Craigslist Roundup

It’s been far too long that I have risked my life for furniture.  Summer seems to be slow on the good furniture front.  Either people are too busy frolicking seaside to list their grandmother’s brown furniture or I have lost my magic touch. Let’s hope it is the former.

Still, there are a couple of interesting things for sale right now – not quite as many as I can usually dig up but enough that I feel compelled to share.  Keep an open mind!

Chinoiserie is not just for the 1980s pastel living room anymore.  It is creeping back into the modern home in small dosesThis cabinet is $250 and would be a pretty addition to a living room or family room.

If you look closely at the chest in this room in designer Sarah Bartholemew’s house, you can see it is a chinoiserie piece.

Sarah Bartholemew

Mark Sikes incorporates these chests and cabinets into many of his rooms.  Here is an Asian-inspired chest in a bedroom he designed.

Mark Sikes

And another from Mark Sikes.

Mark Sikes

The cabinets are where the real steals are right now.  Once you get past that they are big, difficult to move, you can appreciate that they really are so versatile in the home.  I would put that big ole cabinet in a dining room just as easily as I would put it into a living room or an office (fill it with books).

And one more picture for good measure.

Lonny Magazine

When you search make sure to try combinations of all the following:  Chinese furniture, Asian furniture, Chinoiserie cabinet.  It’s funny the cabinet above only popped up under Asian cabinet.

This desk is on my short list.  It is a current item from Ballard Design and on sale now for just a touch under $1000. This seller wants $295 for a gently used version.

Beautiful desk that would easily work as a sofa table as well.

I get it – used upholstered furniture is not for everyone but it doesn’t scare me off as long as it is in clean, good condition. This Ethan Allen Sectional looks like it is in great shape and it’s a steal at $500.  The loose cushions aren’t pancaked yet and the seller claims it is from a child-free house.

Here is a mirror by Baker.  Seller is asking $200 – very fair!  This would be beautiful in a foyer or a powder room, especially set against a vivid wallpaper.

Imagine the Baker mirror in this hallway.  Beautiful!

Blue and white finds on Craigslist are few and far between but when available, they are usually a good buy.  These ceramic pots can retail for upwards of $100 or more.

Here is one for $40.

Side or end tables are usually dirt cheap on Craigslist.  They are tricky as most are in poor shape because they have been well-loved for too long.  This one caught my eye as it looks almost new and would be so pretty on a sun porch, beach house or in a living room that leans towards the preppier, Ashley Whittaker side.

Like this!

Ashley Whittaker Design

I am always on the hunt for very expensive china to add to my collection:  Herend, Royal Copenhagen, Limoges, etc.  This service plate from the Fish Scale collection retails for $335.  Needless to say, there are deals to be had when Herend china pops up.

Scully and Scully

This vintage serving platter is going for $80.

Lamps are a great thing to search.  Right now there are a couple of glass ones from Restoration Hardware and Visual Comfort that are still listed too high.  They have been sitting for months.  Best thing to do is to offer the seller a fair price and wait as then they have your contact information and your interest.  Initially they may scoff but eventually you will hear from them again.  That has happened to me multiple times.  And that is where a little patience pays off.

Happy treasure hunting!

Brown Furniture

Awhile back I read a piece written by a man, a furniture collector and dealer, who made the journey to Ikea with his daughter to look for her first apartment furnishings.  The daughter didn’t like her father’s ‘brown furniture’ and preferred the white, clean lines and mid-century modern sensibilities that you can get from Ikea on the cheap.  Of course, her father was horrified that she was choosing furniture that came flat in a box over his fine antiques.

French Louis XVI in Walnut with Marble Top Chest of Drawers, 1800s via

I have no idea where I read this but the story stuck with me as partly it is a coming-of-age story, but it is also a story about how antiques or ‘brown furniture’ have largely fallen out of favor with the younger generations.  Granted, some of Grandmother’s furniture was just plain ugly but some of it was very beautiful and artfully crafted in a way that furniture is not today.

A Federal Serpentine Mahogany Inlaid Bureau Circa 1800 via

Antique furniture prices are far lower than they were 15-20 years ago. The recession certainly did not help matters but changing tastes in buyers has greatly affected the market as well. People hiring interior designers are more often asking for clean sweeps.  The importance of using a family heirloom is no longer paramount.  And, buying pieces for restoration is out of the question, the antiques shown at market need to be in pristine, ready-to-use condition. And, prices need to align with what is selling for new in department stores.  All of this is hurting the industry and with the flood of inventory from baby boomers downsizing, prices have dropped.  Not to mention, investing in antiques is no longer what it was.  These days you could very well be holding onto a piece that will diminish in value; whereas in the 1980s and 1990s antiques, collectibles and fine art purchases were considered a smart and safe investment.

German Secretary Early 19th century via


I happened to be a big fan of that old, brown furniture eschewed by many of us born in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  Here is a round up of some of the prettier selections on Craigslist right now.

I love this silver chest. They are asking $800 for it and I spotted the same one in great condition in a resale shop for $550, so the price is probably a tad bit high.  This picture caught my eye as this listing is an old Wilmington house and that floor and brick looks nearly identical to our sunporch’s.  We are just missing those cool built-ins!

A Henkel Harris silver chest $800

I am carefully watching this one!  I would love a secretary for our living room or dining room but they are a dime a dozen and it has to be just the right one.

Maddox Tables of Jamestown Secretary $400
A Cherry Queen Anne style writing desk $299

Here is a pretty, simple pine dresser that would work wonderfully in a hallway, entryway or bedroom.  I would switch out the pulls.

Pine chest of drawers $169

And, another chest of drawers, this one more rustic but beautiful and I can see it paired with a much more formal mirror above.

An antique dresser $30
Solid Tiger Oak Library Table $425
Triple dresser in banded mahogany $200
Eldredge Wheeler Tiger Maple Highboy $5500

Educate yourself using  Find out what era, style or makers you are partial to and then look on eBay, Craigslist and in local consignment or antique shops.  1stdibs is a wonderful resource but their prices reflect the fact that many of their sellers are brick and mortar shop owners in high-rent areas.