THRIFTY!

September 22nd, 2011

Yup.

This happened.

Is that an early production Saarinen oval marble coffee table? All up in Knoll town?

Oh yes.

I know I’m a dirty, no-good furniture dealer, but because I’m never ever selling it. Because this is my dream coffee table. Because it would have to pried from my cold dead hands. Because I am bursting that this happened. BECAUSE I CAN’T SHUT UP.

One.

Hundred.

Dollars.

Yeah. $100.

I hate me too.

Although, you gotta trust that this was a crazy unexpected fluke of chance and lucky timing.

Of course, I was browsing the Craigslist (come on, no way I found this in thrift store) and saw a posting for a vintage hutch that was super cheap but of course no freaking picture. Why people post furniture for sale on CL without a picture, I’ll never grasp, but the ad said to email for a picture and I randomly decided to just contact them and see what was the whats. When the pictures popped in (again, why not just upload them?) the hutch was pretty, pretty, pretty terrible, but something else looked mighty interesting in the far corner of the frame. Which leads to me asking if they had anything else for sale and apparently they were getting rid of everything in the whole house and they sent lots and lots and lots of pictures.

In the far distance, out of focus and sitting casually in front of a shredded up sofa was this tulip beauty. Just sitting there. Like no big deal. Whatevers. I’m just your favorite thing. Big whoop.

I got my ass down there and pulled out my big bag of negotiating tricks and walked away with some STUFF.

On a side note, apologies if I have to negotiate with you in the future or have negotiated with you in the past. I KNOW how I am. I’m an awful stubborn terrible monster.

It’s not in perfect condition.

There is some staining on the marble and I’ve been researching around about how to lighten it up. WHATEVER. Stains? On my 60 year old marble Knoll? I don’t care. I’ll never care!

Good news is that there are no chips and no cracks, just vintage goodness.

This table does weight about a thousand pounds. The tulip base is cast iron and the marble is chunk-y – like 36″ wide by 54″ long.

I really loved my old coffee table.

REALLY loved.

But there can be only one!

(It’s the Highlander. Lightning. Swords. Coffee table and such.)

 

---------------------------------------------------------------

    101 Comments

    1. Tonia (@ChicModern) on 09/22/2011:

      Great score. I always ask about what in the back corner on CL ads.

    2. MAYA on 09/22/2011:

      Finally,
      i wanted to tell the world. but waited very patiently.
      you are my hero,
      finding this almost tops the Alberts in the thrift store!
      oh and the REAL Eames chair.
      oh California, how i miss you! (you too Morgan , you too!…)

      xxM

    3. The Belvedere-Alyssa on 09/22/2011:

      What! That’s insane, those CLers never knew what was sitting under their nose!

      Love your ever changing house!

    4. Anna @ D16 on 09/22/2011:

      If I didn’t really like you a lot, I’d probably hate you.

      In fact, in order to make it through life, I’m going to have to just convince myself that you’re a liar and that you did NOT just pay $100 for that table.

      Man.

    5. bekah on 09/22/2011:

      I so want to punch you right now. and then myself.

    6. Kelly on 09/22/2011:

      Stunned!!!! That would never happen in London….you lucky thing!

    7. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/22/2011:

      I know. I hate myself.

      Sometimes, somehow, the impossible aligns in just a way that you end up with something you could have never expected.

    8. Grumble Girl on 09/22/2011:

      Oh lord, woman… that’s the find of the century. Super-duper jealous am I! But also, so thrilled for you. (And holy GAH! It’s in amazeballs condition! Stains? What stains??!) Yay for you!!

    9. adam on 09/22/2011:

      great score. i love hearing score stories (but only when the stories aren’t around where i live). so keep them coming! but for the love of god, stay away from the bay area.

    10. Laura on 09/22/2011:

      SOOOOO jealous, and in total awe! I agree stay away from Seattle so I can score a good find or two, but good for you! It is amazing!

    11. Natalie on 09/22/2011:

      That is AWESOME! The table is perfection, and I love bargain-hunting! Doesn’t it make you love it even more, knowing that you got it for such an amazing deal?! Well done! :)

    12. Ashley Edge on 09/22/2011:

      ugh. I think I have to unsubscribe your blog. or just ignore the “thrifty” posts because its JUST NOT FAIR! How do you find such great stuff? I live in Maine, where there isn’t a single thrift store or craigslist ad with awesome mid-century furniture. In 2 years I got lucky once at the thrift store, just once! I found 2 Knoll Cesca chairs for $8 a piece, but thats it. I want to be able to switch out coffee tables every other day… MAJOR envy here.

