Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Great Furniture Bargains This Weekend at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 16, 2019 @ 07: 32 PM

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Taxes were the spark that ignited the American Revolution. Colonists had wearied of paying a ransom to a king thousands of miles away. So they grabbed their muskets and fought to throw off the yoke of "taxation without representation".

Today, most of us feel just as burdened by taxes. Congress has a miserable 17% approval rating. Like the colonists, you probably think that taxes are too high and our leaders are spending the money recklessly.

So hear ye, hear ye!

Keep your tax money in your wallet this weekend. The State of Massachusetts has declared August 17th and 18th a sales-tax holiday. Any item priced under $2,500 is free from sales tax. 

Thank you, Commonwealth.

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we are making that sweet deal even sweeter. We're reducing prices 15% of on all furniture, accessories and mattresses.

We've been preparing for this event for weeks. We've traveling all over New England scooping up the most incredible pre-owned furniture. Last week, we scored truckloads of new furniture from an estate in Wayland, Massachusetts - pieces so new they were delivered only a few weeks ago. That house had bought all the top brand names: Arhaus, South Cone, Restoration Hardware, Baker, and Mitchell Gold.

We also raided homes in Wellesley, Marblehead and Duxbury. We plundered high-rises in Boston and grand waterfront homes in Cohasset. Check out our inventory online. I promise, you won't pay a king's ransom for these treasures.

This weekend only, you don't need a musket to win your freedom. The Commonwealth is giving you a two-day pass. You'll save 6.25% on your purchases. Nobody has the deals or the inventory that we have at FCG. So come on in and enjoy the revolution.

 

 

*Tax Free purchases must qualify under the Massachusetts Tax Free Holiday Doctrine. Items that do not qualify for tax free, which are items priced at over $2,500, may apply the 15% off to their purchase. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Cannot be used on prior purchases. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. Promotion ends 12:00AM, Monday August 19, 2019.

Do You Really Want to Have an Estate Sale? Consider the Pros and Cons

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 09, 2019 @ 05: 57 PM

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Last weekend, while running an errand, I took a short cut through a nearby neighborhood. That day, the usually quiet street was lined with cars. Lots of people were hurrying into one of the homes. I wondered what was going on. When I caught a glimpse of the sign on the lawn, I suddenly understood. It was an estate sale.

All the hubbub got me thinking. When is an estate sale a good way to sell furniture and other items? And when is it most decidedly a bad idea?

Like most well-promoted estate sales, this one was attracting flocks of potential buyers – and probably more than a few of the neighbors. After all, an estate sale is a great cover for the town’s snoops and gossips who want to poke around inside your house, your closets, your desk and maybe even your medicine cabinet.

So there are two big questions you need to answer. The first is, do I really want all those people shuffling through my home? And, secondly, do I need all those people going through my home in order to sell my stuff?

Keep in mind that an estate sale is not a garage sale, a yard sale or a tag sale, as it is known in some parts of New England. A garage sale is usually a sale on the front lawn or the driveway of someone’s unwanted household items including outgrown toys, hobby supplies, sporting goods and kitchen goods.

An estate sale, on the other hand, is typically the sale of almost all household items after someone has died, including furniture. Sometimes, in the case of an acrimonious divorce, a couple will have an estate sale to get rid of everything they acquired during their disastrous marriage.

So, back to the question of whether you actually want to host an estate sale …

Keep in mind an estate sale means opening the doors of your home to all. Some estate sales are a one-day event; others last for an entire weekend. Pricing is negotiable. Prepare yourself for exhaustive haggling with prospective buyers (and also some shoplifting as well). You can hire a company to manage your estate sale for a cut of the proceeds.

If you are looking to empty a house or to downsize dramatically, shedding not only most of the furniture but also a snow blower, tools, clothing and patio equipment, then an estate sale might be a good idea.

If you are undecided about whether to consign or try your luck at an estate sale, call Furniture Consignment Gallery. We can help you make that decision. For one, we’ll let you know whether consignment will meet your needs – and whether your furniture will meet our needs. We tend to be highly selective about the furniture we’ll accept for our showrooms.

And, if our services are not the right fit for your situation, we are happy to make some recommendations of reputable estate-sale companies who might be able to help you.

Top Secret Operation Underway at Home: Robbie’s Room Gets Marie Kondo’d

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 02, 2019 @ 07: 14 PM

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While 11-year-old Robbie is away at camp, there’s a clandestine mission underway in his bedroom at home. Diana, my wife, is feverishly at work cleaning out years of flotsam and jetsam that’s been accumulating in his closets and drawers. Given the extent of the undertaking, I’m not ruling out the possibility of having to bring in a backhoe.

Robbie’s philosophy is exactly the opposite of Marie Kondo, the hugely popular Japanese tidying wizard whose philosophy is to find joy in de-cluttering your life. Robbie leans into hoarding in a big way. He’s sentimental. Maybe that’s why he hangs onto a t-shirt that he last wore when he was in first grade, six years ago.

So Operation Clean-up is in full swing. Thousands of Lego morsels have been bagged and set aside for Goodwill, along with long-forgotten books and toys. This task would be impossible if Robbie were home.

Meanwhile, Cade, our oldest son, has officially abandoned the room he has shared with his younger brother for years. Cade, who vying for the position of left tackle position on his college football team, has moved into the guest room, which means he is folding his massive frame like origami to fit into one of the two twin beds there.

Apparently, Robbie’s mess has exceeded the tolerance of a college kid who’s incapable of picking his dirty clothes off the floor or flushing a toilet. His dorm room might have been a hazardous waste site, but the kid apparently has limits. “I’m not sharing a room with Robbie anymore,” Cade announced a few weeks ago. “He’s disgusting!”

Robbie comes home from camp today. I wonder if he’ll notice his room has been, well, shall we say, tidied a la Marie Kondo? I can’t wait to see him. His voice has probably changed. He might even be taller than his 6’0” Dad. Two weeks at camp usually means big changes for a kid. As for his hoarding instincts, I’m sure those are intact. We’ll probably have to repeat this room detox next year.

Furniture Faux Pas of the ‘80s: Queen Anne, Floral Chintz and the Color Mauve

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 26, 2019 @ 06: 35 PM

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Boston is hot these days among filmmakers, and their scouts are foraging far and wide to find settings and furniture that will help make their shows authentic. Last week, one of those scouts landed in our showroom in Hanover. 

“I’m looking for furniture from the Eighties,” she announced briskly. “What have you got for me?”

Inwardly, I cringed. There’s been a lot of dreadful furniture sold in the last few decades, but in my opinion nothing was worse than the styles that flooded the market when baby boomers were furnishing their homes. Dark knotty pine? Dreadful. Flame stitching? Wretched. Mauve was everywhere, very unfortunately, with teal as an accent. 

Floral chintz rambled over sofas, chairs and window treatments so thickly that it begged for a severe pruning. Worse than anything was the ubiquitous dark cherry furniture in a style called Queen Anne. 

I had to informed the scout that much as we’d like to help, FCG has nothing from the Eighties - and we don’t plan to stock up anytime soon.

I have nothing against the Eighties. That’s when I grew up. The ’86 Celtics are my all-time favorite basketball team. The music was a blast. I’ve still got some cassette tapes of big hair bands and I’ve made my kids listen to all of them. And Hollywood rolled out one classic after another: Back to the Future, ET, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Star Wars! 

Yes, it was a great decade for sports and entertainment, but style-wise it was a fiasco. Who doesn’t cringe at the mullet, the haircut made famous by Rod Stewart and John Travolta? Jane Fonda gave us leotards and legwarmers, and we all spent a lot of time buffing smudges off our white sneakers with Ajax.

Okay, the clothing was an embarrassment, but the furniture should have been banned for being a decade-long eyesore. The Hollywood scout left our showroom without so much as a handful of fake ivy. Maybe she’ll have better luck at Goodwill.

Practice Makes Perfect as My Son Masters Parallel Parking

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 19, 2019 @ 06: 29 PM

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On the street in front of our house, Collin, my 16-year-old son, had staged a mock-up for his upcoming driver’s test. One of our cars was parked in front, another behind it with a large gap in between the two. He was driving an old lumbering tank of a Volvo, trying to maneuver it into the space without bumping into the parked cars or the curb.

Watching from inside the house, I’d lost count of all his attempts to master the most dreaded challenge on the test: parallel parking. In truth, there was probably enough room between the cars to nest a Winnebago, so there isn’t a big risk of denting the bumpers on the parked cars. I applaud his diligence.

