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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How Now Brown Chow? Or: Yes, Virginia, there really are bargains on Ebay!

It's Tuesday, and it's a gorgeous sunny warm dry day here in northern New Jersey. Hooray!

We went on a thrifting trip this weekend, down to the Jersey shore. Here we are heading home, north on the Garden State Parkway; the busier lanes are heading south, towards the beaches!


Once upon a time, mothers gave their children two clean handkerchiefs every morning before school.

One for show.
One for blow.

The show one was the nicer, crisper, cleaner of the two; the blow one was the workhorse --
older, maybe faded, but always soft and nose-friendly.

It was a good system.


Do you have rooms like that? Some for show, some for blow?

I do.

Warning: the following pictures are of real life!
No carefully arranged shelves, just some careless family clutter.

My most important not-for-show space is our study. It's our cocoon. It's where we spend our evenings, on big deep comfy sofas, amid overflowing bookshelves . . .

. . . with our favorite magazines, a coffee cup or two, remote controls, telephones,
the computer, the television, the dog bed . . . . surely you, too, have a room like this.

Well, maybe not quite as bad as this room, but every home needs a cocoon room, a family room, a snuggery . . . .

Up until this past weekend, we had a very interesting coffee table in here,
a really cute old Art Deco piece, with hidden booze storage:

But -- it wasn't big enough for all the stuff that a cocoon-room's coffee table should be able to hold.
It's back in the conservatory now, and might go to Anne's new apartment this month.

I began trolling Ebay and Craigslist for a big square coffee table, low enough to prop feet on, not hideous, and cheap.
Ahem, I mean inexpensive.

Last week, I found a table on Ebay that, while no longer in the height of fashion (and who pays attention to that?), was big enough, and cheap enough. With 3 hours to go, and a starting bid of 99-cents, and no takers, I bid on a chow table.

Remember them? Curved legs, low to the ground, Asian-inspired, they were all the rage in the 1980s.

Anyway, I played Big Spender and bid . . . 99-cents. And won.

"That's embarrassing," said my husband. "You can't pay someone 99-cents for a piece of furniture!"

"Watch me," said I.

Hey, folks, the world of Ebay has its pitfalls and perils.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, Howard and I took off for Monmouth Beach in New Jersey, paid the gentleman in the beautiful seaside condo one whole paper dollar, let him keep the penny change, and loaded Mr. Chow into the back of the mini-van.

Howard used blue tape to hold the heavy, beveled plate glass sections in place, to keep them from rattling, and prevent them from hurtling forward in case of a sudden stop and slicing our heads off, a la Odd Job's hat in the old Bond movies.

I worry about things like that, and my patient husband ends up doing things like this:

At home, Mr. Chow has settled into the study quite nicely.

I am considering painting him -- what do you think? Black? Dark Chinese red?

On the other hand, we plan on putting our feet up on him, and it's easier to mask scratches and dings
in a wood finish, so I may just give him a good polishing up and leave him au naturel.

He comes from a good family -- Hooker furniture company.

I once saw a listing on Craigslist for a High-End Hooker Chest.
I am not kidding.

Mr. Chow has already begun doing his duty, being the repository of books
and magazines, remote controls, and cups of coffee:

And when he is not snoozing in his bare-floor crate -- his preference in the summer --
Dion likes hiding precious chewies under the table.

Anyway -- for 99-cents, I will be very happy with this coffee table for awhile. He's not the usual style of furniture at That Old House, but he sure is useful. I may upgrade someday. The coffee table in our parlor, one of our "show" rooms, cost my Mom a whole $2 at a yard sale out on eastern Long Island.

I know you understand that when I say a "show" room, I don't mean I have decorated a room to be showy, or to please others; it's just that while that particular room is decorated to suit us (meaning me!), and is used every day, it's a room that is guest-friendly, and usually company-ready. And where Dion does not occasionally nap on the sofa.

Now ... time to leave the computer and go outside on this pretty day.... Cass


  1. Oh my, you are GOOD! 99 cents! I have black and Chinese red in my home so I am partial to both, but the scratch cover up is a good thought. I need something to hide my alcohol bottles in...teehee

  2. Cass, freebies aside, you win the best deal in all of thrifting! It's a great Hooker piece and fits perfectly in your space.

    Congrats on your fabulous find!


  3. Great find! Ebay is usually good. I have had both experiences...and some disappointments. Usually very poor packing and having the sender claim no fault. But it has been 99% good! And fun! I have learned my sellers for the most part and am happy with my wins.
    GOOD for you! Lovely functional table for next to nothing!

  4. That was a great deal. It would kinda have been funny to insist on your penny though, ha! It fits perfectly into your space and looks ready to take on the task at hand.

  5. What an unbelievable deal. And the table looks to be in excellent condition. You are definitely one grand bargan hunter, and I thought my Sister-in-Law was the queen.

  6. Wow, Cass, what a deal!!! It's sure worth that!!!


  7. Yes, yes you go outside now and away from the computer so the rest of us can get some deals. Jeesh. 99 cents.
    That is one cheap hooker.

  8. Wow - that is as good as free! Nice table - you did good.I try to keep my living, dining, kitchen and 1/2 bath looking decent and lately that has not been the case so much. To many projects going on and this is a busy week.

  9. Hi Cass...

    Ohhh yea...I love that chow table!!! Big ol''s definitely comfy and I love it!!! I like the wood finish myself!!! It fits perfectly with your sofas! got a steal-of-a-deal on that pretty piece, my friend!!! So happy for you!

    Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at my new frenchy blue china...I always love when you visit!

    Have a terrific Tuesday, my friend!

  10. He is great! Now that is what I call a bargoon. Hookers don't come cheap these days. My friend Lori told me that. I would leave Mr Chow with his lovely patina. Put your feet up and enjoy him.

  11. What a fabulous table and for $1 is is unbelievable. I love the natural finish, I think it is perfect. Great find. Hugs, Marty

  12. Score big time and the best is that you had a nice trip to the Jersey shore!

  13. NINETY-NINE CENTS!!??????
    Hon! You are the wo-MAN!
    It's perfect! However, can it hide liquor?
    Now what?

  14. Cass,
    You rock girl! .99 is amazing and there is nothing wrong with the table, in fact, it has character and looks nice with your pretty sofas! I love your comfy rooms, so perfect For this old house! hugs, Cindy

  15. THAT is great! I like it! Leave it wood, or paint it...whatever you like. If it were downstairs in my would be left alone. Up here in this livingroom...white paint. Great table.

  16. Of course the table cost more on LI! :)
    Great table.. leave it for now, you can always paint it..or bring it to LI and sell it for 10 bucks!

  17. Now this has to be one of the best deals ever!!! Love the new table!
    And I love your book cases...they make me warm and alive!
    I have MANY rooms that scream *real life*!! That is what makes a house a home right??

  18. Glad to hear you tipped the man. lol. What a deal. You've gotta love ebay.

  19. I have at least two of those "comfy rooms" in my house. And since my two cats have ripped up my upholstered furniture, none of my rooms are "show rooms"! Wish I knew how to make slip covers. Seems very complicated. Your new coffee table is great. Problem is it's a big flat surface and here it would be full of stuff!!


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