How My Antique Secretary Helped Me Buy My Dream Farm in Colorado

When I was in my 20s I moved to Chicago to be with my boyfriend, who was attending medical school there. In short order that relationship failed, and I found myself on the third floor of a 1930s brick walk-up apartment, the kind that are ubiquitous in Chicago. It had a huge living room, one bedroom, a formal dining room, and a good sized kitchen – and I had no furniture!

My sister helped me get the basics at a warehouse owned by an old junk collector. But when my Mom came to visit it was still quite bare. In her usual generous way, she helped me fix it up and make it my own.

On one of our excursions, we were drawn to a beautiful Queen Anne secretary – the kind where the desk folds up when not in use, so your mess doesn’t show. My Mom talked me into buying it, as it would fit perfectly in the far corner of the living room. Despite its huge (to me!) price tag of $350, I took the plunge!

Antique Queen Anne Secretary

That secretary travelled from Chicago, Illinois to Denver, Colorado to Berkeley, California and back to Denver with me. It acquired a few dings and nicks along the way, but it held up amazingly well. It was the desk I used in my very first therapy office.

Recently I sold that old secretary for – you guessed it – $350! Of course that’s less than I paid for it in today’s dollars, but I got 27 years of use out of that one antique. Furthermore, no new trees were sacrificed, and the woman who bought it from me was over the moon about owning it herself. Now I call that a win-win-win: for me, for the environment, and for the new owner.

How does this relate to my dream farm in Colorado? Well, lucky for me I love old and antique furniture. I even still have the 40’s dresser (now very much in demand!) that I bought at the Chicago warehouse for around $30. I think the only new furniture I’ve ever bought were sofas and beds. This allowed me to save up for bigger things I wanted – namely, a home and land in the country.

So if you love antiques, you’re golden! Find them on Craigslist, auctions (try in your city), from private owners, or from antique shops in remote areas. (Avoid the city shops or those in tourist areas – few deals to be had there.)

Don’t buy for resale value; just buy what you love and can afford. I guarantee you’ll get years of pleasure from your special purchase, the environment will thank you, and you just might get your life dreams fulfilled that much sooner.

Happy antiquing!

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