The Dunbar Benches

Okay, not to brag or anything, but I have the world’s most awesome thrift store about 3 miles from my house. Literally. Figuratively. Awesome. I find the most wonderful and random things in there. Vintage otoscope–check. Ironstone dishes–check. Hobnail milk glass (not the junky kind either)–check. Double sided antique barrister bookcase–CHECK! I recently found a set of forceps at the front counter in the locked case. I let them stay right where they were. Even at the bargain price of $5, forceps (and Thigh Masters for that matter) should never be purchased used.

One day I walked in and saw two low ottomans. Under the fluorescent light, they looked like they were upholstered in a mustardy-greeny colored leather or vinyl. They were definitely dirty, but something about them screamed, “WE’RE SPECIAL!” I wasn’t looking for ottomans, and I passed them by. All day long, I thought about those ottomans. They absolutely plagued me. The Hubs, with his usual infinite patience and kindness, drove me back over to the thrift store to see if they were still there. I was convinced that someone had swooped them up in all of their dirty fabulousness. I was wrong. They were there, waiting for me.

In the thrifting world, I love a bargain. I recently found some vintage Fostoria glasses that usually go for $6 each at this same store for 33 cents. And, they were on sale. The lady at the counter also gave me a $1 off the Fostoria candy dish I found near the glasses, so I got all those goodies home for under $4. Nothing (sorry honey!) thrills me more than a bargain! So what does this have to do with the Dunbar benches? More than I could have ever hoped! It was, and will probably reign forever as, MY ANTIQUES ROADSHOW MOMENT.

The ottomans were $25 each, with an additional 10% off.

It was a bit steep in my opinion for dirty ottomans, but I refrained from haggling since The Hubs was along (haggling embarrasses him), and again, the ottomans were still screaming, “WE’RE SPECIAL!” I’ve also learned from years of professional home and decor TV watching that things in pairs are worth a premium. We, meaning The Hubs, loaded them up and brought them home. The next day, I set out to clean them and do a little investigation. Underneath one of them, among the wads of old gum, dirt, and spiderwebs, was a small metal label.


D. Dunbar. Berne Indiana.

Okay. Now I had a name. A quick google search brought up these images:img_1942img_1943

Um…Could those possibly be the same thing??? More googling brought me to a website called and the name Edward Wormley. I emailed the good folks there with some pictures and questions and found out that my “ottomans” were indeed Edward Wormley mahogany benches. Mine are a bit scarred and worn, but they still scream, “WE’RE SPECIAL!” And indeed, they are.

I’m going to ride this high for years. That means I will leave no thrift store unscoured, no roadside antique shed unexplored because I found something. I actually found something!

Can any of you relate? Have you found something in your treasure hunting?

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