    13. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/22/2011:

      I literally am looking at CL for hours each day. It’s how I go to sleep.

      I have read so many misspellings of ottoman and armoire and FURNITURE and dealt with so many crazies that I am permanently burned out.

      But you never know whats around the corner.

    14. onehsancare on 09/22/2011:

      I know you’ll understand that I mean this in the most loving way possible: BITCH.

    15. Phoebe on 09/22/2011:

      I’m pretty sure you win best find of the month. That is just too crazy! I look at CL for hours, too, but I never find anything good.

    16. CreatureofHabit on 09/22/2011:

      Buy the STRONGEST hair bleach you can from Sally’s beauty supply, mix it with baking soda until it’s a paste-like consistency and cover the stains. Wrap the mess in saran wrap and resist peeking at it for 12 to 18 hours. You will be dazzled!!!!!!!

      http://habitual.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/staining-marble/

    17. Leah on 09/22/2011:

      all i can say is WHAT?! beyond gorgeous & fantastic.

    18. a perfect gray on 09/22/2011:

      yeah. pretty much hate you for that one….

    19. Tyler (plastolux) on 09/22/2011:

      Nice score! I don’t hate you too bad, I do love your table though. I just snagged an Eames leg splint for $35, same sort of weird story.

    20. hate you more!

    21. Erika on 09/22/2011:

      Wow! Don’t sell the travertine top one yet- did you try the Saarinen in the living room? I do so love the travertine top with your tv room furniture. Great score!

    22. Stephanie on 09/22/2011:

      OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD that is awesome!!!!

    23. Mary @ stylefyles on 09/22/2011:

      ahahhaha AWESOME!

    24. misa on 09/22/2011:

      oh, man. i do hate you. you are just.so.good.

    25. Sue on 09/22/2011:

      Well, you must need money for some future house endeavor, what’s your price on the one that’s been replaced? I’ll even arrange for plycon to come and package it up and ship it off for you. The living room in my new home is in dire need of a round coffee table, seriously!

    26. Sue on 09/22/2011:

      Yes, I am totally serious.

    27. dw on 09/22/2011:

      You.

      Between you and Anna (with her effing Random light), I just can’t take it anymore.

      I think I just got a contact high from reading your blog.

    28. Laura on 09/22/2011:

      FUCK YOU, but seriously, congrats!
      it’s a CL miracle. It’s rare but when it happens it’s like the fucking planets align for you. I hope you bought a lotto ticket right after.

    29. Something Gorgeous on 09/22/2011:

      OMG How does something like that happen? You need to take a lottery ticket, you’re on a winning streak.x

    30. Nicole on 09/22/2011:

      Goddammit.

    31. CT on 09/22/2011:

      Oh holy shit. (I don’t usually curse on the interwebs but this deserves it). I have been dreaming of a tulip table for a while now (more the side table variety) and I figured living in “Saarinen City” aka St. Louis, home of the Arch might bring it my way someday but no dice.

    32. libby on 09/22/2011:

      OMGOMGOMG.

    33. Liz F. on 09/22/2011:

      For bringing Highlander and mid-century furniture together, I salute you.

    34. Kathy on 09/22/2011:

      That is awesome! Please, please share some of your negotiating tactics! I suck at it.

    35. Carolina on 09/22/2011:

      Gosh, ur such a bitch! I too spend too much time on CL and my dream table is the Saarinen, BUT I dream big = dining table dream… Looooooooooooooooooove, the table, the posts, you…

    36. jacobspence on 09/22/2011:

      freaking terrific. FTW.

    37. Maria on 09/22/2011:

      Congrats! That is an amazing find. The stains, like wrinkles, add character.

    38. Moriah on 09/22/2011:

      You are hilarious – I was shouting as I read the post ..no he di’int! Crazy cool – cheers to you!

    39. Nick Klaus on 09/23/2011:

      If I had a hat, I’d tip it to you because that is a truly amazing score. I’ve got to start being more aggressive about the ads I scope out on CL, especially when it comes to misspellings. Do you use any mobile apps for your craigslisting, or is it all via computer?

    40. Fiona on 09/23/2011:

      If I had to pick my single most beautiful piece of furniture in the world the Tulip table would probably be it. And that one is really special. Just had a magical planetary collision myself this morning. Two Artifort Nina chairs, in a hideous testicle pink, just have to figure out how to dye them, and an amazing white oak credenza, and some Le Klint shades have been put into next week’s auction (please please please). Austrian embassy had a clearout apparently, booyah.

