I’ve always bought my furniture new (new but cheap, because I’m poor). Partly because I’ve never lived in an area where people discard cool furniture on the curb, and partly because I’m a bit anal retentive and don’t like leaving things to chance. I’m like “I want a shelf for my books and knicknacks. The best place to put such a thing would be over there. Which means it has to be this deep and this wide, and hopefully pretty tall so I can make the most of the space. And preferably black or natural pine-coloured so it goes with the rest of the room. Time to look on the Ikea website and see what’ll work!” I’m not too terribly open to surprises. But who knows, maybe if I’d had access to more cool curbside shit I would’ve opened my mind.
The Dandy – ironically, since he makes a shit-ton of money – has furnished our place with mostly free stuff. The apartment building is huge and often when people move out they leave stuff on the loading dock for people to take. Also his mom downsized from a house to an apartment a while back and gave him a bunch of stuff, and wants to give us more.
Obviously none of the stuff actually matches, but it lends the place a kind of funky thrift-store charm. Also – I’ve realized – it keeps the decor from looking full-on grandmotherly. (The Dandy only scavenges good-quality stuff that tends to be on the older side). My own taste in furniture has typically been streamlined and free of fripperies, but I started kind of diggin’ the stuff we have here – the cabinets with carved decorative accents and stuff.
Well, the other day an old lady relocated from our building to an assisted living facility and she left some stuff behind that seemed – to my untrained eye – to be exactly to The Dandy’s taste. He was at work though and there was no way I could have gotten any of these pieces up to our place myself. So I texted him about this glorious bounty but assumed that by the time he came home it would all have been picked over and nothing good would be left.
BUT WHEN HE GOT HOME THE STUFF I’D ORIGINALLY SEEN WAS STILL THERE. Plus a bunch more, though most of the new additions were upholstered furniture and I’m squicky about scavenging upholstered stuff. (Too much potential for bedbugs, mysterious pee stains, cigarette stink, nooks full of mysterious crumbs, etc.)
The particular item I’d liked for The Dandy was a big mahogany dresser. He doesn’t have a proper dresser in his room at the moment and in fact had been just about to buy a bunch of storage from Ikea. Now he doesn’t have to because this dresser fits perfectly along one wall and looks fucking fabulous and it’s biiiiiiig so he can fit lots into it (and lots on top, too).
I want to be a free spirit like The Dandy, flexible and able to incorporate random furniture into a living space and make it look great. Also I’m pretty sick of flimsy Ikea shit and am ready to have some pieces of furniture made of actual hardwood, y’know? I eyeballed the dresser for myself, also, to tell you the truth. But it simply wouldn’t fit in my room unless I forfeited some of the furniture that was already there* – either the book cases I’d just recently bought or the cheapo Ikea pine dressers I’d recently spent a whole shitload of time lovingly painting to match my new colour scheme and replacing the drawer pulls with fancy crystal ones. I couldn’t bear to give any of my stuff up, and The Dandy needed a dresser more than me, so there we have it. But I was a bit jealous.
There was also a lovely dark wood china hutch/display case thingy. Two parts: a sort of dresser thing on the bottom and a big cupboard with fancy glass-fronted doors to perch on top. I’d sort of had my eye on it, and thought with a smirk about how hilarious it would be to store my dildo collection in…and it was still there. And when I said I was interested in it but not sure if it would look good in my room, The Dandy said “Hey, we can always put it back where we found it” which undid my last reservation about it (I was afraid if I had The Dandy muscle it up to our place and then I didn’t want it anymore and needed him to muscle it back down again, he’d hate me).
So now I have this fucking gorgeous display case in my room.
All my other furniture in here is black and fairly simple. So I’m not sure if the display case exactly works. Although The Dandy also snagged the matching nightstand to his dresser and doesn’t think he’ll use it, so I might put that next to my bed and move my current black shelf thing by the door, thus giving the room a second piece of interesting, mismatched old dark wood furniture. That should make it look a little more balanced in here.
I probably won’t actually store my dildos in the cabinet, just because not all of them can stand up on their own and I don’t want their “business ends” touching the wooden shelves of a second-hand cabinet that I can’t sterilize. Also if The Dandy’s mom came over or something I’d have to hide everything.
The Dandy had a great idea, though. I am currently working on making a particular artsy-craftsy thing to hopefully sell one day. These will be medium-sized, irregular-shaped items I won’t be able to stack or nest and that might get damaged if I throw ’em in a pile to bump up against each other. They will, however, be terribly gorgeous and decorative. And The Dandy suggested I keep my stock in the display case when I’m not schlepping it places to sell it. I like this idea very much. Probably the bottom part of the case – the part with the doors and shelves – will be delegated to extra sheets and blankets. The drawer part of it has an area with little velvet-lined partitions for holding silverware and I think this might become a jewelry holder.
Soooo yeah. I have a free piece of kickass furniture that would probably have cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars in a store. WOOT!
*It did occur to me to hold off on getting much furniture for a while and just see if anything interesting turned up on the loading dock, but I just really wanted to get the room livable and feel like it was “done,” y’know? I’d felt for so long like I was camping here and I’d had enough. I wanted a proper bed. I wanted a place to set up my tv and DVD player and a place to put my DVDs so I could watch stuff in bed. I wanted night tables to store my sex stuff in and put my glasses on when I went to sleep. Once I had that bare minimum of stuff, I did stop. I didn’t buy more furniture just to fill up the space and have extra storage just in case, even though the room is big and could accommodate more. I consciously did leave room for surprises. Just maybe not enough room, or I got too attached to the stuff I had, or something.