Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

An Old Friend to the Rescue

Posted by Jay Frucci on Thu, August 23, 2012 @ 10: 33 AM

     Our once-a-year sale requires all hands on deck, so we were pretty happy when an old friend stopped by the showroom to help. Jim is a former corporate executive who suffered a brain aneurysm, and a heart attack eight years ago. His health problems cost him some cognitive ability, but he hasn't lost his confidence, his talent for leadership or his sense of humor.

      All of those were in evidence when a customer decided to buy a beautiful hand-planed barn board table. She drove to our showroom from her home in Connecticut, prepared to haul home her treasure. She brought a U-haul - and her dad. Both father and daughter were concerned that the trailer's worn-out shocks would mean a bumpy ride and, ultimately, a damaged table.

    Open6x12Large Jim came to the rescue. Rummaging around our storage room, he found a case of paper towels and a half-dozen rolls of duct tape. "This might do the trick!" he announced, "Oh, and Jay," he added, "I'm going to need a saw."

     A saw? Near this spectacular table? My heart seized up for a minute, but I decided to trust him.

     An hour later, the table was secure in the trailer - and packed so carefully it could withstand a collision with a Hummer. First, the table was swathed in bubble wrap. Then, Jim constructed a crate using scrap wood. Placing the table into the crate, he used rolls of paper towels to act as shock absorbers. He topped it off with a tarp in case of rain.

     Father and daughter honked to say good-bye as they pulled out of the parking lot, happy with their treasure and with the innovative packing that insured they'd get the table home without a scratch.
     Jim is one lucky guy to have survived a health whammy. And we're lucky, too. He came out of it with his big heart - and his creativity - intact. Thanks to him, our customer will be serving dinners on the table of her dreams for years to come.

Topics: jim fitzpatrick, delivery, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Furniture Care

The "Reasonable" Offer

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 13, 2012 @ 10: 25 AM

TempleMarket22Oct20115"I would accept a reasonable offer on the altar table." The gentleman - and potential consignor - indicated with a sweep of his hand on the long, rectangular table in his living room. The piece was clearly old, but it was rough-hewn and lacking any ornamentation.


     Curious, I asked him what he would consider reasonable. "A good offer would be twelve thousand," the man said firmly, "and a reasonable offer would be six thousand." 

     I gulped. Would that be in dollars or peanuts? I thought. I quickly squelched the comment, because I knew he wasn't joking.

     Asian furniture occupies a special niche in the consignment business. China is an ancient country, and treasured possessions such as porcelain and furniture typically have been passed down from generation to generation. In this case, the eight-foot altar table was more than two hundred years old. Its construction and workmanship suggested it had been built during the mid-Qing Dynasty, China's last dynasty, which ruled from 1644 to 1912.

     How did the table get to Boston? The gentleman's mother had been a pioneer of Asian-influenced interior design who had visited China frequently to scour that country for antiques after it opened to the West in the early 1970s. Some of her most important pieces had been consigned to the Boston Design Center, where showrooms had built vignettes around items she had collected in Japan, Korea and China.

      Her son had inherited some of her favorite pieces, including the altar table. While it wasn't as rare or exquisite as something you might see in the Shanghai Museum, it was beautiful for its history and provenance. Yet the price he was seeking was still astounding - at least for our customers.

     Sentimentality sometimes creates a fog ofgr 001 528x421 confusion for consignors when it comes to the value of their furniture. In this consignor's mind, the altar table may have represented his mother's adventurous spirit in venturing into a place as economically chaotic and primitive as China in the 1970s. Or the table may have been a reminder of her celebrated career as the doyenne of Chinese-inspired d├ęcor in Boston.

     But our buyers wouldn't see those things in this rough table and we couldn't command the price he was asking. We agreed that Furniture Consignment Gallery wasn't the right place to sell the table, and we parted as friends. In leaving, I offered him some advice. Antique stores that specialize in Asian furniture attract knowledgeable connoisseurs. After visiting with some specialty stores his pricing expectations could be validated or he may find that he would need to reset them. They would at least appreciate his altar table - and the story of the woman who launched it on its long journey to the U.S. Secretly I was hoping he would decide otherwise and give us a chance.

Topics: Price My Furniture, Chinese Antiques, Ancient, alter, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Antique furniture, Furniture quality, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Solid Wood, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Style, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture Care, Furniture History, China

Banish Your Decorating Demons

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, April 03, 2012 @ 01: 42 PM

confessional by arik levy 1After the last few days in the store, we've decided to build a confessional into our showroom. Here you can recite your Act of Contrition, and you'll be absolved of all of your furniture purchasing sins, mortal or venial.

