Friday, November 7, 2014

Nightstands: A Rant with a Happy Ending.

Nightstands are a ripoff.

I just spent more than a year looking for a matching pair of used nightstands that a) each had at least one drawer, b) were wide enough to comfortably hold more than a lamp, c) were made of actual wood and weren't totally falling apart, and d) Cost less than $200 for both nightstands.

They didn't have to be perfect. I was willing to strip, stain, paint, add new hardware, and otherwise DIY the right pair of nightstands. And it still took over a year to find something! Why? Because even the crappiest nightstands are crazily overpriced. $275 for two badly damaged 1980s behemoths? $250 for some nightstands so narrow that my cat could barely stand on one of them? $300 for used furniture made out of MDF? NO THANK YOU.

I love furniture, and I understand why it's often expensive. Upholstered furniture is painstakingly made, and good upholstery fabric is expensive. Good chairs and sofas are carefully designed to take comfort into account. A lot of wood is required to construct big dining tables and large bookshelves or wall units. But nightstands don't require upholstery fabric or large amounts of wood, and ergonomics aren't an issue. There's just no sense in the prices. RAGE RAGE.

Thanks for letting me vent, because now I have something nice to say: I finally found the perfect pair of nightstands at my favorite furniture consignment shop, Remix Furniture. Hooray!

It looks a bit darker here than it does in real life. The close-up picture below shows the true color more accurately.
I love the generous width and the big open space for storing the books on my soon-to-read list. These beauties are about 60 years old, well built, and very  heavy. They were just $55 each, and they come with a marvelous pedigree: They were made by Baker Furniture (ooh la la!) and originally sold at the chichi (and now defunct) B. Altman & Co. Department Store on Fifth Avenue.

I am totally okay with my furniture coming from this place. Source
The finish is in pretty good shape, too. The bit of wear on the edge, seen here, is the worst damage I can find on either nightstand. There are a couple spots like this, and I can live with that. The only thing I'm not crazy about is the fruitwood stain. That color has never been my favorite, but I especially don't like the way it looks next to our darker bed.

This is an accurate representation of the color.
I'd like to paint them both the same color as our walls, like in the picture below.* I like the way the nightstand blends into the walls and lets the bed, rug, and chandelier take center stage. And oh hey, a sleigh bed floral rug, and black chandelier! That looks familiar!

Source
There's just one problem: I like to reserve paint for furniture that's in really bad shape, because painting furniture reduces its value, and blah blah blah. Normally I'd say, "But this isn't a valuable antique!" and grab a paintbrush. But the prices I'm seeing for vintage Baker end tables and nightstands on 1stDibs, in similar condition to my own, make me think otherwise. $3,250? $4,500? *gulp*

What would you do?

* By the way, the house in that photo is in England. And it's for sale. And you should go read the listing and drool at every lovely room in this house. "Located in the sought after private road in the village of Mickleham, at the foot of Box Hill." I don't know what any of that means, but I love the sound of it. It's normal for a Nashville woman to peruse real estate listing in England, right? Right.

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