    41. mike on 09/23/2011:

      Cold dead hands you say? Hmmmmmm, I kid, I kid.
      It’s a huge win in MCM world today. The competition was indeed fierce but you chopped the legs out from under this bitch. After seeing this you’re going to make me go buy this big nasty lowriding marble coffee table I spotted a few weeks back in this terrifying thrift store that slingblade and the devils rejects are selling for dirt cheap. If I’m not heard from for a week or two tell my wife and kid I love them and that I hid the peanut m&m’s behind the crock pot in the lower cabinet :)

    42. Lisa on 09/23/2011:

      Now that is a find!
      I find it hugely inspiring to know that beauties like that are still out there.
      In the meanwhile I’m so pathetic I’m actually searching the Craigslist from where I used to live, because at the moment I’m stuck in a place where anything older than 30 years is referred to as “antique.” And all the pieces younger than that are second hand flat pack furniture.
      Maybe I should just get a dollhouse.

    43. Monica on 09/23/2011:

      That would never ever happen here. Never ever.

    44. michelle on 09/23/2011:

      SCORE!!!!!!!!

    45. Envy. Filled with envy. Not just at the table but at other people’s thrifting abilities. I would love a post on what your hunting, finding and negotiating process is. Well done, you!

    46. Suzy8track on 09/23/2011:

      Sweet table! I’m totally jealous that you can find such gems for such little money…but personally I think I preferred your old coffee table over this one. I think it suited the room better.

      Hey, would you ever do a post about how to negotiate with Craigslist sellers? Share your expertise??

    47. carey on 09/23/2011:

      i die. and i hate you.

    48. Jf Lamothe on 09/23/2011:

      Hi,
      I just found the same table 3 weeks ago with the Knoll Madison Avenue sticker… Like yours the marble of my table was not in good shape. What I did is polish it like you polish a concrete counter. You need the right tools, but it totally works!!! Now my table is shinny, soft and no more staining!!! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    49. EJK on 09/23/2011:

      Oh. My. God. That is THE table of my dreams. THE TABLE. I have been stalking CL for the past 8 months looking for it…and going into Room & Board and staring at their $1,800 new one. I cannot believe this. Wow. Just wow.
      The black dining table version was on CL in Chicago a few months ago in flawless condition – they wanted roughly a grand for it and it sat there for a few weeks. I was completely mystified…

    50. CC on 09/23/2011:

      That is flippin’ awesome. Congrats on a fabulous find! Also, I loathe you a bit.

    51. megan on 09/23/2011:

      here’s a question I’ve been pondering and figure your thrifting mastermind can help me with. How do you know if something is the real deal. I see so many “eames” and “knoll” items listed on craigslist, but don’t know what to look for in terms of authenticity.Is it as simple as looking for a sticker or marking underneath, or is there a trick I should know?

    52. Lawny on 09/23/2011:

      Bravo, bravo, standing ovation for you! T H E best score EVER. Period. The end.

    53. Kathleen on 09/23/2011:

      Do you just search all of the furniture category? Or do you use special keyword searches in Craig’s List. I’d love to know your method.

    54. modernhaus on 09/23/2011:

      That table needs a velvet rope around it, and you’re probably gonna need some bodyguards now.
      You could totally charge admission to see it.
      Me, I think the stains are gross and you should just donate it to the charity I just started…

    55. Joseph on 09/23/2011:

      The table is indeed gorgeous and clearly an amazing find, but to be perfectly honest I thought your former coffee table worked better in that space. This white marble behemoth is such a show-stopper that it seemingly sucks energy from everything around it and fits less harmoniously with the rest of the furniture.

    56. krissy on 09/23/2011:

      So, ummm, what’s happening with your old coffee table? because i’ve been absolutely killing myself to find one like yours since i’ve laid eyes on it… just sayin’.

    57. Carol on 09/23/2011:

      Modernhaus – ha! Good one.

    58. Roxy on 09/23/2011:

      Damn. That is one smokin’ room. My eyes were just darting around the picture at all the “amazingness.” I die for your couch!

    59. Pippa on 09/23/2011:

      Karma is on your side and good fortune, now send some back out there for the rest of us!

    60. Healeygirl on 09/23/2011:

      Way to go! I’m always about the lucky find. I’m still convinced I’ll find the 60′s muscle car of my dreams in a barn someday. People are going to hate me too. My husband just brought me a present recently. An original Saarinen Womb chair. The kicker was it was given to us for free. We told the person how much it was worth and suggested he sell it. He just thought my husband would enjoy it and handed it over. Best gift ever!

