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Friday, September 14, 2012

Furniture? It's (Almost) All Relative

I love finding furniture bargains 
on Craigslist and
Ebay, in thrifts and at auctions. In fact, I love it so
much that I now buy and sell vintage furniture.  

But what got me started on this love affair with the old and imperfect?
I think it has something to do with my DNA . . . .

This is a repeat of a post from July 2009
about some of my furniture "family."

I find more amazing furniture bargains on Craigslist and Ebay than I can ever find house-room for.
It's why I became a furniture pimp!

But today, I'm looking at furniture that I got second-hand, from my Grandmother.
It helps to choose your relatives wisely when you want neat old stuff!


We'll start in the study, where there's an old, and very comfy, wicker arm chair:

This chair used to live in my Grandmother's bedroom, then my Mom's sewing room, then the beach house, where I claimed it when I was still a teenager, but didn't take it with me until last month. It will be moving upstairs soon to our master bedroom; I am unsure about recovering the cushions that my Mom did about 15 years ago.  I really like the vintage bark cloth my mother used.

On the other side of the television is this wicker table, covered in many coats of paint:

My grandparents probably did this last coat of brown, many years ago, as my Mom would never have chosen such a restrained color; she went for bright, did my Mom. I would like to re-paint this table, but I get sentimental about the darnedest things.

Then there's my desk.

We are keeping it real, right? I did not de-clutter or de-dust.
It is a messy alcove, sorry! Everything seems to find its way here.
It's like the elephant's graveyard.

The desk is really an Edwardian library table, with lovely big chunky legs.
The whole desk could use a trip to Elizabeth Arden, but I love it, homely and chipped as it is.
Note to self:  put the missing handle back before you lose it!

Grandma claimed it came from Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt's Long Island home, and since my grandmother could get anyone to give her anything ... I wouldn't be surprised if this was true.

This little magazine table, here at the end of one of the love seats in the conservatory,
also came from Grandma's house.

It once sat next to a French Empire chair covered in blue striped silk, across from my grandfather's big Gustav Stickley rocker. Eclectic taste? Maybe, but more likely just what Grandma could talk people into giving to her for free.

Into the dining room, where the star of my Grandma's treasures stands -- her china closet.

I have been in love with this cabinet forever.  I used to stand in front of it and gaze at the jumble of china and silver serving pieces, the little figurines, and the bird that caught toothpicks in his mouth if you tapped him on the head. . . . oh dear, even when I was in Kindergarten, I lusted after dishes!

I don't have any rhyme or reason to what I put in this cabinet -- if I like it, in it goes.
It's a jumble, just like Grandma's was.

I restored the old finish on this piece 30 years ago, when I first got it. I removed and polished the ormolu -- I am not sure if it is brass or bronze -- but since then I have let it fade and tarnish.

I lost the teensy tiny screws that held one of the pieces of ormolu on -- if anyone knows where I can find itty-bitty screws, let me know! This piece needs its twin:

The china closet has Empire lines and construction; it's quite old. Poor thing, we've moved it into seven homes, broken the glass once, lost the key, knocked off the top of a column, used painter's tape to hold in new glass -- but it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' -- and if you remember that, you are as old as I.

Now upstairs, where we venture into the Pink Bedroom, where Annie has been camping out while working on sorting through and decorating her own rooms across the hall.  (Note from 2012 ... this is still not finished!)

You are not going to see much of this room -- it's a MAJOR work in
progress and full of Annie's overflow stuff -- but we do find here a little nursery rocker:

My grandmother rocked 7 babies in this little sweetie, and my mother rocked 4.

When my mother told my little sister that "Grandma rocked your Daddy
in this rocking chair, " my sister asked, "Didn't his feet drag on the floor?"

It is as sturdy as the day it was made. Amazing, when you think that it is more
than a century old, and has thousands of rocking miles on its odometer.

And -- except for a very old faux bamboo carpet rocker that is in the attic awaiting repair,
I think that about does it for the furniture I got from Grandma's house.

No... wait. There is something else. Before I leave the Pink Room -- see this white painted cabinet?

I almost forgot about it.

It started life as my Grandfather's Victrola cabinet. But my grandfather, never one to leave well enough alone, built drawers for it when Victrolas went the way of the Dodo Bird.

Then my own father, also never one to leave well enough alone, gave it a fresh coat of white paint (now nicely chipped), built a 3-sided top for it, and gave it to us for a diaper changing table 24 years ago when we were expecting Alida. It worked wonderfully, and looked fabulous in the nursery.

You can lift up the original hinged top of this piece and see the old finish, with the RCA Victor dog decal; very neat! I'm not risking moving that big lamp to show you right now -- that lamp came from Howard's Mom and if it breaks, I don't want to be the one holding the shards.

But look on the side of the cabinet:

There's the hole for the Victrola crank!

It's out to the beach house on Long Island for us tomorrow; the weekend promises to be spectacular
and we want to catch the good Fall weather before it turns nasty on us!  -- Cass

Link Parties!
At My Romantic Home, it's Show And Tell Friday Click here!
Feathered Nest Friday makes its home at French Country Cottage.  Click here!
The Charm of Home features Home Sweet Home on Fridays.  Click here!
It's Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground.  Click here!
Miss Mustard Seed hosts the Furniture Friday Feature.  It's a must visit -- Click here!


  1. What beautfully detailed pieces, such intricate carvings, and patinas.
    You have the most beautiful furnishings in your grand home, timeless pieces, that are treasured and loved.

  2. I just realized that the reason I love old things is that my relatives had very few items to hand down. Plus, my Nuni promised the few items she owned to whoever asked her first and I never thought to ask for anything at the time. So, sometimes, I feel like I am trying to create a heritage of things I wished someone had left me, which is such fun. I appreciate the craftsmanship of older pieces and the attention to detail in even the tiniest features, like the screws you seek.
    "Ticking", do watches even tick anymore? I was shown a lecture recently were the speaker claimed no one wore a watch since cellphones have that information. Without even trying, I sometimes feel like a dinosaur, remembering ancient changes so quickly, in the blink of an eye.

  3. I remember this post but it's nice to see your "family" again. Love all my old things because each has a story. What is the tale to new furniture? "I bought it on a great sale at PB?" Really, help! It does seem that antique shops, at least here, are crying for business, so antiques among the young do not seem as trendy. That's OK, my house brings me much comfort in its stories! Hope the weekend is nice on LI.

  4. How blessed you are to have such wonderful family heirloom pieces!! I am so envious. Each one with a wonderful story to tell :) And you are blessed again with having a beach house to get away to. how wonderful!!

  5. Such beautiful pieces of furniture! Love the library table! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!


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