Monday, March 24, 2014

Fire, smoke and water! Not a good mix for a mid century modern retail location and not good news for fans of A Modern Line...

I'm sure most outside our Tampa area and who are not currently connected to us on Facebook probably haven't heard the news that we were effectively put out of business for the short term on Feb. 18th. 2014. There was a fire that started in the restaurant next door early in the morning and although the fire department contained most of the fire to the restaurant, they ended up dumping an estimated 250,000 gallons of water on the building. I can't get my head around how many cubic feet of water that is, but I could definitely see what it did to our furniture and space. We incurred a huge amount of smoke and water damage. From the soot lines on some of the pieces of furniture, the water at times was at least 6 inches deep inside the building. The fire climbed into the truss work of the building and I know Tampa Fire Department did the best they could considering the situation. I've heard they had 60 personnel and several units on scene.About 11 AM they escorted my wife and myself in to try and retrieve important paperwork still wading through inches of water but wouldn't let us go any further.It was totally heartbreaking to see the last 2 years of work totally saturated and covered in heavy soot in standing water and not be able to do anything but wait until they allowed us back in the building.
 That said, no one actually "allowed" me back in the building. If I'd asked, I'm sure they would have told me I couldn't go in. As soon as the fire department pulled out and the fire restoration company had access, I was pushing past them and pulling pieces out. I called my wife and told her to put up a post to friends on Facebook and within an hour we had a literal brigade of customers, neighbors and local businesses helping out with towels, cleaning supplies, boxes, tape and tons of help physically moving literally "everything" out of the building despite the treacherous conditions inside. This went on all afternoon into the evening in shifts with people coming and going as they had time to help and we managed to load out a large rental truck to stack in my limited warehouse space and fill it again to unload the next day to finish the work. I was in shock most of the day and totally exhausted, but we retrieved just about everything that was savable.
I am still overwhelmed by such a quick and unselfish swell of support on such short notice. 
I happen to live in the greatest community oriented neighborhood in Tampa which is Seminole Heights. I'm quite sure there are few neighborhoods here in Tampa that someone in my situation could have asked and received so much help in such a time sensitive situation that would have had the same response!
Here's a few pics of the interior in the following days after we managed to empty. Not pretty!

It's been over a month since this happened and I have managed to secure another smaller retail space (1000 sf. as opposed to the 1600 sf. we had) but at least it's a starting point and still in our neighborhood. There's no way I'd consider leaving anyway! And there may be a chance to expand to an adjacent space if it doesn't get leased until we're ready and we hope to come back bigger and better going forward. I've been able to save considerably more merchandise than I originally thought with many thanks to one of my wife's customers that owned a commercial duty ozone generator that I ran both at our new space and my warehouse and it really killed 95% of the smoke smell on pretty much everything that we had! Amazing machine!
We had still lost plenty of inventory especially area rugs, art, fabrics and lamp shades. A few of the particle board based pieces (of which we had few) were also toast. I'm really amazed at how well Howards Restor-a-Finish cut through the soot and water damage with just some 0000 steel wool and I was able to save a lot of pieces using this. Although the view has improved lately from a lot of days of restoration, here's what my warehouse looked like after we loaded everything in originally. 

We also had a great response again Sunday before last with tons of family, neighbors, customers and local businesses coming out again to help us clean all the "smalls". Glassware, ceramics, lamps and other stuff that that make the shop pop. Our neighborhood has also set up the Heights Collective and Seminole Heights Foundation and are running fund raisers to help both Domani Bistro and A Modern Line get back up and running here in the neighborhood. I owe so many for so much I will be happily indebted to everyone involved for as long as it takes to repay their help! Just give me a few weeks, as I've kind of got my hands full right now!
Hope to have time to post about the new space soon! The new address is 4632 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, Fl 33603 and although we haven't transferred the phone as yet, you can call me on my cell at 813-416-6835. If you come by and see me in house, please knock on the door. If I'm there, we are open but excuse the mess while we try and get organized!
Phoenix in the process of rising!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Charles and Ray Eames dinette set and what appears to be a somwhat rare Broyhill "Facet" suite dresser/credenza...and a few pieces of pretty swell art as well!

