Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. How many times have you heard that? I've heard it a lot over the past twenty years (I believe I first heard it in 1992 during my freshman year of high school).  I wholeheartedly agree that we should reduce what we use, reuse what we can, and recycle what we can't.

As a loyal reader of this blog, you know I'm very much into antiques.  I love the history of the pieces and I love how well built antiques are. Sometimes I just love the strangeness of an antique piece.  However, I have long felt that buying antiques (particularly furniture) is very eco-friendly.  I have done a blog on repurposing (catch up here) which I think is great as well, but what I'm talking about today is using the antique as it was intended to be used.

Have you ever thought of an antique as being functional? My bedroom furniture is ALL antique. The bed, the night stand, the cheval dresser, the settee, and the chest of drawers.  How much would a bedroom suit be (and you typically don't get a loveseat) at a new furniture store?  Over a grand? EASY!  Want to know what I paid for all the furniture I just listed? $885.  Antiques can be economical as well as functional.

Let's say you need more storage space for your kitchen.  What to do?  Let's see what Target has.
Here's a middle-of-the-road cupboard. It's not hideous (like the $79.00 special).  This cute little piece will only set you back $389.00.  For this deal you get a pantry made of natural-toned hardwood and the frame is a sturdy wood composite. Wood composite, who doesn't love that! Oh, and one other detail - assembly required.  Let's move on to Ikea, the Swedish mega store everyone but me seems to love.
Not bad. A little more stylish than Target and slightly more pocketbook friendly at $279.00.  But this is Ikea, so you first have to find where this is located in the warehouse section (read "go pick it yourself") AND then you have the joy of putting it together.  In this gem you get solid pine, glass, and fiberboard.

While Fiberboard and wood composite sound so appealing, I'd rather just go with good old-fashioned wood.  Wood I don't have to pay to put together.  I could go to a furniture store and spend big bucks, or I could go to an antique store and buy myself a hoosier (actually mom Marcusson purchased mine as a Christmas gift).  She paid a little over $300 for mine.  And look how beautiful it is!
And look how wonderfully it matches my kitchen cabinets.
I could go through the same exercise for bookcases.  However, I think I already made my point, so I will just show you a picture of my lovely Empire cabinet (ringing in at almost 200 years old and a price tag of $295.00).  I dare you to go to Target and/or Ikea and find something this beautiful for that price. Even if you do, you'll get to put it together yourself.

Next time you need a "new" piece of furniture, I encourage you to give antiques a try.  Keep in mind antique store inventory changes all the time and you will want to shop around for dealers who know what they are talking about and put fair prices on their stuff.  If you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I encourage you to go see Karen at McGillicuddy's in downtown Garland.  They are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11a-5p.  Karen is far-and-away the BEST that I have found in the area.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa


  1. I'm more of thrift store junkie myself, with just a touch of horder. My old chest of drawer-a cheapie made of particle board from bygone ages-fell apart. So rather than buy a new one that came in a box from a Big Box store, I went to Thrift Town and found a nice tall chest of drawers made by Lane out of solid bits of wood. It looks like a set-piece from Boogie Nights, but it works. Cost? $29.

    My family motto was Never Pay Retail.

  2. I think the reason so many people shop at target, Walmart, ikea etc is because it's more likely to match what they already have and some of those stores offer payment plans. ... Please let the record reflect that I personally would love to furnish my home with antique furnishings. :) I love the pieces you shared photos of!

  3. @descartes - yea for you! I bet with either a little bit of love or refinishing, that nice lane chest would look AWESOME!

    Inge - I agree that Target and Walmart is easy. Karen offers lay away as well (most antique places do). 1/3 down today, 1/3 in 30 days and 1/3 30 days after that. You too can furnish your home in antiques. Just have to start hunting for good bargains and pieces that may need a little love. I have no problem cleaning/polishing/fixing if it means I can get the piece for a good price. I found my BEAUTIFUL bed in the back of an antique store. Some idiot tried to glue the bed and rails together because the antique hardware was striped. I got it for $85. My husband spent some time getting the wood glie off and find replacement hardware. I've slept on it for years.

    Thrift store, flea markets and estate sales are great places to find bargain furniture.

  4. I'm a huge fan of previously-loved things, including furniture, because they come with something new things don't: a history! I love imagining the people who owned the things before I did.

    Mr. Sequin and I go to Habitat a lot for furniture, and also for books and gardening things. It's like a treasure hunt!