! I personally love the bright colors and geometric designs that are being used to restore these pieces.

But this was a business decision to not paint this desk. I had a very wise dealer tell me last year when I first started that I should do whatever is necessary to maximize profit and marketability for each piece. That's why you'll see a lot of light, neutral colors from me, because they tend to appeal to more buyers and sell more quickly. I do however, love when I get the opportunity to think outside the box with a custom order.

I've learned the hard way that pink furniture (although really fun to paint) is a tough sale. This is from a pink vanity that sat in our family room for months. That was really hard for this testosterone-laden house to stomach!

So my business decision was that the piece was more valuable restored to its original condition, including the hardware.

I won't bore you with how many packets of sandpaper I used (lots!) or how long it took to prepare the surface for a new coat of stain (General Finishes Antique Walnut) or how gorgeous it looked after I applied several coats of their top coat in Satin.

The clincher for me is that I sold it to a MCM collector who drove 100 miles to get it. I guess I made the right decision after all to not paint it!

Have a wonderful day and don't overlook the "diamonds in the rough"! You'll never know what you may discover!

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  1. Gorgeous - great decision, although I would have loved to have seen a two-tone (paint and stain) version. Speaking of - did you know you can get coloured stains? I just found these, so you could have had a pink stain and the best of both worlds... but probably still a tough sell. lol
    Thanks for sharing!
    Shelly @

    1. I've seen the coloured stains - and would love to try them out one day! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. You definitely made the right decision on this old beauty.

    1. Thanks, Betsy! It was really hard to put down the paint brush on this one, but the teak grain was just too beautiful to cover up!

  3. love mcm pieces, and i think that looks great as is...or a nice two tone finish with white and the teak would be amazing too. hope you find more sleek pieces like that.

  4. Hi, Beth -- We've been getting more into MCM furniture because of my son's interest. He agrees with you and wants to strip and stain. You did a terrific job of this desk. Congratulations on selling it to a collector. I saw your link at Elizabeth & Co link party. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey