Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

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.

Blood, Sweat and Gears: My Son Schemes to Buy His First Car

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 31, 2019 @ 07: 00 PM

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Spread out all over the kitchen counter when I got home last night were the results of a massive research project my son has been working on for weeks. He’d been consumed by the work. I thought he was attempting to split the atom. When he finally unveiled the fruits of his labor, complete with spreadsheets and pie charts, I was stunned.

He wants to buy a car.

My sixteen-year-old son is – God help us all – getting his driver’s license next month. He has a very clear vision of his dream car and the optional audio package that’ll pump out enough decibels to blow out the windows. He’s done all the research. His logic behind his first choice of vehicle is sound. He’s made a persuasive pitch to us, his parents.

In fact, the kid has everything but the money. Welcome to real life. Welcome to adulthood, kiddo.

He’s making an admirable effort to marshal his assets. Everything but his cell phone is up for sale. All of those pricey remote-control cars he got as birthday presents years ago? Make an offer. Buckets of Legos? Yours for cold hard cash. Used books and old sports gear are going to a resale shop.

Here’s a bittersweet lesson: the discarded toys of childhood won’t buy much more than a tank of gas. Cars require serious money. And so his financing schemes are getting kicked into high gear.

He figures his older brother might be good for a small loan. And there’s always the plan of last resort: a job! There are endless lawns to mow in the suburbs. Those lawns beckoned last year, but the kid had no interest until he was seduced by the thought of a shiny new driver’s license, four wheels and freedom.

So my son is a few thousand dollars away from cruising down the boulevard with his windows down and the music blasting. He’s pretty determined, though. You may see him this summer in one of our stores moving furniture. He’ll eventually reach his goal, in which case I advise all of you to clear the streets and buy some earplugs.

Oh, Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer! But, First…

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 24, 2019 @ 07: 03 PM

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Shivering with hypothermia, I was standing in the Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire, holding a section of the boat dock and trying hard not to let my teeth chatter. My dad was taking a sledgehammer to the galvanized post that would support the dock. “Just … a…couple…more,” he gasped, breathless from the effort of trying to drill the pipe into the rocky bottom of the lake.

Ah, good times. When I was a teenager, helping my dad put the dock in the water at the lake house was the top item on the agenda every Memorial Day. As much I couldn’t wait to get out on the boat, setting up the dock was agony. After all, the ice had melted only five weeks ago.

The water was probably about 60°, and I was chest-deep by the time we got to the final section. It was hard to keep my balance. My feet kept sliding off the granite rocks into the soft mucky bottom of the lake. With both hands gripping the dock, I couldn’t swat away the black flies that buzzed around my head, tormenting me. As I said, agony.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer in New England, but let’s be honest. Nothing is easy in these parts. It’s hard work getting set up for summer. Who hasn’t cracked their forehead on the bulkhead of the basement while trying to wrestle the patio furniture outside? Clean the grill? Now, there’s a mess. And the badminton net is such a tangled skein that you’re probably better off torching it in the fire pit and buying a new one.

You need a reward! So FCG is having a sale. We’re taking 15% off some merchandise to clear out the showroom now through the close of business Tuesday. As you start making those plans to entertain this summer, why not update your home? Replace those rickety kitchen chairs and that wobbly table. Say goodbye to that pizza-stained sofa in the family room. Toss that old mattress that is flatter than a pancake.

FCG is offers quality furniture with prices that are 40% to 80% off of the original retail. Our stores are full of great items. But remember: when we run a sale, the best stuff goes fast. So this weekend hit us on the way out of town instead of the way back. But if you can’t get “heah” from “theah” until after the holiday weekend, FCG will still have lots of bargains available all day Tuesday.

How to Find a Lost Horse? Check Our Front Lawn – or Your Teen’s Snapchat

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 17, 2019 @ 07: 57 PM

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Just before bedtime earlier this week, Collin, our teenage son, came thundering down the stairs and into the kitchen. “Dad!” he exclaimed, “there’s a horse in our front yard!” The night was cloudy, starless and black as pitch. We couldn’t see the horse – a runaway from a nearby horse farm – until we were close enough to grasp the reins.

“Collin,” I asked after we’d helped the owner lure the animal back to his barn with a carrot. “I didn’t see that horse until we almost tripped over it. How did you ever see it from your bedroom window?” Replied Collin: “I didn’t actually see the horse. One of my friends posted a photo of it on Snapchat.”

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows you to send photos and videos that typically self-destruct after a few seconds. Hugely popular among teenagers, the app allows users to play with the images, adding text, doodles, stickers and more. Apparently, one of my son’s classmates had driven by our house earlier that night, spotted the horse grazing on our lawn and blasted out a photo to other kids in town, including Collin.

Snapchat is a modern version of the town crier, albeit for adolescents. Unbeknownst to me, the homeowner, the horse photo was popping up on cell phones all over town faster than that horse could chomp on the tender green shoots of grass on our lawn. Clever, odd or funny photos like that are a kind of social currency for teens.

Social media like will be a part of their lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined years ago. And, now, businesses like ours are getting in on the game in a big way. Of course, we don’t tend to use Snapchat. For one, its vanishing images aren’t the right platform to showcase a design esthetic.

Instagram is the hot new medium in the world of home furnishings, and we’ve jumped into it with enthusiasm. It allows us to highlight the latest design trends and showcase the kinds of inspired looks we create every day with the ever-changing inventory in our showrooms.

You’ll probably never see a horse on FCG’s Instagram, but you will get gorgeous photos of furniture that just came into our stores this week. It’s a great way to get ideas for your home. Check us out at furnitureconsignmentgalleryma.