A Secret Revelation

I have been dying to tell you this story for months. In fact, since March I have been aching to tell everyone what an amazing find I had scored, but the problem was that I had not yet obtained it physically. Then, Victoria wrote this post about her Craigslist find, and I wanted to cry. “It’s not fair! I want to share my amazing coup and I can’t.” So, I waited, because I too had found an amazing wardrobe on Craigslist, but I was not able to pick it up yet.

Antique Wardrobe

Is it not beautiful? Would you not want to get it in your house as soon as possible? Here is the story of how it came to be in my possession.

In March, I was trolling Craigslist one evening, because that is what I do on a regular basis to make sure that I am not missing out on anything much to Douglas’ chagrin, when I came across an ad for a gorgeous wardrobe with an excellent price tag. I wish that I had taken a screen shot of the ad, but I did not want photographic evidence of the piece in case I did not get it in the end.

I emailed the owner, giving him my phone number and telling him that I would be able to pay cash and pick it up any time. We have a truck. It would be easy. He (we will call him James, which is not his name) called me the next day and arranged a time for us to go look at the piece that weekend. I was beside myself with joy. That Saturday, Douglas loaded his tools in the truck and off we went to get our wardrobe.

When we got to the house my excitement grew. This antique looked even better in person. It was in excellent condition and was obviously an expensive piece. I could not believe that it was going to be mine for only $350.

You are probably wondering why I could not tell you the secret until this week if all of this had occurred in March. Well, while we were at the house James gave us the “but.” You know what I mean. “This piece is yours, but….” “Everything is perfect, but…” “The realization of your dreams is in sight, but…” In this case the “but” was “…but you have to wait for our house to sell.” What?! Why would you put up an ad for furniture that you did not want to get rid of right away? I reluctantly agreed to the conditions. After all, what could I do? If I did not, then James could just go find another buyer who would. The owner held all of the cards. I left the house feeling awful.

A couple of weeks later, I felt even worse. I received an email from James asking me for $100 to show that I was serious and would purchase the piece when it became available. Oh no. I had a sinking feeling that this was a scam, but the pieces did not add up. James lived in a large, expensive house full of stunning antiques. He did not seem to be hurting for $100. I called him, and explained to him that $100 was a good deal of money to me, a teacher, and that I was concerned that something could happen beyond our control and I would lose my money. I tried to stress that I did not think that he was trying to scam me, but that sometimes things happen. For example, heave forbid he were to die before selling his house; I would never even know what had happened to him. In the end, we agreed that I would send him $50 and he would knock $25 off of the price. I sent him the money in good faith and hoped that all would go well.

Then, I did not hear anything from James for a very long time. In June I sent him an email informing him that I would be traveling a lot that summer. I gave him Douglas’ phone number so that he would have a second contact person, particularly for when I was in Costa Rica and would not be able to receive phone calls. James responded that they had several offers on the house, and he was confident that it would sell soon.

When I returned from Costa Rica we still had not heard from James. I was tempted to contact him several times, but I chose to be patient and wait to hear from him instead. That was one of the few times in my life that I was able to exercise such patience! Finally, on July 31, I received a phone call from James informing us that the house had sold and they would be moving out on August 10. He told us that we could come any day the week of August 05 to pick up the wardrobe. We were leaving August 04 for Montana! Great. After waiting all those months, was I going to lose my wardrobe anyway?

In the end, James told us that we were free to come by at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, August 02. He needed to leave by 10:30 to get to New York City, but he was sure that we would be able to load the wardrobe in an hour. I am sure you know what happens next. Famous last words, right?

Dismantling the wardrobe was undoing a three-dimensional puzzle. There were screws everywhere and there were seemingly hundreds of things to take apart. It took about  a half hour to get the pieces ready for extraction, but that was the easy part.

Dismantling the antique wardrobe

On a side note, check out Douglas’ calves. This is what first attracted me to this man.

Dismantling the antique wardrobe

Once everything was in pieces, we tried to take the first part down the stairs. That was not going to happen. We tried turning it every which way, but it was really heavy and there was no way that it was going to fit with us carrying it. Only the smallest piece was Douglas able to carry himself. By the time we gave up, Kevin needed to leave for the city. Fortunately, his wife offered to stay so that we could continue working.

