I recently celebrated my 33rd birthday with my usual gathering of friends and well-wishers (and made sure that party goers damn well drank all my beer) when I realized something: I'm too old to buy cheap furniture.
Sure, Ikea has served me well but darn it, I deserve more! And it doesn't hurt that I can actually afford some pricier pieces of furniture now (hey, don't hate me because I am mildly successful!).
Now, shopping for furniture as a single person is easy: just buy whatever the heck you like. For whatever reason I've always had a fond place in my heart for Stickley furniture, their Mission collection to be specific (Nerd Alert: My Adobe loving friends will be happy to see that the Stickley Web site runs on ColdFusion). Now, say what you will about Mission style furniture but one thing is certain: it ain't everyone's cup of tea.
Since I'm no longer single I can't just go out and buy furniture willy nilly. Nope, I have to consult with Marisa, which is fair I suppose. As luck would have it, we had been in the market for a new bookcase for awhile. Sadly, when I showed Marisa Stickley's catalogs she wasn't feeling it. It probably doesn't help that it is nearly impossible to find prices for new Stickley furniture on the Internet (always a sign that something is more expensive than you think).
I managed to find Sheffield Furniture in Malvern. They have a showroom full of Stickley stuff, in addition to a bunch of other furniture makers. Since it is only about a 40 minute drive from our house Marisa and I piled into the station wagon to check it out.
We wandered about the massive showroom for awhile checking out the furniture and nothing was doing it for us... but we hadn't made it to the Stickley section yet!
Venturing upstairs we entered a wonder land of wood and leather. As soon as Marisa saw the Stickley pieces she turned to me and said, "We should get one of each." Success!
One of the designers (that's what they call their salespeople) told us that we should keep an eye on their Web site since they have Stickley sales fairly often. We left furniture-less but with a plan in mind.
The weekend before last I noticed that Sheffield was having a 45% off sale on all Stickley stuff, so we made our way to Malvern and bought the bookcase you see to the right.
Since this was the first piece of 'adult furniture' I've ever bought I wasn't prepared for what the salesperson said next, "OK, well we should have that in our warehouse in about 3 months." I was all like, "Huh?" She then kindly explained to me that the good people at Stickley (who I imagine all look like the burly fellow to the left) will start making the bookcase for us as soon as they get this order.
Think about that for a moment: the bookcase we bought didn't exist yet. Right now some craftsperson in New York is working on our bookcase. That's pretty darned cool.
We went home happily knowing that in 3 months we would be the proud owners of our very first Stickley piece.
A few days later what should come in the mail but a notice for one of Sheffield's Stickley Truck sales. Basically, Stickley trucks in a few loads of furniture to one of Sheffield's warehouses and they slash the prices (OMG! A sale!).
Since I'm avoiding working on my book (don't tell my editor) I was up for a little jaunt to the warehouse just to browse... and I'm sure you can tell where this is going.
We had this crappy old cart near our kitchen which held a variety of bowls and such. I've never liked it, and Marisa wanted to replace it so we were on the lookout for something to replace it with. That's when we saw the Roycroft Chafing Dish Cabinet sitting there, just waiting for us to buy it. I don't know what a chafing dish is, but I liked this little cabinet so we bought it for 50% off (another bargain!).
The best part of the warehouse sale is that you get to take whatever you bought home with you right then and there. We loaded it into the station wagon and off we went with our prize.
And that's the story of how our second Stickley purchase has become the first Stickley object in our house! Now I'm plotting a plan to replace all the furniture in our apartment with Stickley stuff (but don't tell Marisa!).
Oh, and here is a picture of the new cabinet actually in our apartment: