Used-Furniture Trove in Midtown Manhattan

IMG_1429 HIGH ON MY LIST of things to accomplish this winter, somewhere between “Buy house” and “Update password list” (now 8 typewritten pages long), was “New clothing storage for bedroom.” I had already winnowed as much as I dared, but my four-drawer dresser and single not-so-big closet were not cutting it. If I bought so much as one new sweater, I’d be in wardrobe overflow.

The bedroom in my ground-floor brownstone apartment has a big ol’ hunk of orange wall 75″ across, where once a fireplace stood. Quite a few inches on either side of my midsize dresser were going to waste. There was also the possibility of going up the wall, with some kind of highboy or armoire.

I began my shopping online, considering mid-century ‘bachelor’s chests’ of the type included in bedroom suites of the 1950s and ’60s. They run $600-800, which is about what I planned to spend, but they were dark, stolid, and masculine-looking. I wanted something lighter. With my limited budget, I was looking for a piece of secondhand furniture, so I had no idea what, exactly, I was going to find (that’s the whole fun of it, actually).


My Internet explorations led me to a company I hadn’t heard of, Furnish Green, whose website shows a wide-ranging mix of styles from rustic and cottage-y to industrial and Danish modern. Its site is well-organized and easy to search, but even better was visiting their midtown Manhattan showroom to view their offerings in three dimensions, which I did today. Furnish Green is a find, yet another of those hidden treasures New York offers up when you least expect it.


And where you least expect it. Its showrooms are a few unconnected office spaces on the fifth floor of a garment-center building near Herald Square. One is shared with a ballroom dance studio; another is used for furniture refinishing and for the photography crucial to their online sales (Furnish Green has a big Craigslist presence). That’s Jeffrey, below, one of three employees, in the workroom. The owner, Nathan, is also the owner of the ballroom dance studio.


The main showroom is a bright corner space tightly packed with moderately-priced pieces that are neither precious nor pedigreed, yet most have something quirky or interesting about them.


Furnish Green gets 10-12 new pieces every day. “We do something to almost every one of them,” I was told — not necessarily full-on refinishing or re-upholstering, but steam-cleaning, oiling and polishing, and often, painting, to turn a dull brown piece of American borax (an old term for furnishings mass-manufactured in Grand Rapids, Mich.) into something more closely resembling Shabby Chic.

I came, I saw, I bought (see below). And yes, they deliver.


Dining Room Do-Over

LAST JULY, WHEN I DID A POST about my friend Debre’s Victorian farmhouse on Shelter Island, her dining room was conspicuously absent. That’s because it looked like this:

Now, though, after a whirlwind pre-Thanksgiving effort, it looks like this:

Part of the project was revamping the credenza, below, from a $150 thrift shop find to something Design Within Reach-worthy. The piece had a bulky plinth on the bottom the full width of the base. “While it held stuff,” Debre says, “it was a heavy, dark blot against the wall.”

So she painted the top and sides white, then knocked the plinth off, used it to reinforce the base, and attached IKEA metal legs that raise the piece up about 8″ from the floor.

As Debre was finishing the job, she noticed the words “KNUD ERIK-JENSEN” on the back of the credenza. Genuine Danish mid-century modern, vastly improved by a clever gal with power tools.

Weekend Design Warehouse Pops Up in East Hampton


This metal table sculpture is $900.

IF YARD SALES AREN’T ENOUGH for you on a summer’s weekend in the Hamptons, check out Warehouse 161, a garage stuffed with mostly mid-20th century furniture, lighting and objects. It’s on an industrial stretch of Springs Fireplace Road; the gritty location only makes it feel like more of a discovery.

It’s a colorful, high-spirited place in its second summer, owned by three partners with long experience in the home furnishings industry.

19th century Anglo-Indian ottoman newly upholstered in a multi-colored stripe is $2,000

19th century Anglo-Indian ottoman, newly upholstered, $2,000

No fixer-uppers here. Everything is restored, reupholstered, rewired, lacquered, and ready to go. Collectors may score Danish modern furniture or a piece by Harvey Probber or Paul McCobb at a very decent price. There’s original art, vintage and new.


I guess you can say there’s something for everyone (I made off with a pair of turquoise melamine salad servers for $6).

161 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, 631-324-0555
Open Friday and Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-3

BROWNSTONE VOYEUR: Small and Stylish in Carroll Gardens

BROWNSTONE VOYEUR is a joint project of casaCARA and Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. Look for it every Thursday on both sites.

ROBERT FARRELL, an architect and interior designer, has lived since the mid-1990s in a 600 square foot rental on the ground floor of a Carroll Gardens row house, with lumpy plaster walls and a tiny, tubless bathroom.


He stays mainly for the garden, a fifty-foot swath of lawn at the end of which he has constructed a romantic outdoor pavilion draped with nylon parachute cloth.


A corrugated plastic roof and waterproof parachute fabric make the garden room usable eight months a year.

Essentially a 15’x40’ rectangle, the apartment is bisected by a wood-and-glass room divider. The entry is into the kitchen/dining room; a home office is squeezed into one corner. The only other room is what Robert calls the “living bedroom library guest room den.”

To give the space more definition, he hung two sets of double curtains on either side of the existing divider, on rods five feet apart – linen on the outside, sheer underneath. “It softens the space and provides a choice of opaque or filtered light,” Robert says. “It also creates depth and drama: ‘What’s behind the curtain?” (Clothing, as a matter of fact.)


A sense of order prevails, thanks to a clear, linear furniture plan.

Liberal use of the same gray-green neutral paint on walls, carpeting and the drapery divider gives the apartment a cohesive feel. White accents like the mid-century Ant chairs and the glass light fixture in the dining room stand out. Strong doses of red in pillows, art, and glassware punch up the scheme.

Accessories include tribal weavings, baskets, and Danish modern glass. Each piece is carefully chosen and deliberately placed. “In a small apartment, you can’t have things scattered around,” Robert says. “Find the perfect place for each thing.”


The armoire and a pair of carved wood armchairs were found in a flea market.


A geometric kilim under the dining table is the only large area of pattern in the apartment. A glass table  opens up the space.


A precise arrangement of framed Op Art, historical prints, and patterned pillows brightens the area around the bed.