Estate Sale: An Elegant Existence in West Clay Park


There’s a certain kind of estate sale that gets to me: The ones where you feel as if you are walking through rooms the dearly departed have only recently vacated. You can get a sense of how the owners lived, what they loved and the type of people they were by looking at their possessions. This week’s sale at 140 24th Ave. is such an event and it’s filled with interesting finds. It opens this morning at 10 a.m., and it’s a can’t-miss for treasure hunters.

Judging by the age of the art and accessories, I think the house must have been owned by an older couple who had their heyday in the 50s and 60s. Their belongings (and the family photos, scrapbooks and framed degrees from Colombia) tell a story. Judging from the glassware and the still fully stocked bar cabinet, the homeowners clearly loved to entertain.

The kitchen is full of wonderful, embellished vintage glassware and the dining room is outfitted with fine crystal, such as a gorgeous set of Baccarat champagne flutes.

I also found an amazing plastic salad bowl, which no doubt was a hit at the Mad Men-era table.

The organizer of the event, Guy Thomas of Quality First Estate Sales, tells me that the family lived in San Francisco for at least three generations. Whenever you find a situation like this, where a clan has existed in one place for many years, you will likely discover furniture and accessories that span a century or more. Here you will find Victorian-era furniture, Hollywood Regency-style pieces from the 1960s and antiques such as an ornate music cabinet.

It’s also the perfect scenario for finding wonderful old photographs, ancient letters and yellowing magazines. It’s these items, the personal things, that make me feel wistful.

In addition to a love of entertaining, I think one or both people in this couple might have had a sense of humor, as the offerings include some sly, gently naughty, pieces.

They also loved art, and the walls are crowded with paintings and drawings that range from good (I love a grouping depicting antique pens and inkwells) to unusual (a picture of a dog eating a salad).

The lady of the house clearly had a sense of style. Her clothes, bags and shoes are plentiful and carry designer labels.

Out on the street the sun was bright, a woman with an oversize tote bag clicked purposefully past me and construction workers were busy building a new house for another family who will no doubt fill it with possessions. Life goes on.

The sale runs today through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.






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