How-To: Re-purpose Your Dining Room Into A -- Dining Room

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, November 03, 2015 @ 12: 07 PM

"Which one?" Diana asked me. She had a fork in each hand, one from the everyday set and one from the special-occasion set. We were planning a meal to celebrate our oldest son taking a step towards manhood, making the sacrament of Confirmation. At first, we'd thought about a buffet, but Diana had changed her mind. "It's a special day," she said. "I'd like the whole family sitting around the dining table."

How many of us use our formal dining room anymore? Not many and not often.
Everyone seems to eat meals at the kitchen island now or, even worse, in the car, a reflection of the frenetic pace of our lives. In homes where space is tight, the dining room has been repurposed into a toy room, a crafts room or a home office.
Call me old-fashioned, but I'm in favor of dining rooms. Who doesn't cherish the memory of visiting grandparents on Sundays, when everyone squeezed around the table to eat and talk all afternoon? Meals aren't just about food. They're about celebrating life's milestones, sharing family history and honoring victories large and small.
Here's my modest proposal for reviving the dining room-
1. Is there a baby in the house? Put that high chair at the head of the table. Or, better yet, pass that baby around during the meal. It's a great way to celebrate a special time that vanishes all too soon.

2. Before eating, take a moment to appreciate your family, your friends, your health. Say a prayer. Raise your glass in a toast. Or just pause to reflect about the good things in life.
3. Teach your kids manners. Our boys shovel food down their gullets wordlessly, the only noise a snort or gobble. Okay, teenagers are a challenge. But in the dining room we impose rules: no baseball caps, no slouching, no using shirtsleeves as napkins. Someday, that kid will be on a date, at a job interview, or meeting the in-laws. Everyone needs basic training.
4. Use the good china and the wedding crystal. Decorate the table. Your family and guests will feel special.
Don't have a dining room set? Furniture Consignment Gallery has them in every style. Chestnut Hill has sets by Alfonso Marina for Ebanista and Restall, Brown & Clennell of England. Hanover, has a beautiful Karges inlaid mahogany table with satin border and four leaves for $5,849. Plymouth's showroom boasts a Nichols & Stone cherry table with six chairs for $999.
Polish those forks. The holidays are coming. 

Topics: dining room

Bargain Driver Puts Us to The Test

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 16, 2015 @ 11: 44 AM

fist full of money clip art 22967Over the course of the week, she just about drove me crazy. She'd found an inlaid mahogany game table in our Hanover store that she thought would be perfect for her condo in Back Bay. The table was exquisite - and a bargain. Still, she wanted to haggle.


"Call the consignor!" she insisted after I demurred on a discount. "Ask them to drop the price by $30." Her offer was rejected. Undeterred, she pressed for $20 off - rejected again - then $10. In the middle of the negotiating ping-pong, I found myself wondering: is she seriously going to ask for a discount of $1?   


Finally, with a sigh, she agreed to the price. Then, she got a second wind. She'd observed a tiny scratch no bigger than a hair on one leg. Could we touch it up? And then buff the piece with furniture polish? Swaddle it carefully in bubble wrap? And have it ready for pick up in an hour?


At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we pride ourselves on extraordinary furniture, unbeatable prices and excellent customers service. Every now and then, someone comes along and puts us to the test. That's what happened last week. And I'm pleased to say we passed with flying colors.


Precisely an hour after her call, a car peeled into the parking lot. Out leaped the woman's husband, looking a little sheepish. As one of our staffers carried the table carefully to the car, he approached me cautiously. "How bad did she beat you up on the price?" he asked.      


I burst out laughing. "We couldn't do anything on the price," I admitted, "but we jumped through a dozen hoops to get it ready for you this afternoon." 


"She drives a hard bargain," he admitted. More like a blood sport, I thought. "But," he added in a confidential tone, "she really, really loves your store. Thanks for making her happy. We'll be back for more - you can count on it." 


