Follow by Email

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"What's your BEST price?"

As an addendum,
several folks have asked 
"how do you know how much to pay?"
so I'll address that here, too

Keep in mind, we are not antique dealers
we know enough for our purposes
but I'd never claim to be the pricing authority
on vintage and antique furniture!
We only know what it's worth to US

What we will pay for a piece depends on several factors:

1. Is it special?
 Is it a common French dresser or something much more detailed?

 (cute, but common)

 (extra special, not common at all!)

Of course, even if it's extra special and wonderful,
you have to be reasonable!
There is a FABULOUS
(and I do mean fabulous!)
French dresser, tallboy, and mirror
sitting right around the corner as we speak...
would I LOVE to paint it?
But at $775, it's a poor investment for resale...
so sadly, it is still sitting up the street
and not in our studio!

2. Who makes it? 
We don't buy Dixie or Henry Link pieces unless they are very old...
we will pay a premium for Henredon, Drexel, Century, White, etc
a bit less for Bassett and the like
Educate yourself, if you haven't already...
learn what to look for and you'll save yourself so much time!
We can usually avoid driving out to look at what ends up being junk
(real junk, not fabulous junk!)
by carefully looking over the photos and asking lots of questions

 (Bassett...nice details, but not too fancy)

(Century...12 drawers, impressive hardware)
Surprisingly, you will often find gorgeous pieces from the 1940's and 50's
with NO makers mark to be found...
We look for signs of high quality, and if they are present, we will pay a higher price

3. How badly do we need it? 
Is it for a custom order that needs filled?
 Is it just going to go into inventory? Do we already have five others that are similar?
 If it's for an already-sold custom order, we will pay more
If we already have five, we are willing to pay less
(for the record, we NEVER walk away from a great deal, whether we need it or not!)
4. What's the condition like? 
Time is money, 
and although we can make just about anything gorgeous again, 
doing so takes time...more repairs mean we will pay less 
( we paid $75 for this piece because it was dirty and smelled funny...
it's now fresh as a daisy and lives in my dining room!)

5. The most important factor is resale:
How much will the finished item sell for?
When faced with a $100 dresser and a $100 desk,
the dresser will always win, 
because the dresser will sell for more than the desk when finished...
You have to determine the resale value, once revamped
in order to know what you can pay
We can't pay $400 for a dresser (no matter how special)
because the resale will be between $600-$800...
I know, you're saying
"but that's a nice profit!"
and I would agree...
if we were just flipping pieces
but we aren't...
so you have to factor in your time, how much product will be used, 
how difficult is it to transport and store?  All these things matter...
If that cute little cabinet is $100 and you have to transport it,
clean it, paint it, photograph it, and ship it, for a $200 profit, 
it's probably not worth it!

Of course...
If it makes your heart sing and it's for yourself...
all bets are OFF!
($250, solid wood, original glass...and worth each and every penny!)


  1. Great post! Don't know about you guys but it's getting harder and harder to find the steals!

  2. Your work is some of the most beautiful and inspiring I've seen in the internet. As a beginning re-purposer/re-finisher I am wondering how I can educate myself about the different styles and makers of furniture, as you mention in item 2 above. Are there books? I live in an isolated area where there is virtually no shopping, no local Craigslist -- I depend on yard sales and occasional thrift shopping. Thank you so much for your reply.

  3. Great post and advice. I love that you have enough space to warehouse and dream!

  4. Connie @ Twysted PinqueNovember 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    OMG... I am So glad you wrote this !!!! I can't tell you how helpful it was. It was a blessing :-). Glad to know I have been thinking on the right page. Love,love your taste and work !