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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Want Great Old Stuff? Choose Your Relatives Wisely!

I love finding furniture and other bargains on Craigslist and Ebay. In fact, tomorrow I plan on getting a sweet old piece from a Craigslist listing... for free. Everyone's favorite price.

To justify bringing home yet more stuff, I use the cover story that it is going into Anne's future apartment. Which, of course, it probably is.

I find more amazing furniture bargains on Craigslist and Ebay than I can ever find house-room for.
I should become a furniture pimp!

But today, I'm looking at furniture that I got second-hand, from my Grandmother.
As I said in the blog title, it helps to choose your relatives wisely when you want neat old stuff!

It's Three Or More Tuesday hosted by Tam at The Gypsy's Corner today, plus I'm linking to 2nd Time Around Tuesday, hosted by Diane at A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words.


We'll start in the study, where yesterday I showed you my less-than-ten-dollar solution to housing the equipment for our big TV. Right next to that TV is an old 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.

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, my Mom. I would like to re-paint this table, but I get sentimental about the darnedest things.

On the other hand, Grandma would scold me about the condition of the paint.
"It looks like dead people own it!" -- her favorite comment on the shabby and unkempt.

Also in the snuggery (I do like that word!) is my desk.

We are keeping it real, right? I did not de-clutter or de-dust.
It is a rather 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.

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 my 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.

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 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!

Wish me luck Craigslist-ing tomorrow; I'll let you know if I score! -- Cass

(Dion says, enough paparazzi! Time for a nap.)


  1. Oh Cass I love that desk and all its cravings are just beautiful...girl to me family pieces are my favorite in my whole house..can't wait to see what you are doing to Annie's room know it will be wonderful...Please show us what you get from Craigs list tomorrow...May you have a great day my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  2. Oh I love all of the pieces you have, and most of all I love that you have such wonderful memories to go with all of them. How fantastic. Hugs, Marty

  3. You should have told me that part about choosing your relatives. My fam includes too many gypsies to have any long lasting antiques.
    Plus - I was raised by artist beatnicks.
    (Well, practically)

  4. You should send pics of that piece with the gorgeous carvings to Sotheby's Auction house ... they can give you the history & value of it ... love all your pieces. TTFN ~Marydon

  5. Cass - It it ALL wonderful but I love the china cabinet. My grandmother had a built in china cabinet and I used to look at the lovely things in there. When we built our home in 1979, I had to have one too. Today, I enjoy the things that she cared for so carefully. I am so fortunate to have her memory and those precious things in my life. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Hi Cass...

    Girl, I just love your this post and your Monday Met post as well! I love that pretty green wall color in your "snuggery"'s beautiful with those gorgeous wood floors! Ohhh my, that credenza is to die for, my friend! What a treasure find!!! And aren't you the creative one...making those shelves for the extra TV equipment! This is such a beautiful room...I love the shape of it and Ohhhh...all those big beautiful windows and built-ins! Simply fabulous!

    Well my dear, I do say that you chose your family well!!! I loved looking at all of your Grandmothers and Grandfather's furniture! That Edwardian desk is fabulous...I love the big chunky carved legs! You're so blessed to have such a grand piece for your desk and it's perfect in that little nook in your snuggery! Thank you so much for sharing more of your beautiful home with all of's always such a joy to visit your home! I always feel like a kid in a candy store...hehe!!!

    Have a great day, my friend!
    PS...Just wanted to thank you for the email about using the oil based primer. I was curious about using it over the latex answered those questions! Thanks!

  7. O, I love all your treasures. I am such a wicker lover...and I paint all mine white.

  8. O, I love all your treasures. I am such a wicker lover...and I paint all mine white.

  9. You have chosen your relatives wisely, indeed!! I covet all your good things!! The rocking chair made me want to weep a little, all those babies!! And the china cupboard is wonderful; cluttered, just as grandma would love...

    Good luck on Craigslist. I am looking for a cabinet & hutch for the cottage (not actively, but thinking about it!!).


  10. I LOVE these things that you got from your grandmother.

    I could use your Craig's List furniture pimpin' skills - - - my heart wants an antique piece for my dining room to hold more pretty china.

  11. What lovely old pieces you have ....... the desk is my favorite....... but I just adore your is everyones dream house......

  12. Cass--You are so funny! Fortunately, you have ancestors with good taste :) I just love the history of the rocker. I always wish our hand me downs could talk :) Thanks for sharing all of this!

  13. Oh my goodness - You have some real treasures and with so many memories. I checked out Craigs list for a while and never really came up with anything, or it was in the wrong part of town. You would not want to see my deak right now. I was going to clean it off today, but decided to go play. :-)

  14. OH CASS,
    I am green with envy! You have chosen the relatives wisely and it shows! What a fun tour, you know I am a big Craig's list fan and I wish you luck~ That china hutch from your Grandma is just the sweetest! Hugs, Cindy

  15. Love all of your treasures. I'm a big fan of Craigslist and have purchased several pieces at fantastic prices!!! I used to lust after my grandmother's dishes. She was a lady who loved to entertain and set a gorgeous table. I remember being little about 5 or 6 and asking her if I could have her hobnail pieces. I received them after she passed and treasure them dearly.

  16. Beautiful pieces! Love it all! Your home is lovely!

    Thanks for stoppin by my blog and takin the time to comment! I hope to see you around again!

  17. oh gos.. you got so many nice pieces here.. and I love it all.. and I also spot some nice chinaware in your cabinet.. just lovely.. I love second hands furniture especially vintage ones.. even the hand me downs are great too! precious! thanks for sharing..

  18. How lucky you are to have had a grandma with such great furniture! Love the legs on your desk - such detail! Your doggie is so cute.

  19. Cass, that china Closet is to die for! I'm on the lookout for one like that myself to put my Granny's dishes in. I have the same lamp you have on the white cabinet.

  20. what beautiful antiques you have inherited. I love that library table too.

  21. Your grandmother sure had great taste! She only picked free pieces that were fabulous! Obviously, the old saying that beggers can't be choosers did not apply to her, and how wonderful that you have inherited her pieces and her taste for wonderful free treasures! laurie

  22. Love the pieces and the memories. Thanks for sharing.


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