     All week long, a long line of penitents funneled through our door and poured out their hearts to us. "What was I thinking?" cried one consignor, admitting she had blown her budget for a decade on a furniture shopping spree. "Never again," another winced, recalling how she bought an enormous mansion at the peak of the market and furnished it lavishly.

      We heard every variation of the seven deadly sins. One greedily wanted a house bigger than her sister's. Another lusted after a friend's inlaid mahogany desk until she found one even more exquisite - and pricier - in an antique shop.

Their stories were all slightly different, but they had one thing in common: they wanted absolution - and some money back, too.

      

     Haven't we all been there?

 

     I can recall attending a live auction several years ago. Consumed in the bidding process, I vaguely remember g-forces driving my paddle up in the air faster than I could think. The heat of the moment, the competition, the will to win! All three took command of my soul. And, suddenly, "Sold for $275! The hutch goes to the gentleman on the left." 

     When I was bidding, I was riding a motorcycle on a winding country road. When the auctioneer banged the gavel, I hit a brick wall.

     The large mahogany hutch looked like a bargain when it was $50. After other buyers got involved in the fray, its value seemed to soar. Once they announced the new proud owner was moi I started to sweat at my poor decision-making. I did some fast math: $275 plus the auctioneer's commission of 12%, plus sales tax 6.25%.bidding I had to move it within the next forty-eight hours and worse yet, where am I going to store it until I figure out what I can do with it?

    I raised my hand. "Excuse me, sir... I'd like to apologize to the folks that I outbid. You see, I really don't need this hutch. It's not the money. What I was thinking? Can I give it back? This guy over here bid $250. Maybe you could sell it to him. I'll cover the extra $25."

     I was looking for absolution and my money back. The room went silent. The man I outbid shrunk down in his seat. Clearly, he had gotten caught up in bidding, too. Now, he just wanted me to go far, far away.

     Yes, I have been there. Haven't we all at one time or another? Life goes on. We make mistakes. Forgive yourself and move onto the next great thing in your life. And when it comes to fixing those mistakes, come see our new confessional at Furniture Consignment Gallery. We promise to listen - with sympathy - and help you get some money back, too.

Topics: How To Sell Estate Furniture, auction, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Refinishing, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture quality, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Style, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture Spotlight, Furniture Care, Furniture History, re-purpose furniture, How To Buy New Furniture, Estate Sale, 7 deadly sins, confessional, bidding

Dear Furniture, Let me tell you my story.

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, March 16, 2012 @ 02: 56 PM

61t2IbsP0tL. SL500 AA300 In 1944, as war raged across Europe and the Pacific, Joline Anderson married Robert Wright in a borrowed gown with a bouquet of flowers nipped from her mother's backyard. For something old, the couple had an heirloom ring. Something new was a wedding gift from a friend and furniture maker: a Salem chest.

   

  For sixty years, that mahogany chest held the treasures of a long and happy marriage: baby booties, poodle skirts, cashmere cardigans, prayer books, postcards from the kids, photos of the grand-kids. It was one of the most special pieces in our showroom for the few days that we had it.

  

   Consigned by a $(KGrHqQOKpME6eOZ(vnjBOpze pH2!~~60 3family member who, sadly, didn't have room for it in his home, the chest seemed to whisper the secrets of lives well lived in homes well loved. There's magic in knowing the history of that chest.

     Indeed, stories are important. When I was in high school, I used to keep a journal. It was full of adolescence angst, alternately heartbreaking and hilarious when you read it twenty years later. I got a little lazy about writing when I went to college. Entries were terse and infrequent -I was majoring in English and channeling Hemingway - but there is one telling item written when I was a sophomore:

 

"I met a girl named Dianna today. She was pretty and nice." 

 

I may have spelled her name wrong, but I got the relevant facts right. She was pretty - and nice enough to marry me four years later.

    To some, it would seem silly to write down fleeting thoughts about our cars, our clothing, our furniture, our homes. But these are the details that illuminate our lives. Who doesn't 59mirrorworld 60badwolfroseremember their first car with all its loveable dents? Or that sofa that you managed to squeeze into your first apartment? Or the dining room table where you hosted your first Christmas dinner? All the nicks and scratches tell their own stories, often about the best days of our lives but, sometimes, about the worst days, too.

 


     We witness many a reflective moment with our consignors when they are turning over to us the furniture they've enjoyed for years. They'll tap a desk or a dresser gently with a far-away look in their eyes and relive a memory before entrusting it to our care.    

