When my Mom came to town last spring we got into a lot of trouble. Granted, the trouble was somewhat planned and budgeted, but there were more than a few surprise treasures and projects that I couldn’t wait to show him when he got home from his golf trip.
Our agenda was pretty packed with sewing projects (fixing the director’s chair, was only one of three), and the highest priority was finding SOMETHING to replace that awful cabinet with the glass door that kept falling off.
You might remember these photos (sans glass door already).
Even though I tried my best to make it “interesting” with high-end wrapping paper lining the back…it was mess and I was ready to have it gone!
Unfortunately, the piece to replace it needed to be very specific.
The wall space wasn’t terribly wide. Most of the bookshelves I’d seen online would stick out into the entryway or block the linen closet door from opening all the way. That wasn’t going to fly. I needed the new bookshelf to hold additional storage, hopefully an attractive display of books, serve as our “bar” and keep our wine glasses from getting embarrassingly dusty. (Our apartment creates so much dust in the winter that I think it could win an award).
I found a few attractive bookcases online with doors on the bottom. Doors seemed like the perfect way to keep all of our glasses clean and dust free!
Truth be told, most of the units that were inspiring me online were too large to fit there. When you add in my husband’s requirements for new pieces of furniture: solid wood, nothing we constructed ourselves (IKEA/Target, etc), it was beginning to feel like a daunting task.
To further complicate things, I had a pretty strong opinion of the aesthetic I wanted to achieve with these bookshelves.
Source: ebay (for the low price of 1859.99 + 299 shipping, SERIOUSLY?)
Source: Thrifty Decor Chick
Source: An Urban Cottage
Apparently, I was really leaning toward white and beadboard (which is interesting because they didn’t end up white!).
When I found this photo on Pinterest, I felt certain that I could find an affordable option, paint it, add beadboard to the back, and imitate my inspiration pieces without breaking the bank.
Source: Pinterest and the Pauper
When Mom arrived in the city, I had done my research and we were ready to head out to what I deemed the best pocket of high quality, affordable thrift shops for selling furniture.
My hunt led us to Gramercy on the east side of Manhattan.
Housing Works Thrift Shop led me to the area, and when I saw the density of the area and read the reviews of the rest of the shops nearby I was sold!
Mom and I started with Housing Works because we came upon it first. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the absolute perfect bookshelf just waiting for me. We measured it right away…it was on the DOT exactly as wide as my wall! Hooray!
Of COURSE I didn’t take a photo at the time! I’ve found I’m often too excited to remember to take photos, even now when I know I’m blogging daily. It was better quality than the laminate one pictured above and it had solid wood doors on the bottom and 3 shelves for storage! Even better, the back of the shelf was paneled to look almost like bead board! Even still, the best part was the price. Are you ready? $125!!! That’s it!! I knew I had to have it.
Mom and I (really just Mom) played it cool and walked around to make sure there wasn’t anything better that we were missing. We contemplated some other really beautiful antique wood furniture to replace my TV cabinet, but at the end of the day I wasn’t sure they were perfect and I wasn’t budgeting for that addition.
Note: In case you only shop online at Housing Works, you really need to hit the stores and check out all the beautiful (and affordable!) furniture they have that they don’t list in the furniture auctions. If I had more space or needed to replace more items, this would be my first spot!
I walked up to the front and told them I wanted the bookshelf. I paid my 125 (plus tax because I used a card) and then he said, “Will you be taking it now?”…
Cue the panic, I hadn’t remembered that I had to figure out how to get this thing home! It certainly wouldn’t fit in a taxi or a Zipcar. I was going to have to hire someone. My 125 dollar bookshelf that was “so affordable” suddenly felt like an anchor dragging me to the bottom of the ocean floor. I had no idea what someone would charge me to deliver this shelf to Queens. I was stuck. I had to pay whatever they requested, because I’d already fallen in love and paid for a bookshelf that I really wanted ASAP!
Then I remembered yet another reason to panic. My building required proof of insurance for ALL deliveries, so there was no way I could just get some guy with a moving van to drop it off for me. UGH, this was suddenly a huge headache. Why is everything so difficult in NYC?
Just to make things even more exciting we were shopping on a Friday morning. My building only allows deliveries between 9-4 Monday through Friday. This meant, I needed to find an insured mover to get his information to my building ASAP to get it approved so that he could deliver my bookshelf before 4pm…or I’d have to wait until MONDAY!
By the time I spoke with the only insured mover on the list that Housing Works supplied, it was already noon and he informed me that their insurance requests took 24 hours to process. So much for that. Monday delivery, it is. It kinda felt like buying a new puppy and not being allowed to take it home with you for 3 days.
Next, I had to go back to Housing Works and beg for the store to hold the bookshelf until Monday when my movers would arrive. He wasn’t happy about it, and told me that they couldn’t be responsible for anything that happened to it between now and then. Fine. (This will be important later).
Good thing Mom wasn’t leaving until Tuesday afternoon, but that still made things pretty tight if we wanted it painted and finished before my husband got home from his golf trip. I may have mentioned before, he doesn’t do so well with unfinished projects. I think he lacks the vision to see it completed. At any rate, we were in a holding pattern, until Monday morning.
I think I will hold off on the details of painting and refinishing the bookshelf since this post is already over 1100 words! Whoops.
Here’s a shot of the new bookshelf in the apartment (doors, shelves, and most of the awkward hardware removed), so you can begin to imagine the transformation that I will reveal tomorrow.
The drama isn’t over yet, but the bookshelf is really beautiful in the end. It’s worth waiting for. :)