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Thursday, January 20, 2011

do you Craigslist?!

If you do then you know the great finds that can be found; if you don't may I suggest you do!

One of our favorite stops on Craigslist is the "free" section.  We are constantly shocked and amazed at the really good things that people give away for free.  (We are also shocked and amazed that people list postings like:  one free container of baby formula - I kid you not!) 
I can't tell you how many times I have told Dan I could decorate a whole house with the things that people give away.  I do acknowledge that we seem to have a very generous free listing section here in New Hampshire.    For example...before Thanksgiving there were probably 50 listings giving away Thanksgiving dinner to families in need- some with all the ingredients to make your own, some in a restaurant and some actually invited strangers into their home.  I realize this sounds crazy and frightening to many (depending on the size of your city) but we have found New Hampshire to have a very helpful and generous spirit.  I thought maybe this was the new "thing" but after looking at a dozen cities (of varying size) across the country the only place I found people offering free Thanksgiving dinners to those in need was here. 
But, even if your free section isn't as overly generous-  still check, you never know what you will find!

Yesterday Dan and I (and, of course, sweet Ella) drove 5 hours round trip, in the snow to pick up a free antique Victorian sofa that we found on Craigslist.  Neither of us could bare the thought of it going on the burn pile which was to be its next stop (the burn pile was literally roaring when we arrived!)   It was a very dark day which is why this photo is so grainy.  This is how we found the sofa- sitting alone in the dark corner 'praying' it wasn't next to go on the fire.  I thought it would make a fine addition to the loft (office space) that we are creating in the barn.  To be perfectly honest, this is not a typical style of sofa that I would normally chose, but it was exactly because of that, and that I think the lines will look fabulous with the exposed beams of the room that I wanted to have a closer look!   The piece is indeed antique with its original horse hair peaking from under the springs, and once the rather ornate woodwork is sanded down and either left with hints of the white paint (that someone unfortunately slapped on years ago), or maybe painted a gloss black- then upholster in a brown/mushroom velvet with one long, down-wrapped linen cushion......  I'm thinking it will be fabulous and fun, and it was FREE!!!

Look past the hanging springs, the b.a.d. white paint on the frame and the nasty 1970's upholstery ripped and exposing even older upholstery to the lines and curves of the back and the arms!  The sofa is really long and deep, and looks perfect for napping!  And, if you can't look past all those things, then I will say what I occasionally say to Dan.... "trust me on this one!"

Dan and the husband of the woman who posted the listing carrying the sofa through several feet of snow as it wouldn't fit through the doorways to enable it to be carried out the front of the barn.
A favorite part of this sofa story for me is that this couple was hired to clean/clear out the house and the barn, no doubt making minimum wage... that the woman saw the beauty in the sofa and took the time to take a photo, post a listing and take phone calls regarding the sofa warms my heart.  It would have been much easier to simply toss the sofa on the fire and be done with it.  I thanked her profusely for taking the time to help the sofa find a new life (and slipped them a twenty;)

This iron chandelier will find its home in the barn room, and is another recent Craigslist find.  
And, although I paid for this one it was still an amazing find and bargain!  I have had my eye out for a chandelier for the barn room for well over a year.  The room is a good size, and I knew it would need a rather large chandelier.  I knew I would not find anything that large in an antique, and all the beautiful new ones I could find that were large enough were thousands of dollars, and that wasn't in the budget!  One day I thought to look on Craigslist, and kept expanding my search to neighboring states.  I stumbled on this beauty in Connecticut (another 5 hours round trip!)   People are notorious for posting bad, blurry photographs and not giving any information, so don't hesitate to ask.  In the original photo this chandelier was laying on the ground in front of what was obviously a really large staircase and it covered the expanse, so I knew it was big.  I was thrilled to find out that it was just over 4 feet.....  perfect scale for the room!
She was asking $300, I offered $250 and got it!!
The chandelier is not old, but is hand wrought and has great lines.

