Friday, July 19, 2013

A Treasure & On the Hunt

Through refinishing furniture and craigslisting our way to a decorated home, we have come across lots of nice furniture.  This is the best.


I haven't ever looked to see if it has dove-tailed joints, it has a split in the top, the mirror is aging...

It was Mimaw's.

She's Grant's hilarious grandma. Mimaw was healed and made whole at the end of June, so now we just have to remember her crazy sense of humor instead of making new memories.

 When she downsized, we were able to bring this buffet to Little Rock.  We know she bought it from someone in her family, but we don't know who or when it was built.

All we know is it was hers, it's beautiful, and we love it.

And it is really the nicest piece of furniture we own. It has a place of honor in our foyer as the first thing you see when you walk in the door.


Speaking of nice furniture...
You're on the hunt at a yard sale or looking on craigslist at something, but you don't know if it's a solid, decent piece of furniture.

1) Look at the back of the piece.  You'll be able to see if it's veneered particle board or veneered wood.  Once upon a time, solid wood furniture was veneered with a more expensive type of wood, so don't just automatically disregard veneered furniture.  If you see particle board, walk away (unless you love it).  Also modern pieces often have cardboard as the back to the piece. (I don't generally buy pieces with that laminated cardboard stuff at the back because it is shiny and obviously not wood.)

2) This one is popular: look for dove-tailed joints when you open the drawers.  To me, this is a plus, but I have bought plenty of really nice pieces of furniture that aren't dove-tailed.  If the front and the sides of the drawer are solid wood, it's generally a nicer piece of furniture.

3) While you have the drawer open, look at what the bottom of the drawer is made of.  It may not be the same wood as the rest of the piece, but make sure it's not some sort of unidentifiable composite substance.

4) Sides that look like this are probably antiques:

5) If you're looking at a picture on craigslist and can't tell if the top is solid wood (many pieces are solid wood except for laminate on the top), see if the wood grain looks too perfect, to well-defined.  If it looks really perfect and symmetrical, it's probably laminate and not wood.

6) Courtesy of Grant: Generally flat blade screws indicate an older piece.  Square nuts (rather than hexagonal) are also more commonly on antiques.

Remember that hardware can be changed, and look at what the piece could be.

Just in time for yard sale-ing Saturday! Happy Picking!



  1. You have really gotten yourselves a beautiful piece of furniture, so lucky.
    A neighbor in MT had one similar to yours she got at a yard sale and she paid $800, that was years ago. That side board is so pretty, I am extremely envious.
    Being older and having lived in different areas of the country I've seen some incredible pieces of furniture and that side board is exceptional. Treasure and cherish it. Take very good care of it. Happy weekend.