FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

Hope Chests: How To Make Them Child Safe

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, February 04, 2014 @ 09: 47 AM

lane

 

In my home, we have a new puppy! After mourning the loss of our beloved dog a few weeks ago, we just adopted Roxie, a reverse brindle boxer with white socks on her feet. Nine weeks old, she's playful and inquisitive, exactly what we needed.

 

Having a puppy in the house brings out the mischief in all of us. Roxie is going to be a big dog, so we bought a big crate for her. A couple of times this week, I've come home to find our five-year-old locked in the crate. "Dad," he would plead with a sheepish half-grin, "get me outta here!" When he'd crawled into the crate to cuddle the puppy, his two older brothers pounced on the chance to bolt the door.

 

Kids love to tease each other and hide in secret places. Like puppies, they have an irresistible urge to play - but they are often unaware of the risks. That's why we want to alert you to a potential danger you may have in your home: the hope chest.

 

From the 1920s until the late 1960s, hope chests were a treasured gift. In it, young women would store needlework, linens and even baby clothing in anticipation of marriage. Lane's hope chests were among the most popular. They were airtight with robust locks, perfect for preserving heirloom items.

 

But that meant they also were the most dangerous. Two children recently suffocated to death in a Lane Hope Chest in Franklin, MA. Once the lid closes on these well-made chests, they cannot be opened from the inside. Since 2003, seven children have died in accidents involving hope chests.

 

Most antique and consignment stores are aware of the dangers and have removed the locks, but there are millions of old hope chests still in use in homes with locks intact. Removing the lock is easy. As a public service, we've created a "how to" video to show you how to do it. Lane also is offering safer replacement locks for free.

 

So please, watch the video and spread the word. If you have a hope chest or know of someone who does - even if it is tucked away in a corner of the attic - remove the lock. You could save a life.

 

Lane Form to order new Child Safe Lock: Here

Topics: home, 1980s, life, tutorial, lane, hope chest, death, consignment, boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, customers, 1980s Furniture, plymouth, 1940s Furniture, children, kids, cedar chest, safety, suffication, precaution, how to

It's Your Move, but Arrange to Sell

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 25, 2014 @ 11: 59 AM

uIMG 5561Despite the arctic cold, we're starting to see a predictable harbinger of spring. Realtors and home-staging professionals are flocking to our showrooms. They're hunting for furniture and accessories to update the homes they hope to sell in the next few months.

 

Some 40% of home sales occur between March and June. Homeowners are busy prepping for that brief window of opportunity. The smartest ones know that clever staging can boost the selling price significantly.

 

Staging is an art. And since we work with some of the best in Boston, I can offer some of their secrets:  

 

First, update your lighting. Cheap fixtures and lamps from the 1970s are a big turn-off for buyers. So are cracked or stained lampshades. New lamps and shades bring immediate warmth and style into a home - and that's a purchase that won't put a big dent in your wallet. Our showrooms offer lots of choices from classic to trendy.

 

Put things in scale. Homeowners often roll out a rug that is too small for the room. Maybe it was a quality hand-me-down from a relative or they got a bargain at the rug store, and they figured that something on a bare floor was better than nothing. News flash: a small rug in a big room is like a postage stamp on a lawn. It shrinks the room visually. We have rugs in all sizes. If you don't find what you need in our stores, then softly gleaming hardwood floors are a better bet.

 

De-clutter. Pack up the dust-collecting tchotchkes. Nothing says Grandma like an army of Hummels. That could be a turn-off to the thirtysomethings looking for a chic nest in which to start their families. Also, take a hard look at your furniture. If potential buyers have to hold their breath to squeeze around a king-size mattress in the master bedroom, you've got a problem. Get rid of furniture that overpowers a room.

 

One last tip: beware the curse of IKEA. We've all committed a few sins in the name of frugality. Say you bought some particleboard furniture a few years ago. You hauled the box home and assembled it yourself. Now, you're selling your house. Keep in mind that nothing depreciates an upscale home faster than cheap furniture. Just a few quality pieces -- bought on consignment - would reinforce the concept of quality in your home.

