French and Swedish Style Furnishings on a Budget

As mentioned before, I enjoy browsing to look at beautiful antiques, but of course the things that I would like to buy are well beyond my budget. Less often, I'll browse the website of the Boston auction house Skinner, Inc. which offers all kinds auctions including estate items that are not antiques and therefore more affordable. Sometimes, I’ll look at the site a few days after an auction and wish I had taken a day off from work (and rented a van!) to attend the auction and bid on a few things. The site lists the items up for bid a day before the auction, which doesn't allow for much planning. Also, a buyer's premium (18.5% of the sale price) and sales tax apply. Buyers have three business days after the auction to collect their items. Skinner also offers online bidding, but the buyer's premium increases to 22%. Still, it seems like a fun and affordable way to shop for furnishings with character.
There were several bargains to be found at the most recent auction, including this 20th century tin lantern, which sold for $326. It's too bad there weren't a pair of these. It could be used as a center piece or suspended over a dining table with a few candles.
Here’s another winner: A pine armoire including interior shelves used as an entertainment center sold for $148!! You couldn't buy a new piece of furniture of this size and character for that price. I really need something like this to hide my flat screen TV. It could be left as is or painted out in some nice Farrow & Ball paint too—perhaps a Swedish gray, blue, or taupe.

This sofa sold for $415. Wouldn’t it look great if it was reupholstered or slip covered in white or natural linen? A new seat cushion in plump down would be a nice touch too.
These gilt mirrors sold for $625, which is more than I would have paid especially since the one on the left is in such poor condition, but the mirror on the right looks terrific to me. It would be great propped on a wall in a living room, reflecting a fireplace with a roaring fire or in a bedroom as a dressing mirror.
This pair of 20th Century Louis XV style Fauteuils sold for $593. The upholstery is dated, but these could be so nice reupholstered in linen or even a Fortuny-style fabric.
A 20th Century Louis XVI style chair sold for $207. Again, this chair could be lovely once it's stripped of its unappealing gold paint and reupholstered in a plain linen or Swedish check fabric.
Painted Italian style bombe chest also sold for $207. I’m not sure if I’d refinish this or leave it as is. This would be great in a bedroom. A simple country pine chest also sold for $148. This would be useful for extra storage space in a kitchen, dining room or guest bedroom. I’d probably strip or repaint it in a pretty Farrow and Ball color or even distressed black paint with antique style brass hardware.

Eight classic French Limoges porcelain gilt dinner plates for $267. These would be pretty for a holiday table setting.
So, after seeing these pieces I’m going to make an effort to get to the next auction and hunt for some bargains. None of these furnishings are great antiques, but with a little time, do-it-yourself work and money you could have a few affordable and stylish pieces of "new" furniture.
All photos Skinner, Inc.


  1. I never even think about Skinner being so local. Thanks for the reminder Deborah!

  2. Really good information and wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing with us.I loved the painted Italian chest!

  3. What great finds. I'm going to go check out the site right now!

  4. Very good post!
    The painted commode is gorgeous!


  5. A beatiful home and great pictures!

    Wilhelmiina from finland.

  6. What a great post! I love it!! Thanks so much!!

  7. What little treasures just waiting for some love & attention Deborah! The sofa has won my heart, just like Cinderella, new fabric would make it the belle of the ball.
    Millie ^_^

  8. Oh those plates were a STEAL! How beautiful!

  9. Dear author,

    Your article is good, i like this

    Thanks for your information and best regards
    Ali Java

  10. Dear author,

    I like your article

    Many thanks and best regards
    Ali Java


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your comments are part of what makes blogging worthwhile! In an effort to control spam, comments are moderated and word verification has been enabled. Apologies for any inconvenience.