To be honest, DH and I are not very 'formal' people. Our lifestyle, and pleasures tend toward the simple. Since our new home will have a room, a formal living room, that we were not sure quite what to do with, our good friend Steakburner suggested we make it our library/reading room. We jumped on the idea, only to realize we didn't really have a lot of furniture to put in such a room.
Off we went a week or so ago, to the monster Nebraska Furniture Mart. We spend a couple hours, looking at tables, chairs and book cases. We have always loved the Arts & Crafts period, and Mission/Stickley furniture, but such is typically well outside our price range, especially if it is antique.
|MDF construction drop leaf secretary|
At NFM, we saw a line of furniture that caught our eye. I even went back midweek to look closer at it. In the end, I called the manufacturer, only to learn it was MIC (made in China), and was built on a frame of MDF (medium density fiberboard). I called DH and gave him the bad news. I am not going to spend that kind of cash for MDF furniture!
Disenchanted, DH began to poke through the local Craigslist, spotting some stunning antiques. One, a drop leaf secretary, had been listed at a fair price, but had been out there for a full month. Our experience with Craigslist and desirable pieces of anything, is that sellers tend not to remove listings, or even reply to inquiries.
With a sense that it would be pointless, but like the Lottery, if you don't play you never win, I went ahead last week and sent the seller an email. And heard nothing...that is, until late last night, when an apologetic email came in, telling me it was still for sale. I replied, and arrangements were made to go see the piece this afternoon.
This was what we found! The hardware is original, save for two drawer pulls, and the stained 2x4's under the original feet. We will be removing those feet, once we get it moved to our new place. It even has the key for the bottom cabinet, though the lock for the top drop leaf does not work.
Above, is what the sloped cabinet opens out to be, a leather covered writing surface, and small desk organizer inside. The oak is solid oak, not veneers, and you rarely see that grade of quartersawn white oak these days. Needless to say, we bought it!
In addition to the desk, just last weekend, I snagged with DH, an antique rocking chair, smaller than the one we already had, and very comfortable. It was at the local Restore: Habitat For Humanity resale store. It is mostly original, though the rockers are likely replacements, they are not "new". This is a Tiger Oak veneer, and the veneer is old and original. Tiger Oak refers to the pattern of rays (the stripes) in the quartersawn veneer. Sadly it does have one significant chip out of the seat veneer on the leading edge. We are planning on how to repair that, though we do not have the missing piece.
And for the Old Meets New? Well, our plan is to use the secretary desk in the library, to hold a laptop, just like this! And the rockers will be the reading chairs, along with the new-to-us leather couch also from Restore. As for the rest of the furniture we desire, we decided to piece it together from what we find at sales, antique stores, auctions and such. Honestly, we never really were the "everything has to match" type of people! So our library will be a work in progress. And part of the fun, will be in the hunt!