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Lug-A-Ture — 1950s bedroom dresser that converts to four suitcases

Remember the table that Laura made from a vintage suitcase?

All across DIY-land, you see crafty 2012 folk making things out of vintage suitcases: end tables (remember Laura’s?), dog beds and recently I saw wall shelves. But our grandparents were already well ahead when it came to innovating with suitcase conversions. LoOk: Here is a true, vintage tall dresser made from suitcases — which converts to usable suitcases. In fact, the piece is branded “Lug-A-Ture“, according to reader Cindy, who spotted it in an antique shop and good girl, had her camera handy to report back. “Lug-A-Ture” — get it? — “Furni-Ture” that you can you can break apart and use as luggage when you need to get a move on. Cindy writes:

One of the most curious things I’ve ever seen, from Midway Antiques Mall in Sacramento CA. They specialize in the mid-mod stuff. A 1950’s luggage dresser by Lug-A-Ture. Take one or all pieces of luggage as needed. They have a lot more cool stuff, including a stash of pink plastic bathroom tiles.

Indeed, Cindy, not just “curious,” but one of the most odd and wonderful consumer products from midcentury America — woddities — that I have ever seen. Well, maybe just a teensy bit under push-button plumbing and of course, the Electro-Sink (bow down to the almighty E-S!)

Interestingly, I found a modern day reconception of this idea — “suitcase dressers” from the British designers JamesPlumb.  There are also “suitcase stacks”. The website explains:

A selection of old suitcases are housed individually in antiqued steel and wood cases that have been tailor made in Somerset. Every case is carefully and painstakingly repaired and repurposed – relined in Swedish linen ready to recieve their new contents.

I love upcycling and yes, this seems to be a fantastic way to repurpose vintage suitcases. Even so, I am now on the eagle-eye lookout for the one-and-only, original Lug-A-Ture.

  1. Amy F. says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter, because I am just so excited to see Midway Antique Mall on Retro Renovation! We live just down the street and have spent many happy hours there. It is a beautiful store. Some of the prices are high but I think the owner does it on purpose because he has a hard time letting some of the items go, especially the really unique ones. I have touched this very piece of “lug-a-ture” many times and unsuccessfully batted my eyelashes at my husband to get him to buy it. Maybe one day… 🙂

    We did purchase a mid-60’s GE Combination fridge/freezer from Midway a few months ago, though. It is the coolest (no pun intended) fridge, and works like a dream. It has the most amazing pull-out shelves, and a butter softener!

    1. TappanTrailerTami says:

      Amy, I did end up going there today, wow! Always a treat. If I could have just ONE thing out of there right now, it would be the super awesome Elgin Watch Dealer display in the front…have you seen it? If not, hop over there, it will be right inside the front door in the first display on the left. It is AMAZING! I didn’t see a price tag on it….so I’m thinking it might be a NFS item.

      Congrats on your fridge too! They always have some great appliances there.

      I ended up buying a purple luster Norcrest swan. I have about 50 luster Norcrest swans in ivory, pink, green, but this is my first purple one! For $9 at the Midway (shocking price, I know).

      1. Amy F. says:

        @Tami – I have not seen the watches yet, but I will definitely have to check them out. I never seem to get a chance to really look at all the jewelry because I am so enthralled by the furniture. There is a bedroom set with a *king* size bed that I currently visit in hopes that it will be ours one day. 🙂

      2. Amy F. says:

        Oh wait, @Tami, now I remember what you’re talking about! Right there in the front, in the red dining room? Yes! That display is amazing!

    2. Annie B. says:

      Amy, I think you might have my fridge. Does the butter softener compartment have “Butter Conditioner” written on it? Mine is a 1964 GE with the swing-out doors. Great fridge. Really built to last.

      1. Amy F. says:

        Oooh! That’s exciting to hear of someone else with the same (or nearly the same) fridge. I have not been able to date it exactly, as they weren’t sure at Midway, either. Ours does not say “butter conditioner,” though. It has a little yellow door with “butter” written in gold above it, and “butter control” to the left of it, with a switch for “hard, med, soft.” And then to the left of that is a turquoise door with “eggs” written above it.

        1. Annie B. says:

          Mine has the three-way butter switch (what a hoot that is, when you stop to think about it).

          I’ve dated mine to 1964 (maybe ’63) from an ad in a 1964 BH&G magazine. This is one massive refrigerator.

  2. Chelsea says:

    I’m pretty sure I need this. I window-shop for luggage constantly, so this would be perfect for me. Even at that price.

  3. Dan Fiorillo says:

    I loved this dresser when I saw it and had to have it, so I bought it! It goes great with all the other things I bought from Midway and my Heywood Wakefield bedroom set, too. I’ve never seen another one like it.

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