Wednesday, October 13

for the love of ercol...

for me, nothing says granny chic quite like vintage ercol.
on monday evening an ercol coffee table found me on Craigslist,
i gasped 'thee gasp',
for i have not seen the likes of such granniness this side of the pond,
ever, never, ever.

by tuesday morning i was plotting how to go and see it's loveliness
but not go alone.
for she was in the big city, in an area i was unfamiliar with.
i do not do freeway and city driving often,
if i do, there must be good reason for it.
my friend maggi planned to hold my hand,
but alas her little sprogs were sickly tuesday morning.

"what to do, what to do" i said to myself whilst wringing my hands.
i skyped with Our #1,
told her of my plight,
she rolled her eyes and quite rightly pointed out,
if at the age of 17 she was driving all over Seattle
then it would be quite possible aged 42,
i could manage such a feat.

i 'binged' a map,
studied the round trip in details,
wrote down my directions on the back of an old envelope.
then promptly my envelope was 'loved' by little olive
whilst i paced up and down my studio fretting,
knowing i had no choice but to go it alone.

after three and a half hours of build up
i left the comforts and safety of the shed,
Carlos my trusty camera by my side
and my slippers upon my feet (thread included)
i bravely travelled to the big city.

i noted i was going the speed limit and some were not.
i noted as soon as i got off the highway,
my envelope let me down
whilst lost and doing my breathing exercises,
i channelled my inner 'granny chic' radar sensor,
it did not let me down,
after several turns
i arrived at an emporium filled with secondhand goodness.

upon entering with Carlos in my pocket
and my slippers (thread still attached) upon my feet,
i knew my bravery had been rewarded.

arriving home at mossy shed, later in the afternoon
i cannot tell you which i was shaking more about,
knowing a little bit of ercol granny goodness was happily settling in.

or knowing after nearly 11 years of being a Brit living abroad in the surburbs,
i had finally faced my fears
travelling to the big city on my own
and making it home to tell the tale

she will be back tomorrow with day five of book week ~ Tif


Sharon Stanley said...

i am with you....i hate traveling off the farm...hate it. but when i do, i am usually pleased i made the effort....the find was well worth the trip....divine, in all it's granny goodness...well done you.

grandma peden's porch said...

oh my gosh that sounds so like me!!! i didn't start driving until i was 30!!! and i would pace the house when i would have to go to work and i only lived a mile or 2 from work. i totally relate. i am so proud of you for getting out and getting your treasure. i to have had some road trips and i do stress about getting out of my comfort zone. now about little miss olive what a stinker!!! that sounds like something my little puppy would do. have a great night!!! marilyn =0)

Leah said...

well done, it looks well worth the trip too!

Evee and Avy said...

So inspirational! Congratulations on facing your fears head-on and what a great treasure to come home with!

Suz said...

You are so brave! I did not quite understand that you were a Brit living in the suburbs. I thought you had brought your retreat across the ocean, then across the country. It is a bit intimidating to drive I know. I came from the plains of South Dakota to San Francisco and had to drive because I had to do a job! I am sure I gave many apoplexy by driving the speed limit (didn't all good girls?)
So love your blog!

The Patchwork Heart said...

Oh wow HUGE congrats! I can so identify with you. I am a Brit with an American husband and quite possibly may move to live in America ... it is a scary thought. I love your blog, its nice to know you are British, thats why I guess I lkove your ramblings!So where to next ???
Clever girl!
Heather x

Teresa Kasner said...

I love your table... the funny thing is that looks like the ones that were popular when I was 10 years old in 1959! I didn't know they had a name! :-) I live down in Corbett, Oregon and am a fan of your blog. Here is mine!

Crafts @ Home said...

I love ercol, I have that table! Its an original 1960s item I fell in love with then and have since inherited....
Lucky me and you! Your white chair, reminds me of the ones my OH had at his family home!

Serenata said...

Ah, isn't it rewarding when braving the big city?! I can fully understand how you felt...funny how the allure of something that little bit special can help us overcome some fears!

portugalnocoraĆ§Ć£o said...

I'm with you on your fear! Lived in UK, 30 minutes train from London but never went there alone! The big city was too big!! Have a nice day!!

sabrina said...

