eBay has over the years been somewhat of a cruel mistress.
There has been as many finds as there has been stinkingly huge disappointments. I always find myself stumbling across homes in magazines in which the owners casually throw in sentences like ‘We found the set of nine bookcases on eBay. We paid £50 for the lot’ or better yet the ‘We came across the red leather Chesterfield sofa outside a neighbour’s house, they were getting rid of it and giving it away!’.
Now, I don’t know about you, but this does not happen to me. The only furniture I ever see left in the street is a Lack coffee table in bright green. With a leg missing. And the only furniture I ever find and fall head over heels for on eBay, happens to be located about 12 hours drive away with a £300 courier collection charge on it. Not ideal.
This week, that luck changed. The furniture Gods, or perhaps the Gods of online auction sites, looked down at me and finally threw me a bone. A solid oak, Terrence Conran shaped bone.
I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of an M&S advocate. It was love at first site when Terrence Conran’s capsule collection first launched for them. Reasonably priced homeware, accessories and furniture that looked like it should be worth far more. Over the years I think I have pretty much single handedly kept this collection going with my purchases.
I can’t lie, I’ve done very well with swiping up some bargains from the collection come sale time, but there has also been the things I’ve seen and knew I needed in my life. A few years back I fell in love with a solid oak sideboard. Its design was, for a sideboard, rather unusual in that it was drawers rather than cupboards. Asymmetrically placed large drawers with blue handles that resembled a valve. At the rather hefty price tag of £799 however, it was never going to be mine. Even at the sale price of £499, it still wasn’t going to be mine.
And so to eBay. Last week, one appeared.
Now, this has happened before. I have seen it in the e-mail, I have danced with joy! I have then realised it was located in Portsmouth and sobbed myself back to reality. This week however it appeared a mere fifteen minutes drive away. The excitement was mounting. It was close. It was in immaculate condition. It was priced at £99. Yes. £99. A whole £700 less than the seller had originally paid for it. Now, whilst I feel for the guy for loosing that much money on a piece of furniture, I feel for myself more. I bid. I won. It was collection. I danced around my dining room. Hello £99 Conran sideboard of my dreams.
The original draw handles – whilst being actually quite cool – were never going to be for me. For starters they were blue. I could put up with them if they couldn’t be removed just about, but I knew I could make it all even better if only I could find something brass.
Bethan Gray produces a range of furniture for John Lewis that comes with large brushed brass handles. The kind of drawer handles that dreams are made of (see here for visual evidence of said dreamy handles), exactly the kind of handles I wanted for the sideboard. After a rather exhaustive search that led me straight back to John Lewis, I found these little beauties. A little smaller than Bethan’s, but wonderful all the same.
Now the handles are all changed over and the unit is in place, I genuinely could not be happier. I suppose it’s testament to the power of eBay perseverance. I had never bought another sideboard as ultimately my mind was always on this exact one, clearly it was fate. Or something along those lines. It is most definitely a piece of furniture I will have with me for life, at the bargain price of £99.
I do however now expect to never find anything else decent on eBay ever again, as penance for this week’s good luck.