Bringing the wardrobe pieces downstairs

First, we went home to get the handcart. That made things easier, but it still took almost a half hour to get each of the three main pieces down the staircase. It was frustrating work, but finally we finished.

Bringing the wardrobe pieces downstairsNext we had to try to fit everything in the truck. That was another puzzle, but luckily Douglas and I both excel at puzzles. We were able to get all of the pieces inside.

Fitting the pieces of wardrobe in the truckFitting the pieces of wardrobe in the truck

Once we got home, we had to unload all of the pieces and find places to put them.  We did not have the tight staircase to deal with, but bringing everything up onto the porch and through the kitchen was challenging. By that time, I was exhausted, and even Douglas the Ironman was getting tired. Pieces of wardrobe were everywhere.

Pieces of wardrobe in the bedroom

About five hours after we began we finally had everything in our house safe and sound. Unfortunately, there was not time to put it all together before we left for Montana. That is why my post two weeks ago only hinted at the secret.

Pieces of wardrobe in the bedroom

Later this week, I will share the story of reconstruction. In the meantime, let us admire the beauty once again.

Antique Wardrobe

Happy Homemaking!

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I am a teacher, traveler, artist, writer, homemaker and a whole lot more. In January 2009, I bought the Cape of Dreams. It was the second house that I had ever owned, but it was the first that I bought by myself. I now live in the house with my husband Douglas, our dog Kahlua, and Crème de Menthe, the cat. Because, what life is complete without a little Kahlua and Cream? I love arts and crafts of all kinds, and I refinish furniture as well. We are slowly redoing our entire house. You can read about my projects on my blog www.CapeofDreams.com

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13 comments on “A Secret Revelation
  1. Ooooo, what a stunner!!

  2. Stacey says:

    This was SO meant to be yours, Jessica! That’s a long time to wait, wonder, hope and work to get it. Congrats on a beautiful piece. It looks amazing in your home. There’s NEVER anything on craigslist where I live. Mid-century modern stuff gets bought up so fast you can forget about it.
    Great story. Enjoy your beautiful wardrobe!

    P.S. Thank goodness for husbands willing to go through the hell just to make us chicks happy. Good guy!

    • Amen sister! Thank God for good men that love us. New York is the Craigslist mecca. I do not even dare look in the city Craigslist unless I am looking for something specific because the deals are unbelievable, and I want to take everything home. Feel free to bring a truck and come up any time. You can stay with us while you are loading up on a lifetime of Craigslist deals! 🙂

  3. tess says:

    lovely, your patience really paid off
    and what a loving gesture on the part of your husband

  4. D'Arcy H says:

    Those calves–I mean the wardrobe–is beautiful!! I’m so glad it all worked out. What a leap of faith! This is truly a gorgeous piece. Do you know about what year it was made? I love how the interior glows! I have an old armoire I should write about. It all goes together with joinery, no screws. If you like puzzles, you’d love it!

    • It is hard to stop looking at those calves-I mean armoire- isn’t it? I actually do have a hard time taking my eyes off of it. I am not sure of its age, but I am guess early 20th century. The screws and the pressed wood (similar to pressed back chairs) mean that it is probably not older than that. It is definitely a work of art, though. They just don’t make many pieces like that any more. I would love to see your armoire.

  5. That is a very cool piece! And $350 is a GREAT price for it!

    • Thanks for stopping by! That price is amazing;I could hardly believe that was all he was asking. The feeling that I got was that he really loved the piece and wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate it as much as he did. I feel very fortunate to have it in my home.

  6. Trisha D. says:

    Stopped by from the YHL forums. What a story about such a strong and sturdy piece!! So glad it turned out in your favor instead of a scam!

  7. Oh my word, that is an intense Craigslist story! Your armoire is gorgeous, and I am BEYOND impressed that you guys managed to fit all those pieces in the truck! It was well worth the wait, but I so would have been nervous to pay a deposit and wait that long as well!

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