Dan and our carpenter hung the chandelier in the barn room so I could see it up and see the scale!  I will probably paint it  a brown/rust color.  The piece of plywood is giving the illusion of a large candle sleeve!  (oh, and I'm sure some of you are wondering.... the green stuff on the wall is soy-based insulation!)

I would love to hear of your great Craigslist finds!


  1. I'm so thrilled to see your finds. We did the same thing for our sofa and coffee table. The sofa was old but the frame was good and the man who did our reupholstering brought it back to life. I absolutely love the sofa frame you found - classic and elegant. And the chandelier is gorgeous. Here's to Craigslist!

  2. Joan, I just love you and your dedication to your home!
    You sound me and Chad with our treasure hunting excursions. It's so much more fun to do your home together and the roadtrips are the best!
    OK...did you ever read my couch saga post for nearly ago...if so, you'll know why I'm jealous. Really jealous.
    Hurry up with that barn, I can't wait to see it all put together. :)

  3. I have been living vicariously through your postings for some time now. I enjoy all of your adventures. I love Craigslist too. My daughter found a sofa and loveseat a couple years ago in great condition for $80. We were having them slipcovered for her apartment and they are wonderful. I actually picked a sunburst mirror for $25 last year from a college student that was graduating. Consignment stores are a fav as well. But the Camelback sofa in my livingroom was a freebie like yours it however was in top condition. My husband had a truck and a friend of his father asked him to take it to Goodwill.
    He asked if he could be Goodwill. We had it reupholstered and have used it for 13 years. Gotta love a freebie. Will you take yours on or will you send it out?

  4. We have sold things on Craigslist but I have not had/made the time to look for things. This post has inspired me too look now:) great finds.

  5. Hi Joan! Oooooooooh...great story, pics and finds!! Love the shot in the snow! Couple of years ago I saw a stepback cupboard/cabinet on Craigslist for $125. On a whim...we went to look at it...and I took my husband in case I wanted to buy it. We pulled up to a million dollar house and it was gorgeous and in perfect condition so I handed her the money and we picked it up to carry out. Unfortunately the glass door wasn't latched and as we turned it on it's side...the door swung open and my husbands finger was smashed in the process. I honestly do not know why it wasn't cut-off...the force was that great. He closed his eyes...never said a word...but I knew it was bad. If his finger hadn't of been there...the door would have shattered. Good man, huh? :) A few months later I saw the same cabinet in an antique store for about $1500. A good find that day! I'm going to start look for a free you suggested! :)

  6. That is a perfect couch for napping. Such a find. Can't wait to see how you upholster it.

  7. Wow Joan, great finds, really. I have never been on craigslist but will now. That sofa will look wonderful all sanded down and reupholsteried and your chandelier, beautiful! I can't wait to see your new found treasure all dressed up! I can't believe Ella likes those long trips, Dylan hates anything over an hour.

  8. I haven't looked on Craig's List as yet (I will now!), but have found amazing things on or near our street here in New York CIty. One thing is our green velvet couch that was pitched out from the single family Brownstone down the block. My partner saw it being hauled out to the curb, asked it if was free, and ran home to tell me to come with him that second- which I did. I later discovered that it was a bespoke piece made in the Carolina's. What was wrong with it? One of the cushion attachments needed to be fixed. Another street find was a Victorian library chair frame with a carved lion. Free is fabulous!

    I love the picture of the sofa being carried through the snow. Dan is a real trouper!

  9. The chandelier looks wonderful and I'm sure the Victorian sofa will as well when you are finished with it.
    I will have to check out Craigslist in my area more often.

  10. I never think to check Craigslist until some inspired soul (like you) reminds me! I know what I'll be doing this weekend. :) Thanks for sharing the journey of your beautiful home.

  11. I got a beautiful Grandfather's clock.. you can see it on my blog.... I love Craig... shhhhh...

  12. I love the idea of people offering Thanksgiving dinners; what wonderful kindness and hospitality in your area! I've sold a couple of things on Craiglist, but have never bought. I've checked for things from time to time but no great finds. Also, I'm hesitant to go to someone's home alone or even to have someone come to my home when I post. Better to have someone with you in both cases.