    

 

    So on the next rainy day, take a moment and jot down the history of some of your most prized possessions.  Even if it seems silly now, your story may have meaning for someone who may someday own that piece. Your words will enrich somebody's life - if only the consignment guy who opens a drawer and finds your note on a yellowed piece of paper.

Topics: Will My Furniture Sell, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Refinishing, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture quality, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Value, Furniture Style, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture Spotlight, Furniture Care, Furniture History, American Made Furniture, 1940s Furniture

Furniture on the Move

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, February 24, 2012 @ 02: 08 PM

     moving truck6:35 AM Today:  "As of last night at 7:00PM papers are signed, and more importantly money is finally down!! I would like to proceed with consigning the furniture -- if that is alright with you. Are you available on March 2nd?"  

     All week long we have been fielding calls from customers eager to schedule furniture pick-ups. The signs are there that the Spring real estate market is coming in like a Lion!  "As soon as we have the sales agreement in hand, you can come get the furniture" says one, happy to be setting off on a long-anticipated retirement adventure consignor. Another is joyfully moving into a new home. "We move on March 6th. Can you sell our old dining room set? It is too big for the new dining room. And I found a new set in your showroom that will fit the new house perfectly!"  

     After years of waiting out the recession, people seem to be on the move again. That is always an emotion-filled journey, one that we're happy to share with our customers. When we are helping customers who are moving, we witness the full range of emotions in those who are selling and buying homes. Sellers are sifting through memories of lives well lived and coming to terms with the decision to make a change. Buyers are eagerly looking forward to fulfilling their dreams of creating a new home.

    A big move creates anxieties, but it is typically mingled with excitement and anticipation. Decisions must be made. Some hesitate and fret over the details. Others leap from one 8083 wpm lowresdecision to another with the speed and agility of a star hurdler.

     One of our customers is making her fifth move - in five years. Having seen her through all these transitions, we are beginning to feel a bit like family. We were at her home this week swapping out beds, cleaning out some high quality pieces from her basement and trying to get her squared away before her 2PM showing. She was calm -- I was stressed! "We've got to get these beds made!" I exclaimed. "Don't worry. They'll either like the home or they won't", the wily moving veteran said with cool composure.  

     In the next town over, we recently sold a dining room set for a customer who was moving out of a lovely colonial in the suburbs. We were back at the same house the following week - delivering a different dining room set to the new homeowner.

     Strange things happen during a move. Emotions run high. Some folks make good decorating decisions under stress. Others don't. Furniture that fit perfectly in that big family colonial may not work in the chic new retirement condo. The formal dining room set that looked so elegant in Newton may not work in your casual house on the Cape. Some people are able to anticipate that certain pieces won't work in the new home before the big move. Others incur the expense of moving the items, try to cram furniture built for a large home  into a small home and then make the decision to consign the items. 

     We wouldn't think of offering advice about moving - every family handles that challenge differently - but we do have one suggestion: Keep Furniture Consignment Gallery on speed dial.

     You never know when you might need us. And we promise we'll do our best to help you.  

     7:03 AM Today: "Let's do Thursday, March 1. I'll make it work." says yet another client on the move. 

Topics: How To Sell Estate Furniture, Price My Furniture, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture quality, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture Care, Furniture History, Where To Sell Furniture, How To Buy New Furniture

Striking A Balance with Kids and Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, January 10, 2012 @ 12: 48 PM

Sitting at the breakfast table slurping my last Omar Wysong, by Jeff Linettspoonful of Honey Bunches of Oats, I felt a breeze behind me, then heard the screech of wheels rounding the corner. Based on the fraction of a second between the breeze and the screech, whatever it was that just blasted through the kitchen was moving fast. I whipped my head around to see my nine-year-old son, Collin, racing down the hallway on his roller blades. "Whoa, whoa, no, no, NO!" I hollered after him. "Not in the house!"  

 

Collin spent a lot of time over school vacation week this holiday with a friend who lives around the corner. Their home is different from ours. They're a hockey family, and we're not talking just tickets to the Bruins. Their house is a rink - with furniture. The kids' rollerblades have worn a groove into the hardwood floors. Doors and walls have weathered more than a few collisions. There might even be some blood. To their credit, our neighbors have raised a brood of great hockey players, but most families choose to put a limit on the amount of fun allowed in the home.

 

Raising kids to enjoy - but also to respect -- your home and its furnishings is a challenge. We've seen the gamut in our clients' homes. Some couples spend thousands on a mahogany dining room set, then let their children race toy cars on its gleaming finish. Conversely, one newlywed couple is wrestling with the decision of how to furnish the living room for this, their second marriage. He doesn't have children; she has three. He wants formal and fancy; she knows the carnage kids can inflict on furniture. If not managed with care, that situation has disaster written all over it.

