Cheap thrills

Kym Seabolt's furniture

I make no secret of the fact that our entire home is furnished in what I lovingly refer to as early auction. There is also a fair amount of heirloom hand-me-down.

In fact, with the exception of appliances and mattresses, I don’t think there is a single brand new piece of furnishing in our home. I like it that way. Unique, affordable quality with a story behind it is kind of my jam.

I absolutely am the person who, if complimented on something, will eagerly tell you how I purchased it for only 75 cents. I don’t always know when I am going to stumble into good stuff. It tends to find me.

You would not know it from the coming story, but I am kind of a minimalist. I don’t like a whole lot of stuff. I am a big fan of some open floor space and blank walls. They give a home room to breathe. I  don’t go looking for treasures, sometimes the treasures just find me.


I was as shocked as anyone last fall when days before Thanksgiving I purchased a very tall glass front cabinet and a 7-foot-tall pier mirror at an online auction. I was just goofing around and put some bids on things not thinking I would actually win the bids — until I did.

That is how Mr. Wonderful and Boy Wonder found themselves spending Thanksgiving morning wrestling these giant pieces into place as the turkey timer was going off. That was a fun day.

I held off adding anything new to the house over winter. It’s hard to thrift under quarantine.

Girl Wonder and I recently stumbled across a gently used loveseat in pristine condition. She fell hard for it. We brought it home and she and Buff Boyfriend(!) pushed, pulled, dragged and cajoled that thing up the curved stairs to the third floor. We now have the cutest little sitting area up there.

I figure it is handy to keep extra furniture purchased for a song around for the day when the kids move out on their own. I am just planning ahead. Keep that point in mind because it explains what happened next.

Big bargain

I was minding my own business, just poking around in a cool old house that was having an online auction. I didn’t mean to buy an entire slipcovered living room set and two slipcovered side chairs. I really didn’t. In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Things just happened so fast.

I bid a super low amount of money in my defense. I never thought I would actually get them. Turns out the market for that particular day was way more into the plethora of antiques than they were into a handful of white slipcovered furniture.

I wasn’t even aware I had won the bid until the email arrived congratulating me for having paid the princely sum of $16 for an entire living room set. How could I pass that up?

Boy Wonder and Mr. Wonderful once again were called into service. They pushed and pulled them up to the second floor where we have an extra bedroom with a fireplace. The slipcovers were easily removed and washed. It really made me wonder how we ever accepted that sofas and chairs were not washable? It’s really a delightful idea.

I now have a lovely room all staged for sitting. We don’t need to sit in it but it stands at the ready should an occasion to lure people to the second floor and lure them tea or something arise. In the meantime, it will make a lovely sitting room — for our cat.


The two slipcovered dining chairs proved another issue. I paid exactly $1 for them (so, 50 cents each). At that princely sum, I have decided that they would look lovely around the $1 oak table (also thrifted) that we keep on our front porch. This coincided nicely with the porch repair project already in progress. There is a method to my madness, after all.

All of this saving of money led to a conversation with Mr. Wonderful concerning my need to fit these new to us chairs around the table. I need more space. Perhaps a different railing?

“So you’re telling me that two 50 cent chairs are going to cost me a couple hundred bucks in renovation?” he asked, incredulously. Bless his sweet little man heart, 24 years later and it’s still like we just met.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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