Sunday, October 25, 2009
The Weak....In Review.
Your fave addict experienced a serious bout of acquisition mania last week. The onslaught of a nasty cold, combined with dreadful weather, must have put me in a particularly weakened state. The defenses were down, and I was especially susceptible to the wiles of vintage furnishings.
Saturday: This prolonged episode of Vertigo started with a trip to that bastion of vintage booty, Class and Trash . Godson "V" accompanied me on a chilly and rainy morning on the trip south (godson "D" had a soccer game – in 43 degrees and pouring rain! What madness!). Actually, in my defense, I had a legitimate reason for visiting C&T (as if I need an excuse!): a fantastic ‘30s vintage Chippendale-style wing chair that I had asked Lisa and Kenny to hold for me awaited a redesign. Armed with a bag full of fabric, I was on my way to label the chair with swatches as a way of informing my upholsterer Blanca on how to proceed with turning the chair from frumpy to total Fabulocity!
Upon arriving at C&T, Vidic and I were greeted by Lisa and Kenny’s assistant Tammy – and a most interesting table that was sitting just inside the store. I swear, Kenny placed this delightful and unique (though a bit marred and scarred) item right where I would immediately become enamored with it (he’s so evil that way). Of course, in typical C&T manner, there were many other pieces of décor sitting on and around the table, requiring me to engage both Tammy and godson in unearthing the beckoning relic. Upon digging out my find, it still presented a puzzle; while it initially appeared to be simply a console table (with wonderfully carved legs ending in perfectly intact and beautifully detailed ball-and-claw feet), it was apparent that the table somehow was meant to expand into something more. Perhaps a game table? After flipping the top, we discovered that the two halves actually pulled apart; the two leaves sitting nearby belonged to this amazing piece and, once the hidden support legs were unfolded, could be easily inserted to convert this console into a dining table sufficiently large to seat six! Needless to say, this treasure was claimed in the name of Howard.
Wednesday: Having driven back to and around town for four days with the aforementioned console/dining table in the back of the Passat (clearly visible for all the jealous gawkers), I was still flying from the high of my discovery when I ventured into the virtual ghetto of Craigslist . No sooner had I started perusing the day’s offerings when I happened upon a listing for a “Queen Anne Desk” available in Capitol Hill – for a seemingly quite reasonable price. Although the picture included in the ad was of an intriguing piece of furniture, it most certainly did not show anything resembling the Queen Anne style; nonetheless, I felt compelled to inquire into the availability of the piece.
After some email traffic between me and the offeror, I finally succumbed to the Siren’s call once again, and arranged to stop by the Cap Hill home to visit the desk on my way to have dinner with Sig-O and family. That evening, before venturing into the Hill, I had to stop in Arlington to unload the table from C&T to make room for the impending purchase. (You see, although I had not overtly committed to the desk, I knew that I would be too weak to say ‘no, thank you’ once I had it within my grasp. I am nothing if not insightful.)
I was greeted at the door of the desk’s residence by the husband of the lady with whom I had negotiated via email. A most affable man from Kentucky, he told me a charming tale of finding the desk during one of his many antiquing trips around Manassas, Virginia. Well, dear readers, I guess I was in a particularly weakened state; I agreed to purchase the desk for the asking price, although upon close inspection the desk appeared to be neither Queen Anne nor antique. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the item was actually made in a high school woodshop (though perhaps by someone’s now elderly father, which I suppose would at least make it ‘vintage’!). Ah, but still it is a lovely piece, and I’m sure I can find a place for it among my collection. I’m discriminating, but hate to discriminate. Oh well, perhaps I was expecting too much honesty from a Hill politico. And, perhaps feeling a bit guilty for attempting to lead me astray with his tale of antiques, the seller did throw in a non-vintage yet lovely sconce as well as a large wall map for the godsons.
Thursday: Less than twenty-four hours later, and with the Hill desk having taken the place of the C&T table in the cargo-hold of my Passat, I found myself in one of our local hookah bars toasting Sharona at a Happy Hour fest wishing her well on her new job. About an hour into the festivities, I receive a text from Diana, the Lady D; the message only contained a picture of two massive wing chairs and a matching ottoman! I immediately ran outside into the cool, quiet night to call Lady D. Visiting a local Falls Church thrift shop, she had come upon these items and of course had to signal me of their presence. After some detailed descriptions, we finally decided that I must at least have the ottoman; Diana handled the transaction, and offered to transport the ottoman in her vehicle for me to pick up the next day at the office. Diana also felt that I really should see the chairs, so I eventually excused myself from Sharona’s fete and rushed to the thrift store in hopes of not becoming instantly enamored with two large chairs which I would have no way of transporting.
Upon arriving at the shop, I quickly homed in on the objects of my search. They were indeed as large and enticing as the Lady Di had described! Although not terribly vintage (mid-‘80s?), they appeared to be in good structural condition, and the upholstery, though a tad outdated, was pristine. The Queen Anne-style legs (yes, REALLY Q-A style this time!) were ornately carved, and the winged sides included unique armrests. However, the handwritten tag attached to each showed a price significantly higher than that which Diana had quoted over the phone. A quick call to her revealed that the shop’s workers had apparently decided that the chairs were more valuable than originally thought. And, since the ladies manning the store during my time there seemed less than willing to discuss the chairs with me, my disgust overwhelmed my interest and I chose to leave the shop sans wing chairs.
By the end of the next day (Friday), Diana and I had successfully completed our ottoman transaction. Now, days later, I have (1) an “antique Queen Anne” desk and (2) a chairless ottoman being transported hither and yon in the back of the furniture-weary Passat. Both my wallet and I are drained by my extended bout of Vintage Vertigo, and I can’t bring myself to carry yet another piece of furniture into my already cramped home. Yet, the Lady D called me earlier to inform me that the thrift store has assured her they would (probably) honor the original quoted price on the massive wing chairs. Damn.