Keeping even the toughest customers satisfied - and coming back again and again - is our goal at FCG. So stop by one of our three stores this weekend. Our furniture makes shopping here worth your while. Our dedicated staffers make it a great experience.

Topics: manomet, haggle, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, bargin, haggler, bargin driver

Spring Sales Have Sellers Moving Fast

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 09, 2015 @ 02: 12 PM

husbandsShe exhaled a string of expletives into the phone. Thankfully, I wasn't the target. The culprit was her husband. With only one week to go before the family was moving into a grand new house, he'd called and scheduled my guys to strip the house of every stick of furniture.  


His plan was to sell just about everything at FCG, and redecorate in a style that trumpeted his recent success in the corporate world. He demanded we strip the place of furniture ASAP. The closing on the new house was in one week. His plan was timely, organized and efficient.


Trouble is, his plan lacked support on the domestic front.  His wife had a different plan. Hers was to fret, fume and procrastinate. She liked their old house, the old neighborhood - and the furniture. "Absolutely not," she said when I called to say our truck would be pulling into the driveway in an hour.


She hadn't packed a single box. Every dresser in the house was stuffed with clothing, she said. The wedding china was still on display in the cabinet in the dining room. Empty the house of furniture? "I'm just not ready!" she exclaimed. "Can't we reschedule?"


We were caught between husband and wife. And let me tell you, that is not a pleasant place to be. Especially when you're dealing with a high-testosterone husband and a wife skilled in guerrilla warfare.


Spring's busy moving season can be challenging - for our customers and for FCG. Our homes and furniture are loaded with meaning and memories.  Add an ounce of conflict to the stress of a move and the entire situation becomes highly combustible.   


At FCG, we try to be sensitive. We scrutinized our jam-packed schedule and managed to give the woman a few more days to pack. When we arrived, we moved quickly and quietly. We took it all, leaving only the mattresses on the floor. Our last item: the expensive leather chair from his home office. When we left, the two were in a state of shock.


After a few years of a listless real estate market, deals are moving faster than sellers can think. If you are ready to sell, consult with FCG as soon as you list your home. You may need us sooner than you think.

Topics: contemporary, manomet, upsizing, bigger place, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, Downsizing, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room

Boston's Finest Pre-Owned Contemporary Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 28, 2015 @ 12: 24 PM

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Every morning, we go through a full loaf of cinnamon bread at our house for breakfast. I dunk slice after slice into the toaster, then butter them up for our three boys. That's our morning ritual.


Cade, my oldest, was hovering over my shoulder this morning making a claim on the next hot slice. At 15, he is growing faster than kudzu. As I handed over the toast, I took a step back and suddenly realized we'd crossed a milestone. Cade is now taller than me.


What struck me is that he'd grown right before my eyes but the change hadn't registered. I'm always busy juggling the day-to-day responsibilities of fatherhood and running a small business. But over time small changes every day really add up.


Later, at work, I realized something similar had happened at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Our Chestnut Hill store has evolved over the past few months to become the pre-eminent showroom for pre-owned contemporary furniture in or around Boston. How did that happen?


Consider the evidence. This week, we accepted for consignment two bold and curvaceous sofas by Rolf Benz, along with a glass coffee table and a sofa table. New, the set cost more than $13,000. Germany's Rolf Benz is a revered name in contemporary design, known for its quality craftsmanship and comfort. At FCG, the sofas are each priced at $999. Our consignor also brought us a set of sleek blue dining chairs also by Rolf Benz. New, each chair is $1,800. We're selling the set of four for $1,600.



Also in Chestnut Hill is a Ted Boerner sofa and armchair in white leather, originally purchased from the high-end contemporary store Design Within Reach. This week, the showroom is filled with the most sought-after designer names in contemporary furniture, including Hans Wegner and Roche Bobois.


