Thursday, May 23, 2002

Home Decorating

With our surprise tax refund, and our windfall from the robbery, we finally have the means to buy some furniture. We have never owned a dining room table or a curio cabinet. I have so many beautiful crystals that are all sitting in boxes in my kitchen because I don't have anything to display them in. Our kitchen table set used to belong to my parents, and is approximately two decades old. The base started splitting in half at one point, and Scott had to glue it back together. Understandably, it's showing its age.

Just over a year ago, we went looking around for a dining room table set. We knew eventually we would want to buy one, but we weren't looking to buy at that time. I picked a beautiful one out of a catalog that I completely fell in love with. Black and silver with a glass top and a funky design. I'm really into that contemporary look, unlike most. In that store, we also picked out a kitchen table set that was absolutely perfect for our kitchen. Our cupboards are a light wood; our countertops are white tile. This kitchen table was made of light ood, with a white tile top. It even matched the napkin holder I got at Bed Bath and Beyond. It was destiny.

We went back to the same store 2 months ago, all ready to order the dining room set and kitchen set. To our complete shock, the dining room set was discontinued.

Oh, the horror ! I was devastated. That dining room table was so unlike anything I'd seen in our many travels around furniture stores. It was unique and funky. Perhaps that is why they discontinued it. We tried in vain to locate it at the manufacturer's warehouses. The hunt would have to begin again.

In that visit, we picked out a curio cabinet, and also found the kitchen table we had our eyes on from before. When we went back three weeks later, we were shocked again. In that three weeks, the curio cabinet was also discontinued.

Back to square one ! We wisely ordered the kitchen table at that visit, and then went on the prowl for a dining room table and curio cabinet. I didn't hold out much hope, as the contemporary styles I prefer are pretty sparse. Everyone likes these traditional etched wood designs, which is just not my style.

My friend Meredith and I went to Breuners, a chain furniture store in San Jose. I described to the salesman the sort of thing I was looking for, and he explained that they didn't carry that kind of thing and that I would have to look at some specialty shops. While he was saying this, Meredith spotted something out of the corner of her eye.

It was an absolute beauty. A steel base, with an etched glass top. Gorgeous chairs to match. It was exactly what I was looking for. This company, Design Institute America, custom-makes every piece with custom finishes to the buyer's tastes. It welds every single joint, and constructs only the highest-quality pieces. Every single piece in heir collection is designed by artists. Some of their stuff is completely off the wall, reminiscent of Marvin the Martian. Check out the DIA website and you'll see what I mean. Unfortunately, one has to pay quite a bit for this artistry and quality. I was prepared to do so, as this is something you very rarely have to buy.

The dining room table was perfect, and I also saw the funkiest console table for the entranceway. I called around other places that carried this particular brand, and found one that quoted me a lower price than Breuners. I took this information to Breuners, and they matched the price without question. (Little did they know, I gave them numbers that were $200 less than the place actually quoted me. I know the 20% rule with furniture. hehe).

As DIA's curios were unremarkable at best, off to the Internet I went. I searched for hours looking for the perfect curio, and found it at a store that runs out of New York. This curio was absolutely beautiful. Teardrop-shaped, all glass with black lacquer. I called them up and asked them for a quote. They quoted me a number which included shipping all the way from their manufacturing facility in North Carolina.

In an attempt to defray shipping costs, I found a store in San Francisco that also carried this manufacturer's line. I went in, and to my surprise, they were unable to beat the price quoted by the store in New York. The best they could do was $20 more than the New York price – PLUS shipping ! Needless to say, I ordered the curio from the New York store.

All we need now are chairs for the dining room table ! I have some in mind, let's hope they're not discontinued if we decide to buy them.

[see next post]


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