  13. I have been readimg yoir blog and LOVING what you have done woth your home for awhile and had to comment when you brought up craigslist. I have gotten so many great deals, an armoire, steamer trunk, chairs, the list could continue forever. Anyway, I really love your blog and always look forward to your posts. I cant beleive how beautiful your kitchen is. My husband and I will be using lots of your ideas when,working on ours.

  14. hi all! love hearing about all your finds!

    El- great finds! Yes, here's to Craigslist!

    Sarah- I love that you and Chad do "adventures" (that's what we call them!) together too! It is the best! No, but am going to go find the couch saga!!

    Victoria- Thank you for commenting! Love your great finds! Wish my sofa was in your condition;) I will send mine out! Upholstery sounds tricky!

    Kim- I think you'll find some fun things!

    Sally- omg.... I can see/feel your husband's finger. OUCH... Have had that happen before.... makes me cringe. Good man... taking one for the team/aka the house!!! Yes, as mentioned have seen trailers on Free Craigslist!!! You go girl!

    Kathleen- I think even your three large pups would fit on the sofa- so that's a big sofa!!

    Debra- YOU STAY OFF of Craigslist Missy.... you're too close to me, and will get all my good deals. Promise?! Ella says to tell Dylan he doesn't know what he's missing!!

    Daniel- Your green velvet couch sounds FABULOUS! We used to find the BEST things "junking" every month in Dallas! And, you are so right... Dan IS a trooper!

    Patti- Thank you for "trusting me" on the sofa thing!!;)

    Heidiopia- Good luck looking this weekend!!

    AC- You're right... I should have posted this excluding my neighboring states!! dang!

    Rose- I agree, not a good idea to do this solo; always take or have a buddy with you.

    Julia- Thank you for commenting! wow- great finds; lucky you! I'm honored you will be using some of our ideas in your remodel! If you have any questions just email.

  15. Joan I love that this glorious old girl has a new home and someone to love her. Like you, I love that the lady took the time to find her a new home too. You're right, it really is heartwarming. The chandelier looks absolutely fabulous, I cannot wait to see how you bring it all together, you are so very talented!

    Thankyou for stopping by my blog and commenting, it meant a lot to me :)


  16. Looking at Craigslist and digging your way each and every post can guarantee you'll find a great treasure.

  17. That sofa, hideous as it is right now, is very animated. Looks like it could get up and walk away on its own! Not that it would work in your house, but I could totally see it painted shocking pink or orange with a huge bright paisley. It'll be fun to see what you do with it.

    I LOVE that photo of the two guys walking the snowy field with that sofa. That's worth a million bucks!

  18. This tale really gets to me. I LOVE that you rescued that sofa, and that it was a family affair. Terrific post....have a wonderful weekend...k

  19. Joan that is such a moving story, really you are right they could have very well thrown out the sofa. The chandelier is perfect!!

    I must go on Craigslist again, it has been awhile!

    Come and join in my Gorgeous Giveaway from Blydesign!

    Art by Karena

  20. Craig and his List is my very favorite store!! Where else can you shop for all sorts of relatively-local treasures from the comfort of your own couch? Many things for the restoration of our house have been sourced from Craig's List ... as well as almost all of the materials for my greenhouse.

    I'm not sure I could pick a favorite CL treasure, if I was asked to choose. One of our best finds was a set of double doors and screen doors from a country store in southern Virginia. My work island in our basement workshop was made from two old-school kitchen cabinets. My nursery sign out front hangs from a huge wrought iron bracket. We will finish off our front porch with four round tapered columns that were salvaged from another house ... All Craig's List. We've got a million of 'em!

    Love your blog!!

  21. I love both your finds and would have snapped them up myself if I had been there. I can't wait to see the couch when you've finished it. I have a similar one that I'm thinking of recovering in a beige/brown homespun-looking fabric. Maybe yours will inspire me!

