The Low Down On Green Living
January 1st, 2008
One of the most environmentally smart things you can do is reuse, reuse, reuse…and furniture is a great product that can be used by multiple generations. At our house, we are huge fans of used– or as the fashion media likes to call it “vintage”– home furnishings. We bought our dining room set used and always get compliments. We have two used chairs, many lamps, a bench, a desk and some side tables. Used/vintage furniture adds warmth, history and serious eco-savvy to any home. Who knew our grandmothers were eco-pioneers when they used to go antique-ing??
So I thought it a blog piece on where to find used furniture across the country might be useful. If used furniture is just not your thang, please read our earlier post on sustainable new furniture options.
First stop, Craigslist and eBay. You can find A-M-A-Z-I-N-G furniture on both sites. Here at Low Impact Living, we got our office desks, chairs and conference table from Craigslist and a used furniture store here in LA for the whopping sum total of $1500. Is that not such a steal? We felt like eco-bandits.
Used Furniture Outlets in Los Angeles
There is a very well-known and loved company in LA called Wertz Brothers. They have two huge locations– one in Santa Monica and one in West LA. Each building holds more furniture than you can fathom. (That’s a row of chests in the photo.) There are Victorian antiques, mid-century pieces and items from two years ago. I have personally bought many items from this place and the deals are not to be believed. If you have not been, please go. It will convert you to used furniture forever!
Another great place in LA is Casa Victoria. They offer useful and quirky home furnishings at very affordable prices. You’ll find both real quality Deco antiques as well as funky “conversation pieces” from the ’70s. They have two locations– one in Silverlake and one in Little Ethiopia on Fairfax.
If you’re up for funkier finds, go give a look-see at Nick Metropolis on La Brea. Between old store signs and the occasional stuffed life-size Fred Flintstone, you’ll also find very good home furniture. Looking for a leopard-print sofa? This is the place. It’s just a hoot to check it all out– you won’t regret the trip. (There are several other good antique stores on that same stretch of La Brea, so cruise around and see it all.)
Retro@Home is a fabulous resource in the Bay Area. Store owner Val Ibardolasa opened Retro@Home in April of 2000. Her showroom features “mini-vignettes” of furniture coupled with accessories to help customers visualize a mid-century modern environment. Every item at Retro@Home has been personally selected by Val with special attention given to condition and good design. Val also offers interior design services and can help you make custom furniture with sustainable, non-toxic materials if you’re interested. Stop in and see her and the wonderful furniture at Retro@Home!
If you’re looking for a more eclectic mix of furniture and “good ole stuff”, you might try going to Moving Sale in the Soma area. They have “Everything you could possibly need, piled from floor to ceiling– literally!” It sounds like bargain-diggers paradise to me.
One place I am dying to visit is Secondhand Rose in Tribeca. This place looks like a trip– they are brimming over with Asian antique, vintage wallpaper and even a collection of original vintage linoleum! Browse through their intriguing website and you’re sure to want to go check it out in person. (That’s the store pictured at right.)
Las Venus specializes in “20th Century Pop Culture.” They have three locations around New York and they carry a wide selection of mid-century furniture, lighting and accessories. As they say, “Life is short. Good style is forever.” Tres chic, tres sustainable.
If you are looking for any 20th Century modern office furniture (and some of it could be used beyond an office), then you must visit Two Jakes in Brooklyn. They have over 10,000 square feet of inventory and they always have amazing furniture from Steelcase, Herman Miller, Knoll and many other well-known modern design leaders. It’s an excellent outlet, and they won a Best of New York award in 2007 from New York Magazine.
In Chicago there are several good outlets for various budget levels. At the high end of the scale there is Modern Times, which features gorgeous vintage modernist furniture, light fixtures, jewelry and more. You’ll find some very unique, artistic pieces here. They are only open on the weekend and by appointment, so be sure to call.
Night and Day Vintageis another wonderful store in Chicago. Whether you are looking for a vintage ball gown or some older furniture, this is the place for you. They have Deco, Mid-Century Modern, Tiki Room (love that!) and other styles of furniture. This store looks like a ton of fun (shown at left)– go in and check it out.
George Lowellis another store you might wish to visit. Designer and owner George Lowell Arduser offers vintage, antique, one-of-a-kind items here at his well-laid-out store. He showcases a mix of eras and styles. Chairs, tables, and chests share the small storefront space, but it is easy and pleasant to browse the assortment.
Do you have a vintage/used furniture store in your town that you love? Please write a note about it in the comments section!
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