October 29, 2009

First Guest Blog: Bargains from eBay

Filed under: Furniture, Interior Design, etageres — Tags: , , — michaeldelicio @ 10:54 AM

I’m no Leona when it comes to design, style, knowledge, verve…I could go on. But I DO know a bargain when I see one. I decided to hop onto eBay and see what bargains lurk there, being as though I’m searching just now for a pair of nice chairs and some occasional tables. Searching on eBay this way can be tedious, yes, but remember: all the professionals do it too!

First, the chairs. Searching for “bergère” used to offer up some great finds but now everyone’s onto it. You can’t find a nice pair of bergères for a decent price anymore. So instead, I searched “pair chairs”. This time I got over 400 “hits”, and then – as at Loehmann’s or TJMaxx – I had to pick through the morass to find the jewels. Here’s my first cut; the prices underneath reflect the starting bids unless otherwise noted:

Danish Chairs w/o cushions - $120.00

Danish Chairs w/o cushions - $120.00

Lucite Pair - $599.00 or best offer (OBO)

Lucite Pair - $599.00 or best offer (OBO)

Leopard Occasional Pair - $599.00 or best offer (OBO)

Leopard Occasional Pair - $599.00 or best offer (OBO)

Red Velvet Pair - $599.00 or best offer (OBO)

Red Velvet Pair - $599.00 or best offer (OBO)

Wassily Pair - $980.00

Wassily Pair - $980.00

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Now for the tables. I’m looking both for single tables and pairs, and when I typed “side table” I got 4,365 hits. Too many and mostly not what I’m looking for anyway. So I refined the search by choosing only the 738 items categorized as Antiques>Furniture. Here’s what I got:

Chrome Walnut Set - $675.00 or best offer (OBO)

Chrome Walnut Set - $675.00 or best offer (OBO)

Flame Mahogany Pair - $485.00

Flame Mahogany Pair - $485.00

Biedermeier Single - $590.00

Biedermeier Single - $590.00


There are a few things to bear in mind when shopping for household bargains this way, however. The first, most obvious hurdle is that because you can’t ogle – or touch – the pieces in person you’ll have to be very careful about measuring the destination in your space against the measurements provided for the piece. I have a friend who finds cushions in her home and puts them together in the room destination to approximate the size of items she’s considering. I use newspaper. The point is that, like at Loehmann’s, just because something’s a bargain doesn’t mean you should buy it if it doesn’t fit or isn’t flattering!

While we’re on the subject of fit, another important thing to keep in mind is that when buying furniture on eBay it’s helpful to have a local discount fabric store AND an upholsterer you trust and who makes it easy. My upholsterer is someone I’d definitely have a cup of tea with any time – he’s adorable. But he’s also willing to pick up and deliver anything, and he’ll go to the fabric store on the way. His prices are exceedingly reasonable and he does great work.

The final considerations with eBay bargain hunting have to do with calculating in shipping fees and evaluating the seller. To ensure you’re really getting a bargain, you’ll need to add in the shipping charges when determining your top bid. Some sellers offer flat shipping fees; some ship only via Greyhound for station pick-up; some require the buyer to make her/his own arrangements. Whatever the terms, the fees involved can be substantial, so calculate them up front before starting to bid. Regarding ease and comfort of buying, my policy is to shop only with top-rated sellers, and to check buyer comments before bidding.

It just takes a little time and research, but you too can find great pieces for your home online. You’re helping the environment – “reduce, reuse, recycle” – and joining the ranks of proud design aficionados everywhere who are loath to pay retail.

Happy shopping!


August 21, 2009

Étagère vs. Bookcase

Why use an étagère as opposed to a bookcase? Though a bookcase can be beautifully crafted, and aesthetically pleasing, it was made to store lots of heavy books. An étagère exists to be pretty, and to serve for lighter duty storage and display. However, its lighter, more decorative appearance can give it the versatility to be used in ways that a bookcase cannot.  This is why interior designers love them. Because of its open construction, an etagere will appear to take up less space than a similarly sized bookcase.

