Over the years, I’ve furnished my living spaces with second-hand furniture, scavenged from flea markets, thrift stores, Ebay, and occasionally, found on the street. Early on, I didn’t really know what I was doing; I just bought stuff whose look I liked, that I could use, that seemed well-made. I’d clean the wood with Briwax, or lightly rub some stain into worn spots…add a brush of paint..I’d figure out ways to bring my purchase back to life. Then I found George Grotz’s classic book The Furniture Doctor and used his brilliant, tried-and-true techniques for repairing veneer, or masking scratches.
In the process of scouting second-hand furniture, “my eye” and understanding inadvertently developed. I discovered that I’d unknowingly bought some treasures: a Cherner chair for $15, now going for hundreds on Ebay and even more, new, at Design Within Reach.
After many years, I “outgrew” some of the pieces I acquired and sold them, passing them on to someone else, to become their “second-hand” find. Other pieces seem to work with whatever my life and style was taking. The lesson: second-hand, and less-than-perfect, can mean wonderful things at bargain prices, with at least nine lives.
“Wrought iron or aluminum furniture is beautiful when it’s been refurbished. When you find second hand metal furniture think of the potential as opposed to how it looks. Remove rust and repaint with a durable powder coat of outdoor paint especially made for covering metal furniture.”
Rust and wear can be really beautiful, and make an amazing contrast to more finished pieces indoors…Add a slate top to a weathered iron table base, and you have something…
Signs of age can be really beautiful.