FurnitureConsignment.com 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 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

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

Five Fearless Home Decorating Tips

Posted by Jay Frucci on Thu, December 15, 2011 @ 11: 13 AM

Somber as undertakers, the couple trekked into our showroom four times in four days. They slipped in through the front door, ignored our cheerful greetings and made a beeline for the section featuring dining-room sets. There, they spent hours grimly examining one particular table and the matching chairs. Our sales associates volunteered their help. The couple brushed them all off abruptly.  

Finally, our most personable – and apparently fearless – associate seized the opportunity as a personal challenge. Ms. Congeniality marched up the staircase to the second floor of our showroom determined to befriend this baffling duo. Downstairs, we took bets on whether she’d get anywhere with “Mr. and Mrs. Meany”.  

“Oh, they aren’t mean at all,” she told us later, after a long chat with the couple. “They are just scared to death.”

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Scared? Yes. In fact, they are terrified of decorating their home. Five years ago, the two moved into their home and the place still looks like an vacant warehouse. Paralyzed by fear, they haven’t bought a light fixture for the hallway. The result: a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling.  Walls are bare. Entire rooms are empty.

Now, the holidays are coming and they are looking at the possibility of another graceless meal at the kitchen counter. But the alternative – buying a table and some chairs for the dining room – fills them with abject terror.

Diana Frucci DesignWe witness such scenes all the time at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Many folks know what they like in furniture, but are afraid their taste is all “wrong.” Some fear making a design mistake with poor choices in color, size or scale. Others search endlessly for the perfect design, without a clear idea of what that might look like.

Often, customers will turn to me and say: “I’m sure your home is beautifully furnished.” Well, the truth is my home is full of the pieces that didn’t sell. There’s a dresser is in our foyer that sat on the showroom floor for over a year; it had been marked down almost to pennies. Finally, I took it home to put it out of my misery. And, believe it or not, we get more compliments on that dresser than almost any other piece of furniture in the house. 

Not everyone has an interior designer on speed-dial. And decorating a Diana Frucci Designbare room can be intimidating. Here are five tips to help you get started:

Break the ice with a small item. Like a sculptor starting with a new block of stone, everything gets easier once you make the first cut. Dive in and buy a lamp or a rug that appeals to you.
After that first decision, things start to fall into place.

Personalize your home. Invest in pieces or furniture or art that matter to you. Loved that safari honeymoon? Display those tribal sculptures and gradually a decorating theme will emerge.  (Think campaign chests and faux fur throws.) Did you inherit a beloved Victorian loveseat from Grandma?  Honor her by using it in your home. How about that sloppy painting your five-year-old hauled home from kindergarten? Frame it! Showcase the personal, the meaningful, and the memorable. That’s the heart of true beauty.

Add some humor to your décor! People are too serious these days. My mom has a sign hanging in her kitchen: “Wine is sure proof that God loves us.” In our own home, my wife and kids have tucked action figures into obscure spots. Those hidden treasures always manage to grab our guests’ attention.  It’s okay to be a bit goofy.  Make your home special for you and your family.kidsart 09

Make a list of what’s important to you. Do you like organization or clutter? Some people feel panicky if things are not in the proper bins. Other feel as though they are in a dentist’s office when things are too orderly.

Relax and look for pieces that make you smile. Your guests can’t help but love a home that reflects a full – and well-lived – life. When my wife, the designer, returns from a job, I typically ask her how things are shaping up at the client’s home. “Good!” she’ll usually say. “It’s not my taste – or yours – but they love it, and that’s what really matters.”

Topics: Furniture Consignment Boston, Interior Design, Furniture Consignment Hanover, Furniture Consignment Newton, Furniture Consignment Gallery in Hanover, massachusetts, Color Consultation, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Style, Furniture Consignment Gallery Newton, 2011, classic, design, 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