Give Craig’s List a Chance

A few weeks ago, I saw a sort of shady looking ad on Craig’s List for an antique Chinese stool for $30. The picture was horrible and the ad was poorly written. Despite the bad picture, the stool looked like it had potential, so I decided to take a chance and email the seller. The…

A few weeks ago, I saw a sort of shady looking ad on Craig’s List for an antique Chinese stool for $30. The picture was horrible and the ad was poorly written. Despite the bad picture, the stool looked like it had potential, so I decided to take a chance and email the seller.

The day I went to check out the stool had a seriously rocky start. I almost bailed on the outing about 20 times. I’m so, so glad I followed my instincts, because I met the nicest, sweetest old man, Charles, who lives and works in this incredible industrial warehouse in Framingham, where he works as a carpenter and artist. He was born in China and still has family there and goes to visit as often as he can. He told me that for 40 years he’s been collecting Chinese antiques and bringing them back to America. He said he thought of it more as a hobby than a business and he was ready to get rid of his huge collection.

I wish you all could have seen this warehouse FULL of antiques. It made me weak in the knees when he rolled back the huge, old squeaky door. There were piles and piles of old doors, stools, dressers, chairs, screen, pots, and everything in between.

The timing was bad and I wish that I could have spent the entire day there rummaging through everything he had and taking pictures of it all (rather than monitoring my two tired toddlers in a room full of antiques).

I didn’t bring hardly any cash with me because I thought I was only coming to look at a $30 stool. I had $42 on me and this is what that sweet, wonderful man sold to me for that price. He wanted to give me more but I felt really guilty.

Charlie had two of the stools that he advertised on Craig’s List. They are not exact matches, but they are really close. Plus, I like that they are subtly different. It reminds me that they are not mass produced.

This little stool (above) has a really cool hidden drawer that Grace likes to hide her treasures in. I love the shape of the feet.

I decided to put the little stool in between the couch and the leather chair as a little side table. I’m thinking about painting it, but I actually sort of like the dark, chippy look here.

Claire and Grace each got their own little stools for the bathroom. I really like the color of Claire’s (above) but I think I am going to paint Grace’s stool something really fun and punchy.

Here is a before and after shot of the pair of stools. I used my favorite , Restor-A-Finish, to clean the stools up.

I really like the look of stools under a console table. And it’s nice to have extra seating in a pinch.
I just wish we didn’t have that stupid heating grate right there!

By the way, if anyone here locally is interested in going to visit Charles and help offload some of his beautiful Chinese antiques, email me and I’ll go with you (sans kids this time!).

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12 thoughts on “Give Craig’s List a Chance

  1. I’ll go! I’ll go right away. Oh wait, I live thousands of miles away – shoot. Jennica, I don’t know how you do it – your house looks stunning. I think I am going to email you pictures of my house and you can start scouring craigslist in houston – I have to say, it is kind of a sad affair here, though. I wish I could find some good antique stores in the area. I did make it out to Round Top and found a couple small items, but it was nothing like Brimfield. One more reason to move back to New England for residency.

  2. so after seeing your finds i said that i can no longer look at your blog because i was coveting your things (and how much you DID NOT spend on them). I should not complain, i did find a beautiful dresser for $17.50 at goodwill on half off day. Which brings me to my point.
    #1 I have 3 pieces i need advice on, and I can send you picts. I have a very old dresser that my mom bought at an auction in england years ago9decades ago). it is very beat up. I spilled nail polish on it as a teenager, my kids spilled hand sanitizer on it. It is solid wood and made well. it is very light (weight wise) so it is dinged up a bunch. I like the old used look, but the nail polish remover and sanitizer did a number on it. Would that stuff that you use work on this?
    #2 I bought a very old bed frame at a garage sale for maesyn. It is metal and rusty but you can still see the old yellow paint. I like the way it looks with the rust, but my mom said i need to get it off so it does not rust through. (not to mention getting rust stains on things). How can i save it with out taking away the charm. I feel that if I repaint it it will look new and cheap and not like the 100 year old (take or add a decade) bed that it is.
    #3 that cheap dresser. I need to send you a picture. it is beautiful. i love the finish but don’t know about the drawer pulls. Any suggestions? I’ll take a picture of it today. i just need your e-mail.

    I had some cool queen anne chairs waiting to be redone when I had room in a house… or to go to someone that could re do them… but my mil look them to the dump.(still angry) I hope to find more and then pick your brain.

  3. that last comment was me… i did not notice until after i added it. I was going to copy and paste it to me and get rid of his but it is funny to see the comment next to his picture. can you see a guy like that really having questions like mine???

  4. I am cracking up about Heidi’s comment. I was totally like, “Huh. I never took Nate for an antiquer….”

    Your house is beautiful, and it inspires me to think outside the box.

    And now to Charles: I used to have a console that I think might have been an old Chinese apothecary cabinet (it had twenty small drawers, and it was definitely Asian, but I’m a real dunce about placing anything in an era or geographical location). I had to sell it when I moved away from school, but I’ve been looking for another one ever since. I am so so sad that Charles doesn’t live here.

  5. Hi! My name is Keiko and I went to school with Michael. I found my way to this blog through your family one. I must say, this blog is really inspiring. I love your style and appreciate how easy you make everything!

    Very cool stuff!!

  6. Nice! I love the stools under the console–I want to have stools under a console some day. And what an absolute STEAL for all that stuff!!!

  7. If he is still around, or if you are still interested I would LOVE to go with you- I love those kind of places, it would be so much fun to dig though all the treasures!

  8. Hi Jenny,
    Its been a few months since I've been reading your blog and I've throughly enjoyed it so I had to go back and check out your earlier posts….such as this one. I really appreciate your sharing ideas!
    I now live in the NY area and would be really curious if you knew of anyone like Charles that sells antiques for less.
    Would appreciate any leads. Look forward to hearding you.


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