  22. I bought a wingback chair for $15 - it was in perfect condition and has a nice brown velvet fabric. That was my best find.

    And a dresser and nightstand for my niece for $30. Again - great condition just needed a coat of paint.

    I heart Craig. :)

  23. I just discovered your blog a couple of days ago and love your home and style. So magazine worthy. What a wonderful restoration. That couch is remarkable and will look so good refurbished and so perfect for the barn. Great chandelier, too. I can't wait to see the barn completed. I have not purchased anything from Craig's list yet, but may some day. Actually I want to do some more furniture refinishing and sell on CL. Do you mind if I spread the word about your blog on mine. It will send you lots of traffic. Thought I would ask first.
    Have a great weekend,

  24. I've never visited Craigslist, I guess I really should. You're going to really love the sofa and the memories made bringing it home. Love your home!

  25. Gorgeous settee! It'll be beautiful when you're through with it. I also love Craigslist! One of my favorite finds is my Dining Room chandelier. You can find the story here-

  26. Love your finds! I actually sold a similiar sofa on craigslist and recently bought a white dresser for our guest room. I think I'm off to check out the free section now...Thanks for the advice!

  27. I call craigs list my partner's "porn." he scours it all the time, and we've pretty much renovated our house with the help of Craig's list, especially the free section.

    it's so much fun to hop in the truck and go pick up a treasure from someone.

    i love the couch, you are right on to want to give it a make-over and a home. great deal!

    you've inspired me to do a future blog post on all our free and fabulous craig's list finds.

    happy hunting!

  28. You make a very convincing argument for Craigslist! I must admit that I haven't purchased anything on Craigslist. My fear is that once I start I won't stop. In all seriousness, I think Craigslist is the new flea market and a great resource for fabulous finds, like your gorgeous chandelier.
    You definitely scored!

  29. I just came over from Kim's at Savvy Southern Style. Your home is beautiful. I love the olden homes. I am looking forward to seeing more of your home. I live in a old cape cod home and we renovated our bed and breakfast in 2002, which is a big, old farmhouse. Please stop over when you can :)

  30. Found you from Kim at Savvy Southern Style..what a beauty of a blog and home you have. I'll be following along and have you on my sidebar too!

  31. That is an awesome find! I came over from Kim's(Savvy southern style) and I love your home, it is gorgeous!

  32. Just want to say that I am amazed at this transformation! It is amazing!

    Linking your blog to mine...


  33. e.m.e.r.g.e.n.c.y.
    last weekend
    washer broke
    traveled 40 min in a blizzard
    to another burb
    to buy a
    "speed queen"
    75.00 buckaroos

    I like your purchase better than
    mine, but every farmgirl
    needs a washer

  34. I'm so happy to have found your blog, Craigslist and Kijiji are my new BFF's! I have used them to sell many household items but I have picked up some great finds since we moved into our new home this past June ... 2 new slipcovered Sofa's $150 each, coffee and end tables $40, Barstools $80, Adirondeck chairs - 4 for $200 total, we also picked up a mates bed and end table for our spare room but I forget what we paid, $100 comes to mind for Bed, Mattress and end table.

    So Happy to have found you!


  35. Stopping over from Kim at Savvy Southern Style. :) I have 'looked' at Craigslist items but haven't bought anything from there yet. You have some fantastic finds from there. I can't wait to see your sofa redone. She is a beauty. Off to take a look now at Craigslist. ;)

  36. I'm knocking from Savvy Southern Style. Anxiously knocking. Hoping someone will answer quickly because the pics I saw over there made me rush right over. I've only read one post and I'm hooked. I love the shot of the sofa being carried through the snow. That needs to be framed and placed beside the couch when it is once again in its glory. I'll be visiting for awhile so get the fire going and I prefer hot chocolate instead of coffee! By the way, can we go shopping later?

