In my searches I see plenty of gorgeous furniture. I see mass produced furniture. I see bland furniture. I see ugly furniture. I see furniture that really should just be at the town dump. But the furniture that really makes me crazy, is the insanely beautiful old furniture that has been abused. I don’t say it lightly when I tell you there are people out there committing crimes against furniture. Yes, furniture crime.
It comes in many forms. But here are the main culprits:
These are the well intentioned petty offenders. They find a beautiful piece of furniture and then with a good heart, set about ‘doing it up’. But in the process this piece of furniture that has earned its character through years of love and use, is rendered as soulless as if they’d bought a piece of new furniture. Fine imposed: Step away from the Black and Decker Mouse. Put down the Cedar Antique High Gloss Varnish.
The STATEMENT MAKER.
Middle range offender with a need for creative outlet. They want a statement and I’m all for adding some individuality, but what these people do to good furniture, should be saved for the bargain Gumtree finds. Cedar chiffoniers covered in neon paint with novelty hardware. Oak sideboards tricked up with IKEA shelf lighting. Bentwood chairs (original!) covered in puff paint stencilling and fake fur seat pads. Fine imposed: A one week WEA course in Creating Your Own Statement Artwork & Sculpture for Beginners.
The CLUELESS DESTROYER.
These are the worst offenders of all. Mainly because they don’t know that what they are about to fiddle with is a rare and beautiful thing and also because what they then do is so awful. These are the people that use a three metre long, centuries old butchers table to pull apart engines, degrease car parts and test drill bits. They drag original Lloyd Loom chairs out onto a verandah for the cats to sharpen their claws on. Or as I saw today, they take a beautiful, antique English armchair and they practice their upholstery skills with brown vinyl.
The proportions of these chairs are so lovely. Big enough to curl up in or for a tall bloke to stretch back into. This would have been a beautiful chair. Now, it would squeak when you sat in it. Three minutes in and you would start sweating. If you tried to curl up, you’d slide off. So sad. Fine imposed: Case by case. And having looked now for some time at this poor chair, I don’t know that I can come up with anything.
I just know how long and hard I search for individual pieces for clients and how hard they are to find. So when after months of searching I do find something, like a big antique armchair, suitable for a bloke over six foot for a wedding anniversary present and I find it, my heart just sinks to think what could have been.
JUDGE’S CLOSING REMARKS
There is some great unwanted furniture bargains available through so many avenues (garage sales, Gumtree, eBay, facebook sites) and these pieces are great for having a play. Stop them reaching landfill and make your mark. But if you inherited something from your grandmother, if it came out of an old shed, if it weighs a tonne or if its filled with down stuffing, place it in an auction or online and you might be surprised to find that someone like me, might pay you more than you would ever spend on that hot glue gun, feather boa, glitter paint and those pink rhinestones.