Wood.

15 07 2008

Moving is no easy thing. I know some of you currently/recently in the process of buying new condos or moving into new homes can attest to the horrendous ordeal of hunting for the new place, securing the new place, moving from the old place, and filling the new place. Dennis and I had accomplished the first three pretty easily, thanks to the magical way my moving to New York fell into place, and so the biggest chunk of work is the last—the filling of the new place. Since I was moving home from Brazil with a maximum of 5 bags and since Dennis has been without a home for the past six months while he couch surfed at his friends’ places, neither of us had anything more substantial to offer to our new home than coffee mugs and a record player. 

So this final task of finding furniture, arguably the most fun, could be the most stressful and expensive. The world of furniture is overwhelming beyond words. Here we have blank walls and beautiful hardwood floors. We could fill this space with anything. And that “anything” is a scary prospect. Where do we begin? Colors? Where do we sit? Rugs? Sofas? How do we light the place? Where do we sleep? How do we eat? We had nothing. And starting from nothing is an excitingly frightening place to be. 

Add to this the fact that I am a teacher and by no means have any sort of cash flow that would allow for extraordinary spending. Dennis, too, doesn’t work a standard 9-5, so while we weren’t exactly strapped for cash, we are working on a budget well below that of typical New York City professionals. Thinking it would probably be best to get furniture out of state and bring it down to the city ourselves, saving on shipping and purchasing costs, we found just a wooden table, chairs, and bookshelf at both Pier1 and Ikea. 

I am not complaining about these things. They saved us tons of money and we love the style. They’re meant to look like wood and that’s what we like. I say “meant to look like” because they all have just that veneer on top of MDF. It’s not ideal, but wood, we found, was much too expensive. Real wood was simply out of our budget and so we were stuck with veneer. What we wanted, of course, was real wood. It lasts forever if its well constructed and it’s beautiful. If we move again we don’t want to worry about whether our furniture will make it through the move. This is the case, of course, with MDF stuff. Not the case with real wood. It’ll last. And that’s what we want, both for our furniture and for us. 

Yesterday, my first trip to the city now that I am a resident, we wandered around antique stores in Chelsea. For his last job, Dennis had to scout antique and high end furniture stores for filming and so he took me straight to the places he went to. They were amazing. Not exactly affordable for us, but really fun to look at nonetheless. Our priority was to find the following things: a bureau, a bench, another bookshelf, a bed, and a coffee table. Of course we wanted something with style, character, and durability. Finding nothing affordable in the cool places and thrift stores, we thought we were stuck looking at the MDF-high-style places like West Elm, the Door Store, and Bo Concepts. All of these places have a style we love but prices through the roof, just like we’d imagined NYC prices to be. 

UNTIL….we walked from one thrift store toward the Door Store on West 17th and looked to our left. No sign hung above the windows, nothing that would indicate anything fabulous inside other than huge 30% off signs photocopied and taped to the window. The sun’s reflection prevented us from really seeing inside the store, but what we did see was wood. Real wood. And without really even discussing whether or not we should go in and look at prices for the real wood, we walked in. 

People, we walked into the gates of heaven. It was 30% Real Wood heaven. Everything in the store, everything everywhere was 30% off, in solid real wood, any finish we wanted. There were stickers on some of the furniture with hand written numbers, numbers I thought had to be reference numbers and not prices because if they were prices they just didn’t make sense with the piece. A bookshelf. Of solid teak. Beautiful smooth dark brown finish. A bureau. Mahogany. Plenty of storage. A bench. A chair. Mango wood. Impossibly comfortable. Perfect for us. 

I’m going to tell you where we were and then you have to go. Just go to the website and look around. And if you’re in NYC, then go visit the store. The stuff is beautiful. And all solid real wood. They have locations in Chelsea and in Brooklyn, plus a studio there. Okay, here it is. From the Source. And if you want to talk to someone, talk to Mahlon (pronounced “Maylon.” I don’t know, I’d have trouble pronouncing it by sight.) 