Upscale contemporary furniture is extraordinarily expensive when bought new. The top manufacturers use genuine chrome, quality metals, lucites and premium grade leathers. But like the pre-owned market for traditional furniture, the discounts and deals are amazing when you buy at FCG. We don't waste your time with knock-offs and no-name brands. In Chestnut Hill, we've specialized in selecting the best in contemporary design.  


So we've grown at FCG, and we want to call your attention to the changes. Stop by the store on Route 9, westbound, in Newton. You'll find a breathtaking array of the highest quality contemporary furniture at amazing prices.

Topics: contemporary, manomet, upsizing, bigger place, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, Downsizing, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, baby, condo

Moments to Memories

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 21, 2015 @ 08: 21 PM
9T4pdzbTEMy grandmother's home smelled like fresh garlic roasting in olive oil. And she always had a pot of water bubbling on the stove ready to cook her homemade macaroni when we arrived for a feast. Never had I been so excited for one of her meals than in the spring of 2001. My son Cade was a toddler and he was just beginning to eat all kinds of new foods. In my family, Grandma's Italian cooking was a rite of passage, a kind of baptism by ground beef. Her homemade meatballs, the stuff of culinary legend, were on the menu that Easter Sunday. When I close my eyes, I can still see the vast spread of food on the table. There were two big bowls, each filled with homemade pasta and meat sauce. At one end of the table was a platter of eggplant Parmesan. At the other was a platter of braised lamb in a rich gravy. We whipped through grace and dug in with glee. Forks screeched against spoons as we wound big wads of spaghetti laden with sauce. So engrossed were we in our pasta paradise that no one was watching Cade - until he gurgled up a big, satisfied burp. We all turned towards the old wooden highchair in unison. There he sat with red sauce smeared across his face. Both of his hands were full of mashed meatball. He was rocking back and forth in excitement, eyes wide, stuffing his mouth as fast as he could with meatball. We all roared with laughter. img 4862Then, in the blink of an eye, that moment was gone. Cade is 15 now. Grandma has been gone for years. We miss her a lot. Her meatballs are still legendary. How quickly moments turn to memories. When my grandparents were first married, they counted their pennies carefully like most immigrants. Buying a big mahogany dining room set might have felt like irresponsible spending to a young couple. But four generations of family celebrated every holiday at that table. I'd argue that it was the best investment they ever made. Easter is April 5th, just two weeks away. Passover begins on Friday, April 3. So buy that big dining room set and make some family memories. You'll never regret it.

Topics: manomet, family, meatballs, 2015, grandmother, gramma, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, kids, travel, dining table, easter, grandma, cade

The Coconut Option

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 14, 2015 @ 03: 05 PM

coconut clipart Coconut"Do I look like a Wellesley housewife to you?" he said with mild irritation.


Well, I thought, no. He looked like an overworked handy-man. He was wearing jeans, a ratty sweater, an unlaced pair of L.L. Bean boots and a cap advertising Miller High Life, a lowbrow swill.


But here we were standing in front of a stately mansion in that swanky town. I was firing questions at him about the high-quality furniture he was consigning, including a Baker Colonial Williamsburg dining room set, a Councill Craftsman server, a secretary by EJ Victor. And he was getting exasperated. "I don't know anything about furniture," he said.


Some customers are a "riddle wrapped in a mystery," to quote from Winston Churchill. There had to be a story here. There was.


After a wildly successful decade on Wall Street in the 1980s, he retired at the age of 36. The suburban life with wife and kids had no appeal for him. His stock options gave him the opportunity to exercise what he called "the coconut option."


He made a life for himself alone in the Florida Keys, sailing, fishing and toasting the sunset with a beer from his front porch. For company, he had a dog.


"I get them from the pound when they only have a year or two left of life in them," he said. "Then, I spoil the hell out of them." He tossed a tennis ball across the lawn. The old mutt leaped up j961oyfully and took off like an Olympic sprinter.


I had to ask. "How does a single guy who couldn't care less about furniture end up with a big house filled with the best of it?"


