Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

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 Characteristics of Great Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 22, 2011 @ 07: 50 AM

We see it all.  Where most furniture sales people are trained only in the products that they represent, we have to know quite a bit about most everything that is being sold in the marketplace.  As a result, we have some strong opinions about what makes furniture great.Unique wood grain  Here are three characteristics of great furniture.

  1. Regardless of styles or furniture periods, the best furniture that we see has the finest grain of wood. The elite manufacturers such as Henkle Harris and Kindel Furniture stand out above the others because of the wonderful stock of wood that they choose. Their wood grains are so distinct they jump out of the finish.
  2. Furniture with inlaid veneers over a solid wood is a sign of great furniture. Inlaid veneers are where a furniture artisan is able to show great creativity and can define their piece in a special way.  These veneers constructed from walnut, satin, rosewood or Inlaid woodebony differentiate average furniture from great furniture. The selected wood grain for these veneers is also a key element to producing great furniture.
  3. Attention to hidden areas is a characteristic of great furniture.  If you can run your hand underneath a coffee table and your hand slides without friction or if drawers are finished on the inside, these are signs that the manufacturer poured everything they had into their product.  Check for smoothness in how well the drawers slide in and out and that drawers are finely sanded and planed around the edges. Again your hand should be able to slide around a drawer without friction. Dovetailed drawers should feel like a continuous piece of furniture.

Furniture is like artwork in that it can be a masterpiece, but what matters most is that it apppeals to you.

Topics: Dovetail joints, Furniture quality, Furniture Value, Furniture Style, Wood inlay, Quality Furniture

Nothing beats the Beds of the 1920s

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, October 29, 2010 @ 05: 08 PM

Bed sizes have evolved quite a bit over the last few centuries. As homes have become larger, rooms have expanded and naturally bed sizes have followed suit.  It wouldn't be America if bigger wasn't better.  I upgraded to a King Bed myself.  Though we all desire more sleeping space and mattress surface area, nothing beats the beds that were made in the 1920s - 1940s. 

Mahogany Full Bed

These beds are solid as a rock and super sturdy. Most of them take a standard size full bed and you can even get an inexpensive converter kit that will extend the length and width of your bed so that it can accpet a Queen Mattress.  

Solid Mahogany Full BedSome great qualities of the beds built in this era are:

  • They were built of solid woods such as Solid mahogany or Rock Maple.
  • The decorative detail was often created by hand.
  • They are made to last and have almost outlived one generation and will likely outlive another.
  • They are very affordable as they sell for between $300 - $1,200 depending on condition and style.
Tiger Maple Full Bed
Beds from this era may not be the bed of choice for your master bedroom, but, I bet one of these beds would fit great in most any other room in your home. Perfect for a guest room or a growing child.  These beds add elegance, beauty and long lasting quality to any home.

Topics: Value of Your Furniture, Furniture quality, Solid Mahogany, Solid Wood

For Leather Furniture, Resale Market is Best

Posted by Jay Frucci on Wed, May 12, 2010 @ 01: 44 PM
Whittemore and  Sherrill Leather Sofa

Leather is having a hard time at the moment.  The average consumer assumes that leather is mass produced and doesn't rely on market conditions or supply and demand.  Leather, as a reminder, comes from cow hide, of which there is a finite supply and is currently experiencing a worldwide shortage.  As a result, leather furniture products are experiencing price increases of 5% to 25%. 

In the near future, we will begin hearing catch phrases like "bonded leather".  Bonded Leather combines synthetics, latex and polyurethanes.  As described by wisegeek.com (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bonded-leather.htm), bonded leather is the difference between "ground beef" and "steak".  Bonded leather gives the appearance of genuine leather, but is far from the real thing.

With the current supply issues surrounding co

w hides, the most frugal and humane way to purchase a genuine leather product is on the resale market.

If you see a genuine leather product on the resale market, do not hesitate, as the value is likely to be too great to pass up.  Two weeks ago, we had a beautiful Hancock & Moore leather recliner that I was strongly

considering for my own home.  I thought about it overnight and was pacing the showroom floor, ready to take the plunge.  When I walked to the second floor to grab the tag, one of our regular customers was relaxing in "my chair".  Needless to say, he purchased the chair and I am still kicking myself for not moving more quickly.  Leather is durable, looks great and is in short supply.  So if you find it in your favorite consignment store  -- buy it!

 

 

Topics: Furniture quality, Pre-owned furniture, Leather Furniture

Furniture Retailers are Dazed and Confused

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, April 17, 2010 @ 12: 33 PM

It is troubling to continue to watch furniture retailers wallow in the wake of the sluggish housing market.  This is a critical time, when furniture retailers must re-focus their efforts on confusedputting furniture into the hands of the consumer. Unfortunately, furniture retailers seem to only be interested in gimmick promotions that have nothing to do with furniture.

As the gimmick promotions continue to hit new lows such as: "Buy this furniture package and receive a free washer and dryer" (yes--I heard this one), retailers are inadvertantly cheapening the products that they carry.  Retailers don't seem to realize that these gimmicks are causing the consumer to view their furniture to be of lesser value.  In the same vein, the retailer is conditioning the consumer to want an even better price or an extra throw-in.  Now you might say to all this: "I'm a consumer and this is great for me!".  Unfortunately, this mantra of more - more - more for less - less - less is going to prove to be quite messy as we go forward.

As the economy turns, the overseas labor market in countries where furniture is produced will become more competitive, driving costs up.  This could lead to a catastrophic cycle for furniture retailers who, faced with the prospect of higher costs, will choose to use cheaper materials in lieu of raising prices. Just when we think that quality could not possibly get worse in furniture, it will continue to erode.

Furniture retailers have the power to change this bleak outlook and can right this sinking ship. In order to do so, however, they must put the gimmicks aside and demand that their manufacturers produce a better product, not a cheaper one.

Topics: Furniture quality, Quality Furniture

4 Characteristics of Furniture that People Want

Posted by Jay Frucci on Thu, April 08, 2010 @ 02: 28 PM

The question is asked at least once a day, "What kinds of things do you take for consignment?" The quick answer is "Things that we can sell!" but that's only really half the truth.  There are plenty of items we can sell, but we want to take the pieces that knock the socks off of our buyers.  There are a few specific features that customers are particularly attracted to:

Wood Grain that pops out of the wood.  Well, it doesn't literally pop out of the wood, but customers love to see disctinct and powerful wood grains.  Tiger maple, birdseye maple or walnut, and quartersawn oak will draw the "oohs" and "ahhs" of a potential buyer.

Tiger Maple

Veneers with a punch always draw a reaction from browsers and buyers, especially those that offer contrasting colors on the drawers of bureaus and the doors of larger pieces.  The crotch walnut or mahogany veneers that are bookmarked together are always crowd favorites.

Beautiful Wood Grain Headboard

Furniture with bold inlays almost always sell well.  Mahogany dining tables with a border that has satin wood, ebony wood, or rosewood is striking to the eye and allows a homeowner to mix and match various accent pieces.

Banded table

Nothing beats a great finish!  Not all finishes are equal, and certain companies and craftsman do better than others.  I've seen good furniture with a sub-par finish sell for significantly less than similar furniture with a superior finish.

Mirror Finish Dining Table

Unlike the purchase of your home where it is important to think about resale before you buy, you should not buy furniture for its potential resale value.  However, if you are looking for a way to justify a purchase of high end furniture, pieces that have a great finish, contrasting wood colors and nice veneers will appeal to most buyers if indeed you decide to sell down the road.

Topics: Value of Your Furniture, Sell My Furniutre, Furniture quality, Quality Furniture