My 16-year-old me wants this furniture and wants it NOW

drexel whimsy furniture
I first laid my everlovin’ child-of-the-’70s eyes on Drexel Whimsy vintage furniture in 2011. Sightings since then have been virtually nil, but now — a very exciting email from Michigan, where there is a complete set of bedroom furniture for sale. Up for grabs is: a bed, end table, low dresser, tall dresser, modular corner desk with chair — and even a coordinating bedspread. drexel-whimsyAt first glance, the painted design on this furniture appears wackadoodle. But look more closely: It is very planful — certain parts of some flowers aren’t even painted, the natural finish of the wood is part of the design.

lime green wallpaper

My big fat crazy crafty epic retro office remodel – the series.

What do you think? Are our nearest-dearest design preferences set when we are… about 16? I sure think mine were.

drexel-whimsyThe corner treatments — the gold L-pieces — make this “campaign style”. Well, 70s-campaign-flower-power-mash-up-style.

drexel whimsy furnitureKate also spotted the wonderful drawer pulls — Drexel’s attention to detail was terrific. And see up close how you can see that certain flower petals and middle parts of flower peek through to the natural wood?

drexel-whimsyThe desk looks like it fits into a corner.

drexel-whimsy drexel-whimsy drexel-whimsy drexel-whimsySee how paint trends come … and paint trends go…?

drexel-whimsy drexel-whimsy drexel-whimsy drexel-whimsyThe 70s saw a revival in Victoriana… hipsters o’ that time were pulling stuff out of their grandparents’ attics, basements and bedrooms… and reinventing it with paint. Lots of paint. Of course, a few decades later, many folks regretted messing with the original finishes…. Did you see my story –“Is it a decorating mortal sin to paint wood furniture — three votes yes, two votes no” on The Huffington Post earlier this week? I am now blogging for HuffPost on occasion…. they don’t pay me, but it’s good added exposure for RetroRenovation.com, don’t you think? 

drexel-whimsyIf you want to nab this Drexel Whimsy bedroom set:

  • It’s available for sale, located in Brighton, Michigan (near Ann Arbor). The asking price is $2,700 for the set. Contact: info@accreditedmngt.com
  • Note, from the same estate there is a Drexel Declaration dining room set. Table and chairs are $950, buffet is $550.

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Comments

  1. linda h says

    Just a couple of weeks ago I purchased on ebay a couple of magazine ads from the year I was seventeen. One was for the pattern of dishes that I really loved but could not afford back then. I have in the last ten years finally purchased from estate sales a set of 12 place settings and lots of serving pieces. The other was an ad from for a fabric I really wanted back then (1971). I have not been able to find that fabric and not sure if I still have the the fabric sample my Mom’s decorator friend got for me back then. Anyway I thought they would look good framed on the wall on my sunporch. My comment on the subject of tastes being set in our teens (ha).

  2. lynda says

    Such a cute set. Owners seem to know value of set. Not a Craigslist steal, for sure. I think the buyer of the furniture will be lucky and will have a darling room full of furniture. It would be nice to see the ad for this set to see what type of comforter, wall colors, etc. were used back in the day. And yes, writing for Huffington Post is a good thing for you!

    • Anne says

      As the lucky girl who grew up with this let me add that the wall color in my room was bright yellow. I did lots of babysitting and odd jobs to buy the chair with my own money. The striped comforter is featured in the photos. Drapes were light cream fabric and had coral and sage stripes. Carpeting a tame cream color. Hope someone will buy this and treasure it’s beauty for a long time.

        • Mary Elizabeth says

          So good to hear the origin of the bedroom set. I love the detail about you buying the chair with your own money. I know that having just the right chair to sit and do my homework was important to me as a girl. I’m sure whoever buys it will enjoy it as much as you did, Anne.

  3. midmichigan says

    A cool 70’s set for sure. Those colors and flowers are right out of the hippy era! I bet there’s a good chance if you opened that drawer on the nightstand you’d find an old Easy Rider 8 track.

    Great article and exposure for you at HuffPo, Pam. I think you’re exactly right about not painting MCM furniture. I’ve seen that sin foisted on what were some nice Heywood Wakefield pieces and it just doesn’t work for me. For some reason I have the same feeling about painting original masonry/ brick too. I’d use every means I could to keep it original before whitewashing it; but that’s just me.

  4. Kirstie says

    This kind of looks like the dresser I had when I was growing up, except mine was red w/ the speckled black paint and the drawers were outlined in yellow. Also, the pulls had escutcheons that were shaped like flowers. I wonder if it was by Drexel. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

  5. Jay says

    Congrats on the new gig! Please continue to let us know when you pop up there or elsewhere. It was nice to read that on a Thursday of all days seeing how the NYT dropped its Thursday home section. I wasn’t able to see the comments, I guess you have to be a registered user and log in.

  6. Robin, NV says

    I can’t help but feel the set belongs in a museum – it’s so wonderfully of its time. I’ve never seen anything like it. I wonder if it’s rare.

  7. Mary Elizabeth says

    Congratulations, Pam, on making the Huff Post. You are in good company.

    I agree that our taste in furniture is set very young. My bedroom set when I was 10 (in 1957) was a maple four-poster bed passed down from one relative, a maple chest of drawers thrown out by a military academy, and a sage-green painted desk (it came that way from the factory) from another relative. The walls were painted pale pink and the bedspread and curtains were green chenille. My guest room in my new house nearly reproduces that bedroom, except I haven’t had time to paint it pink and find a green desk.