Next to me at the window was Roxie, our boxer. She’d apparently picked up on my anxiety. Her head was twitching every time he hit the brakes and the car shuddered, mid-turn. Roxie is generally the most relaxed member of the family, so her red-alert level of tension pretty much captured the level of stress in the household over this upcoming test.

Truth be told, Collin’s success at the driver’s test will be a big win for the rest of the family. When our oldest son sped off to college last September, we lost our resident chauffeur.

So Diana and I were back at the wheel, once again wearily making the evening treks to pick up Collin and his younger brother, Robbie, at friends’ houses on the weekends. (Confession: One night, I fell asleep while awaiting the curfew. Collin had to ask a neighbor to come over and rouse me.) Diana and I also had to resume the morning drops-offs and afternoon pick-ups at the high school, a commute made longer by impenetrable teenage silence.

Robbie, our 11-year-old, is eager for a new chauffeur and comrade-in-adventures. Even Roxie, the dog, seems to anticipate the pleasant duty of sitting shotgun on trips to the odoriferous dump. And FCG’s furniture moving and delivery team will be pleased to have an extra set of hands.

Our insurance premium will go up with another teenage driver in the household. The gas card will get some more exercise, and there will probably be a few more dents on the hand-me-down pick-up truck that he’ll be driving around town. But it will all be worth it. Keep your fingers crossed. It’s a big day for Collin.

Do You Need an Interior Designer? Here are 5 Tips to Help You Decide

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 12, 2019 @ 06: 35 PM

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Everyone’s a decorator – or so it seems these days. With websites like Houzz and photo-sharing apps like Instagram, you can find inspiring interiors for every budget. Your home should be a reflection of you and your family, a place that’s comfortable, functional and stylish. Achieving that goal, though, can be a challenge.

Sure, great design ideas are all over the internet. But mistakes can be costly and time-consuming. Here are five tips to help you decide when you might need the services of an interior designer.

1. How big is your project? Will your renovation require structural changes? Or major electrical or plumbing work? Big projects often benefit from the advice of an interior designer, whose expertise could actually save you money. An experienced designer is skilled at putting together a plan that takes into account things that a homeowner might overlook, such as proper placement of electrical outlets. And a good designer can steer you away from common mistakes, such as over-furnishing a room, inadequate lighting or poor paint choices.

2. Are window dressings part of your plan? Window treatments add a level of complexity that requires real design skill. They can make an incredible difference in a home, but they are expensive. Certain high-end treatments can cost as much as $1,000 per window. If your plan calls for anything more than the most basic window treatments, call an interior designer.

3. Are you looking for an interior that’s unique? Many people are satisfied with a home that borrows its style from the pages of an catalog such as Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn. You don’t catalogue need a designer for that. But if you crave a custom look – say, a style that integrates the eclectic artifacts you’ve collected on your world travels – then you need a designer.

4. Good design takes time, talent and effort. It’s a kind of visual storytelling. If you don’t have the time or talent, then hire a designer. A designer will visit the showrooms and make the choices that will fulfill your concept. And, importantly, a designer can be an effective and professional bridge between you and your contractor if things get tense, which they often do on a major renovation.

5. And, lastly, the best time to hire a designer is before you start your project not when you are picking out paint colors. A good designer will have lots of resources and contacts so you won’t have to worry about hiring a fly-by-night contractor whose mistakes could cost big money.

At FCG, our sales associates are skilled at offering ideas on stylish decorating. That’s one of the things that makes it so fun to shop at our three showrooms. But if you are investing serious money in a big home makeover, hire a designer. You’ll never regret it.

Tips on Tipping Furniture Movers

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 28, 2019 @ 06: 52 PM

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I could hear the astonishment in her voice even over the phone. “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a thank-you note from anyone after giving them a tip,” she said. “So I just had to call and let you know!”

Our crack team of movers had delivered some furniture to her home a few days earlier. Some of the pieces were pretty big. FCG’s guys had wrestled them into her small condo without scratching the furniture or nicking the trim of her door. To make room for the new stuff, they even moved a couple of other pieces upstairs for her. 

Grateful, her husband tucked some money into an envelope and handed it to the movers. Because they were a hurry to make their next delivery, the guys hadn’t even peeked into the envelope. Later, when they did, they were surprised – and pretty darn happy – to find a generous tip. Unable to thank the couple in person, one of the movers decided to write a note. 

