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Fighting for Furniture

Started: 2009-10-28 07:55:22

Submitted: 2009-10-28 08:39:55

Visibility: World-readable

I picked up our entertainment center off the side of the road several years ago, and it's served us fairly well ever since. (All I really wanted was a surface on which to set my television, and a cabinet for the minimal A/V stack.) Now that Calvin is about ready to crawl, it seems prudent to consider child-proofing the house. This is where the lack of a door on the front of the entertainment center has come back to haunt me. I'm sure, if I looked hard enough, I could locate a suitable replacement door, but if I'm going to that much trouble it occurred to me to consider an alternate strategy: Acquiring a new entertainment center.

Kiesa's mother flew to Denver on Sunday morning to spend the week with us. She watched Calvin on Sunday afternoon while Kiesa and I headed out in search of furniture. We headed to Westminster's nexus of furniture stores and started our search at the Amish Furniture Gallery and tried to find something that met our general requirements: A low, wide cabinet with enough space to store both the A/V stack and our printer. We found one candidate piece that matched the shape and size but missed the style. It turned out this piece was a custom piece that had been made with the wrong style. The salesguy said we could custom-order to our exact specifications, as long as we were willing to wait twelve to sixteen weeks. We had been hoping to bring something home that day, so we took his card and continued shopping.

We had two important constraints for our furniture selection: we needed it to match our general furniture theme (light oak) and to fit in the space, which precludes a large wall unit. Light oak is not particularly popular these days, and most of the entertainment centers we found were large wall units that wouldn't have fit.

We made a quick stop at a Scandinavian furniture gallery, which looked like the polar opposite of the Amish furniture we saw: New and European, the sort of furniture I'd use to fill a hypothetical downtown condo but entirely inappropriate for our needs.

Ethan Allen was nearby in the same shopping center, so we dropped by for a look around. Most of the entertainment centers there were large, multi-piece wall units that could be picked up in pieces to suit our needs. Nothing especially spoke to us, but I took notes on a set that could be made to work.

Our next stop was decidedly down-market: American Furniture Warehouse, which seemed to have moved since I last visited. We were not impressed by the organization, selection, or quality of the pieces there and headed back to the Amish furniture store to inquire further about the possibility of a custom piece, but it had already closed at 17:00.

We headed north and stopped at Oak Express in Dacono, which also suffered from the general shortage of light oak furniture. The quality seemed along the order of what I wanted (capable of surviving the rigors of actual use with a toddler, but not quite heirloom quality), and the designs seemed reasonable, but the stains were limited to the models on the floor, which simply wouldn't work for us.

We stopped again at Firestone's American Furniture Warehouse (since our first experience hadn't quite scared it off yet), found the entertainment centers, and considered whether they would work if I abandoned the idea of keeping the printer in the living room. The shape and size was acceptable, but when I opened the glass door, the door fluttered. The door was a thin wooden frame around a flimsy glass pane, and was attached by magnet only at the top. When I pulled the knob, the door twisted until the single magnet detached, and the door wobbled back into shape, making an ominous fluttering noise. I couldn't do it; We walked out. The furniture wasn't worth it at any price.

We still haven't figured out what we're really doing for the entertainment center, but the Amish furniture seems like our best bet.