This story reminds me too much of myself. I have lived in the Portland metro since 2002, and can count the number of times I've been on the freeway. I'm getting brave though. A friend lives in the city and I've driven myself to her house a few times now, which makes me think I could drive all over up here! :)

Jo said...

We had that same table when I was growing up :) Now I have a circular one, a Windsor armchair and matching two seater. Be careful...Ercol is addictive. But I think you already know that!

A Bun Can Dance said...

Dear Tif
Well done you for facing the fear but getting the table anyway !!! It is a beautiful little table, and as you say Ercol is just dreamy. I'm also excited about Ercol as Mr Bun's parents have an Ercol sofa in their garage from yesteryear which we can have here at the Cosy Nook :-)
How delighted am I !!!
But it does mean finding a new home for one of our existing sofas... and I will need to get new cushions etc for the ercol when it arrives here. But I am full of anticipation.
I'm proud of you, dear Tif, for doing that special city drive :-)
Happy days to you,
Denise x

Sharon Larkin said...

Oh Tif ~ I just have to tell you that I am sitting here open-mouthed in awe and admiration at your driving bravery! I gave up driving over here (in your homeland lol) a number of years back because I'd become so nervous of the other road users ROFL
Well done for conquering your fears and what a fab reward your Ercol coffee table is :-)

Gorgeous Things said...

Braving the traffic in the big city? Well done you! And it looks fantastic - perfect granny chic. I wonder where 1960s G-plan scores on the graniness scale - I've just acquired a fab early 60s G-plan chest of drawers with the most amazingly stylish legs/feet. I couldn't resist it - it definitely has the granny chic look!
Gorgeous x

xxx said...

LOVE the slippers and thanks for the lovely post :)

Arthur Ransome said...

Well done, Tif, for facing your fears. And what a wonderful Ercol table as a reward. I am terribly scared of motorway and city driving. If I have to go somewhere in a city that I haven't been before I find that looking at Google streetview beforehand helps a lot. It means that when I'm actually driving I've got some idea of what things should look like. That table is just gorgeous, but the baffies (as we call them in Scotland) complete with thread, are lovely too. Love - Arthur

Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

You did really well! I am also scared of going to new places. I have a very big phobia of being lost because erm, well I can't tell my left from my right very well or read a map. My mind just wasn't wired up that way! I had a satnav for my birthday a couple of years ago and it has helped having someone talk me through where I'm supposed to go. (yes I talk to my satnav)

Another thing that helps lots is the Google Streetmap thing where you can drag the little yellow man down and have a look around and see what the place you are going to looks like.

Love the table, was worth the journey

Marie said...

I am smiling because I am the same way when it comes to traveling outside my little safety zone!
Yea You! What a great little find...
your bravery paid off. Thanks for always making me smile :)

britt said...

well congrats. i am with you though. i am 34 and i can't stand to drive in the big city. to top it off i drive a big diesel long bed pick up truck. try driving that on some of those city roads and freeways! completely nerve racking! glad you faced your fears and got that gorgeous little table!

Claire Garland said... know, something really interesting yet curious relating to the post before this one - you are too fast for me - my son's school has given names to each of their sewing machines too, and he (my son) says each one also has its own temperament (eighth attempt at spelling that word!). I think you've started something!

Greedy Nan said...

I have Ercol rocker in our garage which is getting a little damp round the edges; I put it there because it needs recovering but haven't gotten round to it. It's a beauty of a chair and so-o-o comfy. Must do more than think.

Anonymous said...

You lucky lady!
Congrats on the big adventure :) (I would have been just as frightened - I'm such a chicken!!)

Guusje said...

Well done!
So worth the daunting travel.
Lovely how she looks like she'd always been there.
An Appeltaartkiss, Guusje

blair said...

Tif, I should give you my number, for your next venture into the city. I would be more than happy to meet you at "the border" and help you navigate in. Because I don't think gleeful gasps should go unaided : D

Its a beauty!

Kristen said...

I know that antique store! :)

I'm so proud of you! And your table is perfect in your lovely shed. Thanks for inspiring us to bravely go after such treasures!

Laurie said...

Bravo Tif! I am giving you a standing ovation for a job well done. Oh, what the call of an exceptional treasure can inspire!

Pinecone said...

This really had me smiling. I live in Gig Harbor...and definitely know what you mean about heading to Seattle... or driving to places that are crazy busy and unfamiliar. I really have to strap my big girl panties on!

