The $4 Desk Chair

My wife and I had a week without the kids (thanks mom and dad!) so Saturday morning we got to do what we love most -- hit some garage sales! Those of you outside the Central Ohio area may not understand how big garage sales are here in Clintonville. After living here for over 10 years, we can honestly say that our house is almost entirely decorated with another man's trash. Often we need to sand it and give it a few coats of Krylon, replace the hinges, or simply give the piece a good scrub down, but in the end, we have a beautiful piece that cost a fraction of what we would have paid for it new.

Every once in a while you find a REAL diamond in the rough; that's what happened on Saturday. My favorite sales are the indoor estate sales where everything has a pricetag on it. In this particular house, the folks told us to check out the basement before we left. I got to the bottom of the stairs and immediately saw a chair that was unmistakably a mid-century Emeco Swivel Desk Chair. The tag on the bottom confirmed it. The $4 sticker on the top meant it was going home with me! 

When I paid the kind lady for the chair she gave us a look that said "you poor kids...what would you want with an old piece of junk like that?" She was almost blushing with embarrassment that they even had it to sell. I imagine she thought it strange that I didn't haggle over the price. 

In case you are unfamiliar with Emeco, they still hand make these chairs in Hanover, PA. Originally manufactured for the U.S. Navy, they have become icons of American ingenuity and new versions of the Swivel Desk Chair are now sold through Design Within Reach for upwards of $1000. There are many rip-offs out there but none compare in quality to the original Emeco chairs. 

After 30 minutes with a roll of paper towel, steel wool and degreaser, this chair really shines! I'm excited to use it.

So next time you drive by a garage sale sign or flea market on your way to buy furniture, take a couple of minutes and see what they have. You might come across a $4 chair that will outlast anything you can buy at Office Depot, and it will look a lot better too.