Mailbag - George Nelson Light & 2500lbs of Metal
Nov 21
In one day, actually minutes apart, I received two really fun emails. These readers had vintage or scrap items they no longer wanted. Neither was going to landfill the item, and both wanted to find a good home for their stuff.

The first email involves the time-honored tradition of hand-me-downs. When I first bought my house (over 20 years ago), I was broke. Just keeping up with repairs was a stretch. As a result, most decorating items came from Target or similar estalishments. And when it came time to upgrade that Target item, I usually passed it on. Somebody was sure to want it - usually at the office. At first I thought people would be hesitant about home hand-me-downs (cruet sets, a mirror, a vintage pie safe), but you know what? I wasn't just wrong, I was delusional. People love hand-me-downs. And now that I'm older? The hand-me downs are soooo much better. Now they're likely to be a large piece of scrap marble left over from a kitchen remodel, or a set of Grandma's antique silver coasters that someone doesn't want. Oh yeah, getting old ain't all wrinkles and bladder problems. Just check out what a friend was looking to offload:

I just replaced our vintage George Nelson pendant bubble light that has been over our dining room table for over forty years. (It was in the house when my husband bought it in the 1970s.) I would like it to go to a good home, not the Goodwill. Do you have any suggestions?

Pic 1 is the light. The owner didn't want any money for this lamp, just a good home. I found the pendant a great home with the very first person I asked. It is now on its way to split level, mid-century decorated house in Milwaukie. Nice. You know how you feel when you set up a couple of friends and they really hit it off? This is way better.

Now, the second email is not so easy - it's actually a great challenge (and you know I love a challenge!):

I got this great piece of equipment from a friend and it is too cool to send to the scrap yard. Any ideas? It weighs 2500lbs. Yes I want to sell this piece. More importantly I really don't want to see it go to the fiery furnace. The scrap value is $250. I am okay with that price plus a little for fuel if delivery required. The piece does require some special handling due to its weight i.e., forklift or crane. Purchaser to provide some way to get it off the trailer it is on now.

See what I mean? The large and very heavy piece of metal in pic 2 above is much tougher to place than a free vintage light. The price is less of an issue (in my mind) than these two questions: How do you get it off the trailer and to the desired location in your home or yard? And, then, what the hell do you do with it once you have it?

Well, to start, you move it with a crane - which sounds like a big deal, but it's not. Plus, it's pretty affordable. (I know a good crane guy if you're interested.) Watching a crane move stuff is always fun (kids sure think so - follow their lead), but watching a crane move stuff at your house is awesome. Check out pics 3 and 4 above: a crane at my house last December, and the crane moving a walkway off the truck and into place. FYI - this walkway was way heavier than 2500lbs.

What would you do with this large, square piece of metal? If I were still building my deck, it would be great to integrate this piece into the deck support. It would also be an interesting part of a retaining wall or water feature. And of course, it would be a great base for something: large table or bench, potting table, outdoor pizza oven.

How about some pics to inspire? Take a look at this article about outdoor proportions in Houzz. Check out the second picture - the one with the sweeping curve of retaining wall with the stairs behind it. In the middle of the retaining wall is a simple, double pipe water feature. Now imagine placing the metal cube in pic 2 at the bottom of the water feature, allowing water to run through it. Further imagine adding some lights shining through the cube, making gorgeous shadows onto that wall - it would be a work of art. You could plan your entire landscape design around the effect of water and light moving through the cube.

Next check out pics 6 and 7, of a bench / table / potting area made from an old stove, an industrial fire hose roller, a small industrial ladder, and a piece of scrap marble. The cube would fit right into this type of scenario - just beautifully.

Now it's your turn. What would you use this cool metal object for? Let your mind run wild. This piece needs to find a good home.


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