I had a few items on my checklist for what I wanted - large enough to display all of my anthro dishes I received for our wedding, fully enclosed shelving to help deal with dust and cat fur, and I wanted solid wood shelves after I saw the glass break from too much weight in my mother's cabinet. I also wanted a walnut wood, and oh a great price too of course. I wasn't really digging anything we were finding in the big box stores so I knew I was going to have to be patient on craigslist. I checked randomly for the past few months, but we had other projects and things we were looking for and I wasn't feeling pressured to buy anything just yet.
Right before Christmas I found a beauty - this United beauty in fact.
But I got greedy. I low balled them and balked at the delivery fee from Philly. Who do I think I am? And deservingly I lost it to someone else. I called their bluff and lost it. I hated myself for about a week and constantly opened up the saved photo on my laptop. I may have pet my screen a few times.
But the guy I was emailing was great - he kept sending me photos of other pieces they had - I almost went for this Stanely piece but it wasn't grabbing me the way the United piece was. A little too plain. I hemmed. I hawed. I checked CL again.
Then I took a second look at a Kent Coffey Perspecta. It was for sale in Queens, I would have to hire movers myself, and it was more than the United piece by $400. But I was in the zone. We were purchasing a hutch, and we were purchasing one soon, dammit. Suddenly, I didn't really care that the shelves weren't wood. I checked back with my guy in Philly and saw they had just the bottom piece for only $100 less than what the person in Queens was selling her top and bottom for. She even found my blog and complimented our chandelier. I was ready to say Sold! and decided to do one last search on CL.
And then I found the same piece, top and bottom, only 20 minutes away for less than half of her price. The pics were a little grainy. The seller was friendly, but not entirely forth coming with details on the quality. ("What do you mean by luster?") I figured either he didn't really know what he had, or he didn't really care and just wanted to get rid of it, or it wasn't in great shape and he was being vague on purpose. We decided the price was too good to not check it out, so one cold Saturday in January we loaded up the baby, borrowed a friend's truck, and made the drive to check it out. I wanted to bring a truck so we could load it up on the spot if we liked it.
Spoiler alert. We liked it. We bought it on the spot and I paid his full asking price because it felt like the right thing to do. Tom and the seller loaded it up and tied it down. He had previously removed the three glass shelves as well as the glass for the two sides and the two middle doors to make it easier getting it out of his house. He said his wife just grew tired of it and wanted something more modern and even though it was outside covered in tarp, it looked like it was going to clean up nicely. We got it home, returned our friends truck and finally gave the baby some jumparoo time since he had been so good for what had been 4 hours already.
The next puzzle was figuring out how to get the glass back in. We even called the seller back after a few hours of not being able to figure it out. It was a damn puzzle. A puzzle I tell you! The doors were easy, it was figuring out how to get the side glass pieces in (they had to be inched in at just such an angle) as well as the shelves. They had to go in before the last side was in, but had to be laid against the back wall in just such a way to get the last side in. Then we could put in the brackets and raise each shelf. Another 4 hours later, and we were in business. Yes folks. 8 hours start to finish to buy a piece of furniture that existed only 20 minutes away. But we now have bragging rights. And we didn't even fight once. This feat was more impressive than a trip to Ikea.
Love those side cut outs. It really allows so much light to flow through the room. This piece is bigger than the bookcases, yet it feels so much lighter in here now.
And look at how pretty all of our stuff looks in it. Most of the white stuff on the bottom two shelves are from anthro, my ugly monkey tea set and the lions were my grandmothers, as were the Japanese vases and little shot glasses on the top shelf. The Japanese plates were Tom's grandmothers and the W etched shrimp glasses were a gift from a family friend from her first marriage when she was a W. It is amazing how it looks like it was always there.
We kept up with the Asian theme and hung prints that were also my grandmothers on either side of the doors. I'm torn on the idea of getting them reframed and matted. I believe they are original from Korea (my grandfather was in the Korean War) and they were framed at a spot in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (which is now sentimental for me after living there for the past 8 years). But, the frames are thin and weak, and the matting has yellowed. In this bright white room, they almost look dingy by comparison. But I hate to part with the original pieces. Is there a right or wrong answer here?
And just for fun - let's compare the before and afters one more time of the whole dining room, shall we?
I found a better pic of the placeholder bookcases on my phone. Oh the days when William sat in that infant seat (PS: LOVE OUR STOKKE STEPS - totally worth the money IMO).
And what it looks like today!
And to clarify, these rooms are all the same size - it's actually slightly bigger now with the wall gone - I am just not as fancy a photog as the real estate broker apparently was. Anyone want to volunteer to photograph our space?? #kiddingnotkidding #seriouslyemailmeifyouknowhowtoshootinteriorsandwillcometoNJ
Have any epic CL stories of holding out for the right piece at the right price? Anyone better at negotiating prices than me? I once haggled a guy for a sugar shaker from $2 to .50 at a yard sale and I may have oversold my expertise to myself.