Topics: real estate, home, delivery, change, life, staging, lamps, lamp, consignment, boston, Interior Design, Antique furniture, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, children, audience, target, kids, moving, spring break, designers, rug

A Series of Comebacks

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 02, 2013 @ 10: 30 AM
         b strong whiteFor the last few months, I would jump when a car door slammed or when a pot slipped and hit our kitchen floor. My heart would pound and I'd break out in a cold sweat. Last April, I was one of the thousands - along with my wife and three sons - at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We weren't injured in the bombing, but I'm haunted at the thought that my family was a target for terrorists.
         Now, after a long and uneventful summer, I'm not so jumpy anymore. In fact, the crack of a bat has been sweet music to my ears for the last few weeks. The home team muscled its way from last place to first as a nation cheered it on. The Red Sox victory in the World Series is the perfect metaphor for our city. Yes, Boston is strong.
        The marathon bombing exposed our vulnerabilities and violated our sense of security. For many of us, the trauma lingered for months. Still, while driving the truck through the city and suburbs picking up furniture this week, I was struck by what I saw. Construction workers are banging hammers and brushing paint on almost every street. The smell of sawdust is in the air.
         To me, that's further evidence of a comeback. Many of us are investing in the place that is safest and most comforting: our homes. We are hard at work to create a haven that has meaning and purpose and security for our families. 
         Six months ago, two morons tried to destroy a great international athletic event and bring a city to its knees. But we're tough. We know how to get back in the game - and win. Let's never forget those who were hurt in the bombing and what we lost, but let's also celebrate our stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. Boston deserves a pat on the back as do the city's triumphant bearded men with bats.

Topics: real estate, delivery, change, Comebacks, boston marathon bombing, boston strong, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, audience, target, moving, red sox, world series, baseball

Unexpected Places

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, September 10, 2013 @ 01: 28 PM

homeClipboard in hand, I watched our four guys in blue shirts extract a big haul of furniture from a home in Scituate, a picturesque seaport town on the south shore of Boston. Like powerful ants, they raced up and down stairs for hours carrying six rooms of heavy pieces out of the house and into our truck.

 

Not so long ago, I was doing the hoisting myself with the help of a part-time high-school kid. Back then, all we had was a trailer hitched to the back of a pretty battered SUV. Now, I'm the guy with the clipboard. We've got two decent trucks and blue polo shirts with our company logo.

 

We've come a long way in eight years.     

 

Our consignors are moving back to London.  He'd moved here back in the 1980s to manage a project for Gillette. Originally, the assignment was to last for no more than sixteen months. He and his wife stayed 27 years in Boston.

 

Their children and grandchildren are firmly planted now in American soil, but this recent retiree and his wife are going back to England. They know they'll be crossing the pond a lot in years to come, but even after decades, home has a powerful pull.  

 

They'd bought new furniture three years ago after a flood, and most of it is in perfect condition. On a hot afternoon in mid-August, we packed it up and brought it all to our store in Plymouth.

 

Life takes us to unexpected places by indirect routes. Most of the time, we are traveling without a map. All we really have is an internal compass. What is next for you? For us at FCG? For the ex-pats going back to England?   

 

Stop by one of our three stores this weekend. There are countless family histories written in the furniture in our showroom. Imagine yours coming to life with some of these beautiful pieces.

Topics: home, delivery, change, life, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, children, audience, target, kids, moving, spring break

New Transitions

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, September 10, 2013 @ 12: 07 PM
matthewchasingschoo   Our front door whipped open, and Diana burst in, beaming. She gave me a high five. All three boys were on their way back to school. Just as we were about to break into the victory dance of the newly emancipated, we heard a small, miserable voice behind us.
       "Wrong bus." Collin, our ten-year-old, stood in the foyer. He'd ridden one block before the big kids informed him he'd gotten on the eighth-grade bus, not the fifth-grade bus. The driver ejected him promptly at the next corner. Humiliated, he'd run home. Already anxious about his first day of middle school, now he was a ball of nerves. "Thanks a lot!" he said, glaring at us.
       Earlier, Cade, our thirteen-year-old, was fuming during the short ride to his bus stop. I got the silent treatment because I won't busgiflet him upgrade to a smartphone. He believes this tragedy will ruin his year. He'll survive. At least he got on the right bus.
       The dog is sulking - and possibly sick. Even the family car is protesting the end of summer and the start of the car-pool season. Red warning lights are glowering irritably on the dashboard.
       We had one happy camper: Robbie marched off to kindergarten with a big smile. It was orientation day: his first, our third. All the moms sending off their first-borns were beaming through tears and lingering for glimpses. Diana, a veteran, exited happily, kicking her heels. 
      Transitions are tough. It's a relief to pack the kids off to school, but I'm already dreading the projects.  Build the Roman Coliseum out of Cheerios? Seriously!?! Someone in the family needs an engineering degree to get a kid through school these days.
      We're all busy. That's probably why our three showrooms are quiet this week.  But we are working hard to get ready for when you want to beautify your home for the holidays. Every store has exquisite pieces. There's a beautiful Baker dining table in Chestnut Hill, a Chippendale china cabinet in Hanover, and even a folding table with a butler tray in Plymouth.  We're ready to help you create the best holiday ever.

