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.