Friday, July 24, 2009

Where did you get the furniture?

Guests are very inquisitive. We are often asked about the origins of the furniture in the house. We have a wide assortment of furniture styles but it seems to blend together nicely. Some things came from farm and estate sales in Missouri where Seely's parents harbored an auction bug. More recently Craig's List has produced interesting pieces. Several antiques in the house are Seely family heirlooms. Some of our favorite family pieces are a walnut burl wardrobe and a detailed pressed back rocker.

Much of the furniture was picked up a "container auctions" while we lived in Houston but long before we had an actual building. After attending aspiring innkeeper seminars we had an idea of how many rooms we would need to make a living. After staying at numerous B&Bs we knew what was important to have in each room. It made perfect sense to us to start accumulating furniture, sheets, and other goods before we had any idea of where we were going. Besides, we had disposable income and auctions are just plain old fun. This was the first sign of our insanity according to family and friends.

Container auctions are wild affairs. The auction house sends someone to France or England to fill a shipping container with antique, semi antique, and vintage goods of varying quality which they bring over for resale. As much of the container as possible is tagged "antique" to skirt import taxes so it is a buyer beware situation.

Many of our Oriental rugs are from Houston auctions. As an oil town, Houston has acres of Oriental rugs. When the Middle East oil fields were first developed by American workers many rugs were imported as personal baggage. By the time we were cruising auctions many of those workers were closing their homes to move into retirement centers. Prices were low, selection was wide, and we had a blast just attending auctions to see the variety of patterns.

Most of the items we brought with us found a place in the house. Some things were not up to the wear and tear and had to be replaced. Other things get replaced as our tastes change. Overall, buying in a hodge podge fashion worked out for us. Fortunately, most of the guests seem to like the eclectic style.