That’s the kind of white-glove service that makes me proud of our team. They went above and beyond that day. We trust our movers to make these kinds of decisions. If they have time and the request is reasonable, they’ll try to accommodate the customer. That day, they earned that tip. 

Sometimes, it seems to me that some other businesses have gotten confused about the point of tipping. 

Last week, I bought some beer from my favorite craft brewery. A young man at the counter rang up the sale, flipping the tablet around for me to approve the charge. Before I could scribble my signature, I was confronted with a request on the screen. How much did I wanted to tip: 10%, 15%, 20%? 

At the bottom of the screen, in letters so tiny you needed a jeweler’s loupe to see them, there was another option: no tip. 

Are you kidding me? I hadn’t even gotten my beer yet. And a four-pack didn’t require any heavy lifting. What a dilemma! Would I be penalized for being a cheapskate? The guy at the counter seemed nonchalant, but what if he held a grudge? Would I get last week’s leftovers instead of the delicious fresh stuff reserved for the big spenders? 

Of course, it’s no crime to ask for a tip. But, seriously, is it appropriate? I hit “no tip,” but I felt like a grinch for doing it. 

I am a fan of rewarding superior service. And I’m proud of our guys who work hard to deliver your furniture with the greatest care in winter snow and summer heat. They may never ask, but they’re always grateful for your appreciation whether it’s a bottle of water or a few bucks in an envelope.

Five Tips to Consider When Buying Used Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 21, 2019 @ 10: 17 PM

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In my closet, I’ve got a green and blue striped golf shirt that’s one of my favorites. Diana, my wife, is lobbying hard for me to get rid of it. After all, I bought it right after college and that would be twenty years ago. But I’m fighting hard to keep that shirt. I’ve just gotten it broken in.

Needless to say, I don’t believe in fast fashion. But styles are changing ever more speedily, not only for fashion but also furniture. Most of us don’t live so lavishly that we replace the living room furniture every spring. Still, adding a piece here or there to your home is a great way to stay up-to-date.

Buying quality pre-owned furniture is smart because you can find great bargains on great styles. How can you be sure you’re getting a good deal? Here are five tips to consider when buying used furniture:

  • Look for a reputable brand. The top furniture makers adhere to high standards, year after year. As with a BMW or a Mercedes, the styles change but you can always count on quality manufacturing. Look for premium furniture brands such as Baker, Thomasville, Ethan Allen, and Henkel Harris. As an example, all Baker sofa frames are hand-tied eight ways, insuring stability.
  • Determine the original purchase price to calculate your savings on a pre-owned piece. Don’t be fooled by catalog prices, which are usually irrelevant because of sales and other promotional deals. The original buyer probably paid far less than what you see in the catalog. Remember, too, that some merchants offer special savings to “members.” Restoration Hardware gives members 25% off every item for a $100 annual fee.
  • Has the manufacturer stopped making a certain item you covet? Let’s say you’re looking for some chairs to match your Ethan Allen Newport dining table or a Pennsylvania House sofa table to match your side tables. These mass-produced pieces aren’t true collectors’ items and they have depreciated over the years. But finding very specific used pieces in good condition can be a major challenge. You should worry less about saving a few more bucks and more about some other shopper snatching up your long sought-after piece.
  • How well was the piece made? Ask the seller the age of the furniture, its price when new, who made it and where it was purchased. If the seller seems fuzzy on the details, walk away. Cheap no-name furniture is no bargain, especially when used. Also, look closely for signs of high-quality craftsmanship: solid wood construction, dovetail joints, and crisply sewed seams.
  • Did the piece have a hard-knock life? Maybe you’re looking for a rustic dining table for your beach home and a few scratches won’t matter to you. But if a table is going to be a focal point in your formal dining room, those scratches could prove costly. Beware of sellers who suggest reupholstering or refinishing; both can be expensive and time-consuming.

Still worried about whether you’re getting a good deal? My best advice is to buy from a store you trust. At FCG, integrity is our watchword. Sure, everyone loves a bargain. What’s more important, though, is knowing with certainty that the furniture you have purchased on consignment is not only high quality but also a good value.

