Estate Sale: Starting Over


I’ve heard that when people lose it all in a catastrophe, material goods become either irrelevant or paramount. When the couple who owned this Piedmont estate had their former home and possessions go up in flames during the Oakland Hills fire of ’91, they decided to recreate the good life in a new house. The trappings of that existence are for sale this weekend.The estate sale is located at 25 Wildwood Gardens (a neighborhood that feels like a gated community, although it is not) in the charming Mediterranean dwelling where the husband and wife rebuilt their household.

You’ve heard the expression about quality lasts? These people bought good furnishings from to-the-trade sources and high-end auctions. In some cases, the upholstery and colors are a bit dated, but new fabric or a fresh setting could really make these items sing. I was drawn to the Henredon leather sofa, several good Baker chairs, a Stickley desk (Arts and Crafts furniture is hot in collecting circles these days) and a game table (which seems to be the it item for interiors right now).

This must have been a house for entertaining, because there’s also a mint-condition set of All-Clad cookware, a large collection of Botanica Villeroy &  Boch china and other luxe cooking and dining pieces.

If you love silver, you will be thrilled to find an amazing set of Buccellati sterling silver and a pair of Gorham silver-plate candelabras. This, people, is the good stuff. If that’s a bit too rich for your taste, check out the Couzon sterling service.

Although a lot of the furniture is new, there are some lovely and well-priced antiques. This turn-of-the-century, marble-topped commode was likely used in a kitchen and is marked $750 (note the nice silver-plate tea service). There’s also a very good dining set for $1,500 (a steal for a large table and eight chairs).

There are also an incredible number of vintage Middle Eastern rugs of all sizes.

The art offerings include a pretty watercolor by Yu-June Rice and a painting by Louise DeMore.

Finally, one of my favorite categories: jewelry. As one of my best-bejeweled friends once told me: “Never, ever buy jewelry new.” Estate sales are great places for glittering finds. This one has a Georg Jensen ring, a ladies Rolex watch, and nice strands of pearls and jade.

The hunt is on today until 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



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