Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Dog Training into Life Lessons

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, March 26, 2013 @ 10: 24 AM

"I'll take him!" I told the breeder. I could barely see 367px Boxer puppy fawnanything in the dark, grimy basement, but I'd seen enough to know this puppy was the one. Fourteen weeks old, he was a beautiful fawn Boxer, the last of the litter. I was 23, working hard at my first job, and living in Kentucky. I learned an important lesson that day. Never go look at a puppy unless you are ready to buy one.


He was the clumsiest, goofiest, dumbest and most loyal dog on the planet. I named him Boston, after my hometown, and he joined my other dog, Captain, a cocker spaniel. Together, those two dogs were wilder than any three-year-old on a sugar-high. I couldn't leave them alone. One time I returned from a long day at work to find Boston on top of my kitchen table doing the full body wag while captain was chewing on my brand new sneaker. They destroyed the carpet in my first home. They required lots of care, food and vet. I spent more money than I imagined.


Captain had been a mistake, too. I bought him while I was in college. I used to take him with me to campus, leaving him outside the classroom with strict instructions to "stay." When class was over, I'd be lucky to catch a fleeting glimpse of his tail as he made a beeline for the sorority houses. All afternoon, the girls would lavish him with treats and attention. Smart dog: he scored more than I did.


Looking back, I wasn't ready for one dog, never mind two. I made a lot of mistakes in my 20s.


All that came back to me yesterday while I was in our showroom in Plymouth. A customer was looking at furniture for her daughter. At 23, the daughter had launched a fast-track career. In fact, she'd already bought her first condo, the mother explained proudly, and she needed a bedroom set.


uimg 9898There was one problem. Her daughter had fallen in love with some slick, cheaply-made furniture she'd seen in a catalog. The mother walked through our showroom, shaking her head. "I've got to get her in here!" she said. "If only I could just show her what quality looks like, maybe she'd re-consider."


No, I thought. She won't. Smart as she is, the daughter has to make a few mistakes first. She'll buy the catalog set and watch it fall apart over the next few years. When she moves into her next home, she may try to sell it - and she'll realize it depreciated faster than a pink convertible. In fact, it will be close to worthless.


But the lesson won't be. And, just like her mom, we've learned to be patient.

Topics: boston, Antique furniture, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Quality Furniture, American Made Furniture, dogs, dog

The Five Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Buying New Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, February 04, 2011 @ 10: 08 PM

Buying furniture for your home is exciting and fun, but it’s also stressful. You are about to spend your hard-earned money on a major purchase, and you want to make the right decision.

Here are the top five mistakes you should avoid when buying furniture:

  • Don’t fight with your spouse in the showroom. Your Couple Arguingsalesperson is trained in furniture – not marital counseling.  Consider that your spouse may see things differently than you. Usually one person is looking at the functional use of furniture while the other is looking at the decorative side.  Be patient with each other. Polarizing views often lead to a good compromise. 
  • Don’t ask other customers in the showroom for their opinions. This can be disastrous. Everyone has an opinion, but you want a qualified opinion. Asking everyone what they think rarely leads to a good decision. Try to find a salesperson you trust. That’s the best way to get the look you want.
  • Don’t be lured in by zero-interest financing plans. Borrowing borrow money resized 600money to buy furniture is not a good idea. For one, these plans are full of penalties if your payment is late. And your monthly payments will soar if the furniture isn’t paid off before the interest kicks in. Unless you are extremely responsible with your finances, avoid these plans.  
  • Don’t pay extra for product warranties. If a store asks you to pay an additional fee for a warranty, you should question the quality of the furniture – and the store’s willingness to stand by its products. Warranties aren’t expensive – generally less than $100 – which is why you may be tempted to view them as a kind of cheap insurance. But they’re a waste of money.
  • Don’t buy new furniture without stopping by your favorite upscale consignment store. Why? Because it may have exactly what you want – for much less. Shop smart!uIMG 8359 resized 600

Topics: Pre-owned furniture, Furniture Consignment, Furniture Value, Quality Furniture, How To Buy New Furniture

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

Consignment Furniture eliminates Carbon Footprints

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, December 10, 2010 @ 09: 04 AM

Lagging behind the push to shrink Carbon Footprints is the maritme industry.  In an article in the New York Times this week on December 5, 2010 "Shipping Faces Calls to Lower Its Carbon Footprint" James Canter, re-iterates how important it is for progress to happen.  Retailers will soon have the ability and responsibility to choose more efficient and environmental friendly ships than not. 