    61. petra on 09/24/2011:

      yes, I hate you. can’t help it. still, congratulations. that is the most perfect coffee table there is!!!

      :)

    62. jane on 09/24/2011:

      O. M. G.

    63. Jennifer on 09/24/2011:

      SO jealous… beautiful table

    64. teresa on 09/24/2011:

      first words outta my mouth when i saw the photo…SHUT UP!

    65. JB on 09/24/2011:

      completely unrelated..but i found this ladies pretty ceramic works and thought you need one of her lamps in your house..she makes real real perty stuff!
      heatherlevine.com

    66. julia wheeler on 09/24/2011:

      dude. your dreams just came true! as much as i love the couch… it might be time to swap it in honor of the new coffee table radness aka the thing you’ve been searching for forevs!

    67. Ginger on 09/25/2011:

      Your old coffee table, is my dream coffee table. Should you decide to sell it… it belongs in my living room.

    68. Ken on 09/25/2011:

      Holy %&*#!!! You’ve just bargained your way into MCM heaven! Thou shalt not ever want for a coffee table again. The stains in your pics are nothing. If you do find that they are bugging you though… some friends of ours are redoing their bathroom and have had some trouble with the fancy schmancy white marble they had put in for the counter top. Apparently the contractor put too much oily sealer goop on the fixtures that are mounted on the marble and it started staining its way down into the marble. Round spreading circles of doom began to appear. They’ve removed the fixtures and the contractor put some weird grayish brown clay on the stains and covered the mess with plastic and tape… apparently the clay sucks the nastiness out of the marble, but it takes some time. Dunno what this magic clay is called though….

    69. 2226modern on 09/25/2011:

      Love that Table! It is awesome…but, this room is looking rather disjointed. I have faith in you though. Maybe the dream coffee table will be the catalyst in the room makeover. Good Luck

    70. The brick house on 09/25/2011:

      The den has never really come together. It needs accessories and a few things. Just waiting to find them…

    71. Rose on 09/25/2011:

      The table is amazing, but imho doesn’t go with the other furnishings. It kind of dwarfs the chesterfield :P And I love the chesterfield so much! If you’re ever getting rid of the chesterfield (or indeed the travertine table), please let me know :)

    72. Henrik on 09/26/2011:

      I’m sort of jealous. But you deserve it for making this great blog.

    73. Neevy on 09/26/2011:

      Wow serious luck out! Well done! If you ever think of selling your old coffee table please can I have first dibs. I’ve been coveting it since it first popped up on your blog.. Love it!

    74. Jen on 09/26/2011:

      Yeah, I kinda have to agree with Rose. The table is fab of course but I’m not loving it as shown. Almost like it’s too glamorous next to the other pieces.

    75. amanda on 09/26/2011:

      Are…you…freakin…kidding…me? Seriously. Goddamnit! It looks ama-zing!

    76. FROM THE RIGHT BANK on 09/27/2011:

      Oh you’re killing me – that is the exact table I had that broke in half!!! It was a vintage Saarinen and I loved it so much. No hate from me. You totally deserve it for being so resourceful.

    77. Alison on 09/27/2011:

      Oh my god… You’re post just made my entire day. I love it too. and I love a good score!!!! Bravo :)

    78. Rachael on 09/27/2011:

      shut…the…front…door! amazing

    79. SFDC on 09/27/2011:

      I will fight Krissy for your old table. For serious.

    80. big-dewey on 09/27/2011:

      h8rs gonna h8 (been waiting for the right opportunity to use that). That table is freekin’ hot. Wow.

      >>> nothin’ but love

    81. Susan Hazel on 09/27/2011:

      A Saarinen tulip coffee table for $100? I’m speechless. Well done. You’re my new hero.

    82. April on 09/27/2011:

      You’re probably already a Design Milk reader, but I couldn’t help but think of you when I saw this house they posted…
      http://design-milk.com/house-b-v-by-maqla-adiu/