Topics: pets, kindergarten, bus, transitions, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Gallery, school, American Made, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture, customers, kids, dog, school bus

Beach Break

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 23, 2013 @ 10: 26 AM

photo by Christa J Newman PhotographyAfter the big two-day, tax-free furniture sale last weekend, Diana and I were exhausted. We closed up the store, looked at each other and realized we were thinking the same exact thought: Let's go to the beach!

Sunday night offered perfect weather night for a barbecue on the beach. As the sky darkened and dozens of bright meteors streaked overhead, we blackened some burgers on the grill and roasted marshmallows with our three boys. Just as we were settling in for a night of quiet stargazing, four cars roared up. Out poured twenty college kids.

They cranked up the music, opened a cooler of beer and lit a fire. With skills finely honed by spring break, they managed to construct a party scene in seconds - or so it seemed to me. Suddenly, our peaceful evening with the kids seemed in contrast, well, boring.

"How did we get here?" I asked Diana, looking enviously towards the party. "We used to be over there." I mean, it didn't seem that long ago. We were carefree. We had a dozen friends who could dance in the sand all night without worrying about work on Monday. Now, we have a business, a mortgage, three kids. 

Diana glanced at me with an unmistakable expression. It said, wordlessly: "You are such a dumbass."

"They're over there, Jay, trying to figure out how to get over here," she observed, turning to watch our three boys chasing each other across the beach. "And with whom."

I laughed. I knew she was right, but I wanted to yell to them, "Stay over there!"  In a few hours, I would be back to work trying to figure out how to arrange 50 plus deliveries from the weekend sale, answering e-mails, registering kids for fall sports and hollering at them to finish their summer reading.

Then, an older couple strolled by both of our campfires, chuckling at the awkward antics of the teenagers, then nodding genially at us. They looked content. Our stage in life is a lot of work, but as the kids ran back to our fire, shivering with beach towels, I know that we will remember these times as the good old days.

Topics: delivery, change, life, tax free, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, children, audience, target, kids, moving, beach, spring break

Pardon the Tiny Snag

Posted by Jay Frucci on Wed, July 31, 2013 @ 11: 28 AM

a beauty, a palatial oriental woven in brilliant colors. So of course we put it out for display in our showroom as boldly as Cher once put it out in Vegas. We weren't hiding anything. That rug got a lot of attention from shoppers until one lucky buyer hauled it home.

         Six days later, the phone rang irritably. Apparently, it had taken almost a week for the buyer to notice the flaw - and now she wasn't happy about it.

          describe the imageShoppers, let's get real. Virtually every piece on our showroom floor has had some interaction with life. More precisely, that means the occasional ding, dent or scratch. A loyal customer recently told us that it was worth the long drive to our showroom because the not only is furniture a bargain - it is in "pristine condition."

But, the reality is, if you do some serious poking around you'll probably find some small issue with just about every item in our stores. Some shoppers are really fussy - and they're actually kind of fun to watch. They'll crawl around on the floor inspecting an item for dents you can barely see with the naked eye.

Others shrug off the small stuff. We sold a Hitchcock hutch this week with a small scratch on the maple top. Our buyer shrugged it off. She was a bit of a klutz herself, she said, and she'd learned to accept that foible. For her, the scratch on the hutch was nothing more than a reminder that bumps and bruises are part of life.   

 At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we carefully evaluate furniture when it is displayed under the bright lights of our showroom - and we take every one of those dings and dents into account when we price the item. So the question is, what's your angle?

Are you looking for flawless furniture? Or can you tolerate a minor scuff or snag to get top quality at a bargain price? If that's the case, we  have got some great buys for you this week.

Topics: scrapes, snag, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Gallery, American Made, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture, customers, dings

On the Move

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, June 04, 2013 @ 09: 15 AM

describe the imageI've been pounding holes in the pavement lately, trying to keep the inches off my waist. Hey, I'm Italian! I like to eat. I haven't lost a pound yet, but at least there was a little less gut to suck as I was squeezing through a maze of furniture in one woman's house this week.

 

"Jay, help me!" she said. "I feel like I am suffocating!"

 

 She'd just downsized into a tidy little cottage, bringing with her a dining room set that would have been worked well in Buckingham Palace. Seriously, it was stunning, but massive. No wonder she was claustrophobic.

 

Clearly, the furniture had to go. So off it went to our store in Chestnut Hill.

  

This spring, the housing market is booming, and our phones are ringing off the hook. After years of stagnation, homeowners are trading up, down and all around with glee. And the furniture that worked so well in that four-bedroom colonial suddenly looks out of place in the seaside villa.

 

For us at Furniture Consignment Gallery, this is great news. Our stores are brimming with a huge variety of furniture. Some of our consignors are seasoned movers; they've measured the new house and they know that some pieces have to go. We're also getting frantic describe the imagecalls from some who procrastinated about their move only to realize there's no way that comfy sectional will fit the new family room.

