FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

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

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

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

A Warming Trend

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, April 09, 2013 @ 03: 20 PM

 under reno"The contractor is going to be here in an hour," she said casually. "He's ripping out the kitchen island."

I stopped dead in my tracks. "Why?" I blurted, without thinking. "It's beautiful." She had a kitchen that would be the envy of any serious cook. Hers was an island just made for kids' afternoon snacks and homework or wine-and-pizza with friends. Distressed black with red undertones, it had a rich cherry wood top.

 

"Don't worry," she assured me. "We're going green. We're going to re-purpose the island as a work bench in the barn." She started detailing the master plan for the new kitchen to me, excited about the cabinetry and the new stainless-steel appliances that were on order. All I could think about were the paint brushes, wrenches and nails that would be strewn across that polished island top once it was dispatched to the barn.

 

describe the imageRenovations are good for the economy, and hers was one of many signs that things are picking up after a four-year housing slump. In another home we visited this week, an expanded master suite had hardwood floors so vast and gleaming they would have made a great bowling alley for my three boys. This home owner realized they made the room too big and was ready to begin additional alterations to further complicate or correct the problem. 

 

As a furniture consignment guy, I get to see a lot of homes here in Boston and its suburbs. Rarely do the new - or newly done - mansions command my attention. In a way, some of them seem as cold and lifeless as mausoleums. What gets me is something that no contractor or architect in the world can give a home: warmth.

 

You can't draw warmth on a blueprint. Warmth comes from a home that tells the story of the lives lived within: the kids' art framed and hung in the family room like an Old Master, the embroidered pillow you made the winter of the big snowstorm, the tiny nicks on the legs of the breakfront, a reminder of the toy trucks that got rammed into them when your son was three. You can't buy warmth, but you can achieve it.

 

Visit one of our three showrooms this weekend. We have a lot of beautiful furniture, once loved, that came from my kind of homes. Let us help you build some warmth in your home so that you can live a good life in it.

Topics: home, delivery, family, warmth, reconstruction, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Gallery, American Made, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture, customers, renovation

Real People Sell Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 16, 2013 @ 03: 25 PM

     Sometimes, I gotta confess, you see the damndest things when you're picking up furniture in people's homes.

      "Oh, that," said the lady of the house, waving airily at a small baggie stuffed with crisp brown leaves sitting on her coffee table. "Just ignore it," she added. "My stepson should know better than to leave his weed out where anyone can find it."dog poop bag
I had no interest in the baggie, but the furniture looked good, so we took it. Carrying a desk down the stairs and out the door, Matt and I almost stepping on a different plastic bag, neatly bundled, that she'd left sitting on the front stoop. "Watch out," she barked. "Dog shit!"    
      Oh, the perils of furniture pick-up. Don't get me wrong, though. I'm happy to be back in the truck. For the last few months, I've been tied to
my desk working out the details of staffing and filling our new store in Plymouth, which, happily, opened to great reviews on March 1.

    Finally, now, I can get back to hunting through rough waters and green pastures for great furniture.

     What was that quote by Jack Kerouac? "Nothing behind me and everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road." We former English majors think like this when we get a few miles from home and office.  

   Our next stop was to see a retired firefighter. Her name was "Murf." If your home was ablaze, you would want her manning the hose.screen 4bec0f6f83a0e Built like a fireplug, she was competent and compassionate - and she knew more about furniture than me. Her father, it turns out, was a salesman for woodworking equipment. She'd spent part of her childhood visiting the big furniture factories that once dotted the landscape. Murf was witness to a great era of American furnituremaking and she didn't even know it.

     After Murf, we visited a couple of storage units, an upscale house in a country-club development, and a couple of homes in the ragged stage of renovation. The result: an action-packed day for me and my trusty travel companion Matt who was subbing in for Nick who was home with his new baby boy. Coming home, the truck was stuffed with furniture and we were stuffed with tales of the riot of humanity out there.  

    He'd gotten it right, Kerouac. Keep on rolling, he said, and "lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."

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

Magic Mondays

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 16, 2013 @ 03: 00 PM

CH juneAs I trundled into the gym last Monday, I heard a familiar voice call out, "You're welcome, Jay!" The place is always mobbed in January and February, as everyone does penance for the holidays. So I couldn't actually see who was hollering at me, but I knew the voice. "Thanks, Jim!" I hollered back. That's been our weekly ritual for years.

