Seeking Storage, Finding Brooklyn

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THE SITUATION IS DIRE: 11 cartons and 8 plastic bins, holding a lifetime’s worth of family photos, children’s artwork, published and unpublished writing, already pared down to what I consider essentials. Sitting out on the floor of my bedroom in piles, they do not attractive decor make.

And on the other side of the room…

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Unless I get some kind of giant credenza, armoire, cabinet, or other closed storage piece –– and I have a 6-1/2-foot wide alcove just waiting to receive one — there’s no point even painting the walls (just as well, since I haven’t decided what color to paint them).

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Here’s where I’ve looked:

  • IKEA, where I tried to get my head around the ultra-sleek cabinet, above, ultimately deciding to honor my vow not to buy anything made of particle board
  • Find, a Gowanus warehouse documented in a previous post, where I considered and decided against several rustic pieces imported from India, mainly because nothing was quite the right size for the space
  • Hip and Humble on Atlantic Avenue, which had an armoire approximately the right size and shape, but with cutesy floral carving I couldn’t abide
  • A just-opened and potentially fabulous resource, Film Biz Recycling on President Street near 4th Avenue, a repository for film-set leftovers that just re-located this week from Queens — but I wasn’t parked legally so I just ran in long enough to ascertain there weren’t any armoires in stock

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Today, nearing my wit’s end, I checked out a place I’d read about somewhere: Trailer Park, on Sterling Place near 6th Avenue in Park Slope, above, which sells vintage furniture as well as custom pieces made of reclaimed barn wood. The place is so full of the very stuff I used to collect — ’50s lamps, vintage tablecloths, American art pottery — I couldn’t believe I’d never known about it. I brightly asked the fellow in the shop, “How long have you been here?” thinking surely he’d reply, “We just opened last month.” He said, “Oh, about thirteen years.” And I thought I knew Brooklyn!

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I admired the 1970s German science posters ($150) and checked out the other offerings closely, but the pieces made of recycled barn lumber by Amish woodworkers, above, were too plain and stolid for me, and the large armoires more than I wanted to spend (about $1,600) — and they didn’t happen to have any vintage ones on hand.
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So on I went to Re-Pop on Washington Avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, first perusing their website and zeroing in on a couple of mid-20th century credenzas — not a style I was tending toward, I’m pretty done with that — although in my present circumstances, the main thing is to get something that fits, dammit, so I can start unpacking these boxes before my lease is up.

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It was also my first-ever visit to Re-Pop, above, which has been in business about four years, and my first time in that area — Clinton Hill East? — in ages. So it was a revelation to see that the proximity of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is no longer a deal-breaker when it comes to luxury apartments. 275 Park Avenue, right under the BQE, is a converted 19th century chocolate factory, a distinguished brick building that now houses an organic market, Fresh Fanatic, below, and a Mexican restaurant, Mojito, on the ground floor. I can’t tell you how incongruous I find the gentrification of these blocks in the shadow of the BQE. I once considered them irredeemable — but I was wrong about that, too, apparently.

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Re-Pop is stuffed with vintage modern furniture at good prices, chosen with a keen eye for mostly non-pedigreed but stylish designs. They have a load of kitschy ’50s lamps, all with original shades. I seriously considered two pieces, each under $600: a long, low credenza of good shape and size, but I didn’t love it as a piece of furniture, and an unusual blonde wood 9-drawer dresser, but I don’t need a 9-drawer dresser.

So I came away without that vital storage piece, but not empty-handed. See my new lamp, below. It works beautifully in the living room, and actually provides enough illumination for reading.

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About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here: https://casacara.wordpress.com/recent-articles/
This entry was posted in ANTIQUES & COLLECTING, BROOKLYN, BROWNSTONE DECORATING, INTERIOR DESIGN and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Seeking Storage, Finding Brooklyn

  1. Terry says:

    Way rocking lamp. I’m leaning particle board, storing clutter, then a patient search. Easy for me to say. Trailer Park sounds cool is there a “Trailer Trash” too?

  2. cara says:

    IKEA is disposable, true, but seems a very un-green solution and a waste of $400. If I buy it, that’ll be it. I think you’d enjoy Brooklyn, Terry.

  3. Mary-Liz says:

    Too bad you can’t find the right piece, but look at the fun you are having looking!! There is a place out here in the burbs that has lots of armoire type furniture. (Chatsworth Auction in Mamaroneck) My daughter bought a beautiful French armoire there for under $1000. And they deliver.

  4. coppermaven says:

    Trailer Park has a very eccentric southern owner. I bought some of my garden “furniture ( metal plant stands) there years ago.

    The place near the BQE sounds like a find. However, I regret you’re not having success in your quest. You could always have doors put on the alcove and call it a day…

  5. packrat says:

    I like the idea of doors on the alcove with shelves on the wall. Have you considered a couple lateral files from Knoll? You could put two side by side with a good lamp on top and art on the wall.

    LOVE the new lamp, btw.

  6. Adrienne says:

    Off to Find and Hip and Humble today, actually. I also need a storage armoire for Greenport and perhaps a reasonably priced Morrocan poof or two. My search also continues for outdoor furniture…….no “sulla strada” finds lately.
    Have you ever visited “Golden Oldies” in Flushing? Worth the trip to peruse the largest selection of antiques/props/furniture I’ve ever seen.
    Loved this post…….enjoy Bklyn!

  7. cara says:

    hi Adrienne! No, I don’t know Golden Oldies – thanks for the tip! Good luck in your search. If you’re looking for something very rustic for Greenport, try shophousingworks.com. There’s a painted cupboard up for auction there… Let us know how it goes!

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