Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Dad’s Rules of Smart Investing: Just Say No to Depreciating Assets

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 27, 2019 @ 06: 59 PM

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“So, Dad…”

When I hear that long hesitant phrase emanating from my sixteen-year-old son, I know that we’re going to be having one of those conversations. No, no, not one of those! What I mean is we’re going to have a talk that requires a response both deeply philosophical and impeccably logical. As in, “why do I have a curfew? Don’t you trust me, Dad?”

These kinds of questions demand that a father summon his most commanding presence and his deepest voice because the inquirer is seeking to upset the natural order of the universe, as defined by a Dad. When I hear that phrase, I brace myself and take a few deep, slow breaths to buy some time.

“So, Dad,” the fledgling lad continued. “When are you going to trade your car in?” He added eagerly, “Did you see the new Silverado?”

Okay, I will admit the question was not unexpected. My trusty Toyota just busted a mileage milestone: 180,000 miles. That vehicle has hauled more than a few special pieces of furniture from one store to another. And it has carried my boys and their pals to ball games all over town.

Why, the question alone makes me nostalgic! I’ve run a lot of red lights in that car trying to get my three sons where they need to be on time. Maybe it is starting to show its age, but I feel as though the car has just been broken-in. I’m comfortable in it. The last thing I need in my life is a new car.

Fortunately, this kind of question gives me the opportunity to hold forth at length on Dad’s Theories of Economics, the section on depreciating assets. My impressionable understudy is going to get an earful.

“Furniture!” I exclaim, “is always a worthy investment! A car is not.”

Furniture, I tell him, is the key to making a house a home, and a home is always a good investment. Ancient civilizations recognize the importance of furniture. After all, feng shui is all about energy, invisible forces and harmony to soothe the soul. New cars don’t offer the same spiritual solace. And, with three boys, we can’t even keep the new-car smell for more than a couple of weeks!
My son wandered off, crestfallen. Clearly, I’d won this round, but I expect the question will come up again when the odometer hits 200,000. But, rest assured, I’ll be prepared.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Veneer and a Laminate

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 20, 2019 @ 08: 01 PM

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From the corner of my eye, I saw him holding court in our showroom in Hanover, dispensing furniture-buying advice to anyone who would listen. Trouble is, I quickly realized, this pompous self-appointed expert wasn’t just mildly off the mark in his opinions. He was actually flat-out wrong.

“Stay away from that,” he warned one of our shoppers as he swatted dismissively at a gorgeous mahogany dining set. “That’s veneer, and it’s cheap. You definitely want solid woods.”

I was fuming. This was nothing less than blasphemy. The dining set had been made by Henkel Harris, one of the nation’s most respected furniture-makers, known for decades of quality craftsmanship, gleaming finishes and the artful use of veneers. Apparently, this fool didn’t understand the important difference between a veneer and a laminate.

“Whoa!” I hollered from afar as I hustled over to challenge the fellow. “This table is magnificent,” I interjected. “You need to understand the difference between a veneer and a laminate.”

Though wood veneers have been used in fine furniture-making for more than two centuries, there’s a misperception that they are cheap. Veneers are anything but cheap. Veneers are very thin slices of wood that have been pressed and glued to solid wood.

Among other things, veneers are used to create beautiful inlays in fine pieces of furniture. Some of the most striking woods used as veneers are rosewood, satinwood, tulip wood, and ebony. Veneers are also used for artistic and labor-intensive woodworking projects such as marquetry and parquetry.

Veneers are not only decorative but they also may be critically important to the structural integrity of furniture. That’s because veneers expand and contract as temperatures and humidity levels rise and fall within a home; they live and breathe on top of a solid surface so it doesn’t crack.

What the showroom show-off didn’t understand is the difference between veneers and laminates. Laminates are a kind of faux wood surface sometimes used in making cheaper furniture. Those surfaces may look like wood, but they are actually made of paper, plastic or foil. Laminates don’t hold up well over time; a scuff or even ordinary wear-and-tear will rub off the fake wood grain exposing the fakery.

At FCG, we welcome those who appreciate and understand what makes a piece of fine quality furniture. We also enjoy educating interested customers in the art of woodworking. What we don’t want on the showroom floor are imposters. We don’t like faux experts any more than we like faux furniture.

