Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Past Life of Furniture

Recently my friend Ian told me he was moving again. The poor guy has moved three times in as many months and for any of you who have moved even once in your life, you know how huge a hassle it can be. You usually end up leaving something behind, tossing away some fabulous thing or passing it on to a friend... and this is where I come in. Before Ian knew he had to move, he had me over to his latest apartment where I spied a beyond-gorgeous couch I'd never seen before. It was his grandfathers and he recently inherited it. I told him he could never get rid of it and if he was even thinking about it, I would take it in a millisecond. Of course, I have no place for another couch. We already have a gorgeous old, wood-framed, 9-foot couch that we bought in a thrift store and took about 3 and a half hours for my friend, Mike, and I to get up to this apartment. That was 3 and a half hours just in the stairwell. Stuck. Trying to figure out how in the hell we were gonna get it up the next two flight of stairs without ripping out the building's railing. RK and I also own about 12 chairs, two bar stools, a couple of vintage odd chairs, a bench, two step stools and the previously mentioned 9-foot couch. We only have one table. Why, just yesterday, my brother who was visiting this week, found us four more gorgeous 1940's wooden folding chairs on one of his major scavenging hunts. Thank god they fold up, we thought, we have absolutely no room for them. But, just like with all the other odd furniture, we couldn't resist and accepted them graciously.
So, when Ian called me the other day and told me he was moving, he also told me he couldn't take his grandfather's couch with him and would I please take it off his hands. I was speechless. I wanted that couch. And it made me start to think about all the other furniture in this apartment and how almost everything we own either came from friends or a good find off the street or a thrift store.

One of my early acquirement's: when I moved from upstate NY to the city, Charles & Helen were cleaning out their barn and gave me these juicy nesting tables. These probably get used more than any piece of furniture in our house.

When my grampa passed away, I told my mom I'd like anything and everything that she was willing to pass on. I have tons of his books, some of his tools, and this fantastic clock that, when wound up, ticks and tocks louder than the loudest rock music. So, you can imagine the alarm on it!

This fantastic hutch came out of C & K's old apartment building. It wasn't actually even in the apartment anymore. Everyone in their building was getting evicted by a not-so-cool landlord and so it was a free-for-all in the storage room. There were three of these in there and we each got one. The physical pain that it took to move this thing and get it up to our apartment was worth it. Well, I actually didn't endure any of the physical pain. But I'm sure the boys would agree. Right, guys?

These mirrors all came from my grandparents house... i wish they could talk.

The most recent table and chairs set we own came from our good friend, Quinn, who's x-girlfriend actually bought it. He didn't want it around anymore, but doesn't seem to mind hanging out on it at our house. He got rid of a lot of stuff when he moved down south, but he can actually visit most of his stuff right here at our place now.

And this piano has lived many, many lives...I got it from my friend Mike, but before that, it lived in the apartment two flights up from us in nyc. The neighbors that sold it to Mike said the guy that lived there before them left it behind. When Mikey decided it was taking up too much room and he wanted to let it go, he moved it into the hall of our building, waiting for it to get picked up by my sister (she wanted Sofia to learn how to play). It sat in the hallway, between our two apartments, for months. I remember one time my parents were visiting around Christmas and one of our neighbors came down and started playing xmas carols on it. We opened my apartment door, my family and I sitting around my kitchen table, and listened to him play. We clapped, he kept playing. If it hadn't been for the super threatening to toss it out, it could have stayed there forever. An unattended piano in a run-down apartment building is hard to pass up if you know how to play. The funny thing is, other than one song I taught myself when I was 11 (Stevie Wonder's, "for once in my life"), I have no idea how to play. But, my sister decided she didn't want it and into my apartment it moved. Luckily, I met RK, who knows how to play and has entertained me for hours on it. When we knew we were moving to CA, I said, "we're leaving the piano behind. we're not paying to move that big ole thing." RK said no way, we're absolutely taking it with us! Three months later, when it finally came time to move, he gave in and said, "okay, we can leave it behind." But, by that time, I'd grown to realize what a major role it had played in our life and I wasn't willing to let it go. So, along it came...

We may have to move some chairs to the side, but I'm just sure we'll find a place for Ian's couch.


Anonymous said...

hi!i love all your stuffs.around where i live,people get rid of old stuffs.i wish i will inherit some old stuffs but non of my grandparents are still living n my parents stay with my sister.but i did get a small table with a drawer n a mirror.but they are not so old.would love to see more of your furniture....rms

Sarah said...

Great things! My house is full chairs, tables, lamps and bar stools that I have aquired through family and inheritance!

Arkay said...

Better than stacks of old newspapers and 52 cats, i suppose.

Christina said...

that couch looks beautiful and i'm sure it will get along well with all the over great old pieces you have in the apartment. i've gotta say i think my favorite are those nesting tables, oh how many drinks of mine they've held. and they're just so darn conveinent!