 

So where is the happy medium? How can you satisfy an adult's need for beauty with a kid's desire for fun? It is not easy, but here are some ideas that may help you figure out a solution:

  • Give the kids a few areas in the house where they can be kids. WePottery Barn Playroom, as parents, should encourage playtime. Even some roughhousing is healthy. Big or small, some part of your home should be dedicated to fun. And when things get a bit out of hand, as my Mother used to holler to us: "Take it out to the front yard!"

  • Create a warm, cozy place in your home where you can come together as a family. A place where everybody is comfortable.  A place where you won't trip over toys. A place where kids can snuggle up with Mom and Dad.

  • And, yes, your home should have some special items that are meaningful to your family. Maybe they are costly new pieces that create a certain look. Maybe they are treasured heirlooms passed down from parents or grandparents. One of the responsibilities of parenting is teaching kids to treat special possessions - their own and others' - with respect. My Dad would drive me crazy when he would knock my feet off the coffee table. Somehow he could see the fresh scratch on the wall before entering the home from work. We put our dents in our home, but my brothers and I also learned the valuable lesson of respecting the family's hard earned assets.

And here's one last tip. New furniture can be very costly. But there's an alternative for those who value quality furniture -- while also understanding that indoor rollerblading on rare occasions (and snow days) might be necessary. Shop smart. Shop consignment. If you don't mind a tiny scratch or two, you'll find a great selection of quality pieces at Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover and now in Chestnut Hill. They didn't have consignment stores like ours when I was growing up. If there had been, I'm sure my family would have been regular visitors.

Topics: Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, MA, chestnut hill, Arts & Crafts Furniture, Furniture quality, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, massachusetts, Game Table, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture Care, children, design, kids, fear

Three Ways to Keep Your Furniture Looking New

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 01, 2010 @ 06: 53 AM

A gentleman phoned our store last week and wanted to discuss selling his furniture and he wanted us to know that is was "brand new". "We never even used it!" he exclaimed. When he struggled to describe the set, couldn't recall how he acquired the pieces, how much they cost him or what store they were purchased from, I became concerned that his items were stolen.  After asking a few more Colombo style questions, I uncovered that the set was purchased between 1965 and 1969. That explained why the man couldn't remember much about the purchase process.  But it was the fact that he described his furniture to be "brand new" that initially threw us for the loop.

This is actually a fairly common conversation with our potential consignors. In accentuating the point that they took great care of the their furniture assets, they will tell us that a sofa was only sat on five times or that the dining set was used on Easter 3 years ago and that was the extent of its use.  But what they don't often realize is that their furniture endures a lot of unintentional and unnoticed abuse.

Furniture finishes and upholstered items often break down due to the natural elements and cleaning practices.  Here are some ways to keep your furniture in showroom condition without screaming "don't touch that!" at your kids.

  • Be aware of the sunlight in your Window Treatmentsroom.  Sun is one of the great destroyers of furniture.  A dining set may never host a single family dinner and yet can get walloped by the sun every day.  Ultraviolet rays on your furniture will cause significant bleaching, discoloration, peeling finish and flaky wood.  It is important to pay attention to the times of day and year when the furniture will be exposed to these direct rays.  Installing blinds, a film over your windows, or rotating your furniture periodically can help to slow the sun's damaging effects on your prized pieces.

  • Living in New England with thehow to maintain the proper humidity levels in your home 156 crazy weather patterns that we experience can put furniture through the ringer.  Especially in the Spring and Fall when we have the heat on in the mornings and then turn it off during the day, it can be literally torture on your furniture as it absorbs and releases moisture causing it to expand and contract. In these months, close the heating vents in the rooms that host your nicest furniture.  Do your best to position furniture away from heating and cooling vents.

  • Believe it or not, dust build-up on dusting furniture.s600x600your furniture and how it is removed can cause your finish to scratch.  We see dining tables and dresser tops that have been cleaned in a circular motion and under direct lighting, circular scratches are very evident.  Dusting with a damp, clean cloth, is generally the safest and best way to keep the dust mites from compromising your prized finishes.

 

 

Caring for your furniture is as much about understanding the elements that exist in your home and being aware of how they effect your home furnishings.  Furniture doesn't need to be sat on or used to endure wear and tear.  We often have the ugly job of pointing out the results of this unintentional furniture abuse to proud owners who thought they were doing the best for their furniture.

 

Topics: Protect My Furniture, Value of Your Furniture, Sell My Furniutre, Furniture Care