Even Picasso Needed to Know Math – If Only to Add Up His Earnings

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 13, 2019 @ 07: 14 PM

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 “This is terrible!” Robbie, our eleven-year-old son, wailed, his head buried in his hands and his red curls bouncing as he rocked back and forth in despair. We were at his favorite restaurant on the way to visit his older brother in college. Robbie lifted his head briefly to allow the waiter to slide his favorite dish, lasagna, in front of him, then resumed his lamentations. “You took me to my favorite restaurant just to crush my dreams!”

Parenting in public is hard, but this kid really knows how to tug on the heartstrings of strangers. I could see him stealthily assessing the sympathetic looks he was getting for his dramatic performance from nearby diners. Our third and youngest son was well skilled in battle tactics, especially with parents.

Diana and I had thought that this restaurant stop would be a good opportunity to discuss the importance of our son applying himself more diligently to his studies, especially math and English. Robbie had been back to school for about a week, and we thought we’d sensed a certain nonchalance towards homework.

One good lecture, we figured, would do the trick and fill our son with a sense of urgency and determination. Robbie was having none of it, though.

“I’m going to be an artist,” he declared with imperial hauteur. “I certainly won’t need math or history or English.” I stared at the kid, suddenly seeing him strumming a lute in the court of Louis the XIV or splashing a canvas with paint in an hovel in ancient Rome, dead broke in both situations.

Parental fear surged!

That’s all the more reason to study, Diana and I insisted. An artist needs a job to pay the bills so he or she can pursue their artistic passions on the side! Math and English lead to college; college leads to a good job with health benefits. (And, no incidentally, gets the kids off the dole at home.)

Honestly, we weren’t trying to crush his dreams. We were merely injecting some reality into the kid. After all, lasagna at your favorite restaurant = $14.50, not including tip or drink.

Shortly after the lasagna arrived, though, the discussion was over. The delicious aroma of garlic and cheese and tomato wafted upward from the plate. Robbie sighed, shook his head at our short-sighted practicality, and wordlessly dug in.

A few days later, I was in the showroom as we unboxed a spectacular series of art full of creative designs and colors. I wondered then if we were off the mark in challenging what seemed to be a lazy start to the school year. Were we too pragmatic? Had we lost our own artistic souls in a onslaught of mortgage payments and college tuition bills?

After seeing that artwork in the store, I realized I’d probably soften my approach next time. Creativity is a competitive advantage in our world today. Companies in all industries need creative problem solvers, innovative ideas and fresh perspectives. I’ll be happy if my youngest son yearns to create art, I thought. But he’s got to have a side dish of math and English, too.

History Lives in FCG’s Showroom in a Rock-solid Beals Bedroom Set

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 06, 2019 @ 07: 08 PM

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In the simmering heat of early September, Matt and Noah, our furniture movers, were wrestling with a big job at our store in Plymouth. We’d just gotten a bedroom set made by Thomas P. Beals of Portland, Maine: a tall chest-on-chest, an armoire, a nightstand, a dresser and a queen headboard and footboard with posts as thick as tree trunks.

Moving the heavy rock-maple set into the showroom was as exhausting as breaking rocks. They paused on ground level, their faced streaked with sweat, before tackling the stairs to the next floor where our bedroom sets are displayed. “Hey, guys,” I called across the showroom. “Let’s just keep it here.”

Exhausted, they nodded their appreciation and took off before I could change my mind.

Thomas P. Beals is a big name in finely crafted American furniture. Beals was born in a seaside village in Maine and learned furniture-making as an teenage apprentice before joining the Maine Volunteer Infantry to fight in the Civil War. He fought in seven battles, including Petersburg, which would prove to be a critical victory for the Union. He was wounded there.

After the war, he came home and launched what would become one of the most successful businesses in New England of the late Victorian Era. Beals favored oak, ash, birch and later maple. So popular was his furniture that his company shipped it all over New England and as far south as Florida which was even then a destination for robber barons and common folk in search of sun, sand and the talismanic orange.

Today, Beals is revered not only for his service to the nation but for his commitment to quality in furniture-making. His dovetail drawers close with buttery softness. His dentil molding is precise. Beals took no shortcuts in making furniture.

