My friend Barbara and I always talked about how we were going to open a sort of thrift shop and call it “Tattered Treasures”, and we joked about how between the two of us the shop would have a full inventory. I love almost anything old. I will go to flea markets and rummage sales to scout out any old piece of lace or embroidery, chipped vases, old tin cans, anything time-warn that looks useful (to me) and can be re-purposed. I especially love old furniture. I was never attracted to ‘fine antiques’, but old, used, even abused furniture sitting on the side of the road is something I have a hard time passing by now. Peeling paint, beautiful! Scratched and marred, what history! Ring marks, even more endearing! Most of my family and friends know this, and my husband and I have acquired some of our most prized possessions because family and friends were kind enough to rescue them from the garbage and deliver them to our home. My friend Barbara was just telling me how she recently picked up a small chest of drawers that was put out for the trash, she took it home, painted it, changed the drawer pulls and is using it as a lingerie chest. I am so jealous!
There’s a warehouse near us filled with both antiques in excellent condition and what I like to call the tattered treasures. My husband and I go there quite often just to browse, and invariably I’ll find something to my liking, to which Ray always protests “But where are you going to put it? We have no more room in the house for another piece of furniture!”, and he’s right. The salespeople of course always side with me and say that a place can always be found for something you love, and they are right too. They also go on and on about how they will ‘fix up’ and ‘recondition’ whatever it is I have my heart set on and my response is a resounding “NO!!” I love the broken, the bruised, and the battered.
I no longer want my house filled with furniture that anyone has to be afraid to use, I love that my family and friends can come over and feel very comfortable about putting their feet up on coffee tables, and relaxed enough to put a cup down without first searching for a coaster, our house is a very ‘lived in’ home and we do not have nor do we want a museum quality to anything in it.
I didn’t always used to feel this way. I used to fret about every spill, about every tear, and about every little nick in the furniture. I really did a disservice to my kids when they were young. I’m sure I sent them the message that my ‘things’ mattered more to me than they did. Believe me, I do not advocate having a lack of respect for your home or the things provided in it, I just learned over the years not to place such an importance on having/keeping my furniture pristine.
I think it struck me years ago when one of our dogs ate through the leg of an oak dining chair (brand new dining set), and then he went on to chew the bottom of the buffet, along with a corner of the china closet, and I decided it’s not worth having nice, expensive things. Then a light bulb went off in my head. That dining set has long been given away and replaced by an almost indestructible marble table (hot dishes and spills have no power here), and big, old, heavy mismatched dining chairs, almost equally indestructible (but hard to lug around when you are vacuuming!). I love all my old pieces, and I think my most favorite is an old teak, beefy-looking coffee table that came complete with scratches, deep grooves, and water marks, just waiting to be perfected with even more abuse from family and friends. And as I replace each piece of furniture I do it with an eye for comfort both for my own family and for any guests, and also for my own sanity. ‘New’ furniture has no attraction for me anymore, in fact, I look around my house for things that can be replaced, and I have my family saying, “Let me have first dibs on anything you’re giving away!” Most people replace the old with the new, but I’m looking to replace the new with tattered treasures.