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It’s no secret designers are total pros at sourcing amazing furniture, artwork, and decorative accents. And some of those finds are just so good, they’ll always rank as number one. To live vicariously through a few decorator friends in this regard, I asked them for the story of their best furniture steals ever: where they found their item, how they knew it was the real deal, and what they’ve used it for since. Read on and prepare to be jealous of these scores — I know I am!
An authentic Eero Saarinen piece
“One time while browsing for office furniture online, I came upon an original Eero Saarinen office chair for $50, and it was a local classified add via Craigslist. I was in luck! I knew it was real deal, as it was stamped underneath with “IBM” and a serial number. Of course, being made in the ‘60s, it needed new upholstery, but I didn’t mind, as I had the perfect use for it. It would be paired in an eclectic-style office with an executive baroque white-washed desk and mid-century lamp. Winning!” —Designer Jodi Janzen of Janzen Design in San Rafael, California
“My best furniture find was a Bergère-style chair that I found online at a very inexpensive price, but it needed a lot of work to breathe some life into it. I decided to go bold with it and had the frame painted in gold and reupholstered in a bold floral fabric on the back and black-and-white color blocking on the front. I used it in an office space, and it makes such a strong statement.” —Designer Veronica Solomon of Casa Vilora Interiors by Veronica Solomon in Katy, Texas
A deeply discounted Anthropologie table
“My dining room table (which I also use as an entry table) was a great find from the Anthropologie outlet called Final Cut in Augusta, GA. It’s a few hours from Atlanta but was worth the drive for this piece, which was 85 percent off — with just a few scratches!” —Designer Kevin O’Gara of Kevin Francis Design in Atlanta, Georgia
A stunning vintage secretary
“We’ve been to many estate sales, where people pass right by a glorious piece of furniture because its potential is hiding under layers of dust. My partner, Casey, had been looking for a vintage secretary for a while. She snatched up a late 1800s serpentine-front mahogany stunner that was being completely ignored because it was dingy and had a few scratches. We spruced it up to reveal its rich and glossy finish — she knew to look past the cobwebs!” —Designers Sharon Derry and Casey Stallings of Lime Tree Home in St. Louis, Missouri
“I found this antique French birdcage at Halsey Street Vintage shop in downtown Newark, NJ, for $40. Similar ones can be found for $1,600.” — Designer Djalna McSween of Djalna McSween Interiors in Newark, New Jersey
A dazzling chest of drawers
“We found this incredible chest of drawers at Vintage Garage Sale, an amazing urban flea market in Chicago. It was sort of hiding in a back corner of the parking garage, and between the poor lighting and the layer of dust, it didn’t seem like anything much — which is probably why the seller was willing to part with it at such a bargain. But the construction is so sturdy and the patina is so perfect, [so] we had to have it.” —Designer Nicole Alexander of Siren Betty Design in Chicago, Illinois