At FCG, we move hundreds of pieces of furniture through our showrooms every week. Every now and then, I like to pause to appreciate some of these pieces for the role they – and their makers – hold in our nation’s history. Beals’ bedroom set is something we’re proud to have on our showroom floor, if only for a short time.

What Make the Cut at FCG: Mitchell Gold, Arhaus and Other Top Brands

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 30, 2019 @ 04: 14 PM

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At our house, there’s no doubt that summer is dwindling down to its last precious days. On Monday, by family tradition, Diana will bake a cake for our three boys. On it, she will write in icing a command that is thrilling to our parental hearts: “Go To School!”

For our second-oldest son, high school really started a couple of weeks ago with the launch of fall sports. First came the captain’s practices, then the more challenging double practices. After that, coaches and captains selected their teams, winnowing down the number of potential athletes to a select few. Only the most talented make the cut. It is a painful but necessary process.

At FCG, we go through a similar process of sifting through the options to choose the furniture we’re proud to have in our three showrooms. Here’s how we decide:

First, we evaluate furniture trends and styles, which are constantly changing. Furniture from the 1980s: no. The 1990s? Unlikely. Danish modern, once out of vogue, is back in style. Also popular with our customers is furniture in good condition from Restoration Hardware, Mitchell Gold, Room & Board and Arhaus.

A second factor is resale value. There’s no Kelley Blue Book for furniture as there is for cars and trucks. But FCG is expert in weighing factors including the current retail price, condition, age, quality of construction and the value of the brand as we look at every piece of pre-owned furniture.

With all those factors in mind, we come up with a sale price. Then, we decide if it is enough to qualify for a spot in one of our showrooms. In only a few rare cases does furniture appreciate in value. Most furniture depreciates quickly, especially upholstered pieces. That’s why pricing is often the hardest concept to explain to new consignors. We price furniture to sell, not linger on the showroom floor.

Just like trying out and failing to make a high school team, it’s often painful for a potential consignor to realize that their beloved furniture won’t make the cut at FCG. But we have a promise to keep to our shoppers. At FCG, we strive to make sure our showrooms are chock full of stylish and high-quality furniture in good condition. That’s why we’re the top furniture consignment stores in all of New England.

A First-time Visitor to FCG in Hanover Goes a Little Wild

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 23, 2019 @ 06: 21 PM

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Riding shotgun with me in my 200,000-mile Toyota SUV as I ran some errands last week was my trusty partner, Roxie, our family dog. When we pulled up in front of our store in Hanover, Roxie looked at me, tilted her head and cocked one eyebrow quizzically as if to say “Are you seriously planning on leaving me in the car?”

FCG has a policy of no dogs in our stores. But I was wilting under that plaintive look.

I conjured up a couple of justifications for breaking my own policy: it was early and the store wasn’t open for business yet. I was planning on dashing in to retrieve something, spending three or four minutes tops inside. And, despite the A/C, the car had gotten oppressively humid after I’d opened the door.

A moment later, I relented and motioned to Roxie. “C’mon girl, let’s go.”

Like many a first-time customer FCG, Roxie entered the store then paused in amazement to take in the scene. Acres of furniture! Faint but delicious new smells of polish and leather! Dog paradise!

Roxie tore through the first floor, zipping from one corner to another sniffing each item, a slightly crazed but joyous look in her eyes. Once she was satisfied she’d undertaken a complete inspection of the first-floor premises, she found the staircase and bounded up to the second floor.

Then, I could hear her overhead, whipping around the dining tables and chairs, pausing to inhale the fragrance of a mahogany dresser or a pine chest. Far from tiring, Roxie seemed to gain energy and enthusiasm the more she saw. Meanwhile, I hurried to rustle through my office to retrieve the item I needed.

When I got back to the showroom, there was an eerie silence. No thumping paws, no heavy breathing. In fact, there was no commotion at all.

It was Brian, our store manager, who sounded the alarm. “There she goes!” he yelled, pointing outside. I turned to see Roxie galloping across the parking lot, heading north. She’d snuck out a side door. I never moved so fast in my life. When I finally had her back on her leash, I just had to ask.

“Where do you think you were going?”

Roxie’s gleeful mug said it all. The Hanover store was so much fun, she just had to check out the other showrooms. You should, too.

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.