Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Mother of All Garage Sales

Today was garage sale day in Ferndale. Ferndale is a small dairy town with a population of only a few thousand people and it has some of the most amazing architecture you’ve ever seen. I mean, it’s not the Chrysler Building or anything, but there are just a very large number of well preserved, highly ornate Victorian homes and commercial buildings. Regular readers have probably heard me mention the town before. It is really a neat place. They recently hired a new police chief and he was quoted in the paper as saying, “I’m the new sheriff of Mayberry”. You really get that feeling when you go to Ferndale. You really feel like you are in a another time.

Anyway, a couple of times a year the whole town turns in to one big garage sale. On some blocks it seems like every 3rd house is having a sale. Other people come from out of the area and set up in the park. Also, up and down main street all of the shops have sidewalk sales. The weather was just perfect. Low 70s and sunny, and the town was packed.

There is only one road leading in to Ferndale. It comes off Highway 101 and goes over Fernbridge which is the bridge that crosses over the Eel River. Fernbridge was built in 1911 and was the first concrete bridge built in California. It is barely wide enough for 2 cars. After you get over Fernbridge you travel past dairy farms for about 5 miles until you come in to Ferndale. Ferndale is nestled up against tree covered mountains that are always visible in town. Very quaint and picturesque.

I went looking for doors. Doors are an obsession for me. I am always looking for doors. Doors, doors, doors, doors, doors. I’m looking for a very specific type of door and I found one today. Around here most refer to them as Eastlake Doors. My house was originally full of them but I am missing quite a few and others are in bad shape. I’ve purchased 5 or 6 over the last couple of years.

Here is the one I bought today.

I also got this for the shop: $7.00

On the door, notice the mill work around the 5 panels and the bead detail on the panels themselves. This is what makes it an Eastlake door as opposed to a regular 5 panel door. I paid $20.00 for this one and that is a good price considering it has a nice set of doorknobs and back plates. Retail at a salvage yard this one would sell for about $60.00 without the doorknobs. There was another one I saw and they wanted $75.00 for it and it had no doorknobs. I just don’t feel right paying retail for something at a garage sale. I saw it at the second house I went to. I figured I would go back on my way out of town and offer him $40.00 and haggle from there. When I went back it had sold. I kind of wished I made an offer for it when I saw it. It was just so early in the day. Oh well, there will be other doors.

Someday I hope to stumble on The Mother Load of Doors. You know, some old geezer who has been squirreling away junk for 50 years and has a set of 12 pristine Eastlake Doors in the rafters of his attic. Of course, The Mother of All Mother Loads would be a set of Eastlake Pocket Doors that would fit in the 8X6 foot opening between my parlor and foyer. That is the stuff dreams are made of. Also today, someone in Ferndale recognized me from the article in the paper. My adoring fans just can’t get enough.

Pictures of Ferndale

In Other News: Crash

Its not house related but I don’t care. This is my blog and I can go off topic if I want. If you haven’t seen Crash you should. It is one of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. The situations are contrived and there are too many coincidences for anything like this to ever happen in real life. It doesn’t matter, though. You need to look at more like an epic poem than a real life story.

The movie takes issues of racial stereotypes and turns them inside out and right side in. Everyone is bad and everyone is good. When you think something is going to turn out terrible it turns out good. When you think something is going to turn out good it turns out really, really bad. There are no picture perfect endings. At some point you both dislike and like all the characters in the movie. You spend most of the movie holding your breath and clenching your gut. It snows in LA.


Patricia W said...

I just now saw a preview of it and told my daughter we must see it. I can't believe I just saw your review of it and hope it's as good as you say.

Jocelyn said...

I agree with your take on Ferndale. After seeing the photos on your blog I have told a few people about how amazing it looks from what you've shown.

I am totally jealous of the price you paid for that door! This is one of those things that having a car or truck comes in handy (you know we don't). We have a few missing doors in our place. They are simple oak 2 paneled doors, not uncommon but I believe they usually go for at least $100 painted and no hardware around these parts- so cruel!

Someday, I want to hit that "world's longest yard sale"- have you heard of that?

I did see Crash and I won't say I thought it was a bad movie, but it just seemed like they dwelled on the worst and most extreme bad behavior. I didn't like that- I prefer to see the best in people- but I know some people who really liked it probably for some of the reasons you did.

Greg said...

In The Bay Area that same door would be well over $100 retail with no hardware. I saw one in similar condition at Ohmega Salvage in Berkeley for $185 dollars! It is the old law of supply and demand. Like Chicago, there are just more people with more money in The Bay Area.

There is company in India making new Eastlake Doors out of “Tropical Hardwood”. There is an antique store locally that sells them for $750. At Ohmega Salvage that same “Tropical Hardwood” Eastlake Door is $950.

Anonymous said...

I love that fact that you live in Ferndale, CA. I live in Ferndale, Michigan. Literally just outside of Detroit. We have a small town feeling too even though we are the gateway to the suburbs. Congratulations on your purchases!

Kristin said...

I've never seen an Eastlake door, though now I'm coveting yours. :) Most of our doorknobs look similar to that one.

Kristin said...

I just checked out the Ferndale pics ... WOW! That town is ridiculously good-looking. I wish Eutaw would revitalize the downtown and make it look all cute and wonderful like that.

Suzanne said...

Wow, Greg, what a deal! Here in NYC, chances are the hardware would not be on the door, it'd be in another place on sale for around $100. The door would be at least 3 hundred, if it wasn't warped or anything. Jocelyn is right - great to have a vehicle when you see these things. I always keep an eye out for people renovating houses in my neighborhood, because they often throw out doors, and I have scored a couple, but my other problem is that I don't have anywhere to store them. Arghhh! Being a packrat (savvy salvager, I mean) takes so much SPACE!
PS - Thanks for the applause - I left a comment.
I heard Crash was great as well, but will probably catch it on DVD. I always miss seeing things at the movie theatre, just don't make the time. Baaad.

Suzanne said...

Me again. Ferndale is quite cool. Dumb Northeasterner question: isn't it too cold for that palm tree?

Greg said...

No, palms do well here. We almost never get below freezing here. It is a costal thing. We get rain in the winter, not snow. Not that rain is any better than snow, that is just what we get.

Also, Crash just came out on DVD. That is how I saw it. I missed it in the theaters as well.

And Jocelyn, I forgot to ask: What is The Worlds Longest Yard Sale? I'm intrigued.

Jocelyn said...

I've seen the Kovell's go on it on their TV show. And I think Kristen (Victorian)mentioned it also. From what I know it stretches across at least a few states and it's called "the world's longest yard sale." I see myself retired someday or if I'm lucky with a summer off again and taking a road trip. Maybe I'll do a post on it.

Amanda said...

We have a number of choice old doors in our house whose numbers will be up some day. They are not original and I fully plan to have doors made according to our original plans, when the ship comes in. We don't have any Eastlake doors Greg or I'd save them for you. I did see a 5 or 6 piece Eastlake living room set in Bakersfield -- all original fabric and finish -- for about $2500. It's been there a while. I'd buy it if it were our style and if I had $2000.