Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saved by Craigslist and the grace of Saints Charles and Ray Eames

I mentioned that I spent almost $600 of my own money on furniture for our midcentury gala-on-the-cheap.  Here's why I did this: Our committee had been talking and pondering and strategizing for almost two weeks, but no one had gotten anything, ordered anything, nothing.  We had less than two weeks to go before the party, and nothing had been done.  I don't know if this comes through on this pop-culture-reference-and-fart-joke screed of a blog of mine, but I don't do well with procrastination.  I rarely procrasinate, and few things leave me anxious and even furious like procrastination.  So, last Tuesday, I called a phone number on a Craigslist ad and made a visit in Guy's Ford Explorer Sport to a small art anf furniture gallery on the edge of downtown.

The fellow was a collector of midcentury vintage furniture, most of which he acquired through estate and yard sales, and he was moving into a smaller studio/gallery and needed to get rid of some things.  He had a marvelous collection, even a set of four Eames chairs for a cool $1K which I coveted but could not afford.  I had brought along $200 in cash, knowing the rules of Craigslist (buyer picks up the item, always pay in cash), but I could tell that I was about to spend more.  Way more.  I mean, this guy's stuff was gorgeous--Alvar Aalto knockoff table (but period-produced and accurate), two Goodform chairs (one upholstered in actual cowhide, sorry PETA), dark mahogany-wenge colored credenza....oh Jesus Mary and George Nelson, it was a beyond beautiful sight.  So, I went home $570 lighter and with a truck full of furniture.  I still had to go back the next day for a desk and the credenza.  I felt like the world's biggest asshole, like I'd just been taken.  I'd never spent so much in my whole life for used furniture, even though I was trying to convince myself I'd done a good thing.

I drove to the office and called one of the admin assistants to help me unload the truck.  I drove home feeling like the world's biggest asshole.  I got to work the next morning still feeling like the world's biggest asshole, even moreso after I told Guy what I'd done the night before and he exclaimed "Jesus Christ!"

One of the first people I saw when I got to the office was Dash and Tripp.  Dash is a landscape architect at DA, and I worked with him on Wheatlands.  His partner Tripp is a signage and graphic design artist who work for DA on contract.  Dash went across teh office to his desk, and I confided in Tripp as to what I'd done. 

"Well honey," he said in his Southern-Liberace lilt, "let's go see what you bought."

I took him into a file room in the basement to see my collection of chairs and tables.  As we turned the corner, Tripp was in the middle of empathizing with me about a furniture shopping trip gone wrong when he saw the two Danish Modern chairs with twill upholstery and interrupted himself to effuse, "OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGodoh-my-GOD!"

"What?"  I asked.  "Did I get good stuff?  How badly was I robbed?"

"Oh, honey, these chairs!  They match our dining set we just bought from ________ Vintage Emporium!  What did you pay for them?"

"Like $50 for the two."

"For the TWO?!  $50?!" Tripp exclaimed.  "Did you walk into this man's store with a handgun?!"

Later in the office kitchen, Nick came by and said he wanted one of the Goodform chairs, and he and Tripp nearly came to blows over it.  I might have to auction it.  Nick told me to come get him when I'd retrieved the credenza, explaining that he had a credenza fetish and it may have to be indulged again.  We'll see.

At the very least, every midcentury furniture fan I've shown the furniture to is confident I can get my money back--if not more--on Craigslist.  I bought good pieces, and good pieces are easy to unload on a vintage-loving public.  If my coworkers don't pick me dry first.


Miss Kitty said...

Now you can tell Guy to kiss your butt. :-P

And why is my word verification "horrmi?" "Ahh, me so horrmi!"

mizscarlett said...

Next on Dateline NBC:
Architect Pixie appears to take hour cut back in stride - but actually starts dealing vintage furniture crack...

Once she starts, will she ever go back? Watch tonight, as she accepts paper bags full of cash, peddling to the sick needs of the upper middle class.... on Dateline. 8/7 Central.

Suz said...

Um, you wanna let me get in on the bidding for some of that stuff?

Srsly. suz dot saunders at gmail dot com