I think the best place to buy furniture is the auction house. Where else can you get deals like these two pieces and have a story to tell. Certainly not at Ethan Allen. Christie's (in London) is auctioning off the stock of two antique dealers this Thursday. I know some preppy girls who would kill for that sofa. Hell, I like that sofa. Click here for the on-line catalog. I've sorted by low estimate so hopefully you'll see the bargains straight away.
I 've had a lot of fun at auctions. The Gulf Foxtrot (girlfriend) and I bid on a late 18th C Satinwood Pembroke table a few years ago. The auctioneer was a friend. He's also certifiable but so many are in the auction business. My friend put the hammer down on my last bid and we stuffed the Pembroke Table in the back seat of a car. I placed the table in my living room and would just stare at it. I thought of it sitting in a library of a London townhouse or a country estate. I thought about made it over 200 years ago. What conversations and arguments it was witness to. I could just picture it like a scene out of Barry Lyndon with that warm candle lit glow.
Another friend of ours was a general appraiser and she was eager to see the table. She brought along an expert on English furniture and for a free lunch I secured a second opinion. He flipped the table over, unscrewed some screws, did some aha'ing and finally said, "This stood in water--for some time I suspect. Also, you have a mixture of hand made and machine made screws. Mostly it's George III but you don't want mostly. What did you pay for it?" I had that same feeling in my gut when I left my Rolex in a Hardee's bathroom. I told him what I paid. "It's worth about half that. Where are we going to lunch?"
I called my certifiable friend and told him about the appraisal. "Christ, what's a couple hundred years amongst friends?" In the end, the auction house returned my money and I returned the Pembroke table. I've bid on the cheap stuff ever since.