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Larger pieces stay in the garage waiting to be refinished, including the shop record player in the lower left corner / Image: Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 3.5.18

Meet The Cincinnati Man Who Is Saving Mid-century Modern Furniture From Obsolescence

Some of us look forward to the weekend so we can veg out on the couch. Some of us look forward to the weekend so we can bust out that long run. And then, there’s Jeff Molski. He looks forward to the weekend so he can rescue mid-century modern furniture.

Though Molski has a full-time job working for ProScan Imaging, his real passion at least, of late is finding cool pieces from decades ago and bringing them back from obsolescence. He started the side business (aptly named Mid-century Modern Rescue) back in December of 2016.

Molski’s first project was a chair that required the entire wood frame to be redone. He bought it at a local Goodwill store for only $5 but was able to sell it for more upon its transformation. “That experience made me think there may be something to this, and I was fairly skilled in the area of woodworking, etc.,” he explained.

That project begot dozens more salvage jobs. Refinishing an entire bedroom set was his largest undertaking to date; saving some mid-century salt & pepper shakers was his smallest. “My favorite project would be like saying who my favorite child is. But if I had to pick one, it’d be a coffee table I found and completely transformed from an off-white finish to a natural wood color. Plus, it was a one-of-a-kind table,” said Molski.

Now that his eyes have been opened to a whole new world, finding pieces comes pretty easily. From thrift stores to antique malls to estate sales to online sites, there’s an abundance of old treasures waiting to land in a new home. Items produced in the ‘50s and ‘60s make up his general focus, with an emphasis on furniture, clocks, lamps, advertising signage, and other miscellaneous objects.

“I’m usually not looking for a specific piece, so if I find unusual [things] or pieces with potential, I get them,” he said. “I tell my customers that you will probably never have someone come into your home and comment that they have the exact same piece of furniture or mid-century item.” So it’s like the opposite of IKEA’s Malm bed that all the twenty-somethings are whispering Goodnight Moon to.

Molski does have a simple rule which prevents him from taking on any and all projects. If the furniture doesn’t fit into his SUV, he won’t take it home. Also, he won’t ship any large-box items. But if you want to play the role of the ambulance driver and bring something to his quaint Mariemont abode, then he’ll happily don the EMT uniform to save the life of your [fill in the blank].

And that has certainly happened a time or two before. Most of the furniture he sells stays within the region clients coming from Columbus, Indy, Louisville, and Lexington. But with the smaller rescues, Molski’s client base extends to as far as the west coast.

Long term, he’d like to open up a brick and mortar location. Until then, one can find Molski's business on Instagram @midcenturymodernrescue or you can email him directly here.