I'd prefer to be posting this as a rehab project especially for the Broyhill Premier series nine drawer dresser I recently acquired. As what is increasingly normal, I neglected to get some before pics of said dresser/credenza. I'm always pushing to get a start on new projects and don't always remeber the camera. Duh!
My wife stumbled upon a CL posting for this particular piece a week or so ago and as I'm the 'go-to' guy for furniture acquisition she said take a look!
Broyhill Premier series nine drawer dresser from the 'Facet' suite.
I've rehabilitated loads of the Premier stuff from the Brasilia, Saga, Sculptra, and Emphasis suites but this was my first 'Facet' piece and quite frankly, I could find next to nothing for info on this particular suite. Just a couple of pics and next to no info. It's just as well made (perhaps better) with some great lines. Maybe it was short lived due to production costs? I doubt much was produced hence the lack of information. When I procured this piece, I saw the potential.
The real potential with this cabinet were with double fold back center doors that hid 3 long drawers. Dressers are great but TV credenzas are a lot hotter property in the store and with the top two of the center drawers and glides removed, it was a simple matter of installing some hardboard and drilling some holes for cord/cable access to create the perfect place to hide your cable, dvd, blu-ray player or game consoles. And, oh yeah, I had to refinish the some what scratch covered top. It wasn't horrible but enough to be a distraction. Some Min-Wax golden oak mixed with some early american made for a dead on match to the original color! I enjoy the challenge of getting the mixes just right especially when I hit it the first go round.

My piece was missing the original "Facet" label but I managed to find just the one example for reference!
 When you are looking for new merchandise it's much more of a serendipitous search rather than looking for someting specific. Seems the harder you seek a particular item, the harder it is too find. Better to let the pieces fall where they will. I always ask customers if they are looking for something in particular and many just answer they are waiting for a piece to find them. Yup!
Acquired this Charles & Ray Eames dinette table with 3 avacado vinyl and foam chairs over the fiberglass shell chairs with a 42" chrome stemmed table with cast aluminum bases and cherry edge white formica top table. Yes, all the pieces have original HM labels with a delivery date of Jan. 1970.
Sure there as a few scuffs in the outside welting of the vinyl on the seats and some scuffs on the cherry edging and the aluminum bases show a bit of oxidation although cleaned up. Other than that, these were pretty pristine. No cuts or nick in the vinyl and all the stiching was intact. Sweet!

These were found on a CL ad as a 60's/70's table and chairs. No attribution was given in the ad and when my wife brought it to my attention, it certainly did get my attention. They weren't giving this away but I didn't pressure when told they really wanted to get the price they were asking.
I'm really lucky to have some great consignors with a real knack for finding some swell pieces of original art! I'd love to have found these myself, but when you offer consignment you can offer a much broader and deeper inventory than I have the time to hunt for.
Here's a few of the latest examples although we have no lack of nice pieces in house:

These are all original oils or acrylics and the top piece is a very large impressionist of the Golden Gate Bridge that my photog skills do no justice. Stunning. The second may be a studio piece but has a nice MCM flavor and dating and the last may be an Italian still life and has almost a cubist feel to me. All compliment the store furniture nicely.
I'll try and be a bit more diligent going forward about before and process pics on future rehab pieces.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear if you have anymore info on the Broyhill Facet suite.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Italian chair love! Our Italian manufactured beauties are finally finished!

Just a quick post with some "afters" of our latest project. Well worth the effort! Here's a reminder of how we looked "before".

At least these came with their original rubber over steel bands! Our upholstery pros did the new seat cushions some serious justice with new 3 inch high density foam and some nubby oatmeal fabric that I already had on hand.

