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Old furniture: cool crap or just crap?
August 19, 2014 7:25 AM   Subscribe

My workplace features some 60s/70s-ish looking sofas and chairs in a foyer, which is finally being updated. As a result, said furniture will soon be put out on the sidewalk, and I can claim it if I want to. I'm not a huge fan of the furniture per se, but am trying to figure out whether this stuff is cool retro crap that can be re-sold, or just crap. Pix here.

I work in a university, so I know it's probably bog-standard 30-year-old office furniture, but maybe there is a small possibility that it's a diamond in the rough. I'm not willing to put a ton of time into refurbishing or re-upholstering unless its truly worth the effort.

Details: I am in Montreal. I don't have a truck but could borrow one.
posted by googly to Home & Garden (27 answers total)
 
Take it!! I would buy that mustardy yellow chair in a heartbeat if I were nearby.
posted by magdalemon at 7:38 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


The frame of the couch is great, imo. The cushions could either be remade or the whole thing reupholstered. I think it's nice furniture that needs some love. There are people out there who would buy these items.

I'd see if there is an antique store in the area that deals in mid century and later furniture and send them the pix to find out if they are sellable.
posted by marimeko at 7:41 AM on August 19


Those are really rather gorgeous and someone definitely wants them.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:50 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Definitely get as much of this stuff as you can haul away. I think the tables are quite nice, myself. And yeah, that mustardy yellow chair is a treat.
posted by ronofthedead at 7:56 AM on August 19


Yeah, those all have a midmod feel to them -- the mustard chair, itself, would probably go for $100 - $200 at an antique shop easy. The double-chair-couch-with-the-armrest-down-the-middle is quirky and probably worth something too.

The upholstery, particularly on the white couches, looks awfully rough, though. But, if you're picking it up to flip it, an antique shop that specializes in Midcentury Modern would probably give you at least $30-$50 apiece as-is.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:56 AM on August 19


Yeah, stuff like this will give some people, especially architects, a total chair-crush.

Of all the furniture items, I do not know what it is about chairs. They are like catnip to architects.
posted by greenish at 8:09 AM on August 19


If you lived in Minneapolis I would buy your furnishings.
posted by Frowner at 8:10 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


These remind me of Danish/replica Danish furniture that I've seen on the market for a lot of money. I think I saw a couch (vintage, probably restored) in a shop front for $4000.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 8:18 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I'm going to be the voice of dissent and say that that furniture looks nothing like mid-century/Danish modern furniture to me, but rather late-1970s to early-1980s This End Up-esque. Which is not to say that no one will want it or pay some money for it, but to me it does indeed look like absolutely bog-standard 30-year-old office furniture and not 60-year-old coveted designer pieces.
posted by drlith at 8:44 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


You will find dealers along Amherst Street in the Village who might want this sort of thing, but they will be considering the cost of having to reupholster before reselling.
posted by zadcat at 8:58 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


drlith is indeed correct. Having owned a piece or two of this stuff in the early '80's myself, I recognize the look, so yes to this: Which is not to say that no one will want it or pay some money for it, but to me it does indeed look like absolutely bog-standard 30-year-old office furniture and not 60-year-old coveted designer pieces.
posted by gudrun at 9:04 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I'm big into that era and like most of it. That said selling retro stuff unless you're skilled at selling is bloody hard work imho and all the heaving it around would be a lot of hassle. I've had some great stuff over the years (clothes mainly) and made very little on anything.
posted by tanktop at 9:19 AM on August 19


There's a chunkiness to the pieces that verges closer to dorm furniture than super-cool Midcentury. They aren't strictly ugly, or anything, but I'm guessing that some connoisseurs might not bite (Disclaimer: While I respect and sometimes really like MM stuff, I'm not remotely an expert.)

That said, they all look to be structurally solid, and with a bit of restoration could probably find buyers. And doubts aside, I do think that mustard chair is pretty neat.
posted by credible hulk at 9:22 AM on August 19


Yep, there's a market for it alright. People like to get hold of things that aren't IKEA or bog-standard generic stuff and will pay extra for it.
posted by Drexen at 9:23 AM on August 19


Agreeing with those who say it's not like highly covetable Danish stuff...I don't think it's really worth the effort, personally.
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:36 AM on August 19


They definitely look like the This End Up furniture that we had in our dorm common rooms when I was in college. Ours were mostly green, but I definitely remember that rust color being around as well. So most likely 1980s era college furniture.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:39 AM on August 19


It's basic cheap furniture, before cheap meant particle board / MDF.
posted by smackfu at 10:17 AM on August 19


Will you sell them for a fortune, I don't think so. Will someone buy them off you via Craigslist to do up either for themselves or to sell on, I very much suspect so. When you see some of the complete and total repro crap that people are calling antiques or modern furniture on Pintrest this will find a market. And I like Pintrest dont' get me wrong I couldn't have decorated my house without it.

If you are hesitant just go the chairs, they are easier to sell as people like to just have a quirky feature chair or 2 for interest a couch is harder to move and you need more space for it.
posted by wwax at 11:23 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


It would be worth it to Craigslist it if the alternative is just throwing it in a dumpster.
posted by missmerrymack at 11:24 AM on August 19


The midcentury trend has about run its course and, as with clothing and music, the 70s/80s are coming back in. So yes, some young person will buy those from you and be excited about it. Probably not for thousands of dollars though so you may not want to bother to reupholster them yourself--but if your primary concern is that no one on Craigslist will buy them for any price and you'll end up junking them, I wouldn't worry.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 12:53 PM on August 19


I'm going to be the voice of dissent and say that that furniture looks nothing like mid-century/Danish modern furniture to me, but rather late-1970s to early-1980s This End Up-esque. Which is not to say that no one will want it or pay some money for it, but to me it does indeed look like absolutely bog-standard 30-year-old office furniture and not 60-year-old coveted designer pieces.

All true, but: That stuff has been hitting the curb for 30 40 years now, so it can be pretty hard to find now. And it's pretty great.

People will want this stuff, albeit restuffed and reupholstered. Google some hip furniture places that do that and see if they want them. Failing that, put some posters up around the campus. New students need old couches.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:22 PM on August 19


It would be worth flipping them over to see who made them.
posted by metasav at 8:24 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I would buy them without reupholstery done off Craigslist for $40-100 per item.
posted by slateyness at 10:04 PM on August 19


It would be worth flipping them over to see who made them.

Good idea! Apparently they were made in Canada by "Interiors International Ltd," which might be a precursor to this company.
posted by googly at 9:10 AM on August 20


I'm in the "I would absolutely love those" camp, myself. One more vote for "someone will want those."
posted by Urban Winter at 10:51 AM on August 20


It's not This End Up, it's made to be office furniture, which means it's made to be easily re-upholstered. I would give it away to staff who might want it. It might get some money on CL, but would be a pain.
posted by theora55 at 1:50 PM on August 20


Update: I grabbed the yellow chair and one of the orange chairs, left the rest for others else to take. Thanks for all the help!
posted by googly at 12:19 PM on October 14


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