    Also, I ditched the chenille in favor of a handmade quilt. Remember waking up from naps with the pattern of the chenille embossed on your cheek? 🙂 For those of you who still love the chenille from the ’50s, you can buy it at Vermont Country Store.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      And I would have chosen something like that Drexel furniture if I could have had the choice!

      I forgot to say that I helped my father strip off the old wallpaper in the room and picked out the paint myself. I made a mock-up of the room in my Girl Scout decorating badge notebook, similar to the ones Pam and Kate do here, using pictures of furniture (similar to mine), draperies and bedspreads cut out of Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs, a paint chip, etc. I was given a budget for the curtains and bedspread, and I found them on sale in Sears and Roebuck. Wish I could remember what they cost!

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        She was a great fashion influence on my wee bit self. Saw her in person at a submarine launch. Such a wonderful fur coat and cute hat she had on. 🙂

  8. Cathy says

    I loved finding your photos, because I have this bedroom set with all these pieces and more. My sister and I got this furniture in 1969 when it was made. I still have all eleven pieces and now my daughters use it. It must have been really well made because the set I have looks as good as the one in the photos.

  9. Richard says

    Hi Pam,
    Congratulations on the Huffington Post gig!
    Meanwhile, in your crystal ball, might you see this old barn somewhere not too far from where you live that is affordable and would make the perfect Retro Renovation Mid Century Museum? Heck yea! And the Whimsey set could be the first major acquisition. Just saying’…

  10. Bronwyn says

    Very cute! A few months back I bought 2 gorgeous 50s/60s matching Drexel dressers here in Culver City, CA (there were actually 2 matching night stands that I didn’t buy). I would love to learn more about this company–my internet searches didn’t pull up a lot.

  11. Lynn says

    That is an interesting thought that our tastes form when we are young. I think there is some validity to that. My very first bedroom as a baby was painted pink and had a white bedspread and curtains with little pink flowers and green stems. I had a desk painted white with gold trim. I think this would be shabby chic today. The bedroom got altered when the spread and curtains wore out, and became garage sale mismatch. I returned it as a teenager to the same white and pink, but this time with green walls, but again shabby chic. As an adult, my living room is shabby chic–off white and white with light green and pink accents. I bet my coffin will be white and gold and lined with shabby chic style fabric!! Also, my bed and dresser as a kid were mid-century modern (I still have them), so that explains why I like that so much too. You’ll have to do a survey and I, as a researcher and data analyst, will analyze the results to see if there is support for the theory!

  12. says

    O….. M…. G……….

    Just yesterday I picked up 1969 Drexel whimsy hutch! I would post a picture of it here, but I can’t figure out how lol!

    It will be in my Etsy store soon, but you can let me know here if you’re interested!

    Or…. if you know how I can post a picture hahaha! 🙂

    -Brad Elliott
    (Owner)
    Mid Century Modern Home

    • pam kueber says

      cool. you can’t post photos here but once your photo is hosted elsewhere you can post the link…

  13. Cheryl Sweppy says

    Pam, I can’t thank you enough for starting your Retro Renovation blog! I have been following you for years and now own this fabulous set thanks to you! I saw the listing about three weeks after it was posted and my heart sank as I scrolled through the pics. I was sure someone had snatched it up already. It was still available, but there had been plenty of inquiries, from Connecticut to California. People had passed on it because they were concerned about the cost of shipping and possible damages in transit, two very valid concerns. I didn’t have to worry about any of that, as this set was only 45 minutes away from me! I had been wanting this set for years, ever since I saw an ad for it on ebay. I regret not buying the ad and am wondering what some of the other pieces are. I found a hutch, 6 drawer dresser and two door cabinet that friends picked up for me in New Hampshire. I will be picking those up in late July/early August. I think I am close to having a complete set. I think a cheval mirror and stool were also available. Could you please put me in touch with the original owner? I would like to see if the original bedspread is still available. It was not at the warehouse. I saw the Declaration dining set and it is in excellent condition. I believe it is still available. I also acquired a set of Chapter One bedroom furniture in yellow right before I bought the Whimsy set! As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours!

      • Cheryl Sweppy says

        I saw that on Etsy! It looks like it fits on the 30″ wide pieces. Too bad you are so far away from me.:(

        • Brad Elliott says

          Hi Cheryl!

          Looks like you are right, it measures out 30″w x 33″h x 12″d.

          I can easily ship this piece anywhere in the lower 48 without concern that it will be damaged… I do this all the time… 🙂 🙂 🙂

          If you would like, I’d be glad to quote you the shipping here or via an Etsy conversation. I just need your area code.

          Thanks for your interest!

          -Brad
          (Owner)
          Mid Century Modern Home

            • Brad Elliott says

              My apologies Pam!! 🙂 Thanks for setting me straight!

              See you in the land of Etsy Cheryl!

              -Brad

  14. Laurie Hammons says

    I have this set from when I was a teenager. However, it is the yellowish color instead of the orange, like the chair in the photos above. I’m settling Mom’s estate and would like to find a good home for it. I have 2 twin headboards (different from the one above; they have a panel of the painted flowers on each and match the style of the chest), a desk, the low 6-drawer dresser, one bedside table, and the freestanding mirror! (Wasn’t I the luckiest teen!) It is in very good condition. I have photos. I’m in Houston and not sure about how shipping would work.

    • pam kueber says

      Laurie, no buying/selling here on the main blog or it would be chaos. Put these up for sale on craigslist and or ebay.

  15. Anna says

    I grew up with a set just like this, but all of it was yellow, like the chair in the blog post photos. And we have that chair too! The set is still at Mom’s. The times I may spend the night at Mom’s I will sleep in that room. It’s so fun to see others liking this furniture. It’s so well made.

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