The Heywood-Wakefield Tipoff

Our son Michael emails me Craigslist links. Sometimes just a single item that catches his eye, other times dense jumbles of links for furniture and knickknacks assembled during a scouring of Craigslist. Once or twice — I believe — he has muttered about my mistimed response rates.

Thursday morning I opened Michael’s email and found this Craigslist photo:

Heywood Wakefield Sculptura Dresser

Since I wasn’t interested in the stack of empty boxes, I studied the Heywood-Wakefield Sculptura dresser and other Hey-Wake items in sitting in St. Augustine, about 40 miles south of us.

I called David to look over my shoulder at our computer screen.
“What do you think?”
“Let’s call now,” he said.
He phoned, negotiated a price, and said we’d pick up that evening. Michael couldn’t accuse us of failing to act promptly on this one.

David texted Michael about the sale but the message didn’t go through. Michael remained in the dark. I soon texted him asking if he could help move furniture that evening. No, because he had rugby practice. He still didn’t know we arranged to buy the Hey-Wake. His absence would complicate matters because I don’t excel at moving solid wood furniture.

The Estate Sale

But first we visited a local estate sale and pick up a few small items. Anything large would be impossible to transport because we had a Kent-Coffey chest in our SUV. Speaking of which, even if we moved that piece out of our vehicle, could we fit all the Hey-Wake pieces in? Our best guess: no.

How’s this for luck? We encountered an Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery colleague at the estate sale, a generous man who lends us his enclosed trailer from time to time.
“May we borrow your trailer for a move tonight?”
“The answer is ‘yes, you may.'” This white-haired gentleman brims with Southern gentility. I love him.

A quick aside, here’s an abstract painting we bought at the estate sale. Not exactly small, but flat.

Blue Circle Abstract Painting

The Trailer

The trailer is magnificent. Double rows of wall hooks to secure items. Shelves of blankets, padding, straps, hooks, clamps, and jars of bungee cords. We left the estate sale, drove home in the rain, loaded up our hand truck with 12 ” pneumatic tires (a Christmas gift to David) next to the Kent-Coffey chest, and went to pick up the trailer. Only the trailer. We’re still far from heading out of town.

At some point our information caught up with Michael and he offered to skip rugby practice to help us. No, no. We’ve got this wired. It will take about 50 minutes to drive there; we’ll take the drawers out, load them separately, then deal with the cabinet.

Rain, cold and dark engulfed us as he headed to St. Augustine. We could handle that. But the ambiguous directions unraveled us. The furniture couldn’t be at an exact address. No, the seller gave cryptic clues leading to an unmarked building: look for a long dark country road, a driveway 100 yards away from something, a McDonalds (which we never saw), a traffic light, a 2-story house with solar panels on top (couldn’t see it in the rainy blackness).

I exchanged phone calls with the seller. He grew increasing brusque as we became more frustrated. Poor David had to turn the SUV and trailer around a few times in tight quarters on dirt driveways.

This was pretty much our view from inside the vehicle:
Rain Storm at night

The seller drove out to the road and watched for us. And phoned me:
“Did you just go through that traffic light?”
“Yes, where are you?”
“Pull over to the side and wait. I’ll get in front of you and you can follow me.”

Were my tears from joy or exasperation? We eagerly followed him down the road. All he needed was a lighted “Follow Me”  sign to make it clearer to us. By the time we backed into place next to the 2-story building that did indeed have solar panels, the rain had lessened. A small kindness that we gratefully accepted.

The Find

We examined the Heywood-Wakefield pieces and silently rejoiced: a Sculptura dresser, manufactured 1952-59; an Encore side table/nightstand from 1950-55; a Dog Bone (named because of the cut out) footboard and solid headboard.

The two bigger pieces looked banged up but David knows how do bring Hey-Wake back from the dead. The seller showed us other Mid-Century Modern furniture upstairs and asked us to consider buying the pieces at a fair price. He felt we lowballed him on the Hey-Wake, but acknowledged reviving them will take a ton of work. I must point out again: we negotiated the price before we drove down. As far as his other furniture, we weren’t in any shape to consider it.

