Here at Casa Bushwhacked, Mrs Whacked and I would like to pass on our heartfelt thanks to ageing Baby Boomers and the young Millennials demographic.
Why? Because they are having a remarkable pincher movement on the antiques market. Terribly sad news for antiques dealers on course, but rather spiffing news for some others.
What’s happening is that the Boomers – born in the decade or so after World War II – are finally downsizing their homes after having shoe-horned the last adult child off the couch and out the door.
This means their lifetime’s accumulation of fine furniture and decorative objects is hitting the market because it won’t fit into a smaller Boomer’s home.
We did a bit of downsizing when we moved a couple of years ago but have since substantially up-filled the downsize. On the other end of the generation scale, the Millennials – born from about the late 1980s – don’t give a damn about “big brown furniture” and won’t fill their horrid sterile little rooms with it.
Huzzah for those of us who have loved antiques all our lives and still have a reasonably sized house. (Mrs Whacked despairs that I have my eye on the last remaining 10 square centimetres of floor space in the spare room).
On top of that, there is a curious new trend called the Tiny House Movement where hip-hop happening hipsters brag at how small their houses are. Clearly they have never really lived with any actual people with a pulse or a corgi or two. You wouldn’t get an antique toothpick in some of them and your intake of Tim Tams is regulated by your need to fit through the front door.
Seriously, it is often astonishing how cheap some genuine antiques are now, compared to the early to mid-1980s. From personal experiences, I can tell you that an 1870s cedar miner’s couch which I longed after in 1988, but couldn’t afford at $2000, was bought not too long ago on eBay for $125. A massive extending cedar dining table which was way above my pay scale in 1987 at around $4000 was also recently picked up off Gumtree for $300.
Some things are still bubbling along nicely, mainly smaller antique items, such as ornate little sewing tables and oriental ceramics, but if it’s bigger than a suitcase, it’ll be cheap (comparatively).
Mrs Whacked and I used to always encourage the kids to pay attention to antiques from the time they were children. “It’ll be cheaper than new stuff and even though it may well be 100 years old already, it will still outlast new furniture,” we used to say.
One daughter has cheerfully stuffed her house with beaut well-made stuff scrounged from op shops and recycling yards. I doubt she has paid more than $30 for anything.
Another looks like going down the IKEA flat-pack route, but we doubt if chipboard is ever going to be considered collectable. Never know, though. (Mmmm, genuine Scandinavian MDF!) The third has a weird, maybe even disturbing, fascination for Mexican death skull motifs on everything.
Look, the time may well come when the Whackeds are going to have to genuinely downsize and live in a shoebox or a hole in the road, but until then we will enjoy living amid the colours of cedar and mahogany and the beautiful aroma of lavender furniture polish.
You can make an offer on it all then if you like. Be warned: it’ll be worth at least two and six pence.