Posts by Anne Moloney
I came to Portland by way of Texas, where I was an assistant to an antique dealer / flea marketer. With my passion for old stuff, it was only a matter of time before Rejuvenation became a part of my life. It was actually my former boss who encouraged me to apply at Rejuve.
“They’re right up your alley!” she said. “Plus, you get a free bus pass.”
In 2008 I started as a humble (and happily overwhelmed) sales associate in our Portland store, spending some time moonlighting in our web antiques sales department. Eventually I was promoted to Lighting Lead, and began helping customers and staff in our Portland store grok the ins and outs of our lighting collection.
I’m the resident light bulb nerd, and spend way too much time talking about incandescent, carbon filament, and compact fluorescent lighting. Secretly, my deepest passion is door hardware, both new and old. I have been known to spend far too much time helping a customer get their Door Set of Destiny!
In 2009, our store’s Plumbing Lead, Foley, and I started Tales from Rejuvenation, video shorts about our company and our products.
Two truths and one lie about me:
- I was drawn to Portland by friends I made at a comic book convention.
- I repaint Hummel figurines to make them look like Portland hipsters.
- I collect Robin Hood books and ephemera, and have over 150 books in my collection.
If you have old doors in your home, chances are they’re filled with mortise locks. We often just use them as a latch, like a modern tube latch, but the intent behind them was that you could lock the individual doors of your home, usually with a skeleton key.
Most folks want a locking door — in a bedroom or bathroom — but would rather do without keys. There are mortise locks with a thumbturn hub rather than a key, but the antique thumbturn mortises are incredibly uncommon.
Most customers swap out their old mortise cases, but one customer in our Portland store had an… innovative solution.
They found a skeleton key that fit their lock, then careful modified an old thumbturn. That’ll do it!
I’ve spoken before about the trouble you can get in to when you work with old stuff. When you sell antiques, it’s hard not to take everything home with you.
This month my object of fixation has been this fantastic map of Portland.
It’s just beautiful, and practical, too — I got visions of giving guests directions home using my 1953 visual aid.
I talked myself out of it, then into it again, then out of it… Eventually my partner told me to indulge myself, and that it would be my Christmas present. So when I came in to work today and saw the big ol’ SOLD tag on it, I was crushed.
That black box on 25th and Nicolai is Rejuvenation's manufacturing facility...
I went and moped at my co-worker about it. “I thought you didn’t want it! But let me tell you about these customers…”
It sold to a couple who had both been born in Portland, but met in San Francisco. They were visiting family for the holidays, and stopped by our store to look for a focus piece for their dining room. They needed something with a good scale to it, and if it reminded them of home, perfect! This map is certainly that.
And there's our store, between Taylor and Salmon.
I’m happy that it’s going to a good home, even if it isn’t mine! I retract my moping.
Those last little details really make a difference.
I once helped a sweet couple who were working on a down-to-studs remodel on their 1913 home. They were in the store to select — wait for it — 52 light fixtures!
I sat down and talked to them over their plans, and we did very well. They had done a little pre-shopping on our website, but wanted to see everything in person. Four hours later (with a half hour break for lunch), they were all done.
But when we went back and double-checked that every room was accounted for, we had missed two hallways and a laundry room.
A look of panic swept over them. They stared at each other with mute horror.
Very gently, I said, “Can I make some recommendations?”
The color came back to their cheeks. “Please.”
Remodels, be it a single room or a whole house, involve a million little decisions. By the time you’ve moved past the groundwork choices, like replacing trim on your sink and using the right primer, you can feel totally exhausted when you get to the FUN decisions.
There is a point where you hit Critical Choice-Making Mass. You have made so many important and different decisions that you are incapbable of any sort of meaningful thought process.
The important thing is to pace yourself if you can, so that it doesn’t all pile on top of you.
The other trick is to be aware when you’ve hit that point, and ask for help. Call that crafty friend who understands style better than you do; stop by one of our stores and talk to us. You’re not alone in your decision making.
And you’ll never be happy if you just pick something to get it over with. In the years to come, when you’re living in your space, you’re going to notice all those not quite details that everyone else misses.
Take a deep breath. Ask for help. You’re almost there!
A customer of mine wound up heavily modifying an Irvington he purchased from our Portland store’s Seconds area. He decided to give back some parts he didn’t end up using.
I set them aside to send them back to our factory for reuse or recycling, but my eye kept being drawn to them. A friend’s birthday was coming up, so I decided to use the Irvington parts to make him a lamp.
A ray gun lamp.
Some salvaged lamp parts, one cool bulb, and a rubber grip later, we we’re good to go! My co-worker recommended I get a toggle “on/off” switch to make the “trigger.”
Recycling can take some odd shapes!
We get neat old stuff all the time in the salvage department of our Portland store, but rarely do they motivate as much discussion as our new lions.
“Did you see those great old film props?”
“You mean the foo dogs?”
“You mean the shishi lions.”
“It’s very ‘Big Trouble in Little China.’ I bet you Kurt Russell touched them. With his luscious locks.”
“No, I think it was for theater. It definitely passes the 30 foot rule.*”
“I don’t know; putting them by the children’s play area means it’s the 10 foot rule. As in ‘no child will walk within 10 feet of these lions.’”
Note how amazingly untouched those toys are.
Whatever they are, and wherever they’re from, they’re definitely a statement. I love the juxtaposition between the original artificial cracking and the actual wear from age.
Also Foley likes to point out they’re the perfect size for hugging.
* = Any of you with mispent youths building sets for theater in high school may remember this… Sets and props only needed to look good from 30 feet away, hence the 30 Foot Rule. For film it’s 10 feet. Or at least it was before the days of high definition!