  37. I was introduced to yoru blog from Savvy Southern Style too.

    I LOVE Craigslist. I was hooked from my first purchase: a Howard Miller grandfather clock for only $125. It barely fit in my station wagon, but I was determined to get it home!

    But the find I'm most proud of are these chairs I picked up for FREE. You can check out my post about them at:

    Can't wait to dive deeper into your blog!

  38. Came over from Kim's Savvy Southern Style. Just became a follower of yours and yes, love Craig's list.

  39. HI! I came over from Kim's and am delighted to meet you! YOur home seems amazing! I ADORE your kitchen/breakfast room! I will be your newest follower. I am pretty new to blogging (Oct.) so if you would like to follow me I would love that! I love the chandy too and can't wait to see more of your home!!!! I have never bought from CL but will go see what they have! XO, Pinky

  40. Morning Joan,
    I just came over from Kim's and so glad she told us about your blog. Your home is beyond beautiful.
    Everything is just amazing. It will be fun watching all your work on Your wonderful home!
    Blessings for a Wonderful Weekend, and prayers
    that your fireplace goes in without a hitch.
    What a job!! lol
    Blessings, Nellie

  41. Just discovered your blog. Wow, I love your home. It just radiates warmth. and you are clearly loving every minute of your new life. Can't wait to discover more. I'll be following along!

  42. Another golden nugget in finding you...and I have Kim at Savy Southern Style to thank!
    Both of your blogs are simply delicious..with posts not to be missed!

    Needless to say, I am delighted!

  43. Oh me and Craig get along very well! I bought a French Provencial kids bedroom set for $60 and painted each of the 3 pieces. I sold just the desk for $115!! I kept the other two pieces so I guess I am way ahead of the game!!

    Love your blog and you have a new follower!

  44. Wow, I just discovered your blog via Kim at Savy Southern Style, your home is amazing! I've been perusing Craigs list... lots of great finds,found a few things but was to slow to snag them.I'll keep looking and following your blog.

  45. I absolutely LOVE your home, discovered through Kim of SSS. Thank you for some great decorating ideas! We rebuilt an 1835 Farm house this past year - have been living in it for about six months.Your floors are beautiful, as is your decor.

  46. I am so happy to find your blog through Kim @ Savvy Southern Style. I'm a New Englander living in a small town in MA and spend a lot of time in NH (skiing and visiting Lake Winnipesaukee). I love your style and your gorgeous home and can't wait to read more! I am trying to add some charm to a basic boring colonial and Craigslist is my BFF...I'm constantly looking for hardware, lumber, and interesting old furniture - there are so many goodies on there! Hope you're having a happy weekend, so nice to meet your blog.......Lisa

  47. I would imagine you've gotten a lot of traffic from Kim today. That's how I found you. I live in Texas now. Always wanted to go to New England. You have a fantastic home. And your story about the couch touched me very much.

  48. This is my first visit to your blog. A big thank you to Kim at Saavy Southern Style for recommending it. Can't wait to snoop around a bit -- it looks like it will be a real treat. Our only Craig's List buy, so far, has been my hubby's (aka The Man) retirement project -- a '87 Mustang convertible, red with a black top. Had a really nice connection with the couple who were selling it. Great experience. We have sold several things on the List with good results. I'm a new follower.

  49. I am so impressed! honestly....smiles...

  50. Loved your post ,we do not have a craigs list in Australia ,I wish we did though :(
    The chandelier is ging to be amazing!!!! and the sofa hmmmm a lot of work but I know you can do it.
    I am your newest follower.

  51. Glad you saved that old piece from the burn pile, and I love the wrought iron chandy. Very cool. We have found a few great pieces for our home (and sold some too) on both Craigslist and kijiji, a pine china cabinet, a pine hutch, an armoire, two dressers and two endtables, a desk with bookcase.... Lots of great stuff to be had for good prices, especially if you aren't afraid to offer lower.

  52. I just hopped over from Kim's blog at Savy Southern Style....
    What a fantastic home you have~ & yes. gotta love craigslist!

