Ok, I will admit it…I have a problem.
I am quite possibly obsessed with Broyhill Brasilia furniture.
I have been madly searching for my long lost nightstand for the bedroom set to be complete. Sadly, no luck on that front as of yet. I scour Craigslist in search of Broyhill Brasilia…not just in Milwaukee, but in every city where I know someone who might be able to snag a piece on my behalf (Chicago-In-laws, Nashville-parents, Detroit-brother, Pittsburgh-friend, Cleveland-friend) though I would only ask them to get the bedside table, as anything else would be a huge burden! Still, I am sure that qualifies me for at least slightly obsessed.
So when I saw this listing on my local Craigslist on Monday, my heart skipped a beat…
I got shaky, my hands started to sweat, I was anxious…excited, nervous…..
I fired off a quick email to Jim with the link asking for his thoughts on the matter. Of course there was the usual “Where do we put it” but he also understands my obsession and said, “sure, ask if we can go see it.”
I immediately and simultaneously emailed the seller and texted my friend Jacob (truck and muscle for hire) to try and figure out a time everyone was available. Within 20 minutes we had a viewing time, the fastest route there planned out and a truck ready to load it into. I was so excited!
It was like the angels opened up the heavens and dropped a fabulous hutch right in my dining room.
Can you hear them singing?
Upon arrival at the seller’s house, any hopes I had of knocking $100 bucks of the purchase price were quickly dashed. It was quite obvious that the seller was a flipper. When I came into her house and commented on her good decorating taste, she told me she had totally gut rehabbed the house in a year. Then she offered to sell it to me-as in the house. Not only was her house unofficially for sale, but she told me how the hutch was one of her favorite pieces and she was only selling it because she likes to redecorate often and she had it for a while and needed a change. While she was telling me this, I noticed the cobwebs/dust in the drawers. Once she revealed that she had been at the Cincinnati Modern Furniture show/thrifting the previous weekend, I confirmed my suspicions that she had not owned and treasured this hutch for very long. It even looked kinda dirty. That’s when the bargaining came out anyway. I tried very hard but the most I could get her to knock off was $25, still that pays for Jacob’s dinner/gas fee, so it worked for me.
Once Jacob and I had both pieces in the driveway she said “good luck” and slammed the door. We spent about 25 minutes in her driveway trying to get the hutch into Jacob’s truck. He has a truck bed topper on it that wouldn’t allow us to put the hutch in normally, as the outer edge of the topper is 31 inches tall and the inside is 35 inches tall. Our hutch top was 34 inches tall, while the base fit in just barely at 31 inches. We loaded the bottom first and then realized we would have to put the top in first instead and try to rotate it once inside the truck. When we were taking the bottom back out, Jacob’s grip slipped, tilting the base, sending all three drawers out onto the cement, crashing into the top of the hutch and knocking it over.
As the piece fell all over the driveway I felt as though I might barf. Hopefully I had not just ruined my prized Brasilia!
Jacob felt really bad, and of course we couldn’t tell if there was much damage or not because we were totally in the dark in this woman’s driveway. (She didn’t even turn on the outside lights for us!) So we just soldiered on and tried to get the job done. Eventually we got both pieces in the truck (We had to unhook and lift up the topper in order to rotate the top of the hutch!) and were on our way back to the Retro Ranch.
When we got back, I went in the house to get Jim to help (he couldn’t come originally because Jacob’s truck is a two person deal) and when I came out, Jacob was hanging from our pine tree sawing off the droopy branch that was blocking the driveway. He said he had the bow saw in his truck anyway and felt bad about the furniture tumble and thought he would help us take care of our other problem.
Driveway is officially back to two lanes. Yay!
Once the piece was inside, I immediately started coating it with Howard Feed n Wax. That stuff works great for cleaning up retro wood!
The buffet was really starting to shine, well all except the knobs.
They didn’t look quite as nice as my other pieces. I decided to do a little searching to see if I could have them re-plated somewhere…then I realized they may not be plated at all. According to the website I read, if something is plated, a magnet will stick to it. If it is not, then it wont. I pulled a magnet off the fridge and low and behold-it didn’t stick–hot dog! Solid bronze!
My next search involved methods for cleaning and polishing bronze/brass. The easiest instructions I found used only two ingredients commonly found around the house. Why not give it a try?
HOW TO POLISH THE KNOBS ON A BROYHILL BRASILIA:
Step 1: Gather baking soda, lemon juice, small container for mixing and a brush to aid in the scrubbing (I only had a toothbrush available)
Step 2: Mix about a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of lemon juice and watch it fizzle. (this could be a fun science experiment too?)
Step 3: Mix the baking soda and lemon juice to form a paste.
Step 4: Apply paste to knob and scrub with brush and/or hands. (I found tough stains needed some serious elbow grease and the use of my hands instead of the toothbrush)
Step 5: Rinse with water and admire the difference!
Though they are admittedly not as shiny as they could be with a chemical polish, this was a quick, available fix that made a great improvement! I may try a tougher polish formulated to clean bronze/brass at a later date, but for now, this is a huge improvement.
So once again, here is the piece before polishing:
Whole piece before polishing knobs:
It’s like the piece’s teeth are whitened. Look, its smiling at me…
or maybe that is me smiling at it! Look it even has drawer organizers! How cool is that?!?
This brings me to my other point of the post…a while back I said that I wanted to get a long, low sideboard to go under the window where my IKEA sideboard was and not a high hutch because it would compete too much with my painted open shelving…then the hutch of my dreams popped up and my common sense flew out the window.
Here is the room as it looks now…
As you can see, I rotated the table. I even toyed with putting the wine rack on top of the hutch (though I would probably paint it white to pop off the orange wall more)
Please ignore the “stuff” on the table…I was wrapping birthday gifts and have yet to find a new home for my displaced house plants….
I asked the boys what they thought…did the room look too crowded?
Leo had his usual opinion….and Jim….
…I got the usual response from him as well. 🙂
So what do you think?
Is there too much “shelf” going on in the dining room now?
Do you think it will look better when I get some colorful stuff to display in the hutch?
While you ponder my predicament, I think I will indulge Leo with his favorite activity…
Until next time!