Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Another day, another auction

On the weekend, my husband and I went to a preview at a new-to-us auction house.  I've been getting extremely fed up with Skinner, my usual haunt.  So many rules and policies that make it difficult to preview and bid, combined with plenty of competition for the good stuff.  In their last auction, a glitch in the computer bidding system locked me out of bidding up to my maximum on an item that sold for way less - and they were rude and utterly unhelpful in resolving the problem when I called to point it out.  The interaction left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

I didn't go to the new auction house with high hopes but I was pleasantly surprised.  First of all, they actually seem to want to facilitate viewing, registration and bidding.  Basic, but a revelation after my years frequenting and buying from Skinner.  Second, there were definitely gems among the reproduction furniture and ho-hum paintings and some of the lots went for tiny sums, well under their estimates. 

Unfortunately that wasn't the case for the two lots I bid on and won.  The first is a pair of 19th century English oak candlesticks.  They're 19" tall, so pretty substantial:

I love the idea of them with beeswax tapers, for a handmade eco-chic look.

The second lot was a chaise lounge.  Over the years, I've swung back and forth between two diametrically opposed views of chaise lounges.  As young twenty-something, I loved them.  How could a young woman not? So feminine!  So elegant!  So fancy-European-from-the gilded-past!  But then I became firmly anti-chaise, and for some of the same reasons.  But it wasn't really the frilly associations that changed my mind; from the point of view of a city dweller with limited space, they seem so unpractical.  They're really hard to wrangle into upholstered chair groupings in small rooms and on their own they eat up a lot of space and are less flexible and multi-purpose than a chair-plus-ottoman.

But as you know, we've been struggling with the seating arrangement in the headhouse.  It is such a small space with such awkward dimensions and I simply *must* have something on which to really spread out and, well, lounge.  So say hello to our other weekend auction acquisition:

Reader, I must confess that I spent far too much: far more than such cumbersome pieces can be had for on Craigslist, for example.  Unfortunately I had my heart set on it.  The scale and dimensions are perfect - not giant-sized like so many new versions.  The down cushion is exactly the right combo of firm and yielding and the soft cotton William Morris-style fabric goes with the room (and my taste, even if it's not exactly what I'd pick given carte blanche).  Put that together with the fact that we've been looking for so long and another person bidding hungrily and (may I say) a bit crazily against me and my hope for a bargain was shattered.  Now re-covering it is not in my budget's future and I will have to invest some energy in giving the skirt especially a very thorough shampoo.  If that's unsuccessful, then the skirt will have to go.  But sprawling in the chaise in the living room this afternoon (that's as far as we had time to carry it this morning), the sunlight streaming in, the darn chaise seems worth every penny.

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