A few more days and I can get back to projects but right now I'm building out a 1000 sq.ft. space I've acquired for storage and lots more shop space. I'll finally have the room to tackle multiple projects at once with separate sanding and finishing areas. Bring on those refinishing jobs and some organization!
Hope to have more to post soon! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Italian flat pack / KD chairs that I could use some help identifying...

I love following and authoring mid-mod blogs but lately I've been so tied up actually working on projects I've left both kind of by the wayside to catch up a bit.
The good thing about falling behind on blogs I follow is I can always go back and catch up later!
When I fail to post anything for a long period of time, followers probably think I've died or fallen off the flat edge of the earth. I'm here to say, I'm still around and asking for a little help identifying some Italian chairs I recently acquired.

Although the construction is similar to many of the Yugoslavian manufactured danish inspired surfboard arm chairs that seen pretty common, these are actually Italian made. They came to me with all the original seat bands in good condition. The same can't be said for the frames which are in need of a total refinish. They also came sans any cushions that obviously brought the purchase price down a bit.
Still, they are simply gorgeous and I couldn't pass them up!

Obviously, someone has tried to do a bit of repair work and flipped one of the back support and this will need to be broken apart and addressed along with some other issues but I think these will turn out absolutely drop dead gorgeous when finished.
Any readers out there have any idea who designed these sculptured pieces of furniture of art posing as furniture?
I'll try and be better about following up in this and other projects in the future!
A Modern Line

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Exactly 4 views short of 40,000 as I write this post! For a person that is so irregular about posting, I feel honored! Thanks! Oh yeah! and another project piece! Sweet little bar rehab!

When I started this blog over two years ago I originally intended to see if there was any interest out there in Heywood-Wakefield refinishing and facilitate some conversation on the subject. I'd throw in some other mid-mod stuff to help fill the page. It started very slowly and it took quite a bit of time to pick up even a few lookers to see what it was about. I was only refinishing as a long term hobby and had a regular job to pay the bills and I started following other like minded mid century modern bloggers. Yes, I was a real rookie at the blog thing. Just something to say and maybe someone might be interested!
By most blog standards I'm really small potatoes as far a views and followers but I'm greatful to all that take the time to take a look. I now own my own successful store here in Tampa and feel I've really found my niche. H/W is not neccesarily my main focus anymore but I still work on vintage pieces on a regular basis for customers that need help and I'm always happy to offer advise to those that want to go the DIY route. Just wanted to give a big thanks to you that love rehabbing anything MCM and for following along!
My wife recently picked up a small bar that she "surprised" me with during a recent road trip. She just loves to find me project pieces and although we are moving pieces through the store so quickly, it was still a pretty nice find...

This particular piece used to have an extention off to the right side that was totally missing. Well the rest looked worth the trouble. It has a drop down bar that originally lighted with the drop down lowered and a very nice art deco fixture with an old fluorescent bulb that no longer worked.
It was obvious that at least the outside of the case had absorbed a bit too much use over the years for just some Howards RAF and needed to be redone. The manufacturer had done a really nice job with the finish but it finally succumbed to the sander. Not quite as easy as expected!

To keep this story a bit shorter than the time I've spent, I'll just say that as much as I'd have loved to keep the chrome art deco fixture intact, it wasn't really visible from standing in front of the piece unless you were laying on the floor and the bulb was so obscure that even my best sources had never even seen one like it and I'm sure they were outlawed years ago so I had to retrofit with a newer fixture. Thankfully the compression switch still worked and I was able to rewire so it works great!

The last two lighted pics don't do this justice but shoud have some better pics up on our Facebook page once we get into the store. If you don't already like us on FB take a sec and you can see some of the other things I've had the pleasure to rehab but haven't had the time to post about here.
I'm always happy to help out fellow rehab types with tips and hints on H-W or any mid-mod pieces you'd either like to have restored or would like to do yourself!
A Modern Line