Container Ship resized 600

This pertains directly to furniture as most furniture is manufactured over seas and shipped on a container vessel to America, but it even goes further than that.  Many manufacturers will ship the wood and raw materials from America to the country that it is to be manufactured in and then the final product is shipped back to the good ol' USA. It is true!

Though it is important to lower carbon footprints, it would be much better to not have them at all.  One way to do that is to buy domestically, as we all know, but in the world of furniture, most everything is shipped from overseas.  The execptions are products produced by local, commissioned craftsman and pre-owned furniture.

dresser resized 600

It doesn't make sense to purchase pre-owned furniture that you don't like for the sake of protecting the environment,  but it adds to the tremendous value that you get from buying consignment furniture.  You get a great deal, better quality and can feel good becuase by recycling; you are helping to protect and preserve our world.

Topics: Pre-owned furniture, Quality Furniture

Your Home Buyer Wants to Buy Your Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, October 26, 2010 @ 03: 34 PM

If you are Selling your home and you have furniture that you no longer need, the buyer of your home should be the first option to purchase these items and here is why:

  • If you can secure the sale of your furniture with your buyers, you remove what can be a stressful task from your list of things to do.  You have enough to worry about when moving so take this off of your plate right away if you can.
  • You may be able to avoid costly moving and storage fees.
  • You get your money with less hassles and get it right away.
  • You eliminate the risk of damage by leaving the furniture right where it is.

How do you agree on price?

  • Don't be greedy.  
  • If your furniture is 5 years or older be prepared to sell it for a quarter of what you paid for it.
  • If your furniture is newer than that and in "Showroom" condition, then push your asking price to half of your original purchase price.  
  • For the sake of simplicity, you are willing to sell the items at a discount from what you could achieve on the open market and you need to explain this to your buyer.  

Too many people make the mistake of shooting for the stars and turning off the most logical suitor -- the buyer of your home.

If you are unable to work out a deal with your buyer, it is not the end of the world.  If you have upscale items in excellent condition, then the next stop should be a high end furniture consignment store.

Topics: How To Sell Estate Furniture, Price My Furniture, Pre-owned furniture, Downsizing, Quality Furniture, Where To Sell 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

Qualifying Quality Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, March 12, 2010 @ 10: 26 PM

When I watch professional sports, the announcers offer constant praise for mediocre players which makes it difficult to determine which players are truly "great".  When I think of "great", I think of players like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. According to the media, however, the backup guard the Celtics just traded for is also "great".  "Great" has become a word in professional sports that needs further qualification.  This is very similar to how the word "quality" is used when we talk about furniture.

It's important to be watchful of the word "quality", since it's thrown around so much in furniture advertising. I've found that the more a furniture retailer uses the word "quality", the lower quality the furniture actually is.

When I think of "quality", I think of my Fisher Price toys that I played with growing up.  Not only did they withstand my two brothers and I, but my three boys go straight to the closet in Mimi and Grandpa's house that contains the green truck, the helicopter, the boat, and the assortment of characters that I played with as a child.  I have no doubt that my grandchildren will play with these toys as well.

So maybe my view of quality is a little distorted. Maybe my standards are too high! Or maybe we, as consumers, have lowered our collective standard for what constitutes "quality".  

Imagine that we decide to buy a dining room set from one of the giant furniture retailers, taking advantage of no interest and no payments for 12 months.  But after 6 months, the furniture has cracked, the plastic drawer slider snapped, the drawer pull came off, the reclining mechanism in the recliner no longer works, and we haven't even made our first payment on the furniture!  Yet we blame ourselves for being too hard on the furniture.

"Quality" no longer means that the product gets passed from generation to generation. Instead, it means that it looks decent in the showroom and can survive the delivery trip.  It might be O.K. if you move it around once or twice, and if you're really lucky, it will still function as advertised by the time you make your first payment. 

Furniture should be as it once was:  A prized possession in the home, purchased with great pride for the family with hard earned money. Furniture should make memories and survive long enough for us to use while we enjoy those memories. 

I received an e-mail from a potential consignor today and the e-mail began, "I have a 1930s era Heywood Wakefield dining room set. It originally belonged to my wife's grandmother, passed down through two more generations."  Here is a photo of the set.  This, my friends, is quality.

Heywood Wakefield Circa 1930

Topics: Furniture quality, Quality Furniture