Even better? We bought our pieces yesterday at around 4:30. By 6:30 they were in our apartment. No joke. 

 

So there we have it. Brand new, handmade, real wood furniture. In our home. My happiness is boundless.


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18 responses

15 07 2008
ladybughugs

It’s all falling into place! I’m happy for you! Those pieces look beautiful.

15 07 2008
luanaspider

Ms.C,

I’m sure your apartment will end up great! First you had nothing but now you have nice wooden furniture! It is certainly getting better!!=)

15 07 2008
Nilsa

OMG – those pieces are beautiful! When are they opening in Chicago? I’m sending that website to my brother in Brooklyn. That kid could use some real wood himself!

15 07 2008
Susan

Wow..that is beautiful pieces. Love it! It truly is hard to find nice real wood furniture. When I bought my house the only way I could figure out how to organize was to take newspaper and one section was “my chair” I intended to purchase…etc. I sat those pieces of newspaper all over the place trying to figure out where I would put this or that when I purchased them. Its exciting and exhausting to have a new place.

15 07 2008
Susan

Oh and I would wad up the pieces I decided I couldn’t afford. LOL.

15 07 2008
rosalicious

Gorgeous!

I SO feel all your furniture woes…yes, furnishing and decorating can be fun, but mostly, when you don’t have much to begin with, it’s stressful. You can’t furnish a house in day – that should be my motto! I like an eclectic look, not matchy matchy….so, that’s frustrating because it takes time to collect interesting pieces. Our walls are still fairly bare.

If we had a From the Source in Denver I would be there in a second!

15 07 2008
Jennie

So beautiful!!! Congrats.

16 07 2008
ginacoggio

My biggest problem is wall space. I have NO idea what to do about it, and I’m not sure we can paint. Well, actually, I don’t think I want to paint b/c we will just spend the $$ once to paint it and then spend it twice to repaint it the original color. So….I think we’re going to use Dennis’ amazing photographs to hang around the place.

16 07 2008
Joyce

Congratulations! Your home looks beautiful already!

17 07 2008
Catherine

Cool find! You can’t beat furniture made of REAL wood!

17 07 2008
lilikaofthelake

You can make some Fabulous Art out of found objects and watch trash days in the area – I’ve heard you can find some great things if your out early “foraging”.
That bench is great! Good luck in your new home!

18 07 2008
Ana Luiza

Hey Ms. C,
It’s Ana Borgonovi from your 7th grade class ! Your apartment looks great ! School is about to start (sort of ahahahah) and we will all miss you a lot there !
Love,
Ana

18 07 2008
ginacoggio

Hi Ana!! Yay for 8th grade! Yay for homework!

19 07 2008
Ana Luiza

aaaaaaaa ! Ms. C , don’t even make me think about homework during vacations ! ahahahahah ! Right now, what i only think about is “Yay for 8th grade!!” ahaaha ! OMG, now that you mentioned hmwk, i remembered i have to do that reading for next year’s english class that davi assigned ! NOOOOOOOOO ! =(

19 07 2008
Norah Cleary

Oh hey! I was thinking about you around the time of your birthday and I wasn’t sure if you had the same number. Just wanted to pop in and say hello and let you know I think of you a lot and miss you. I am keeping your mom in my thoughts.
Love,
Norah

19 07 2008
ginacoggio

Norah!!!!! HUGS to you! I have a very different number, so I’ll email you and let you know. SO good to hear from you!

20 07 2008
Ana Luiza

aaaaaaaa ! Ms. C , don’t even make me think about homework during vacations ! ahahahahah ! Right now, what i only think about is “Yay for 8th grade!!” ahaaha ! OMG, now that you mentioned hmwk, i remembered i have to do that reading for next year’s english class that davi assigned ! NOOOOOOOOO ! =(

20 07 2008
ginacoggio

YOU HAVEN’T DONE THAT YET?!
Ana Luiza. Shame on you.
Kidding.
I hope you’re enjoying your vacation! I can’t wait to hear all about 8th grade!

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