I'm glad you got your treasure!


Unknown said...

You are so funny... I am very happy that you braved the drive and brought home your treasure.

Perhaps next time it will be that much easier??

bc said...

Hunting and gathering of the utmost kind!
A wonderful post; and love the picture of shoes-with-thread...

Vickie said...

Dear Tif

I truly felt for you navigating into unknown territory. Had I known I would have gladly offered my services to you as your driver for the day.....when I first moved to Seattle I used to just go out and drive until I got lost to see if I could find my way home. I eventually did and at the same time gained a pretty good knowledge of how to get just about anywhere - including downtown....and I think I am also the only person who also does the speed limit!!!!
For future adventures, I am at your service.

Vickie in Seattle

Anonymous said...

how absolutely brave! and what a reward! i am so scared of driving, i never even got the nerve up to getting a driver´s license. i absolutely die in the passenger seat already, i really admire you - and you were all by yourself!! hope to see more store-pics soon, xo, jo (from germany)

Di said...

Welldone you! I too love vintage Ercol - I have a similar coffee table but it has little extensions on each end (lift up flaps) and 2 extra legs that slide in and out to hold up the flaps - it's quite unusual but I love it!

Cissie said...

Sometimes things that shouldn't frighten us do, and we get cross with ourselves at being nervous. You did the best thing and faced it. It will probably feel the same next time, but the time after that it will feel better.

dottie angel said...

my dearest dearie readers! you have me positively beaming, for indeed when i wrote this post, i feared my fretting of city and freeway driving would appear most trivial. but no! i am not alone, and you have made me feel it was okay to be proud of my big step. i know for some it may seem a really lame thing to fret about, but for me and obviously so many others it is quite real...

thank you blair and vickie! you know we should really meet up, perhaps a thrift store adventure together would be grand :)

pinecone! i love your words 'big girl panties strapped on'. for indeed that is what it feels like :)

and my dear dotpebbles, i am so delighted to hear about those lovely machines have names. what a brilliant school! and i love how your son already knows they have different personalities... gosh doesn't that just warm the heart of any crafter around the globe :)

dottie angel said...

ps. i see there are many vintage ercol lovers amongst us, how spiffy to think we are all enjoying their granny chic loveliness in our own nests :)

Unknown said...

you know we still exist! ercol is alive and kicking and still makes lovely furniture. my grandfather started the company in1920 and we are still family owned and managed. we moved in 2002 into brand new 160,000 square feet factory quite close to the old one. i live in Oxford in the UK but i drive on all the roads in the US! it really is no problem, we get our elm and oak from Minnesota and my son lives in SF, so i'm a regular visitor to the States. you should try driving in Paris and MIlan, they are scary! Edward Tadros

Kristen said...

So brave of you! And worth it too, that table is perfect! :)

silverpebble said...

Tif, my Granny had that Ercol table. I miss her (and the table). That picture has made me a little sad.

I could make you a little silver medal for chic-seeking bravery.

Francesca said...

3 things -
1. i don't know if anyone else mentioned this as i cannot be arsed to read 36 comments, but i believe it may be illegal to take photographs whilst driving down the freeway.

2. how much do i love that bedraggled bit of thread on your slipper? it just about says it all.

3. why did you not also come back with that rose & crown sign? perfect for a brit abroad such as yourself m'lady.

dottie angel said...

fran, it was not me but Carlos!

and Edward,
how wonderful you should visit my little shiny place, thank you for all the ercol info and i am thinking just knowing the history of the pieces makes them even more special :)
i also promise to be braver in the future, you are quite right, driving stateside is a walk in the park compared to paris or milan.
not that i have been to milan, but i have a grand imagination and it is serving me well with thoughts of driving in europe :)

silverpebble, i am sorry you feel little sad about your granny but hopefully thinking about her and her ercol table can bring back lovely memories to warm your heart :)

Pergolina said...

love this image.

Kristine said...

Perhaps the thread on your slippers acted as a talisman for your safe journey. Congrats on facing your fears and your lovely reward! I am 41 and still don't have a license.I am trying to overcome my driving fear and finally take lessons (maybe).

Spotted Sparrow said...

I just bought the same table at an auction in NE England. I was wondering why it looked so familiar and it's because I saw it here. Here's to great bargains and lovely design!