Ban acknowledges, “There are fewer and fewer vintage stores, so it’s harder to find these reliable sources. However, there are a multitude of online sources available. Ban names online retailers 1stdibs and Decaso as his trusted sources, in addition to President, One Kings Lane and Jayson Home. Even Etsy sells coveted original pieces.
But no matter where you shop, it’s always your responsibility to be informed. Some tips for spotting fraudulent furniture: Check dovetails and carpentry; older parts will be irregular, while newer machine-made parts will be symmetrical. Beware of furniture that looks old; look for realistic signs of wear. And look inside drawers and on the back and bottom of parts for manufacturers’ stamps, labels detailing where the part was made, or even where the labels were removed.
In order to find genuine parts, Pollock urges, “Understand where manufacturers’ marks, labels, tags or signatures might exist. Ask the dealers where the parts come from. I always try to gather as much information about the origin of the coin I am looking to buy.
Examine the condition
Ideally, you want to buy used items in original or like new condition. Ferrer, who recently collaborated with CB2 on a special collection of mid-century items, recommends: “Take the time to examine the condition of the piece systematically. First of all, check the structural integrity. Then look for areas of significant loss or damage. If it is a seat, test it for comfort; examine the guts of the upholstery. In tables or dressers, check that the legs and feet are not damaged or replaced.
And while buying vintage can be an emotional and must-have experience, it’s crucial to be practical. “It can be a great designer piece,” Pollock says, “but if it has an irreparable crack or chip, or if you need to start modifying it significantly, it won’t be of the same value.”
Evaluate the cost of refurbishment
It is natural that lightly used items show wear and surface scratches and minor flaws can be corrected. But consider the cost of a full restoration in terms of the amount and integrity of the part. “Before you commit to a room that needs a lot of renovations, realize the costs involved,” notes Bikoff. “Offset that with the price of the item to see if it’s worth the investment before you take the plunge. “
Pollock admits, “I’ve made the mistake many times when buying antiques that required a lot of restoration work. At the end of the day, you can make a difference, and it’s not worth the amount you put in. “
Trust your instincts
In every way, trust your gut when dealing with older treasures. “Let your heart guide you through the process,” Ferrer emphasizes. “When a song speaks to you, you will feel it.”
Likewise, Ban offers, “Buy what you like. Trends come and go, and because of social media, we can be overwhelmed by fashions. I buy what speaks to me, sometimes it’s $ 5 pottery, or it can be an auction painting. Often for me, the provenance of an object is not always as important as if it has a soul.
Bikoff advises, “When you spot a vintage or antique piece that you like, act quickly and instinctively, as it will most likely be difficult to find it if you miss it. “
On the flip side, Ferrer says he’s learned in his 10 years of selling furniture that “if you’re very attached to something but end up with reservations, sleep on it.” Ask the dealer to keep it for you for 24 hours. If you wake up thinking about the room, go back and negotiate your way to the property.