    83. Lunaluna on 09/29/2011:

      Now on an ordinary day this would have sent me into the old depression sinkhole but not today… why? I’ll tell you why. Yesterday on Norway’s version of CL I spied an ad for ’2 old chairs’ before my eyes sat 2 (yes 2) Bruno Mathsson ‘Jetson’ swivel chair. The seller wanted 100$ for both. Hands-a-tremble I called the number fully expecting it to be disconnected or at least busy.
      ‘Hello’ she said
      ‘the chairs….’ I said
      ‘Not sold’ she said
      Somebody coming tomorrow to look’ she said ‘and a third person who says will definitely buy if first doesn’t want them’ (huh, as if)
      ‘I’ll give you 150$ for both if I can come right now and get them.
      (I know, I’m a skinflint, but then I’m canny I was well willing to go much higher)
      ‘Ok she says’
      YYYYYEEEEESSSSSSSSS
      ‘but you should know they’re a bit worn’ she says
      hahahahahahahaha
      I am now the proud and happy owner of these two beautiful pale aqua leather chairs in MINT condition, headrests and every button intact. They will bury me in this chair (the other one I will sell for megabucks mouaaaahahahaha).
      So all of that to say I am not… for once…. jealous of your beautiful find :)
      Some say we are lucky but I, like yourself, spend a good chunk of my life trawling through pictures of crap before ‘bing’ something catches my eagle eye. Many times I’ve been too late (for example last sunday night 18 Brattrud scandi chairs advertised as ‘old kitchen chairs’ for a mere $15 bucks apiece, all gone in the space of 5 minutes… in spite of my trusty tactic of offering more :( Ya win some ya lose some.
      Re your beautiful table, I had some great success restoring my old marble kitchen table. I bought a kind of powder from the hardware store to which you add water to make a paste. This finely ‘sands’ the marble and removes stains, then you buff it up and hey presto… like new. I would do the whole tabletop though. Great find, well done again :)

    84. Lunaluna on 09/29/2011:

      Re April’s post… that house is uncannily like Morgan’s house !!!

    85. holly on 09/29/2011:

      Snake. This almost makes me want to move to Hemet.

    86. Mackenzi on 09/30/2011:

      I think I had a dream about this post, and now I’m sad I don’t also have a bangin’ coffee table.

    87. suzanne on 09/30/2011:

      It deserves a good home where it will be loved. I am so happy you found it!

    88. EJK on 09/30/2011:
    89. Charlotte on 09/30/2011:

      What a beautiful table! I live in eternal hope of finding one at a fleamarket around here in Germany, ha! It looks perfect in your home.

    90. winston on 10/03/2011:

      Thanks Morgan. You always give me a good giggle. Glad to know I am not alone in my home stuffs madness and there are others who foam for their collections too!

      Congrats on the SCORE. I am positively green.

      If you are ever interested in comparing mania from over the pond…http://winstonsroost.wordpress.com/

    91. seriously on 10/03/2011:

      Shut it!

      Now we all have to pursue those CL ads without pictures hoping to score something this amazing.

    92. richard on 10/04/2011:

      are you sure it’s real…..the taper on the base is way too thick…..

    93. CAITLIN on 10/04/2011:

      Hi there,

      Try TSP cleaner from your local hardware store. Comes in a milk container looking thing. Should clean up all stains! Lucky find!!

    94. Melissa de la Fuente on 10/04/2011:

      Uh…your style rocks,that coffee table is to die, your humor is a breath of fresh air and I am so happy to know of your blog! Go on with your bad self! :)
      xo
      Melis
      ps I am in love with your stove and will now search for a potential story on here as to wear you got it and how you refurbished it. :)

    95. Melissa de la Fuente on 10/04/2011:

      oops..I have “wear” on the brain..I of course, meant, “where” you got it! :)
      xo
      Melissa

    96. Emese on 10/13/2011:

      Hi! I love your blog! I read every post of yours.
      I came across this site, and I thought you would like it…. If you already know it forgive me… If not: ENJOY!
      http://www.studio-aiko.com/architecture.html#DesertVilla

      Take care,
      Emese

    97. Desiree on 10/18/2011:

      Just saw your leather couch at a SA in Casa Grande, but was not in a position to take it home. Love your site !!
      Desiree

    98. angelica on 02/02/2012:

      you are a lucky lady. i adore this coffee table.

    99. suva on 06/15/2012:

      Hey! Give it to me!
      But I found maybe something similarly good selling by the shop in my country. Enjoy here:
      http://www.retroobjects.com/index.php?open=nabytek&block=2&dump=1599

    100. Bridgette on 02/24/2013:

      I’m late in this post, but it bothers me when people haggle when they are already getting a great deal.

    101. larry on 12/18/2013:

      obviously love your knoll table or would have never ended up on your website… quick question. I just found a vintage knoll coffee table and it’s got the same chubby base as yours. when I go to knoll’s website, it looks like the coffee table bases they now offer are narrower? is this true or have they always made 2 differently shaped bases?

    Comment It Up!