Wednesday, January 25, 2012

an estate sale tale

Estate sales: I love them. Sometimes I think it's weird to get excited about an estate sale. I mean, someone either passed away or is going through a major downsizing, and as a result, all of their belongings are being liquidated. That can be sad. But if something good can be born out of sadness, I'm all for it! So many fabulous treasures can be found at a true estate sale (someone's junk strewn about their living room does NOT count), especially if you go on the second day - typically everything under $100 is marked down to 50% off! Because estate sales are designed to sell off a large part of a home’s contents in a hurry, you can expect prices to be lower than what you find at a retail store or antique shop. It's a beautiful thing. In my experience, the best estate sales are the ones being hosted by a third party business specializing in estate liquidation. My mom happens to live in a lovely neighborhood populated by mostly retirees around a golf course - perfect estate-sale-ing territory.

This brings me to the story of my latest estate sale 'big win'. Last Saturday I was taking Cason Jett over to 'Ama's' house. As we entered her neighborhood, the official ESTATE SALE signs were out on the corner, blazing their white and green-lettered trail to the latest trove of treasures. After promptly assigning Grandpa to Cason-duty, mom and I set forth on our foray.

The sale had clearly been well-shopped, as not a ton of stuff was remaining, but one could tell that the woman (who was still living, FYI) had a flair for Asian decor and did indeed have some nice things. We ooohed and awed at some pretty pillows adorned with Geishas, admired a faux-bamboo metal plant stand, and then, we ventured into the garage. There we came upon a deconstructed bed. The wood was beautiful, and in good shape. It was big, and had an interesting and visually appealing fretwork design along some of the components. The price was scribbled on a piece of note paper and read '$65.00/king size'. Hmmm. We asked the woman in charge of the sale about the bed. Were all the pieces present? Yes. What did it look like when constructed? Not sure exactly, but it had a canopy. Had there been much interest in it? No, she thought folks might be intimidated since it was taken apart. Hmmmm.

Here is where the fun begins. One might think, what a bargain! $65 for a solid wood, king-sized bed! But then there's me. I'm thinking, I bet this will be here tomorrow... for $32.50. And you know what, I was right! We left that sale, and then I dragged the hubs and Cason Jett out of the house at 9am on a Sunday to go claim the bed. Transporting it was interesting, and I have to give MAJOR props to my hubs for fitting most of the bed pieces, Tetris-style, into our Honda Element, and then going back with our Outback and wrangling the large headboard onto the roof and bringing it home single-handed. He's The Man.

After bringing the bed home, a stamp reading Drexel Tai-Ming 1983 was discovered on the back of the headboard. 1983! We hopped online and found 2 images of what our treasure would look like once put together:

We had a hard time finding the original retail price for the bed, but did come across a queen-sized one on Craigslist that was listed for $1100. Amazing! I am totally picturing this thing painted white... with bright, graphic bed linens... two glossy orange nightstands, and turquoise lamps! Squeal!


Obviously, this story will have 'to be continued' since painting this big bed will take some time and effort. But as you know by now, I love a project! 

Ready to go estate sale-ing, anyone? What do you think of my latest find? Can you share my vision for it? I'd love to hear some feedback!


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