Ladies and gents, happiest of hump days! I hope you're surviving this yet another snowstorm with warmth and good cheer. I am certainly feeling cheery. Why? BECAUSE MY CISCO BROTHERS CHAIRS HAVE ARRIVED!
Yesterday, my impulse purchase Cisco Brothers Cordova chairs ARRIVED in plastic wrapped style, and it was magical! In fact, I am sitting in one as we speak (and it is seriously comfortable). Let me tell you all the exciting details, which also contain tips for your own furniture procurement. Ready?
The move was super easy -- much easier than expected -- and the movers were fabulous (as was my amazing super). I would totally recommend the movers to anyone doing small, local one-off moves (and I'm sure they could do big moves too). I found them on Yelp (I googled "man with van" and then selected the "man with van" with the best ratings and reviews). The winners were NYcityVan Man With A Van & Moving. They had a 4.5 star rating out of 211 raters, which seemed like a good bet to me. I called them, and I also contacted another moving company called Intense Movers who almost exactly the same ratings (seriously: 212 raters and 4.5 star rating) and were also really nice (had NYcityVan not been available, I would have used Intense Movers and probably been very happy). I ended up with NYcityVan because they were the first to respond to me (early bird gets the worm!), were super responsive throughout the appointment set up (Renee, the beyond friendly email corresponder, and I are basically BFF now) and also had the most reasonable rate (a flat $100). I was extremely worried that the chairs would not fit into the elevator or into my doorway, but the movers deftly choreographed the chairs around difficult corners (without hurting anything) and had them in the apartment in no time. The movers, Kellan and Gavin, were in and out of my apartment building in less than 15 minutes. It was brilliant. They charged a flat $100 for the move -- Morningside Heights to UES -- which I thought was completely reasonable, and I was so excited that the chairs had not only arrived but gotten INTO my apartment, that I totally over-tipped, but better to make someone's day, right? In my mind, I was going to give 20%, or $20, but then with the two guys standing there, I realized they each should probably get $20, and then I thought why not give them $25 each... so suddenly, I'd tipped 50% and couldn't backtrack. Whoops. Excitement can do that to you, I guess. But even at $150 for the full move, plus the $150 for each chair, I came out spending $450 for $5,000 worth of upholstery (not including taxes and shipping) and feel pretty darn good about the investment.
The chairs are big and super comfortable, and they're a slight off-white, almost beige color and slipcovered, which is a good thing when it comes to delaying the visibility of the inevitable stain. My hubby was in Boston last night for work, so I heated up some leftover chili that he'd made for the Super Bowl (Ina Garten's chicken chili - it is DELICIOUS), and naturally (because I am an adult and can make my own poor choices, and because I was alone and there was no one around to scold me) I wanted to eat my messy meal in the new pristine chair whilst enjoying an episode of Seinfeld. Hilariously (I'm sure to no one but me), it was the Seinfeld ("The Reverse Peephole") where the gang go in on a massage chair for Joe Mayo that George got "a deal" on and the chair accidentally gets delivered to George's apartment, and it's so comfortable that he doesn't want to give it up (I thought it was a fitting topic given my chair delivery and my compulsion to eat in the chair even though I knew it was wrong). The episode also involves so many of my favorite Seinfeld story lines: Puddy and the fur coat; Puddy and the 8-ball coat; George's exploding wallet; Jerry's European carryall; Joe Mayo's ridiculous "assignments" given to people at his parties... the list goes on. (I recommend watching "The Reverse Peephole" as soon as possible and laughing out loud, as I did -- it's good for your health!). Anyway, the moral of the story is that 1) I did not spill chili on my new chairs; but 2) literally within hours of the chairs' arrival, I was so tempted to eat a bowl of goopy, spicy, tomato-based food while laughing out loud at a Seinfeld episode -- alone -- in the chair that I could have spilled chili on my new chairs. It reminds me a little of those Sprint commercials with James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell: "I probably won't... but I might!" I probably will spill... but I might not! And that is why I'm glad they're slightly beige and machine washable.
I've included a few photos of the chairs. 1) The photos are taken at night (I'm sorry); and 2) the new chairs highlight just how horrendous our sofa's condition is in, so I've tried to artfully exclude it from these photos, but it unfortunately is just, you know, there all of the time. Just... really.... there. One of these days, we'll get a sofa that complements our new awesome chairs, but until then, we'll just enjoy what we have!
Tips for Craigslist Shopping
I saw on Apartment Therapy yesterday a great list of tips for saving time on your Craigslist purchase (5 Questions to Ask Before You Pick Up Your Craigslist Score), which I thought was a very useful list (I am automatically turned off by a seller who doesn't list the dimensions of the item they're trying to sell or who are greedily asking for more than the item is worth). I hit Craigslist gold when I found my sellers, and all 5 questions were essentially answered for me before I even had to ask them, but you should make sure to do your homework before trekking off to an unknown person's apartment, wasting your time and risking your safety. The list doesn't mention safety, but it is key, and you should know the neighborhood you're going to -- better yet, look the building up (sounds crazy, but I'd rather be crazy than dead) -- tell someone you're going, bring someone if you can, etc. 95% of my experiences on Craigslist have been positive (and those that weren't completely positive weren't necessarily negative, just a little "off"), but it always pays to be safe. I went alone to look at the Cisco chairs, which I will admit was risky, but I had determined based on the apartment address, the quality of the item being sold, and the seller's communication with me that is was a safe environment (she scolded me when I got there -- especially because I was extra vulnerable with a crutch -- and asked if my mother would approve - it was absolutely perfect and I felt instantly at ease).
