Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to the grind

Christmas turned out pretty well this year (all house-related issues aside).  It's always wonderful to spend some quality time with the family, eat 'till you're about to burst, and celebrate.

The presents don't hurt either.

Guess what!  I finally got my very own digital camera courtesy of the girlfriend (Thank you)!  Now I can hopefully update a little more regularly.  

I'll start with this little beauty.

It's a Smith-Corona Galaxie Deluxe, which I picked up for a song at Goodwill a few weeks ago.

With its retro powder blue and cream frame and stylized logo, it's quite the looker.  It comes with a locking carrying case as well.

From the look of it, I don't even think it's ever been touched by human hands.  Everything is in pristine condition.  Even the tape holding the packing foam is undisturbed, and there isn't one single scratch or mark on the entire thing.  Pretty cool!

Now I just have to keep my girlfriend from running off back to England with it.  I've seen her eyeing it up.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year everyone!  May your thrifting be fruitful and your estate sales bountiful in 2012.

Now, get off Blogger and go spend some quality time with your family!

Eames Christmas Card (Source: Library of Congress)

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I know I'm lucky to have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, a warm bed, etc., but it's not feeling like such a holly jolly Christmas right now.

I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE being a home-owner and this place will be the death of me, financially speaking.

The caved-in flat roof was bad.  Then came the water damage, which was pretty aggravating.  Incorrectly installed drywall throughout the whole second floor that started coming apart a couple months after we moved in?  Yep, I've got that.  A second and third roof leak that will necessitate an entire new roof and replacement of several now peeling and cracking plaster and lathe walls?  Check.  Tuck-pointing and concrete work that barely lasted a month and then crumbled away?  Super.  A cracked drain vent pipe is causing a nice leak in my second bedroom too and we've also got a nice leaking window upstairs.

Now what new joys await us on this glorious Christmas Eve?

A backed up main drain pipe, which is flooding sewage into my basement and keeping us from using our water.

Seriously, never buy a rehabbed home.  Just don't do it.  Learn from my mistake.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wish List

With Christmas fast approaching, I thought I'd compile a Christmas wish list.  After all, I've been a very good boy this year ;)  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.

1. Dansk Candle Holders (Source - Etsy)

 2. Kilim Pillows (Source - Ebay)

 3. Jax Bookends/Doorstops (Source - Etsy)

4. Navajo Rug (Source - Ebay)

5. Military Winter Blankets in Grey/Olive (Source - Ebay)

6. Carved Walnut Bowl (Source - Target)

7. Panasonic RC-1091 Clock Radio (Source - Etsy)

8. Heather Grey Linen Queen Bedsheets (Source - Lekker Home Goods)

9. Birds in Flight Wall Scuplture by C. Jere (Source: 711 Warren)

10. Retro Paint by Number Paintings (Source - Etsystatic)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Tunes

I saw this posted on Facebook today and thought you all might appreciate it.  Seems like the mid-20th century had not only the best design, but also the best Christmas music.

Personally, I find that it just isn't Christmas without a little Mannheim Steamroller.  Love that stuff.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The girlfriend is visiting from England and it's almost Christmas, so it's been good times in the nickarmadillo household.

We've been super busy with Christmas prep and setting up roof work.  I've been so busy that I forgot to mention that all on here.

After the last roof debacle, I had another roofer come by and check out the rest of the roof.  Surprise!  The inspector missed that the WHOLE roof was bad.  It also leaked all over my freakin' house and ruined the plaster in 3 rooms.  Great news, huh?

So, we are getting a new roof and interior work done.  The total cost: approximately $13,000.  Yikes!  Now it just comes down to who is paying for it.  The inspector, who failed to do his job and performed a shoddy inspection or the trusting homeowner who relied on the inspector to correctly perform the task for which he was paid $300 an hour.

So, in light of these new developments, the mid-century collecting has been going a little slow lately, as money is super-tight.

However, I did find these photos from a couple years back.

I'm sure you've all seen old farm houses like this with junk lying about everywhere, but the odd part about this place is the sheer quantity of stuff as well as the fact that it's right smack-dab in the center of a typical middle-class St. Louis suburb.

In fact, it's right behind my parent's home.  I guess the developers bought up the land to develop the subdivision but the owner wouldn't sell out, so they just built it up around him anyway.

I can remember having tons of childhood adventures back here.  My brother and I would suit up in our exploring gear and go play and build forts around the old outbuildings and farm equipment.  The old man (picture your typical 90 year-old rural hermit) usually left us alone as he had become a hermit, but would occasionally chase us off on his tractor armed with a shotgun.  He'd always threaten to shoot us/our dog, but I think he was bluffing.  I hope, anyway.

You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff back there.  You can find old toys, furniture, farm equipment, trucks, cars, tractors, sports equipment, furniture, a whole overgrown in-ground swimming pool with fountains and diving board, and multiple abandoned homes (I think there are about 4-6 abandoned homes on the property), sheds, and barns filled to the brim with junk.  And since the guy never left his house or threw anything out in the last few decades, its all vintage stuff.  It almost looks post-apocalyptic back there.