The 'Special Plate' Gets Positive Reviews, but Dad Needs Improvement

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 14, 2019 @ 06: 56 PM

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At my brother’s wedding last weekend in California’s Napa Valley, we all wanted to welcome his new husband into the family. That meant introducing him to some of our childhood memories and traditions. Among the most notorious is the story of the “special plate.”

First, let me preface this by saying that my mother is nothing if not inventive. Of course, she had to be. She had three rambunctious sons to raise to manhood and she had very high standards for us. So, she had to have a lot of tricks up her sleeve. One of her most brilliant: she bought a dinner plate that didn’t match her everyday set and imbued it with a special kind of mom voodoo calling it “the special plate.”

Mom awarded use of this plate rarely. And only the most extraordinary accomplishments would compel her to lift it with great ceremony out of its place of honor and put it on the table in front of that day’s most heroic son.

Good grades or exemplary behavior were two of her favorite qualifiers. Her tactic worked on my two younger brothers. They strove hard to impress her. (Yes, we're talking admittance to the Ivy League.) They bickered over that plate like it had come to us from the Last Supper. The winner basked in glory at the dinner table.

I’d completely forgotten about the plate until I heard the story at the wedding. I was immediately filled with a sense of foreboding. I could tell my three sons were intrigued. Robbie, our eleven-year-old, made a beeline to his grandparents’ table to probe further into this fascinating bit of family history.

When he came back to our table, he looked triumphant, kind like he was an investigative reporter who’d scored some major breaking news for Fox. “Dad!” he said in a scolding, maybe even superior, tone. “You never got to eat off the special plate!”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I was totally busted by a eleven-year-old in front of everyone.

Yes, here’s a true confession. I never ate a so much as a bite off the special plate. I understood the concept. I just never quite bought into the feverish competition that so consumed my younger brothers. I just wanted to eat and play ball before it got dark.

But having discovered this tasty morsel involving his dad, Robbie was determined to probe deeply into my history of scholastic challenges. (Who needs Science and Math?) He revisited his sources at the grandparents’ table and came back with even more shocking news.

“Grandpa said that you never even made the honor roll,” Robbie announced, adding a dollop of judgement for good measure. “Not everybody gets a trophy, Dad. That’s what Grandpa says. You have to earn it.”

Now that we’re home from Napa, I get the feeling that my kids are embarrassed that I never earned the special plate. My mother promised them that that I can have the special plate the next time we visit. Honestly, I’m good, Mom. I’m over it.

But considering the trauma I’ve endured, if you want to help me on my healing journey, you could review Furniture Consignment Gallery, on Google or Yelp. I think that would help a lot.

A Doctor Walked into a Furniture Store … and Sees a Sight for Sore Eyes

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 07, 2019 @ 06: 34 PM

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From afar, the dark cherry table was a simple piece of furniture. But up close, it glistened with the extraordinary patina characteristic of an Eldred Wheeler. The finish whispered of hours spent in patient and uncompromising craftsmanship. An Eldred Wheeler as perfect as this is a rare find in a consignment store.

In our showroom in Natick, the woman was circling the table with barely disguised excitement. First, she demanded a measuring tape. Next, she wanted the table expanded with its three leaves. Then, she insisted on reading about the table on Eldred Wheeler’s website.

All the while, her husband sat quietly nearby, observing. Then, out of the blue, he asked, “how old are you?”

What? I was flustered by the question. I’m focused on measurements and descriptions and his energetic dynamo of a wife, and he seems to be focused on me.

“You’re 45, aren’t you?”

He nailed it. I admit I was little stunned. I certainly didn’t think I looked 45. “How did you know?” I asked.

“I’m an eye doctor,” he said bluntly. “You need glasses.”

Okay, busted. I’d been having trouble focusing on things up close. I may have been squinting at the fine print on the website. And I could have used a selfie stick to read the price tag. I’d recently gotten my first pair of glasses, but I wasn’t wearing them around the showroom yet.

This ophthalmologist wasn’t at all interested in the furniture his wife was about to buy. But he was quite concerned about the deteriorating condition of my eyes. “Eventually,” he continued enthusiastically, “your distance vision will go, too.”

Despite his cavalier disregard for my vanity, I have to admit I appreciate a customer who practices his profession with the same single-mindedness that I do mine. After ringing up the sale, I handed him his receipt and he gave me his business card. I can’t wait to let him know what I think of the furniture in his waiting room.