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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Buy Fewer Things but Better Things - Part III

This is the third installation of a series that was inspired by an article in the May issue of House Beautiful -  link to prior blog and link to prior blog

Each blog set the stage as follows - it is such a good piece of advice!

One article that caught my attention and one I believe in is in the May issue of House Beautiful link and part of its "101 Tips from the Experts" series.  It is called "Have Fewer Things but Better Things" and discusses the decorating philosophy of Suzanne Rheinstein. 
Her advice, particularly for young people starting out is:  Have fewer things, but better things.  It's not 10-minute decorating.  If you buy one good thing a year, you'll have five really good things.  Of course, you'll have to take the time to learn about quality and to appreciate it.  But it's worth doing ...
I may not always have followed the "get fewer but better things" mantra but I have learned over the years to look for value in my furniture purchases.  I also happen to believe that with the exception of a few categories of things (mattresses come to mind), you do not need to buy new.  You may, in fact, be buying lesser quality just to meet the price-point and missing out on some wonderful gently used or refurbished pieces that are the very top-of-the-line.  I would guess that at least 90% of EVERYTHING I have in house furnishings was acquired used.  I do not even like going into new furniture stores - too predictable and poor quality - at least most are today!

A recent example of an estate sale top-of-the-line purchase was a Hekman piece of furniture that in now in my formal living room.  I did pay $800 for the Hekman in perfect condition - I would estimate that the piece would be $3000-4000 if bought directly from the company.  Now $800 is not a drop-in-the-bucket but it is a very decent price for something of this quality and you can easily spend that on a much inferior piece of this size and functionality.
Hekman piece in my living room  displaying my beloved Lladro collection (photos of this room are hazy since the natural lighting is inadequate for natural photographs and flash makes it too harsh)!
I did check out the company and found some fascinating pieces of American Furniture Manufacturing trivia on the company website - link to website:
It began in 1893 when Edsko Hekman ventured from the Netherlands to Grand Rapids, Michigan hoping to find his life’s work as a furniture maker.
The Panic of 1893 would lead him in a new direction, returning him to his first profession as a baker. Selling cookies door-to-door, Edsko eventually went on to found the Hekman Biscuit Company, which was later to become the Keebler Company.
Edsko’s enchantment with furniture, crafted in the old-world traditions, would later blossom in his three sons John, Jelle and Henry. They would fulfill their father’s dream and open the doors of the Hekman Furniture Company in 1922.
In 1970 the company became a division of Beatrice Foods until 1983 when Hekman was purchased by the Howard Miller Clock Company of Zeeland, Michigan. In 1993, Hekman acquired Woodmark Furniture, an upholstery company founded by Elliot Wood whose discriminating standards were a perfect match to Hekman’s long tradition of excellence. The company now enjoyed a position of strength in its ability to offer its customer superior casegoods and the finest in upholstery.
The careful selection of ingredients, the patient hands-on techniques and the exacting presentation... the shared passions of the baker Edsko and his furniture-making sons, remain the hallmarks of the Hekman Furniture Company today.
Now, almost a century old, Hekman is widely recognized as one of America’s premier furniture suppliers.
I wish my photographs had come out crisper but I have tried to capture some of the workmanship details of this fine piece - simply stunning!

Of course, it takes patience and know-how to shop for great furniture this way.  Checking out yard and estate sales, craigslist and eBay as well as local consignment shops all are methods you can use. You won't always find a sideboard when you are looking for a sideboard but you might find a great dresser that you could use as well and would replace those inferior pieces you need to get rid of anyway.  It's like a huge treasure hunt and the rewards are very satisfying!

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