 

Every Monday, I go to the gym. That's largely because of some wise advice from Jim, a retired retail executive who has been a kindly counselor to me for years. Jim knows well the demands of managing a fast-growing business. He insisted from the start that I take a day off every week. So our stores have always been closed on Mondays.

 

Jim was right. I needed a day off. For the last seven years, I've been a jack-of-all-trades. I answered the phone and drove the truck. I picked up furniture. Back at the store, I sold furniture - then jumped in the truck and delivered it. When things were quiet in the showroom, I paid the bills, managed the books and swept the snow off the front steps.

But things change. Furniture Consignment Gallery has grown. Soon, we'll have three stores with many more customers and big challenges. But we also have a strong infrastructure now. We've developed dedicated and experienced staffers like Ron, Jeff, Sam, Christa, Matt, Nick, Judy, Theresa, Denise and Brad who share our vision. They do their jobs well and I trust them to take care of our customers.

uIMG 1310So starting this Monday, Presidents' Day, February 18th, Furniture Consignment Gallery will be open seven days a week. That means we won't see any more disappointed shoppers circling the empty parking lot in Hanover after tugging on our locked doors on Mondays. They'll find our doors open and our showroom filled with quality furniture, art and accessories. So will the folks in Chestnut Hill. And our newest store in Plymouth also will be open seven days a week starting March 1.

 

As for me, I'm still planning on going to the gym on Mondays. I'm working off the holiday pounds one bench press at a time. And I know Jim will approve.

Topics: Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Gallery, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture

The Brave Cyclist

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, July 24, 2012 @ 03: 01 PM

     old timer racerHe parked his bicycle outside the store on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill, opened the door and staggered into the showroom, out of breath and sweating profusely. "It's hot out there," he announced, wiping his brow.

      "My wife sent me to check out some chairs," he told us. He was an older gentleman, but it was apparent from his build and his firm hand-shake that he may have been quite an athlete years ago. We pulled up a chair for him and offered him a gulp of water.

     Like him, the Chippendale chairs had a rich patina, were full of character and solid as a rock. He looked them over and bought them decisively. The decisiveness is a trait that had likely served him well during, what we guessed to have been, a successful business career.

     He decided to forego the bike ride home, and called his wife for a ride. Twenty minutes old bikelater, a woman strode into the store, clearly exasperated. She was a bit younger, pretty and a polished suburban wife. "What were you thinking?" she scolded the man. "The bike? In this heat? Route 9? Are you crazy?"

     Despite the lecture - and a tumultuous medical history - he didn't look a bit sheepish. In fact, he ignored the rant and turned to us with a reasonable request. "Put those chairs aside for me. I'll be back to get them a bit later. Oh, and don't sell my bike."

      After he left we thought: who wouldn't want to almost kill themselves by bicycling down Route 9 in blazing heat to buy their wife some chairs from FCG? It all made perfect sense to us.

Topics: Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Furniture Spotlight, Dining Room Set, Furniture History, dining chairs, Chippendale Chairs, chairs, bike, bicycle

Two Octogenarian Youths

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, July 17, 2012 @ 10: 20 AM

love this book? Click and support the artist!"Beautiful!" the octogenarian bellowed at his wife a few feet away. The pair was admiring a massive cherry hutch with beveled glass they found in the showroom and intended to buy. "We can move this ourselves," his wife hollered back with delight. "We don't need to pay the delivery fee."

 

Looking a bit doubtful, he gingerly made his way over to the hutch and attempted to lift the top half of the hutch an inch or two to gauge its weight. "I think we can get it," he announced with confidence to the entire population of Hanover, MA. She made her way to the opposite side and concurred. "Oh, yes, dear, we can."

 

To this pair, life is a bucking bronco - and you'd best grab it by the horns.

 

Married when Elvis was crooning Love Me Tender on the Hit Parade, the two were still feathering their nest and having adventures. After a buying spree in our showroom, they were going to look at motor homes for a cross-country jaunt. 

 

He was 82. She was 81. The fun, they assured me, was just starting. 

 

The two actually preferred the view at 10,000 feet. Both have been aviators since they were first married. They have flown the friendly skies in his-and-her single-engine planes for more than a half-century.

 

Hers is a sporty 1968 Beechcraft, a plane that just Untitled 1begs for a flight outfit of go-go boots and a miniskirt.  She went out to the car to get photos. "I'll never sell it," she exclaimed. "It's my baby." Her husband just put a new engine in it for her.  