After getting over the safety hurdle, you have to get over the cost hurdle. I always prefer when sellers price their items so low that I would feel guilty negotiating. I don't like when they're high and then you need to do the negotiation dance: ok, I'll offer half, then meet you in the middle, etc. After you secure cost, one very key thing is to ensure that you have first dibs on a piece if you schlep all the way to the seller's house. My seller told me that others were interested in the chairs, but she promised that if I came and wanted them, I had first dibs. That made the semi-pricey cab ride worth it in the end. I knew without seeing the chairs that I wanted them -- and I all but told the seller this over email (she very graciously accepted all of my exclamation points and said that her daughter too says "obsessed") -- but I wanted to meet her and confirm the chairs were what I expected them to be. In addition to the chairs being just perfection, I got to meet a super lovely couple and see their beyond gorgeous home. They were sad to see the chairs go, and I told them they could come visit them on the other side of the park whenever they wanted. This prompted them to ask if I'd like to meet their dog (they must have sensed I love dogs -- especially big ones) who was just the sweetest German Shepard ever. So, because I asked those 5 key questions and also ensured my safety, I got to get two Cisco chairs, meet a lovely couple, see their gorgeous home and hug a sweet German Shepard? It was an all around win.
I've encountered sellers who are very transactional and do not want to communicate much and sellers who want to get to know their buyer because either they love the furniture they're selling and want it to go to a happy home or because they like human interaction. Both methods work; you just have to figure out what you're working with -- and work it. How to work it? Some people try to play it cool; I prefer to lean in and make it clear I want the item more than anyone else does. It usually works. And then you're happy. And then it's all worth it.
Happy Wednesday, and Happy Craigslist Hunting!
I know I said I would write about entryways all week, but my week suddenly became consumed with a Craigslist purchase and now I can think of nothing else. Entryways will have to wait.
Here's the deal: At night, when I should be starting my bedtime routine, I like to canvas the Craigslist furniture ads. It's a little obsessive. Definitely compulsive. And I'm sure it's pretty creepy. Let's just call it meditative.
The thing is. Sometimes after digging through that giant haystack of mundane Ikea crappola, you actually, out of nowhere, manage to find the needle. And then you're faced with the question -- always the late night one, the one where you should be turning off the light and going to bed, but instead, you're thinking about that needle you just found: If you had one shot, one opportunity... would you capture it or let it slip away?
One such opportunity presented itself to me earlier this week, during my ritualistic evening perusal of search term: "chair." I can't even recall why I was looking, but then out of nowhere, I saw it: "Linen Sofa & 2 Club Chairs by Cisco Furniture - $600 (Upper West Side)."
CISCO FURNITURE? As in CISCO BROTHERS? This does not happen on Craigslist. It never happens on Craigslist!
You likely have not heard of Cisco Brothers. Before last June, I hadn't either. But then, as I do with things, I became obsessed. Matt's parents super kindly offered to buy us a new sofa as a dual graduation gift when we graduated from our respective institutions last spring, and when we started looking, we found a cool sofa we liked out at a home décor store in the Hamptons. It was the Cisco Brothers Cordova sofa (which I did not know at the time, but after much obsessive googling, I figured this out). We never ended up pulling the trigger, partially because there's the fear that everything is marked up in the Hamptons, but we never stopped thinking about it. I researched the company more and fell more in love with it - L.A. based, everything's made in the USA, everything's organic. It's just all around awesomeness. It's also horrifically expensive (as truly great upholstery is).
When we were on vacation in California, we made sure to stop at the flagship store in L.A. and once again committed to the idea of buying a Cisco Brothers sofa. This time, we fell in love with the Hayden Deluxe Sofa (and if all goes well, maybe one day we'll have it, shrunk down to 90"), but still, we never forgot the Cordova.
So imagine how I felt when I saw the CORDOVA on CRAIGSLIST. A SOFA. And TWO CHAIRS. All for $600??? HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS FABULOUS. I emailed the seller faster than you can say Cisco (and she emailed back faster than I could have imagined) and found out that the sofa had already been sold, but the chairs were available. So this is where the opportunity thing comes into play: we don't need two new club chairs. We need a new sofa. And we would like a new club chair and perhaps a smaller chair to complement it. Two club chairs is possibly too big for our living room (it's only 12 feet wide), but when presented with two chairs that you love, that retail for, like, $2,500 each, that are being given to you for $150 each (by my calculations that's a 94% discount), it's the difference between an extremely bad case of buyer's remorse and an extremely bad case of saver's remorse. And who wants to suffer from saver's remorse? Not I, said the fly. And so I took the leap of faith and bought the chairs (the seller and her husband, by the way, were just the loveliest people ever).
Below is a mock up of what our living room might eventually look like with the chairs and if we get the Hayden sofa. The painting and lamps, and some of the pillows, are things we already own, so I often play around with different furniture looks and colors using what we already have to get a sense for what works and what doesn't. I think this works! Though the pillows may need to change.
The chairs are going to be delivered at some point next week. I am totally excited and totally stressed. The chairs are quite large: 37"w x 32"h x 42"d, and our current elevator (our regular one is being serviced) is quite tiny. The door opening is 29" and then the interior space is 40"w x 34"d. Then you get to our tiny door, which is only 28" (and that's stretching it). So I'm moderately aware of how poorly this could all go down. But when you have an opportunity, you have to seize it, right? I'm hopeful. And trying to think positive! Thinking positive is a good thing! And I am just hours away (hopefully) from sitting on two down filled Cisco Brothers Cordova chairs!
Happy anticipating! Happy Craigslist scouring!
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.