ANTIQUE FURNITURE KNOWLEDGE
Antique furniture knowledge is a scary proposition for any diy home goddess. “How am I supposed to know if a piece of furniture is an antique?” you are shouting at me. I can hear you. I promise I can! There are so many fakes out there, you remind me. Reproduction pieces. Revival pieces. Good ones. Bad ones. How can a diy home goddess tell if what she is looking at is real?
The top is original antique, but the legs are refurbished and recently made.
Well, I am not an expert on antique furniture knowledge by any means. I did lots of research and collected some books (see later on in the post for my recommended research).
I have gotten taken a time or two, like when I picked up a couple of night stands at an antique flea market, when the dealer said they were mahogany, a matched set, and pretty old. Nope! They were maybe forty years old. And they were definitely not mahogany. The wood was too soft, which I found out when I tried to sand off the layers of paint!
I have found antiques by accident as well, vintage furniture like my poker table, by looking up the label on the underside while I was considering the purchase, as well as items such my radio, which they sold me as one from the 1950’s, when I found out later is was only made in 1938 and 1939! It’s a matter of doing some research first.
What Is An Antique?
Flea Markets, Boon or Bust?
I went to the biggest flea market in the DC area this weekend. Over 600 vendors. It’s a flea market for antique dealers. Many of these vendors don’t have a true shop, they just travel to different flea markets to sell their wares.
I go there a couple times a year, trying to get inspired and see what I can pick up that needs loving. That’s where I got my Prohibition Liquor Cabinet, as well as the painted night stands. I’d been watching Flea Market Flip on HGTV lately, and was itching to do something different. Change something.
This Bread/Cake Container just needs some serious cleaning!
Bummer on the loot!
I was more than a little disappointed this time. There were very few pieces I could give love to. Most of the stuff was high end, high dollar, already fixed pieces. It wasn’t the time for a diy goddess to find her way.
- A lot more jewelry than usual. I don’t like jewelry, and know nothing about it.
- At least two vendors had exclusively fur coats. Yeah, it’s winter, but seriously?
- Only one slot machine was discovered under $1000. $1000!
- A lot of mid century stuff, but nothing that needed the love I had to offer.
- Very odd vinyl record collections.
- Antiques out the wazoo. Great! But they were refinished, refurbished, restored, anything but the broken soul I wanted to love.
And this is a box they used to ship eggs in. The possibilities for this are endless!
We all know that furniture comes in different looks (sleek or ornate) and periods (Renaissance to Mid Century Modern). But do we ever think about the furniture material?
If a goddess is looking for a specific piece of furniture, it would be wise for her to examine the type of material that is used to make the piece of furniture. There are many types of materials. All have their own strengths and weaknesses.
This is a variety of furniture styles, from onlinedesignteacher
The most popular type of material is wood. It has been used for centuries. It may have been the original material, but I am not that old and cannot attest to the fact. But, there are several different levels of wood as well. And a goddess needs to discover what wood is used, to determine if it is a worthwhile purchase.
- Solid wood (starting Egyptian times) is expensive. We will discuss various types of wood in another post. But it can be refinished and repaired many times. It can be very strong, or very weak, depending on the particular species. It can warp and bow over time. It can be covered in veneer to give, let’s say, an oak table the look of mahogany. Read more
Mid Century Furniture
Is this guaranteed mid century furniture or what?
Doesn’t this look like the kind of table they used for poker before casinos were everywhere? I can just see it in a gentleman’s club, surrounded by cigar smoke.
I love going to antique stores, because you never know what you will find. I always feel like I am on a treasure hunt. The problem is, I usually don’t know what I am looking for. I plan things, but not when I am shopping. So a treasure hunt without a specific goal is my thing.
My favorite store is a huge rambler with a main floor and a basement. I haven’t gone to the barn yet, to see what there is there, because I have too much fun in the main store. They have lots of vendors, so there is a lot of different items, tastes, and prices to go through.
I was looking for something to do over the holidays. Something small, but something that would require elbow grease or creativity. Between you and me, I really hate having nothing to do. I had no idea what I was looking for. I was possibly thinking of an end table, but not even sure if that is what would strike my fancy. I saw the table I discussed in another post, Table Top Repair!, but at that time I wasn’t really sure about doing something that ambitious. Read that post and you will see why.
Sit back, and let me tell you my story. Read more