Monday, February 2, 2009

Best trash pick ever

What's the best thing you've ever dug out of the trash? Come on, admit it. We've all trash picked - taken on the most frugal of frugal design options, found something great on the curb and dragged it home without making eye contact with anyone. Yes, yes. You have, too.

Over the years, we've found some good stuff being tossed out by somebody else - the sheesham wood screen we use as a headboard, the teak lounge chair on our deck, and . . . the best ever - a Danish rosewood cabinet similar to this one.

Tom made some repairs to it, and we sold it to William Van Roden, an art director for Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine, who lived in DUMBO at the time. It paid for a trip to Hawaii.

Here's the best part - about six months later we see Will and his cabinet on Small Space, Big Style - our cabinet on one of the coolest home decorating shows. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find the episode on HGTV's bloated web site. So, William, if you have an RSS feed going on your name, tell us the episode.)

Here's some tips on making the most of your next curb alert or dumpster dive:

  • Hold your head high. Your actions will probably prevent global warming.
  • Grab first, think later. If you end up not liking what you got - throw it away.
  • Quarantine your new item to avoid unwanted invaders.
  • Be careful. My friend Sue broke her ankle trying to drag a headboard out of a dumpster, amassing thousands of dollars in medical bills. (Good news: She later found a headboard for $30 at Housing Works.)
  • And, as always, arrive early for the best selection.


  1. its funny when your own name comes up on sites you know nothing about. im glad that the danish piece of furniture that sold to me for 500 bucks is now praised at 15K. at the time, i was told by your wife(?) you were planning a trip to mexico.

  2. Are you for reals? I don't believe it, William Van Roden imposter.