Tuesday, October 29, 2013

putting my money where my big mouth is

Not long ago I discussed just a few of the many darling bloggers who have found awesome things on craigslist - as, I aim to convince you, you also can. Lest I give anyone the impression that craigslist is something I merely talk about (and I don't know how that would be possible, but I'd just like to make the record absolutely clear), let's talk about stuff I've bought on craigslist.  I should say - if I photographed every single thing I've bought there, this post would never end.  So I'll just show off some of my favorites - and try at least to name everything.  (Which is a big job, I'm telling you.)

Let's start with my living room, where I'm tapping away on this keyboard here.  My sectional might actually have been my first-ever craigslist purchase:

It was $150.  I had been looking for a couch for six months (while we watched movies on a pile of blankets on the floor in our rather sad little apartment.  Ah, newlywed life).  I was not looking for a sectional, but I did insist on something with deep enough cushions that we could snuggle on it together while watching movies :).  I don't really style my couch; it has a lot of pillows (and might get a few more), but it usually has humans, computers, pillows, and blankets strewn about it, as shown above.  This is definitely the living room.  Also, it looks like I have great expanses of wall space to fill with pictures and things.  In person, you can see that they are all too small to hang pictures on (and I'm not big on knickknacks and plates and wee candle perches and filling every last bit of space.  The molding and the frieze, which you can't see here, are plenty of decoration). 

Also in my living room:

This was a rare craigslist impulse buy.  I didn't really need it and I don't really have a good place for it (though it worked better when I arranged all my living room furniture askance.  Unfortunately, my husband kept turning everything back to right angles, and I finally stopped moving it again), but it was a real antique fainting couch (advertised as a "psychiatrist's couch") with the original leather upholstery and the original horsehair filling, for $75.  So I bought it.  Of course.  (Oh, that's the gas lamp hanging out on the left side of the mantel.  I need to figure out where to put it back.) 

Then there's the dining room, which is pretty much all craigslist.  The table:

Here it's all the way extended to 96"; it can seat 12 in a pinch, which was my requirement.  That was $100.  And yes, there is crap all over it.  (I don't understand people who say they don't use their dining rooms.  We use ours daily, though not necessarily for dining.)  As you can see, I didn't bother to "style" these shots.  Also, I know these photos are poor even by my standards; I'm not sure why.  Then there's the china cabinet.  I think it goes beautifully with the table (though they were purchased separately):

In the picture of the table above, you can see my grandmother's oak press-back chairs - I had been given four.  When I got a bigger table, I knew I would need more.  Thus, the four chairs for $50, which I had to stain darker to go with my original four.  Too bad I don't have a "before" picture, but that's my grandmother's chair on the left; chair I bought is on the right:

I realized after I bought all the furniture for the dining room that I'd dropped $250 on it in a month or so (I had finished the wallpaper and wanted to get some of my boxes of serving pieces out of the basement and was on a big push to get it done).  Had I bought a complete set (table, china cabinet, four chairs), I might well have been able to do better on the price.  The thing is, I almost never saw a set in which I liked the cabinet and the table and the chairs for less than $1000. 

The kitchen has so many things from craigslist that it deserves a separate post, really.  Craigslist didn't so much furnish my kitchen as build it.

Let's see - on my porch, I have a metal bistro table and a pair of chairs that I got for $35, for our patio at our old place:

I also have a metal bench that cost $15.  (The cushion, of course, cost a lot more.  Always!)  At least the outdoor throw pillows were on clearance:

I bought a metal glider for $60:

A pair of big ol' outdoor chairs was $35.  They were in rough shape, and now are in much rougher shape, but we got two summers of constant use out of them, so I call that worth it.  Two regular wicker chairs - along with a little side table - were $25.  I got a regular peacock chair for $25.  And then - possibly my greatest craigslist coup - a pair of super-fancy peacock chairs (which the sellers got in Thailand) for $25.  This is the fancier of the two:

And can't forget my gorgeous $500 Wedgewood stove.  Still need to work on selling that.  I would say it was a craigslist failure, but craigslist hit it out of the park, really.  That stove is awesome, and I think it was a great price.  It was my inability to figure out the pilot light/burner issue with the ovens that let me down.  Oh, and we also bought a little kettle grill for $15.  And several window air conditioners, generally for about $50.  (Can you tell I'm mentally wandering through what's in the carriage house?)

So...upstairs.  I have a roll-top desk (not an antique, but nice solid wood) that was $75, and a leather desk chair that was $40 (also modern, but in an older style):

In our room, we have an antique headboard (well, I bought the whole frame, but I'm just using the headboard) that was $150.  And that I've never really liked for our room.  Gotta work on that.  And our awesome antique oak armoire:

That one was $125, which I think was a steal.  It's huge.  Then there's this highboy (which turned out to be Broyhill.  It's modern, but it's solid wood), which was $40:

Included in that price was a little three-drawer chest/nightstand.  This day bed was $75, and has a hide-away trundle bed, which is very handy.  (I've seen them for less on craigslist recently, but not on the DC craigslist.  I looked for that for ages.)  This dresser was $45:

I did a lousy job refinishing it.  (Hey, you have to start learning about wood finishing somewhere.)  The work isn't quite bad enough for me to have sanded it all off and redone it - yet.  But that will happen eventually.  (Key tip: do not buy stain and varnish in one.  It doesn't save time or money; it wrecks your finish.  At least, it wrecked mine.)  Oh, I also bought four vinyl exterior shutters for $40.  I thought they were wood.  (Oops.)  But I did persuade them to take paint.  Oh yeah and.  Couldn't miss this:

Or this:

I have now bought four cars through craigslist.  All good purchases.  Oh, and definitely can't forget THIS:

The adorable rental where we lived for three years.  Yeah, baby - CRAIGSLIST.  And nobody believed the deal we got on that place, either.  Or the hardwood floors and wood-burning fireplace and ACRE of land in ARLINGTON, six miles from the White House.  In a rental.  Do not underestimate the power of the 'list. 

I'm thinking.  That's actually not everything, of course :).  But I think you get the idea.

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