One of the things I love about secondhand furniture is the stories that come with it. Even when we don't know the stories of a particular piece, we can still imagine the lives these chairs and couches might have lived. These stories and the feelings they evoke can be a powerful part of what makes something we buy special; who we bought it from, the circumstances in which we bought it, the care and detail that went in to creating the piece.
The funky white honeycomb pendant lamp that hangs in our spare room - it looks like it might have once hung in an ultra-chic 1970's home, and witnessed many groovin' disco evenings. I found it in a brocki, but I felt like I was rescuing it from dereliction. It brings echoes of something more, of interesting lives lived, to our otherwise dull spare room.
I was telling my doctor this week about ecochair.ch, and she was very excited (so much so, I had to remind her to write my prescription). She told me how much she loved old furniture - that for her, it reminded her of her grandfather's house in Egypt, with the soaring high ceilings, sourrounded by beautiful things, that she could picture from her childhood.
For those of you who follow me on instagram, you will have seen that I made a little trip out to the countryside last week. I'm planning to open a little coffee bar in the shop on Breisacherstrasse, and I had spotted a really nice looking stainless steel worktop for sale which I thought would be perfect. I had never heard of the village where it was for sale, even though it was only about 20 minutes away, but nontheless, I hopped in the car and fired up the GPS. I soon found myself surrounded by fields and on winding forestry roads, and ended up having to drive down one of those roads that says 'only for farm vehicles'. I pulled up next to the barn (and a field full of cows), and tentatively knocked on the farmhouse door.
I was greeted by a smiling, if somewhat intimidating, Swiss farmer. She looked at me inquisitively - I explained in my best German that I was there for the table. Apparently the email I had sent about when I was coming hadn't arrived. I guess they don't get too many unexpected visitors out there. She ushered me in and took me down to the lower floor where the table was, and explained that she used the table in her bakery, gesturing to the next room, which was full of stainless steel mixing machines, and that she had bought a new table. I could see the new table there, all shiny and new. But this one, the one I had come for, how nice! It has a beautiful wood frame with two wheels and a shiny work surface. Perhaps the wood is not so practical for a bakery, but for my dreams of a coffee bar, its perfect. She hoisted the table up herself and brought it outside, while I brought the car over. She was fascinated by how quiet it was - 'it's electric', I told her. We loaded it up, and with that, I was off, back through the fields of cows, on to the winding forestry roads, the highway and then Breisacherstrasse. Me, now admiring my new purchase and thinking about all the coffees I will serve to the customers; her, scratching her head a bit over the strange Canadian woman with the electric car, and funny way of speaking German.
I love these stories - such a long way off from spending a chaotic Saturday in a giant big box store full of people buying the same thing - another Billy, another Poang. I've got some ideas about how we might incorporate that into ecochair.ch, so that these stories can continue on with their new owners.
Until next time,