 

For those of us making the rounds in the truck, this means long days, a lot of heavy lifting and, sometimes, a bit part in the general drama of life. Michelle Obama was in Boston earlier this week for a fundraiser, which snarled traffic for more than an hour on Commonwealth Avenue. Eventually, cabbies and other drivers gave up honking and got out of their cars to socialize and watch us fill the truck with furniture.

 

A young bride-to-be was disassembling her bachelorette apartment, preparing for her wedding - and a move to a new home a thousand miles away. "Getting married!" she told the crowd as we loaded the truck, piece by piece. "Going to Chicago!" When we were done, the crowd cheered - for her, for us, for new beginnings.

 

Some days, I really love this job. 

Topics: real estate, delivery, change, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, audience, target, moving, Chicago

Mother is Coming

Posted by Christa Newman on Tue, May 21, 2013 @ 03: 53 PM
 Brad2Ron juneRed alert: the twins have been acting a little strange. They seem tense, especially about the design of their showrooms. Everything has to be flawless. Every lampshade has to be straight and every pillow fluffed. In the last few days, our typically energetic store managers have turned into whirling dervishes of design.

 

For those new to this blog, the twins refers to the two brothers - identical twins - who manage the Hanover and Plymouth stores for Furniture Consignment Gallery. Ron has overseen our largest showroom in Hanover since 2006. Brad was recently recruited from a Macy's in Florida to manage our newest store in Plymouth. Equally gifted in furniture merchandising, they are ferociously competitive about their stores.

 

Earlier this week, during our weekly conference call with the store managers, I witnessed what sounded suspiciously like a sibling smackdown. "How do you like the flowers?" Ron asked Brad casually. Turns out, Ron had planted masses of wildly colored flowers outside his brother's showroom last Monday - on his day off!  

 

Well, apparently, no harm, no foul when the goal is beautifying our stores. Brad was grateful for the help. Later, I heard the two hatching a plot to do a landscape makeover of Hanover together this coming Monday.  

 

As an employer, I couldn't be more appreciative of the effort, but I was getting a little worried about burn-out. Then, in a moment of furniture-arranging pique yesterday, Brad dropped a bombshell that explained everything. "Everything has to be perfect," he said. "Mother is coming."

 

So that explains it! Mother! On her way from her winter home in Florida to her summer home in Maine, the matriarch of the family is going to stop by to see her sons and look over their handiwork. I've never met her, but she lives in legend, at least at FCG.

 

Widowed when her twins were 10, she raised three boys along with their sister by herself, working in the family tire store where she excelled at the art of retail. At 78, she's a tiny, stylish dynamo, and her 51-year-old sons haven't yet outgrown the desire to impress her. She arrives in two weeks. I can't wait to meet her - if only to see an end to the frenzied primping.   

 

So stop by our stores this weekend and enjoy the results of our sibling rivalry.  I'll be there. I've been sentenced to hard labor - at least for the next two weeks. "The deck outside the store has to be stained," Brad told me sternly. "Mother is coming."

Topics: new york, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Gallery, American Made, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture, customers, delivery mother, twins

The Interview Question

Posted by Christa Newman on Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 10: 16 AM

describe the imageShe was a hiring manager for a large firm, and she was in a hurry to get to work. But first, she had a job to do. Perched primly on an armchair wearing chic business attire and holding a note pad, she was in full interview mode.  

 

I was there to evaluate her fine furniture and to outline a strategy to market them between our three showrooms. In-home meetings are something that I like to do with customers who have several items that they need to sell. This business woman had no time to market her furniture on her own and she wanted to know that whoever sold them on her behalf, would not require management oversight.  

 

"Who," she demanded, "is your target market?"

 

describe the imageWe have been asking ourselves this question for nearly 10 years now as we continue to grow our business. And I love how we have been able to expand the answer to include all kinds of homeowners. 

 

"Our target market is folks who know and appreciate fine furniture," I told our consignor to be. "They may be outfitting their primary home, a second home at the beach or a city condo.  Either way, they are looking for furniture at a discount - without sacrificing quality!"

 

Get me started on that topic, and it is easy for me to get carried away.

 

"Here's how it works with our three stores," I barreled on.  "Chestnut Hill is a kind of high-end boutique where you can find lots of specialty pieces such as dining tables, china cabinets or exquisite accents. In Hanover, our biggest store, you'll find a huge selection of bedroom, dining and kitchen sets, furniture for the living room - even pieces for the man cave. Plymouth, our newest store, has a great selection of casual pieces especially for those looking to furnish a vacation home. Whether you are outfitting a city condo, a colonial in the 'burbs or a cottage on the shore, you'll find what you need at one of our stores."

 

She raised her pen, and stopped me in mid sentence. "So when can you come and get these pieces?"

Topics: delivery, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, audience, target