Monday, April 2, 2012

Finding furniture

I was surprised to discover that it's kind of hard to find interesting furniture in Mérida. I love things that are old or modern classics, or at least unusual. Also, cheap. So it's a long hunt for the right object at the right price. NOB, I tend to find my favorite things at thrift stores and garage sales. Sometimes free, at the curb.

I'm not sure why Mérida, the oldest continuously-occupied (European) city in the Americas, and the wealthiest one in its heyday, appears to have a relative scarcity of good used furniture for sale. I wonder where it all went after the henequen industry collapsed early in the last century.

Still, the house in Mérida is slowly acquiring things I like that turn up here and there. On the latest trip, the priority was finding a coffee table or a couple of side tables for the sala. The front room had seating but no flat surface where you could set down a book or a drink, except the tile floor.

Over a couple of weeks, I searched without success, as far as my bike would take me.

Triunfo's basement
Triunfo, the overstuffed emporium of mostly junk and bad taste on Paseo de Montejo, sometimes has nice canework and tropical wood furniture in the basement level. On an earlier trip I bought a couple of plantation chairs there, but this time no coffee table spoke to me from the dark recesses.

"The junkyard", an open lot full of salvaged bits of houses, industrial remnants and some refinished furniture pieces, had some nice small tables that were tempting. So were the old-style wooden carts, possibly from the hacienda era although they seemed too pristine. However, the carts were too heavy-looking, and probably full of splinters.

"The junkyard"

Old wooden carts, or maybe reproductions?

Various shops sold mass-produced pieces made of particle board, or simple, rustic tables, or elaborately carved ones, but they wouldn't go with the other stuff in the sala. 

Then finally in one workshop near our house, obscured by the semi-darkness near the back, I noticed this old iron cart.

The shop-owners seemed a little puzzled that I would choose this amid all the lovely carved wood pieces they made. But dusted off and fitted with a glass top, we thought it was just what was needed.