Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Favorite Finds: ModFruGal's Bar Stools

ModFruGal is a fellow Nashville blogger with a heart for vintage. She blogs about decorating her mid-century home - and she has such a great eye! Not many of our Favorite Finds contributors have children, so I especially wanted to ask her how her husband and kids feel about her decorating. I love what she had to say about involving her kids in decorating decisions!

She shares her favorite find below - plus a handy DIY tip on how to restore chrome!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

My favorite find for the last year or so is a pair of bar stools I bought at the Nashville Flea Market. I use them several times a day, as they sit at my desk and the breakfast bar in our kitchen.

What were your first thoughts - did the rusty parts scare you off?

When I saw them, I was immediately smitten with the lines and curves, but the chrome was looking pretty rough. It did make me wonder if they would clean up enough without replating, but I chatted with the dealer and talked him down on his price given the condition, took a chance and dragged them home.

How did you restore the chrome?

After some research, I discovered the coke solution. Wadded up tin foil used with any soda containing phosphoric acid does a great job of cleaning surface rust and cleaning out some of the pitted areas. It is incredibly disconcerting cleaning the chrome and realizing that stuff goes in my body (although very rarely since)! More details on how I restored them are here. I'd like to reupholster them at some point, but I kind of love the yellow for now.

Does your family all share your design eye?

They are starting to! My husband is quite creative in his own right, and has always been supportive of my design decisions, even when he's not sure! Many times he'll say "I don't see it, but I'll trust you." He also has great technical skills, so together we make a great team. When the kids were younger, they were always resistant to changes around the house, but now, they see the possibilities and are learning how small changes can make a big difference in everyday life.

They are really starting to develop their own eye which thrills me beyond measure. I like to ask their advice and input when decorating/renovating/getting dressed up and I think allowing them to make certain decisions about the house gives them a feel for how things go together and gives them a greater sense of ownership and inclusion at home. This is a great time of year to see them in action as we clean out closets and shelves and leave them to restyle their knick knacks.

We just rearranged the furniture in my oldest son's room this past weekend, and he's beaming with pride, so of course, the youngest wants a new arrangement now too! It will be interesting to see what styles they gravitate toward as they become adults. Fussy Victorian? Masculine Industrial? I can't wait to see it develop.

Why do you love to buy vintage/secondhand?

Where do I start? Styles and trends through the decades are preserved in fashion and home furnishings and I love having a little flair from bygone days in my life. I must credit my mother for introducing me to the world of flea markets and estate sales as a young child. She has been selling mostly French antiques for decades and I learned from her and my very handy father how to refinish a piece of wood or metal furniture. Summer days were spent with drop cloths spread out on the driveway, and I imagine my kids will have those same memories! (Although I learned early that paint stripper will eat through asphalt!)

Vintage has a sense of character, history and individuality that a new piece will never have. As a struggling college student, and then a newlywed, buying vintage was/is vastly more affordable. It goes without saying the quality of most vintage furniture is far superior than any engineered wood pieces made today. That's why it's still around.

I think my attraction to less than perfect vintage pieces is also part of my passion for rehabbing them. I like to pick the piece everyone else says is too much work...but that's just who I am. I joke that I run a "furniture rescue" operation in my basement. Our house was the one everyone else walked away from too, but we took it on. We see diamonds in the rough, or maybe we just like the extra work!

I also like imperfect pieces because an extra ding or scuff will just blend in. As much as I want to have a pretty house, it has to be livable, and allowing the kids to be kids in every room of the house is important to me. They understand common sense rules (don't stand on coffee tables, no jumping on barcelona chairs, etc..) but there is no place they aren't allowed to go and play. There tends to be as much sword fighting in the living room as the playroom, and if a wooden sword dings the chair, it just blends in. Less stress for me, and for them. We all win.

I love ModFruGal's philosophies! Thank you so much for sharing such thoughtful answers! Be sure to follow her bog!

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  1. Modfrugal indeed has a fantastic eye for vintage and mid-century finds. Somehow I missed seeing those stools on her blog, so thanks for letting her showcase them here. They are showstoppers!

  2. Great interview! Can't wait to check out her blog. I love to see what Nashville folks are doing! And that trick with the coke and tinfoil - gonna have to try that on those dumpster chairs I brought home.

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  4. Great find! I love the color. I have to wonder if they came from l'ville. hahaha so many n'ville vendors shop up here b/c the prices seem cheaper.
    great job with cleaning up the chrome ModFruGal!

  5. Can't spell tonight! Thanks for having me over to play!

  6. What a great find! Love those stools too! :)

  7. Hi Jamie. I'm a ModFruGal fan and now I'm an Owl Really fan. I am a Nashvillian brand new to blogging (only 3 posts) but check me out

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