Why I Pick Up Furniture Off the Street (And I'm Not Ashamed)
I met someone, and not in the made-for-TV-movie kind of way. In the real, When Harry Met Sally kind of way. Our first encounter was just outside their home. They were lounging in the sun, looking fine, as I drove by. We then eyed each other a few more times that same day as I drove back and forth on my usual route. It was not unlike checking someone out in the grocery store; my inner monologue racing, “Are they right for me? Are they interested? Do I approach?” It wasn’t until my evening drive home that I knew I had to go for it. If I didn’t, I could lose the chance at something special, something that could turn out to be everything. So when I reached the familiar address, I pulled over, opened my car door, placed two feet on the ground (heart racing), and approached.
@pdolkas, Pictured, a wooden ladder back chair found on 4th St. and Citrus Ave. in Los Angeles.
I’ve been picking up furniture off the street for a couple years now. At first, I’ll admit, it came with a side of remorse. I mean, I’m the market editor for an online home décor site, constantly sourcing and writing about the newest and most exciting furniture and décor. Why would I find pleasure in bringing trash into my home? Well, I’m here to tell you: There is nothing as intriguing, thrilling, and rewarding as picking up furniture off the street.
@pdolkas, Pictured, an iron planter found on the corner of Chestnut St. and Powell St. in San Francisco.
Who knows why people leave their unwanted pieces on the street? With all these online marketplaces and consignment stores you’d think nothing would be left to kick to curb. But, fortunately, some amazing finds are just waiting to be plucked from the sidewalk (like the iron planter pictured above). Some may say it is not different than shopping second-hand, but I beg to differ. To me, it’s third-hand furniture. These pieces aren’t just being passed from one hand to another; there is something, or someone, in between. Call it fate, call it the work of Hephaestus (the Greek god of artisans and craftsmen), but some force greater than us all brings together a hungry decorator and a stranded chair with curb appeal.
@pdolkas, Pictured, a rattan chair found on the corner of Prosect Ave. and N. Commonwealth Ave. in Los Angeles.
My first love was a gilded picture frame on the corner of 57th Street and Central Park West in New York City. Heaped upon a pile of trash that most likely included the contents of an oil baron’s bathroom and an heiress’ brunch leftovers, it shined like the top of the Chrysler building. I spotted it, imagined the life we would have together, and grabbed it. Now, if you’ve never carried a large gilded frame through the depths of the E train, let me tell you now: You won’t make friends. However, survive the expletives and death stares, and you will find yourself with a shining beacon of hope on the walls of your studio apartment.
Now, living in Los Angeles, it’s much easier to act on a sidewalk romance. A quick pull-over, flash of the emergency lights, and pop of the car trunk is all it takes for me to take home the décor of my dreams. And yes, for all those hopeless romantics out there, that special someone I met the other day and I are very happy. Their rattan frame complements my living room perfectly. I think the two of us will be very happy together, for many years to come.
Have you ever picked up furniture from the street? Share your experience below and follow me on Instagram to keep up with my latest finds.