Author’s Note: Thanks to my friend Karin Tauscher Fuller for co-writing this post with me.
While many antique lovers are in it for the thrill of finding a great piece, one perfectly preserved thing of beauty, my friend Karin chases down antiques because she says they need her. Not all antiques -- if it’s pristine she rarely even pauses as she passes. This same friend once bought a house that needed massive remodeling, regularly takes in animals known to draw blood, and buys plants at the grocery store because the soil’s too dry. That Karin would buy furniture because it needs her is just her style.
Karin says even though they’re inanimate objects, there’s something about them draws her in. Maybe it’s that antiques are survivors. They’ve lasted through moves and deaths and divorces. They’re still useful, still beautiful, in spite of their age.
On more than one occasion Karin has helped me feel still useful and not haggard, in spite of my age.
Recently she shared her strategy for finding the best deals on the well-disguised, gunked-up treasures she so adores.
“I go to auction houses before the bidding begins,” Karin told me, “and scout out the pieces that need the most work. The rougher and uglier it is, the later it will go in the auction, since they sell the higher dollar stuff first.”
Near the end of the auction, she said the pieces that need refinishing can often be bought for next to nothing, and she’ll happily head home with a car filled to the roof with stuff that—well, she’s seen cleaner pieces at the curb on trash day. But by the time she’s finished with them, they’re ready to put on display.
I like that my friend can see beyond the blackened lacquer or through those many layers of paint to the potential that still remains in a piece. She looks beyond the flaws into the heart of it.
We can’t just love what is perfect. We also love, especially love, those things and people who are not.