My new favorite place in the whole wide world: The ReStore

As you all might remember I’m a big fan of retrorenovation.com, and the community over there introduced me to the ReStore, a kind of Goodwill for housewares. It benefits Habitat for Humanity, generally has limited hours, and is a goldmine of castoffs, especially if you’re a fan of midcentury. Here’s what happens, I think: someone goes into an assisted living community, or someone buys a “dated” home and decides to gut it. In either case, they’ve got boatloads of lamps, lights, furnishings, cabinetry, tiles, bathtubs–I mean everything– so they haul it off to the ReStore and let someone else enjoy it. We’ve personally contributed two shower doors and a chandelier.

I’ve found a few choice items there: a yellow, low kitchen cabinet for $15, which we’re currently using as a little extra storage and a play place for the girls in the kitchen. We scored a knockoff laminate round end table and matching two-tiered coffee table ($30 for the set), and a set of beautiful dining room chairs in desperate need of re-upholstering ($12 each). That last set had been re-upholstered with slightly diseased-looking rust fake fur sometime around 1974, and the original grass-like fabric, while stained, is much more attractive. We plan to fix them when the girls are out of sippy cups.

For several months, though, I’ve had a mission: find a bar unit with an open back that we can put in our bar area. We’ve been dealing with planks of wood on bookcases for far too long, and seeing the cluttered mess had long since begun giving me eyestrain. We found the perfect unit a month ago, but alas! Sold. Then, this weekend, we found this beauty.

The groovy lamp is from my brother's mother-in-law's sometime-open vintage store.

She’s not perfect. You can see the chips on the veneer in front, and the wood is scratched in a dozen places. But at $65, that means we feel free to zazz her up a bit–maybe paint the doors, for instance. Our other china cabinet, bought for $200 at an antique mall, is in perfect condition and I wouldn’t dare lay a finger on her. But Our Lady of the Cocktail? She could use a little spiffing up.

The biggest selling point was the drawer pulls, which have lovely starburst designs. When we’re ready for a full rehab we’ll get them shining.

Here’s another view. It originally had a back on it, which we removed easily, so you can see the wallpaper through. The fact that it’s so perfectly centered between the flowerpots leads me to believe the mural was painted to accommodate just such a piece.

The box on top is a travelling bar--also purchased at the ReStore.

A few close ups of the cubbies, where you’ll find some of other ReStore wins.

That's Jackie Gleason's Music for Lovers Only. He'll take you to the moon. Both pieces from the ReStore.

Senor Paco, our Hull duck planter, was bought in Cape May. The Mantovani album: ReStore score.

 

But, Oh! There’s More!

I’ve saved the best for last. David had called me over to the chair section to check out a Navy chair, and before I could say “Do we really need another chair?” I spotted this beauty from 40 feet away. (The ReStore is very big.) I ran to her. I sat down and felt the light, graceful give of a perfectly calibrated porch bouncer. My heart swelled. Before David joined me, an employee told me it had arrived just that day and had been checked out by several shoppers; by the time I got up to see her $10 pricetag, another shopper said, “That’s the best thing in the store.”

I didn’t need any more encouragement. I hauled her up to the counter so I could buy her right then, claim her with a SOLD sticker, and finish my shopping in peace. While I waited in line, every person behind me–four or five, I think–eyeballed her. While I waited for my husband to pull the car around outside, a woman on the sidewalk stopped and said, “Oooooh! Now that is a NICE chair!” I felt like David will likely feel when our daughters hit their teen years. Stay away from my baby, people. Look but don’t touch.

So what if it's technically porch furniture?

One of my favorite features is the back of the cushion, which is a gorgeous bouquet of roses, and the nice detail on the tag. See if you can find it.

That's right, people. Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

I’ve been thinking we’ll need to re-do our porch furniture, which we bought used. I’m thinking we’ll do it in white, with red cushions. Because as far as I’m concerned, from here on out, everything in the house will be built around our beautiful new porch bouncer.

P.S. Why do I call her Our Lady of the Cocktail? Because in the middle top drawer, we found a Diamond Jubilee Blessed Mother card, the kind churches give when their priests celebrate an anniversary. In this case, it was the Society of Mary’s Rev. Julius A. Falk, who celebrated his first mass on March 29, 1925. The card was issued in 1970. At the ReStore, when I found her in the drawer, an employee (Glen) was there, helping to stake my claim. “You’re not going to take her out, are you?” he asked, eyes narrowed. “I wouldn’t dare!” I replied, and put her back in the drawer, where she will live as long as we own the cabinet.

A quote on the back reads “All good things came to me together with Mary.” Works for me.

 

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