Turns out, his dad worked for the phone company. His mom was a housewife. With six kids, they had enough for the essentials - but no luxuries. When he made his fortune, he bought them a big house, then took his mom furniture shopping. "That was fun," he said. 


Now, twenty-five years later, his parents are moving into an assisted-living facility. The house has to go. Ditto the furniture. He wasn't taking so much as a lamp back to the Keys. He likes the simple life. "You gotta know what makes you happy, man," he said.


Come to FCG in Chestnut Hill and check out his furniture. You might find just the piece to make your mom happy. Or your wife. Or your sister. Or maybe even yourself.

Topics: manomet, upsizing, bigger place, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, Downsizing, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, baby, princess, condo

Crazy for Color

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 07, 2015 @ 11: 40 AM

The Internet was on fire last week. A Scottish bride posted a photo of the dress her mother wore to her wedding and asked a simple question: what color is this? Within hours, tens of millions of people all over the world were hotly debating. Everyone but the Pope had an opinion.


What in color-nation was going on? IMG 4625


The Great Dress Debate illustrates some important truths. Everyone sees color differently. Some people don't see color at all. Then there are those who see greater variety and depth in color than the average Joe. Which explains a lot about the mystery of interior design.


Brian, Hanover's new assistant store manager, has a gifted eye for color. He proved it this week when the moving guys dumped a newly consigned salmon-colored sectional in his showroom. "Damn," I thought as I passed it by, "that is one ugly sofa."


In a few moments of inspiration, though, Brian whipped together a furniture vignette that included the sectional, a pair of mousy brown chairs and a rug in a bold geometric pattern. Suddenly, the ugly sectional looked stylish and modern. The brown chair was transformed into a crisp accent piece.


Suddenly, I wanted to take it home. What the heck? "Sometimes," Brian explained, "ugly plus ugly equals awesome." (Men, do not try this at home. This formula does not apply to your closet.)


Color is complex - and necessary - in successful design. Most of us struggle with it. That's why shopping for furniture and home accents is stressful. Mistakes are common but avoidable if you shop at FCG.


Some tips: shop in a showroom, not online. (Colors can be distorted by your computer.) Take fabric samples so that you can how see the color interacts with the light in your home. We are happy to loan a cushion for a day or so.


Bring color samples or photos of your walls, rugs and upholstered pieces when shopping. Our design-savvy associates will happily help coordinate a palette that will work in your home.


If you are still panic-stricken with color phobia, have no fear. Diana, my wife and a certified ASID interior designer, is offering a four-week series of evening classes at our showroom in Plymouth. Her color class is every student's favorite. Sign up now!

Topics: manomet, internet, meme, scottish, bride, consignment, boston, Interior Design, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, decorating, ugly, the dress

A Re-Emergence

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 28, 2015 @ 11: 22 AM

"We just got a bigger place!"


They were young, excited and expecting a new addition to their family any day. The couple burst into the showroom earlier this week and, after announcing their big news, they hurried off in opposite directions to shop.


Anticipating long nights with a fussy newborn, the father-to-be quickly found his favorite piece: a $1,710 leather loveseat sleeper by Hancock & Moore. As a father of three, I had to stifle the urge to educate the poor guy. Just because you buy a sleeper doesn't mean you're going to get any sleep after the baby arrives.  


Meanwhile, on another floor, his wife had fallen in love with the Princess Bed, a fantastically frou-frou structure decked out in acres of pink and yellow. 0uimg 0992copy


"I think it's a girl," she confided shyly, "but we don't really know..."


I quickly steered her towards more gender-neutral baby furniture. Turning the Princess Bed into a rocket ship or racecar if a little lad showed up would be a major challenge for a sleep-deprived dad.


After weeks of hibernation, shoppers are starting to emerge from their winter dens. And with them come the challenges of helping them navigate the turning points in life. I've missed that.


