Mikey Thompson’s Rehab Addiction: Turning Trash into Midcentury TreasureMay 27, 2021 04:28PM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
“I can’t stop re-doing things,” said Mikey Thompson, owner of M Mid Mod, maker of quality vintage and midcentury home furnishings. Thompson, who grew up in Omaha, said he’s always been a creative type, battling with his older brother in drawing competitions from a young age. During his time at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he transitioned to refurbishing old furniture, “creating out of necessity” as a poor college student. He’d dumpster dive or find neglected items left on curbs, give them new life, then use them for his own home. Eventually, he had enough pieces to begin selling the excess and set up a workshop at Revival in Benson in October 2019.
Today, Thompson works as a full-time maker, selling his pieces online via Instagram and at Dusk Goods & Gifts and The New Wave in Little Bohemia, downtown Omaha. With Revival’s storefront closing this month, he’s moved his workshop back home...temporarily, he hopes. (Revival will continue to sell online at revivalomaha.com)
He finds furniture to make over from all around the metro area and especially loves a good estate sale. Connections with real estate friends have also been fruitful for the maker, as he sometimes helps clear out homes going up for sale, getting first dibs on large, older pieces with great potential.
He’s even bought vintage pieces as far away as Kansas, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado, typically spotted while on vacation. Hardware for his furniture is found on Amazon or Etsy.
Thompson said his furniture rehab addiction is fueled by two things. He loves the artistic side of his work, which he calls “the art of creating things.” But most of all, he enjoys taking pieces destined for the landfill and turning them into something that people want in their home. The sustainability side, informed by a concentration on the subject while earning his degree at UNO, is the major driver for Thompson. “If I can keep someone from buying something new, if I can keep something out of the landfill, then I’ve done my job,” he explained.
Revival proprietor Steph Lambert has loved working with the furniture restoration specialist. She said, “Mikey’s work has significantly increased sales across the board, not only for me, but for other artists who sell in the shop as well. His pieces draw people in who may otherwise have not known about us.”
And the timing worked out for everyone involved. Lambert continued, “I’m not sure if serendipitous is the right way to describe it, but within a few short months [of working together] the pandemic hit, and I had to stop buying clothing for my buy-sell-trade business, which put my side of the business to a grinding halt. I didn’t see it coming back any time soon, but I was able to keep the shop running because Mikey was able to expand his business footprint in the shop (we moved my clothing aside for him to bring in more furniture). So, I feel very fortunate to work with him.”
And work he does. At any given time, Thompson can be rehabbing up to five pieces, which he tackles with an assembly-line system. Gather, prep, seal, paint, seal again. Plus, after years trying different paint lines, the M Mid Mod owner has finally found his winner: BB Frosh paint transformer, which can give normal latex paint the sticking power of chalk paint. Thompson combines that product with Sherwin Williams for a full array of colors.
What’s in Thompson’s workshop now? At press time, the maker was busy transforming a passion project, an old radio cabinet, into something bright and new. He’s also working with Black Awning, designer Bryan Frost’s business, on a custom project for their client. Collaborating is exciting, he said, and the next step in his rehabbing journey.
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.