The Thrill of a Great Find
by Marly Bobillier Grosso
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved furniture. From the sensual curves of the French period to the simple country styles of Americana, to Asian screens, Chinese armoires, and everything in-between. Each style holds a very special place in my heart, and examples of many of them have even found their way to the home I share with my husband of nearly 25 years, our 21-year-old son, 16-year-old daughter, two free-spirited cats, and a goofy Australian Shepherd named Jasmine.
My husband and children have all learned to deal with my addiction: I often buy old furniture on a whim and bring it back to our already quite full home. But finally, last month, the entire family raised hell. I had tried to cram an old, beat-up farm table into our already crowded kitchen. I justified my new addition by reminding them of all the times they had complained of not having enough counter space. It didn’t work.
I heard everyone’s complaints loud and clear, so I maneuvered the furniture in the living room to create a spot for the new addition in front of the already jammed bookcases. Even Oliver the cat complained, as I had to move his favorite ottoman under the new addition. Oliver has since found his way back to the ottoman for his daily power naps, and the table doesn’t bother him one bit.
Growing up in Viña Del Mar, Chile, I learned to appreciate all the details of fine furniture from my mom, who treasured each of her beloved pieces. We children could only appreciate them from a distance, however, as we were only allowed in the living room when company came over.
My parents’ tufted, baby-blue velvet sofas and petite marquetry tables my mom so proudly showed off to our friends and family made our tiny little home so very special to me. These protected and adored pieces would one day be all mine to enjoy and finally set my derriere on them without repercussions.
After our move to the US, I followed my passion and studied interior design. I practiced early on with my parents’ furniture, as I would rearrange the rooms unexpectedly while they were at work, something I do even today to leave no space in the house empty of a perfectly good find.
I began my collection of furniture with a little oval mahogany table while just in high school. This little thing with a lyre-shaped base and antique brass clawfoot covers was purchased with my very first paycheck. I thought I had scored the best deal ever in that little Brooklyn junk shop. I took my prize home and displayed the crystal decanters my mom so proudly had passed on to me. We used it both as a kitchen table and desk for my late-night school projects, later I brought to my marriage as a kind of dowry for my new husband.
Our current home is an eclectic mix of high-end furnishings and found pieces, even things others have discarded. We have our very own moss-green sofas made of velvet mohair with elegantly rolled arms, and though I wish I could have kept the kids out of the living, too, our love and appreciation for each couch shows in the crevices of the wear and tear they have experienced.
Situated in the beautiful Hudson Valley and just 60 miles north of the city, our town of Fishkill is a great place to live and delight in a slower pace of life. It’s also where you’ll find plenty of consignment shops, thrift, vintage, and antique shops ready to welcome you in to rummage through their gently used and weathered finds. I also dutifully check out the calendar of events for upcoming antique and flea markets in the area and plan our weekend outings around them while taking in the sites of the region.
There are also lots of shopping apps to help get my fix. Among my favorites are Offerup and LetGo. These apps are just awesome. I can discuss price, get pictures, and even pick up my find discreetly. I hold no shame in picking up what others ae rejecting if I see beauty in its form and can make it function for us.
And I’ve been lucky with my purchases, from a set of antique champagne glasses I discovered in a local thrift shop to a well-worn and patinaed Windsor chair I just couldn’t live without. I’ve been known to drive beyond a reasonable distance to get my fix, no matter how big the item is. It doesn’t matter that my car is a small hatchback—whether it is tied up on the roof or hanging out of the back, I will find a way to get the piece here to love and cherish.
My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this November, and by now he’s used to coming home and finding something else taking up what little room is left. I truly hope I’ve instilled in my kids a love and appreciation for fine lines and functionality in the furnishings they take in. I will pass on my treasures to them one day and can only wish they will build on those collections and mix in new, used, and discarded pieces to create their own decorative flair and use it to make a home.
Photo credit by Julian Hochgesang (Bavaria Germany) @julian_hochgesang
Marly is a Chilean American designer. She graduated from FIT Interior Design and has worked in the interiors and fashion Industry in NYC for many years. She began freelancing as a teen illustrator in the fashion industry for notables such as Valentino and Armani. She later designed handbags and accessories for companies such as Liz Claiborne and Ann Taylor Loft as well as Kipling USA. A world traveler, Marly has been to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Belgium, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Amsterdam, Finland and Stockholm where she finds inspiration for her creative work. Marly has designed residential projects, handbags, footwear and jewelry. Married 27 years with two grown children, an Australian Shepard named Jasmine and two cats she resides just outside NYC.