Old Word Beauty Here is a classic, quintessential étagère in the Louis Philippe style. I can’t think of a room that couldn’t benefit from a piece like this. In a dining room, it would offer display and an extra serving surface. In a bedroom, you could put one on either side of the bed for a combo night table/bookcase. In a living room too, a pair of these on either side of a sofa or fireplace hearth would be both beautiful and practical. In a kitchen, it would provide a surface for a laptop, and lots of room for cookbooks and colorful ceramics. Bathroom?-towels and toiletries of course!

stanley 503-11-18(For product information on all furniture pieces shown, click on photo for link)

This particular piece,(above) is from Stanley, the Louis Louis Collection, and I must say, they cover this category better than any of the other large manufacturers out there. I would blend this into a dining room with an antique Louise Philippe sideboard, or with its clean lines,introduce it into a modern setting for a touch of old world warmth.

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Campaign Etagere available through Gaita Interiors $675.00

14ushop.com campaigneCampaign Etagere (center) available through Gaita Interiors $675.00.


Every style of furniture, has it’s version of the étagère. Above are some examples of Campaign style pieces, new and antique.  Below are English Regency.



english country antiques 1stdibskentshire 1820 $12,000STA1240_l


Asian Influence I want to personally thank the French for introducing the world to Chinoisere, and the love of all things Asian in the decorative arts and home furnishings. MERCI BEAUCOUP! This area has taken on so many iterations, and influences over the centuries that it would be impossible to trace all of them. Here are some nice examples to represent a few of the styles that are out there.


Lindsey Harper does a great job with this charming “a bit of Paris in New York” living room. She uses a pair of vintage chrome faux bamboo étagères against a mirrored wall to excellent effect. The storage capacity in a small space is great too!  Click on the photo to see the whole story from StyleBeat.

meridianPair Japanese Etagerespagoda etagere
Here are a few of my favorite things: étagères- modern, traditional, plain and ornate, all Asian by design.

ist dibs greenwhich oriental antiquesvanguardfurniture.com pagoda25410948
Silver Mica Etagere (above center) available though Gaita Interiors $1400.00.
The Painted Look It’s not only for cottages! Some are sweet, some are sophisticated. Again my hat’s off to Stanley. The red painted étagère below, (sweet for sure!) is available in 14 colors! That’s really going above and beyond the call of duty. Don’t forget, you can paint your own! You can find an old piece that’s seen better days, and save it form the land fill with a quart of paint and some elbow grease. Or you can buy an unfinished piece, like the campaign style one below.

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jonathan adler

continuim etagere stanley


revivla home and gstacksandstacks.com $170

Go Mod, Baby! Can’t forget the ever growing and strengthening modern movement. What a relief to be designing in a time when blending furniture styles is a given. The old rules of sticking with one look or period are long gone, and good riddance! It’s so much more fun to mix it up! This room by Eric Cohler is an elegant example of the modern and traditional, blended seamlessly. (Click on photo for the full story from Veranda)  The gold leaf finish on the modern étagères lend them the formality to suit their surroundings.


csnbookcases.com global views stackable bbokcasecontinuim metaltreku boodcase dwr.com $1500 per unit
Stackable Bookcase-walnut and ivory (above left) available through Gaita Interiors $2600.00
revival bibliotecacasr aluminum and clear glass lampsplus

richard shapiro studiologilded iron etagere

I started with a classic old world Louis Philippe étagère. Perhaps this piece from Richard Shapiro Studiolo is the quintessential modern étagère. The lines are clean, the function, versatile. Did you notice the tiny chow foot detail? The gold leaf-over-iron finish has enough glitz to serve in a formal setting with antiques. Yet the construction would allow heavy duty storage for books and media equipment in a family room. There’s space for family photos, plants, collectibles, art and of course books, all of the things that personalize your home, and reflect your interior design personality and lifestyle.. This is a piece that does what an étagère can do best: It becomes what you make it!

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