Buying your couch

Check La Mersa, on Honduras- they specialize in mid-century modern, or the argentine equivalent, and often have used pieces like this.

Of course, you should haunt the Pulgas- there are often couches like this there, but they come and go pretty quickly.
There is another store that specializes in this era of furniture just to the south of the Pulgas, on the last street before Cordoba- cant remember the name of it now. I think its on Alavarez Thomas, between Dorrego and Arenal.

This style is not very popular in BA- mostly people here, being "italian", like Italian design, which, in couches, is big geometric upholstered leather.

But they do turn up.

Another place to look is the two huge antique stores up up up Rivadavia- they are way past the end of the subte, right around the 7900 block.
The fancier one is called La Rueda, the other one is more like the warehouse from Indiana Jones, its across the street and a block or two closer to the Microcento. There are something like 3 more floors upstairs, that go on forever, stacked to the ceiling.

Of course, you could have one made...
Thanks Lee, but I have successfully weened myself off PB.
-Don't want to get back in the habit.

Thanks Ries.

I will try your suggestions.

I have not had much luck with the pulgas in the past. They appear horribly overpriced to me. It seems as if the vendors buy some old junk, paint it and expect to sell it at a price equivalent to a new piece. The only reason I've visited the pulgas, really, is that I find it hard to find interesting furniture elsewhere. There seems to be little difference between the many furniture stores in la capital.

I guess it depends on what you want- I have gotten some very good deals at the Pulgas, but it requires going often, and really knowing furniture and what you want, and being decisive.

I often see pieces at the Pulgas, for, say $100 pesos, and then, a couple weeks later, see the same piece at an antique store in San Telmo or Palermo for $500.

Most "real" antique stores sell stuff for double or so what the Pulgas charges. But certainly there are a few guys at the Pulgas with market prices.

Nothing at the Pulgas will compete with chinese knockdown furniture from Easy, of course, so it helps to know what you want and what you expect- If all you care about is absolute cheapest, mercado libre, for used chinese bargain stuff, is going to beat everything else.

But if you look at couches, for example, and compare Pulgas prices, or even real antique store prices, with what something similar would cost in Europe or the US, they are all screaming cheap deals.

Leather, of course, is a good deal here, especially custom made stuff. Most imported leather to the USA these days is pig, not cow, from china, and is heavy and coarse. Whereas you can get incredible argentine leather custom made into any couch you want, for about what mass market chains in the USA sell the cheapest mass produced chinese stuff for.
For between $800 and $1000 US, you could get a custom leather couch made here- which would cost $3000 to $6000 in el norte.

Furniture is one of those things that requires a lot of looking to find the deals, but there are incredible pieces for sale here, at very reasonable prices.
Ries said:
I often see pieces at the Pulgas, for, say $100 pesos, and then, a couple weeks later, see the same piece at an antique store in San Telmo or Palermo for $500.

I've never seen anything at the Pulgas for $100 pesos.
A few things I have bought at the Pulgas for $100 pesos or less-

Pinguinos- I am a collector of pinguinos, the ceramic penguin pitchers.
I have bought two or three of em at the Pulgas for $30 to $50 pesos.

Antique china- there is a woman there, and her daughter, who have a couple of booths specialising in plates, dishes, and glassware- classic stuff, and we have bought all kinds of things from them- tea cups, plates, glasses- all quite reasonably priced, usually about as much as chinese plastic stuff costs new at stores in Palermo or on Santa Fe. But with history, character, and quality.

Miniature anvils- Okay, I admit it, I am a wierdo- but I collect miniature anvils. Got a couple of great ones at the Pulgas. I like the bronze ones that are engraved with logos and names of long gone hardware stores and blacksmith shops- they are like jewelry.

Light fixtures- there are some great midcentury modern glass light fixtures there- there was a woman who bought out the entire factory when they closed- usually quite a bit below $100 pesos.

Vases- again, certain eras of design turn up there repeatedly, I have scored some great murano glass for 1/4 the prices they want on Defensa.

I see stuff there all the time for less than $100 pesos- heck, last time I was there I got given a nice little item for free- it has to do with attitude, getting to know people, and being a small, but persistent buyer.

We have not spent thousands of pesos at the Pulgas, certainly not thrown huge amounts of money around, but we have made a few strategic purchases there, and always gotten good deals.
For instance, we really wanted a claw foot cast iron bathtub. Found one at the pulgas, that, including flete, was about the same as a bland, average, midrange stamped steel one from Blaustein.
Roperias are about the same price there, for 60 year old, solid wood, with soul, as a cheap particle board and printed woodgrain version is at a modern furniture store.

But hey- I am a fiend for flea markets, been hanging around in them on 4 continents for 40 years. I just feel more comfortable in places like that.
I thought we were talking about furniture...

I found some lovely things at the pulgas an distressed armoire for 3000 and two gorgeous tall commercial drawers for 10,000 each. I found a small ratty pine table that I was going to refinish & paint but they wanted 360.... Needless to say, I left them all there.