I've never plucked up enough courage to venture into the homes or barns (I think the man has passed and the property is completely abandoned by now, so it should be semi-safe), but it might make for an amazing adventure.  Maybe I'll get up to it one day if I can find a brave partner.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A little Wednesday morning Coffey

This Kent Coffey Perspecta dining set, another Craigslist find, may just become a permanent fixture in my abode.

Seriously, that china cabinet is one solid piece and weighs about a ton and a half.  It wouldn't even fit in my capacious minivan, so I had to borrow the neighbors truck to transport it here in two trips.  After that fiasco, I'm not planning on moving it any time soon.

Good thing I'm a Perspecta fan.  The overall design is pretty similar to Broyhill's Brasilia line.  However, I think that the Kent Coffey is slightly more subdued, which can be a positive when you are attempting to mix styles (in my case a Craftsman-era home with Art-deco, Craftsman, and Mid-century Modern furnishings).  I've paired the set in the dining room with my Brasilia gentleman's chest and they're a match made in heaven.  I especially like the chairs, with their cat-eye slats.

The only part that I'm not digging (other than moving that cabinet) is the table.  The scale and style seem off.  Why would one pair a tiny 4-person dining table with that huge china cabinet?  Yes, there are leaves which would extend it by about a foot, but they're missing some veneer and I really don't want to cover up that lovely wood grain with a table cloth.  It may just be me, but the table legs also give off a bit of a nautical vibe.

I also noticed that this was another Lammerts purchase.  It seems like everything Mid-century Modern in St. Louis came out of that shop.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I managed to dig up a few more pictures of the office this morning.  For a meatpacking plant, this place looked pretty classy.  I guess just about everything did back then.  Not many people could pull off a blood/meat covered t-shirt, jeans, and packer hat, but my grandpa sure did.

Notice the barware in the corner?  Yeah, I think that might be frowned upon these days.

Time was, a man could have a drink at lunch or in meetings, but nowadays if you so much as thought about having a sip, you'd have lawyers up your you-know-what so fast that you wouldn't know what hit you.

Some might call this an improvement, but personally, I think it made people tough, responsible, and independent.  If you've got some bureaucrat in an office somewhere making all of your decisions for you, what incentive do you have to do your own thinking?

Anyways, the office still looks pretty similar, as if it's been frozen in time.  Believe it or not, we still write up everything using those typewriters.  Talk about a mid-century collector's dream.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm kind of disgusted with the whole house thing right now, so we're gonna try something a little different today.

It's time for me to lay a little family history on you.

Growing up, I never really knew much about my relatives.  I'd get a few tidbits here and there, but on the whole I was oblivious to who they were and what they did.  It didn't really bother me at the time, but now I really wish that I'd investigated a bit more before all of these interesting people passed away and their stories were lost.  There really were quite a few oddballs.

Take my great grandfather, for example.  After emigrating from Germany to the US just prior to WWI, he started his own meatpacking business, which quickly expanded.  As his enterprise grew, he also opened several subsidiaries, one of which is pictured below (Look at those retro delivery trucks!).  

Most people might have a ribbon cutting ceremony or something to celebrate the opening of a new factory.  He bought a whale and brought it up the Mississippi. 

Yes, that's right, a whale (of the Baleen variety).  Apparently it was a big to-do in St. Louis at the time.

The more crazy stories that I hear about this guy, the more it makes me wish I would have met him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Plethora of Pollock

I know they aren't exactly uncommon or high-end but I absolutely love Knoll Pollocks.  They're durable, comfortable, and have an attractive minimalist design.

However, as they say, you can have too much of a good thing.

(Yes, that is a Snuggie resting atop that Knoll Pollock.)

I think that might be the case here, as I've assembled quite an extensive collection.  I've got cloth, vinyl, leather, 4 star bases, 5 star bases, tagged, untagged, black-rimmed, chrome-rimmed, you name it.  And yet, not a single one has upholstery that is in good condition.

It would seem that my home has become a shelter for abused and abandoned Knoll Pollocks.  It's like a mid-century modern orphanage.

But just look at these pitiful chairs.  They've been scratched, scuffed, stained, and had buttons ripped from their cushions.  Could you turn these poor wretches away at your door?

I certainly couldn't, but that's left me with a bit of a predicament: no money, no time, and no idea how to fix them up.

<cue uplifting piano music>

Every day, thousands of mid-century office chairs suffer neglect and abuse.  Hi, I'm Nick from Save the Pollocks.  For only a dollar a day, you could make a difference in the life of this poor Knoll Pollock.  Give the gift of a brighter future with fresh upholstery and properly attached buttons.  Donate today and you will receive a hand-written letter written from the comfort of your adopted chair.  Thank you for your support and kindness and have a wonderful day.

(Disclaimer: Save the Pollocks is not an actual charity.  All proceeds from Save the Pollocks will, in all likelihood, be used to purchase additional unneeded mid-century crap.)