Updated: Oct 15
A bouquet of furniture from an antique shop, thrift store, alleyway and yard sale
Finding furniture has been an adventure for me since I found my first chair on my first curb the first time I lived on my own. Given that I’m married to someone who doesn’t believe in ever buying new furniture (he’s sure we can get whatever we need on trash day in alleyways) and given that we devote whatever expendable income we have for travel, eating out and buying books, it’s no wonder that furniture procurement continues to be my sport of choice.
I love how what ‘m looking for will show up only with the perfect confluence of whimsy, luck, the right turn at the right time, and following whims is generally what scores the new chair, table or dresser. Living in a college town doesn’t hurt either. I also like furniture with its own history: couches that lived lives of intrigue, recliners that served a loving generation, little tables or book shelves that knew constant adventure. There’s also the utter thrill of the hunt, never knowing what I’ll find, where or when. Luckily, I drive a minivan around, and over the years I’ve hauled multiple couches, overstuffed chairs, dining sets and all manner of chair and table.
When my kids were younger, this constant open eye toward the roaming herd of furniture also allowed me to easily embarrass, delight or confuse them. Nothing like picking up your child at high school with a very long floral couch tied to the roof. The whole endeavor also gave them occasional weight-lifting excursions (“Help me haul this old recliner upstairs and then carry the new old recliner down”).
Finding the couch was a particular long-term endeavor. It’s easy to catch a falling-apart, deep valley couch for free, but something comfortable, and even beautiful, not to mention well-made, can take years……or several fortunate minutes. After many not-so-comfortable or truly-ugly couches migrating through the living room, I finally bought one: an antique at a used furniture store, for which I paid more than what most of the rest of the furniture upstairs altogether cost: $350. Four years later when I look toward this couch — I’m still very satisfied with its curves and lines, fabric and feel.
Lately, I’m looking for a better big comfortable chair. Since I work out of this chair, it has to be firm, comfortable with arm rests at the right height for excessive typing, and reclinable. I haven’t found the chair yet, but I’m following the herd through thrift stores, antique shops, used furniture joints, alleyways and curb sides. Just like trying to make contact with other-than-human life forms, I know I need a soft touch, patience, espect and good timing.
I have no doubt that one day I will see my chair, my chair will see me, and wherever I’m going, whatever I’m driving, I will find a way to hoist that chair onto my vehicle and give it a new home.