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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The $200 Chest of Drawers

I am ever perplexed about our willingness to spend hard earned money without comparing value.
Here's something to think about:

We sell vintage furniture. Yes, because we love vintage furniture, but also because:

1. It has such lasting value over its lifetime, dollar for dollar.
2. It has a history...a story to tell.
3. It embraces the repurposing, saving stuff from the landfill goodness that we believe in. Vintage is the           ultimate in eco-friendly!

And, we know, we know. Not everyone likes vintage furniture. Some people like a more contemporary style (Mid-Century Modern would be my choice if contemporary is your thing).

But no matter what your design style, I can't imagine spending money on a product that doesn't have a durable life. And good quality furniture is getting very hard to find. Especially within our budgets. The trend in the furniture industry is increasing sales at big box stores and mass merchants while sales are declining at local furniture retailers. Those mass merchants are using a low cost/ low quality strategy to sell furniture. Throw away furniture. Like throw away clothes. Our grandparents would roll over in their well made caskets at such a thought!

Let's do a few comparisons...WITH the disclaimer that we don't hate Target, IKEA, Pier One, Ashley's or any other place that sells furniture.

Monterey 5 drawer dresser from Target $199



Constructed from high-quality wood composites and foil laminates, assembly is required
Features: Easy Glide Drawers, Metal Glides, Built-in Safety Stops
Frame Material: Wood Composite
Hardware Material: Metal
Wood Finish: Painted
Surface Material: Laminate
Finish: Painted
Assembly Details: assembly required

The SVEIO Chest of Drawers from IKEA $249



Product description: Top panel/ Side panel/ Drawer front/ Drawer bottom: Fiberboard, Acrylic paint
Bottom panel: Particleboard, Melamine foil, ABS plastic
Leg: Solid beech or birch, Acrylic paint
Back panel: Fiberboard
Assembly required.

People & Planet
We have clear requirements for all wood used in IKEA products, including a ban on illegally harvested wood. IKEA is also increasing the amount of wood sourced from well-managed forests and recycled wood, from a third to 50% by 2017.
Renewable material (wood).


Sauder Harbor Sauder Harbor 5 drawer dresser from Walmart  $256




Sauder Harbor View 5-Drawer chest:
Solid wood knobs and turned feet
Engineered wood with laminate finish
Assembly required

Actually, I have a little more respect for the Target and Walmart products in that they don't try to appeal to your eco-friendly heartstrings. Let's face it...these dressers are NOT eco-friendly when they have such a short durable lifespan. They are going to end up in the dump within a few years' time.

Let's think about this. All three, in the same price range and not one of them is made from solid wood (other than a few drawer pulls and legs). And they all require assembly. How much is your time worth to you? And their projected lifespan? Maybe 3-5 years before things start to loosen up, get the shimmies, or otherwise deteriorate with everyday use.


So how do you get good quality, long lifespan at and affordable price? Buy vintage!

This is an American Empire chest of drawers that we repainted and sold for $185.Our dressers typically sell for less than $300. And that's after they've had a thorough going over to be sure the joints are secure and the drawers functioning properly.


It dates to about 1910-1920. That means it's been around for about a hundred years. It's sturdy, strong, and is every inch made from solid wood with dovetail drawers. That's right, 100% solid wood. from the drawer bottoms to the back. And you know what that means? It will be around for about another hundred years given the appropriate care.

Just saying, think before you spend your decorating dollars. Consider updated vintage. Consider something unique, made and later restored with careful hands that can be custom finished to your specifications...and within your budget!