Out came the drawers and we began to load and secure.


We pulled out the furniture the next morning, the sky a brilliant blue and sun pouring down. You can see the damage more clearly but David is encouraged because he’ll be working with solid wood — no veneer. We’re looking at dresser damage in the photo below, followed by the marred nightstand.

Heywood-Wakefield Sculptura Dresser Damage
Heywood-Wakefieldl Encore Nightstand Damage

The Dogbone footboard sits higher than the headboard in the photo below because it’s perched on the rear fender of the trailer. The side rails and the both head and footboard have extensive finish issues.

But once again, Heywood-Wakefield used solid pieces of wood to build their furniture. We don’t have to worry about sanding out a deep scratch in the wood because there’s no thin piece of veneer to confound the restoration. David thinks this will be a fun project but it comes with a learning curve. I have no doubt he will  bring the pieces back to the original Hey-Wake Wheat finish.

Dogbone footboard

Things always look so much better in the light of day — dazzling enough to forget about our damp recovery efforts. I did, however, announce a new policy: I only do pickups during daylight hours.
Heywood-Wakefield Sculptura dresser, Encore nightstand, Dogbone headboard and footboard
Heywood-Wakefield Bedroom Set

I plan to share a cheerier post about St. Augustine, our country’s oldest established city, sometime soon. You didn’t get much historical scenery in this update. Here’s a link to an earlier post about a Heywood-Wakefield Living Room set that we acquired. It’s beautiful furniture.

If you liked this post, share it with your friends.

Ann Marie and David


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8 Comments on MCM Heywood-Wakefield Bedroom Set: A Rainy Quest

  1. Brenda Young
    February 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh my goodness what a beautiful set! So worth all the hassle to acquire it, and the trailer availability showed up just in time… it was just meant to find its way to you, what a score!

    • irisabbey
      February 6, 2016 at 6:58 pm (6 years ago)

      Hi, Brenda –you’re right. They are beautiful pieces. Banged up, not matching, heavy as all-get-out. But David will work his magic and turn these into a coherent set.

  2. Melanie
    February 8, 2016 at 12:29 am (6 years ago)

    Wow Ann Marie, what a find! You persevered through all that and got a great set 🙂 I am not very well-versed in MCM pieces, would love to have you educate me some on Heywood-Wakefield pieces. Can’t wait to see how you bring them back to life. Thanks for linking up to #FridaysFurnitureFix!

    • irisabbey
      February 8, 2016 at 3:56 am (6 years ago)

      Hi, Melanie — I’m so glad you are co-hosting Friday’s Furniture Fix. I hope you know I’m a big fan of your work. Thanks for taking the time to read about my rainy night furniture pick up.

  3. Debrashoppeno5
    February 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh man what a fabulous find. Growing up my parents had Heywood-Wakefield furniture. I am so sorry I didn’t bring it to Florida when I move down but that’s history. I hope you show it again all prettied up and styled.

    • irisabbey
      February 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm (6 years ago)

      Hi, Debra — Heywood-Wakefield is great furniture and once David has worked his magic, I’ll share another post. I just thought that crazy rainy rescue story was worth a post. Hey! You’re in Florida, too.

  4. Diana
    February 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm (6 years ago)

    Wonderful find, Ann Marie. It certainly took a lot of effort to secure it, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end! I had a Haywood Wakefield rattan table once. Their pieces are all quality made. Thanks so much for linking up at Vintage Charm 🙂

    • irisabbey
      February 18, 2016 at 3:45 am (6 years ago)

      Hi, Diana — That evening was an adventure. But you’re right about the pieces: they’re structurally sound and well designed. None of them match but I think we can get away with them as a bedroom set. I think you did a beautiful job on your black dresser. It looks beautiful.


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