I’ve tried my ‘luck’ with Ebay and have never been satisfied with my purchases. The sellers were not misrepresenting their wares, it’s just that the descriptions and the pictures didn’t match the images in my head. So I’ve given up on Ebay. I need to see the items in person prior to purchase. I need to spend a little bit of time with the item before handing over payment. This is why I prefer flea markets over auctions and this is why I stopped browsing Ebay and started browsing Craiglist.
I’m always amazed when I read about fellow Craigslist browsers who make magazine worthy finds at astonishingly low prices. Seems like every ‘design’ magazine has a home renovation / decoration project where the owner has scored an amazing find on Craigslist.
Well, I’ll tell you my tale. I have been browsing Craiglist for about four years now using the same search words: Russel Wright; danish modern; Heywood Wakefield; mid century modern; etc. Four years and three scores:
My first score was a set of six dining chairs from the 1950’s Drexel Declaration line:
The original picture in the posting showed hideous floral fabric on the chairs. I asked about the fabric when I contacted the seller. Told him I was interested and wanted to come take a look. While working out the details via email he took a look at the fabric and discovered that if he too the seats off the fabric came right off to reveal the original black pleather. When he sent me the above picture, I knew I had to have them. On a chilly winter evening I drove out to his house in the back of beyond to check them out. $350 for six solid walnut with rosewood inlay dining chairs that are in very good condition. The seller bought them at an auction, cleaned them up, wiped them down with beeswax, and put them up for sale. That’s $58 a piece!
The next score was the foundation for my collection of Russel Wright dinnerware. (I’m working on a post devoted to Russel Wright.) I decided that I wanted this to be our nice dinnerware and saw a posting on Craigslist which included six place settings (dinner plates, cups/saucers, and bowls), cream and sugar servers, and a couple of serving pieces (platter and side dish).
I already owned the pitcher and have added to the collection since the Craigslist purchase. This time I made Mr. MM go with me to the seller’s house. We walked into my dream house. A sprawling ranch completely renovated in a cool mid century modern style. The seller was moving and thus selling several sets of Russel Wright dinnerware. I chose his Oyster set for $125. I think I did pretty good on this one too.
The most recent purchase was spawned by an unfortunate ceiling light purchase … twice. After we renovated the living room we installed a new ceiling mount light fixture. After we turned the light on, we realized that you do not want a fixture that shines light on your ceiling when your ceiling is a 100 + year old plaster ceiling. Sigh. Fixture one was removed. Next I bought a very cool Louis Poulsen fixture that proved impossible to install. I won’t go into the details but I do love this fixture and will find a home for it … our bedroom?
Plus we already have one hanging in our dining room.
Given the size of our living room and the furniture / art already in place, we really needed a smallish fixture. I started searching Craigslist for chandeliers. This was one of my more odd Craigslist experiences. I had to email the seller several times before they returned my email. The seller was then hesitant to tell me where she lived. After all sorts of back and forth, we met in a parking lot in Manayunk. Weird. But I did shell out $80 for this little cutie:
It was imprinted with 1973 so I’m wondering if that’s the model number or the date of fabrication. I love the ‘bubble’ glass and the pineapple crown. We put it on a dimmer and it provides such a lovely glow and pattern of light. I think it works perfectly in our living room:
One Craigslist post for a Heywood Wakefield dining table got me all excited but proved to be a huge disappointment. What the seller didn’t tell me via email but I saw in person was that they let there kids carve their names into the table. And this was not something to be sanded out. Are you kidding me?
All in all, I’ve been very pleased with my Craigslist experiences / purchases. I’ll definitely keep browsing but the ‘hits’ are few and far between in my opinion … or am I just missing them? Well, it is a way to survive the winter months without proper flea markets!