 

As for the hutch, I proposed they leave the heavy lifting to the pros. Why risk a slipped disc when there's so much more left on the bucket list? I convinced them to let our young bucks bring the hutch home for them - and they almost had me signed up for flight lessons.  

 

Those two old birds are doing it right: life at full throttle, even in your 80s.

 

 

Love the Adventure book featured? Buy it here.

 


Topics: airline, air travel, Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, Furniture History, Adventure, airplane, hutch

5 Decorating Disasters

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 13, 2012 @ 10: 40 AM

So you tackled a redecorating project, but things went awry and you’re not exactly sure how it happened. Worse yet, you have no idea how to fix it. Here are five common decorating disasters and some tips on how to avoid them.

The Floral Fiasco: After agonizing over swatches for days, you finally found a chintz you liked for the chintz bedroom c1963sofa. So you decided to double down on that bet. You did the chairs, the ottoman, and the window treatments in the same fabric. Heck, you even bought another bolt to cover the bar stools and make a shower curtain. Yes, it is possible to have too much of a good thing – even if it is of good quality. I love tiger maple Eldred Wheeler, but a room full of it is boring and predictable. You might love the look of an all-white room in a design magazine, but err in the execution and your home will feel like an igloo. Good design is a skillful mix of patterns, color and texture.      

Photo: Bedroom 324 of the White House- "The room as the Chintz Bedroom, circa 1963  (Kennedy Library)"

 

The Skittles Color Scheme:

interior room paint colors

You wanted every room to have a unique personality, so you did each one in a different color. Now, your guests are looking for the pot of gold in your home because they think they’ve wandered into a rainbow. Pick a pleasing neutral that flows through your home, and you can still infuse your decorating scheme with spicy pops of color.

Photo of Color experiement Exhibit at Salone del Mobile in Milan by Porro

 

 

 

 

Scale Snafus: A small rug in a big room looks like abigbang postage stamp on a pool table. There’s no excuse for that kind of mistake even if you must show off your beautiful hardwood floors. Scale is a tough challenge for a decorating newbie, but it is absolutely crucial. Cramming oversized furniture into a small space just shrinks the room – and causes bruising when you try to navigate around it. On the other hand, a big room looks cold and uninviting with furniture that is too small or too dainty. Scale isn’t just about the furniture, either. Patterns in fabric also affect proportions. Misunderstanding scale is where many inexperienced homeowners run amok in their decorating projects.   

 

 

6a00e54ef1680988330120a5e25fee970b 600wiWelcome to the Museum: Turning the little-used guest bath into a luxurious spa is a lovely idea, but it shouldn’t be your first – or even second – project. Dedicate most of your decorating budget to the rooms you use every day. We often see homes that boast a state-of-the-art home theatre or palatial guest quarters, but the family actually lives day-to-day in a space that has shabby furniture, bare windows and poor lighting. Don’t spend all your decorating dollars on the rarely used specialty rooms just to impress once-a-year guests. You and your family deserve comfort and beauty every day.

 

 

Dim-Bulb Design: Lighting should be

6a00e54ee90d2488340120a928086e970b 450wi

layered in almost every room. That typically means a combination of recessed lights, lamps large and small, and perhaps sconces and chandeliers. Plan for a variety of lighting in your decorating budget. I also recommend dimmers to set the mood. Dull lighting can make your rooms look gloomy and washed-out. On the other hand, no one feels comfortable in a place so bright it feels like an operating room.

 

 

 

 

beovision 4 103 smallThe Black Monster: The television is a critical element in most family rooms, so you should take extra effort to make sure it is placed correctly. This can be a challenge. Putting a flat-screen above the fireplace could mean big chiropractor bills in the future. When the screen is set too high on the wall, you may get a crimp in your neck watching it. And you can’t always stick the television in a corner, either. When you invite folks over for beer and Bruins, you don’t want them executing a bizarre yoga twist just to catch a glimpse of the screen.  Finally, resist the temptation to buy the biggest flat-screen in the store. The television shouldn’t dominate the room.

 

Still, everyone makes mistakes. You shouldn’t punish yourself and force your family to live inside a cocoon of cabbage roses … if, say, you were the one who went overboard with the chintz. Call Furniture Consignment Gallery and we might just find another home for your mistake – and put some cash back in your pocket.

Topics: Furniture Consignment Boston, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, Living Room, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, TV Unit, design, 7 deadly sins

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 décor 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