  53. Just discovered your blog through Kim of Savvy Southern Style - love it! I added a link on my Blog List.

  54. I found your blog today when I was visiting Kim's blog (Savvy Southern Style). Your home is amazing!! I can't wait to see how the new sofa looks when it is finished. I know it will be beautiful!

    I am now a follower of your blog. I can't wait to go back and read old posts. :-)

  55. I know this sounds ridiculous but I have never gotten the hang of using Craig's list - I must try again since I am always reading of people, including you, finding fabulous things there.

  56. I {heart} Craigslist, yes.
    Our free section here in Upstate South Carolina rather stinks ;)
    I love the idea of giving free Thanksgiving dinners--that blesses my heart.
    We have found many things on CL: a settee, Parsons chairs, vintage Hartmann luggage, a Dell netbook that I am typing on just now, our Wii, my basement cafe' tables. Not to mention all the things I find at the garage sales from CL listings.
    What DID we do before Craigslist?
    Your "barn" is going to be so fabulous when you are done, trust me on this one ;)
    HUGS and blessings to you as you make your home!

  57. Hi Joan- I love that the stories of your house don't have to have pedigree....just heart and soul!

    We Craigslist to take things out but sometimes I get frustrated when looking for things to bring in- the search for the perfect have a gift (and the patience of Job!)

    Hugs my friend-

  58. Oh you SAVED that couch from utter destruction. I love how you put a personality and character to a couch...much like a rescue dog.

    I do it too. ALL the time.

    And as a matter of fact, have been a bit smitten by a similar horse hair couch...but was not quite sure what to do with the horse hair part...I may go see if it is still there!

  59. Michelle @ Rocky Mountain CottageJanuary 24, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    I do Craiglist and have found some amazing deals on antiques and silver!! We recently bought a Victrola in mint condition with 100 needles, and 10 original French records! all out of a dusty old attic!! We drove 2 hours to pick it up and in that time the gentleman had found more records for us...when it was all said and done he sold it for $75!. Thats just one example of the kind of treasures a person can find. I will always go to Craigslist!

  60. Those were both terrific finds! I've sold things on Craigslist, but haven't purchased from it! It is a great way to find things. I'm afraid my area isn't very exciting on it's postings! I look forward to seeing your choice on how the sofa will be finished!

  61. The faux bamboo desk that I sit at every day was my favorite CL find. I think it was $60.
    Just found your blog today. We live in Nashville but my son goes to school in Woolfsboro.

  62. I love your finds and I can't wait to see the sofa looking beautiful again! I found my dining room chairs on CL for what I thought was forty dollars each. When I got there I found out she wanted forty for all four...even better!

  63. Just finding this post and LOVE it! Thanks for the tip on Craigslist. As we are coming home in a few short months, I'll need ideas on thrifting in the states!! I'm glad you rescued the sofa ~ it has really good bones. Can't wait to see what you do with it!

  64. Hi There!! I just ran across this post after spending the last few months browsing through your blog, whenever I needed a moment away from teaching and running around a toddler. And you have NO idea how much you inspire me. I love your home for so many many things! And now, reading this post about Craigslist makes me ever so happy and blessed to have found you. Since my early 20's, I have been scouting in Southern California on Craigslist and have been nicknamed the Craigslist queen ( no way am I) because our home is almost completely furnished from finds there! Recently, your post on All Clad cookware had me looking on Craigslist ( the only way I could probably afford this lovely stuff), and found a treasure cove that someone was trying to get rid off for $300!!! More than $2000 worth!! Now, if only I could find an iron urn one day! And brass birds:)

    1. OhMyGosh Angie!!!! You ARE the queen of Craigslist. Great find on the All Clad!! Wow. I love that your house is furnished with Craigslist finds. It is amazing what you can find there! I have no doubt you will find an antique iron urn:) Thank you for your wonderful comment. It means the world to me to hear that I inspire you!!


Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive and read it. joan