18 March 2011

The Tale of the Two Barcelona Chairs

Like every household with at least one modernist, there is a creeping infection in our home: the one where the sofa with the scrolled arms has to go and the overstuffed love chair won't do it anymore, where Brnos, Eileens and Barcelonas become such common names, outsiders think they are part of the family with their own voicemail.

But considering pricing, a Knoll Barcelona chair with ottoman sets you back $6,662 at the very least, and that's the crappiest leather you can buy.

Buying replicas (one shouldn't use the ugly term "knock off") on ebay or per mail order is risky, especially since originals come in over 30 different leathers, so matching later is impossible. Fearless and full of hope, I installed an rss-feed on Craigslist. And voila, I found chair and ottoman posted on Jan 5, in driving distance in Miami. But it was Jan 22 now, three weeks later. Still, worth a try.

Nine days later, while I was on travel in North Carolina, the seller wrote back that he was in Europe, but his dad was visiting. And yes, he still had the two chairs and two ottomans, for $700. 


Another three days later, back in Fort Lauderdale, my wife and I made an appointment with the father of the seller, drove 40 min to Miami and looked at the chairs. They slightly smelled like an ashtray, but were in fine condition otherwise. We nodded, left the seller a message on his Italian mobile number and made an offer for $600. 

I made an offer, to be precise. Because my wife was busy planning where to hide my corpse, a necessary step after killing me for blowing the deal of the century.

But the offer got accepted the same night, and I got to live. A few days later, we drove down to Miami again, this time with two cars to carry off the loot home in one raid. Happy End.

Lessons: 1) our cats love the ottomans even more than chairs because of their flat surface, versus angled on the chairs. Sliding cats are unhappy cats. 2) Two Barcelona ottomans, two chairs and six cushions fit into one Jeep Cherokee. 3) When everyone else has given up, stubborness often pays nice dividend.