In Chestnut Hill, I was happy to see a longtime customer looking at a dining table of inlaid mahogany and eight leather chairs. Downsizing from a grand suburban colonial, she was scouting out items for a new condo overlooking Boston Harbor.


"Dining room seating for eight? In a condo?" I asked gently.


"Oh," she laughed. "I keep forgetting we're downsizing! And that means smaller!"


Finally, a normal week, I thought. Customers young and old are starting to trickle back into our stores. I'm happy to see familiar faces - and new ones. We've got showrooms well stocked with furniture for all kinds of fresh starts. The sun is shining. The snow is melting. Spring will be here soon.

Topics: manomet, upsizing, bigger place, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, Downsizing, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, baby, princess, condo

Deciding Factors

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, January 27, 2015 @ 05: 32 PM

"What do you think?" the young husband asked tentatively as he and his wife stood side-by-side studying a pair of marble-top chests. "I like them," she answered, hesitantly. "What do you think?"


"I think I like them," he answered carefully.bridal 20clip 20art RTdpqbGT9


"Are you sure?" she asked. "I do like them, but you don't sound so sure."


Newlyweds. Cute but frustrating. After a few minutes of patiently watching them lob the same question back and forth, I politely excused myself and left them alone in their tar pit of indecision. A few minutes later, they tracked me down. "She likes them!" the husband beamed. "But I'm not sure about him," she chimed in. "So we're going to go home and think about it."


Life offers an endless series of decisions. Colonial or Cape? Cat or dog? Save or spend? Negotiating the tar pit as a couple definitely is a skill you've got to master once you tie the knot.


Here at FCG, we get to witness those negotiations every day. As the indecisive couple shuffled out the door, another couple barreled into the showroom. "Upstairs," she commanded as her husband followed at her heels. Clearly, there were kids in the car and time was limited.


"This one," she said, pointing to a curio cabinet.


"Will it fit?" he asked. "Yes," she said decisively. Within minutes, they had paid, loaded the new piece into the back of the SUV, and roared out of the parking lot.


There's only one thing I know for sure. When you visit our three stores, you're going to find lots and lots of choices. Our showrooms are jammed with an ever-changing variety of beautiful, high-quality pieces of furniture at great prices. So your skill in decision-making is going to get a workout. You might want to practice. Or bring a coin to flip.

Topics: manomet, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room

Sitting on Milk Crates

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, January 13, 2015 @ 02: 19 PM

4 1 milk crateMy first apartment in Lexington, Kentucky was decorated in frat-boy style. The coffee table was a single milk crate. The television sat on two crates. My girlfriend, soon to become my wife, spent most of her time studying to be an interior designer and the rest frustrated over my barren apartment. Our dog's incessant barking eventually got me thrown out of the building. When I moved, I took those milk crates with me. Hey, quality, comfort and price! 


I was reminded of those penny-pinching post-college days this week when I got a call from a friend. His daughters had destroyed their dining room table with arts-and-crafts projects and he was in the market for a replacement.


"Nothing fancy," he said. "We're used to the junky stuff." In fact, he added, he didn't really want something from our store. What he was really looking for was a consignment reject. In other words, he wanted a table so dented, dinged and scratched that we wouldn't put it in our showrooms.  


"Buddy," I said. "You've got to upgrade." I invited him to visit our showroom to check out our high quality - and reasonably priced - dining room tables.


This incident got me thinking. Milk crates and plywood are fine furnishings when you're just starting out in life. But there comes a time when you have to put down the glue gun. My friend and his wife have good jobs. The problem is, they'd gotten so used to making do that it had become a way of life.


We see people like my friend in our stores every day. I try to share my philosophy with them. Your home is your biggest asset. Furnishing it with quality pieces adds warmth and energy to your home. So toss out the plywood and stop by Furniture Consignment Gallery. We'll help you find the grownup furniture you deserve.

Topics: manomet, milk crate, young, consignment, college, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, graduate, new home