Friday, November 16, 2012

second hand

When acquiring "things", whether they be books or furniture of stuff for a future baby I put some serious thought into the decision to buy new or used. The hypothetical house Bunny and I want to buy one day? Well, we love the idea of a new build and getting to choose something where the layout serves exactly our needs and we have the opportunity to customize. We also love the idea of an older home, with sturdy construction that's already stood the test of time in an established neighbourhood and fully grown trees in the yard. Both options are equally viable, and in the end the decision will come down to what we like best and can afford when the time comes to make the decision.

Other decisions are easier. If I'm buying a stove (which I unfortunately may be doing soon) I'd rather invest a little more money into a new model, that hasn't undergone years of repairs and breakdowns and has a warrantee. A coat rack or end tables? I'll probably scour garage sales and thrift stores until I find something I like that's decently constructed and I'm not breaking the bank on. Books are another easy choice: if it's readily available used, I'll buy it used. The writing isn't any less spectacular just because someone else has thumbed the pages before.

I love antiques. This probably has something to do with growing up with a lot of family antiques and hand me downs. I grew up with family heirloom sideboards, bookcases and dressers and there's an understanding that my younger brother and I are both in love with these pieces and we know we'll have a terrible time compromising on who gets what in that unfortunate eventuality of their being passed down. Having all these beautiful, well made pieces instilled a love of the sturdy construction and amazing craftsmanship of turned legs, carved details and the lack of fiberboard backing. If I were ever buying these sorts of pieces myself I know I would hoard money and end up with a perfectly mismatched set of antiques.

My ideal set of formal dishware, for one day, is all antique china. It actually doesn't matter to me whether its a matched or mismatched set (I'm good with the eclectic mix of patterns). Just beautiful, well taken care of pieces that have some personality to them. I have a hidden love for antique teacups and saucers, and even the start of a little collection that will one day drive Bunny nuts.

Something like a couch or chairs? While I love antique Queen Anne's I lean towards more modern constructions with overstuffed cushions and recliners and general comfort in which to lounge. I just don't find antiques to be quite as comfortable and for me comfort is key. I'm also not keen on not knowing the history of my upholstery, although antique construction is far superior. I'm also not opposed to a well loved and cared for hand me down from friends or family who I know care for their possessions.

What I'm not a huge fan of is a collection of mismatched, run down hand me downs. That sort of style certainly filled my needs in university, and while I don't need everything to match, Bunny and I do have a somewhat cultivated sense of personal style in what we'd look for in our own spaces. Some newer pieces let the older ones shine. The things that don't match still need to go and complement each other.

I'm also sometimes weary about the safety of older things. All the baby stuff we've been given will have to be carefully researched eventually to determine that a) it's still safe and there have been no concerns or recalls associated with with and b) that it's still in good condition and I'm not concerned that something will happen to things. Something like a car seat I will 100% buy new just because of safety concerns, even though I don't think new is the only way to go.

Another thing I'm a fan of buying used is cars. Not that I've bought any cars recently, but Bunny and I have been discussing the eventuality of ditching the truck and we're pretty sure we'd like to buy used. I like the savings, and I don't need that new car smell. We've also got a mechanic that we trust, who is very good at his job and has a relationship with our family so we know he'll tell it like it is. Plus many of Bunny's motorcycle skills are transferable and he's always done his own basic maintainance (oil changes, changing tires etc). The whole idea of "new" isn't important for us in a car.

How do you style your home? Are you a fan of hand me downs or antiques? Do you like a matched look and the comfort of owning all new pieces? Is it a little bit of a free for all? Are there any things that you insist on buying either new or used?

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