Chelsy and Steve met while falling in love over wine and some art. The beautiful, newly engaged couple are founders of Far Out Finds, a Brooklyn-based furniture store specializing in mid-century modern Scandinavian design. A smart idea of re-selling furniture found on a weekend trip, quickly became a personal business ran out of their apartment. They continued to collect local furniture, making minor repairs in order to sell their finds. As business flourished, Steve was able to buy a shitty van that would allow him to search for the perfect mid-century furniture collection in the New York metropolitan area. With thorough research, the couple began meeting with Antique dealers throughout Denmark that would help them import international goods like Scandinavian modern furniture. From there on they stopped purchasing American pieces and began their love affair with vintage Danish gems. The perfect love story.
You are business partners and currently engaged. How did you guys meet?
We met a couple times over the course of a few years. Steve invited me to the weekly open galleries in Chelsea. We drank lots of free wine and hit it off. Two years later we got engaged in a Photoautomat during our second visit to Berlin.
How did it come about to come together to partner along in the business? Why a furniture store?
Steve had been involved in the art world since graduating college. He worked at a SoHo gallery for a couple years and ultimately left to work in the studio of one of the artists the gallery shows. The studio job was more fulfilling but part-time, so he had to fill in the gaps with something.
To celebrate leaving the gallery, we took a weekend trip down to Philadelphia and we found a few cheap pieces of furniture we could sell when we got back to Brooklyn to pay for the trip. We stuffed them in the back of Chelsy's Jeep and when we returned, the furniture sold so quickly we knew we were on to something.
Steve then started buying furniture locally, making minor repairs and re-selling out of the spare room in our apartment. Eventually he was able to buy a shit-box of a van to drive out to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and beyond to fill it up with mid century furniture to resell in NYC. Chelsy would tag along whenever possible, but it was not a real business yet and she still had to hold onto her day job.
The mini-business kept growing and Chelsy named it Far Out Finds, so we made a website and put it out there. After quickly outgrowing our first storefront in Bed-Stuy, we knew we had to figure out a way to take it to the next level. The day-long furniture hunting trips were happening every other day and there was only so much the van could hold. We started doing research and met with several antique dealers in Denmark who helped us start importing. Shortly after, we were tits-deep in gorgeous Scandinavian Modern furniture to refinish and we stopped purchasing regionally.
From there it just kept growing, Steve ultimately left his art studio job after nearly 5 years to pursue the furniture business full-time. It was also at this time that Chelsy came aboard full-time, although she was a major presence during the entire process of building the business to what it is today.
Today Far Out Finds inhabits its fifth and best space to date. We've had 2 storefronts and 2 warehouse spaces during this time, and we both prefer not to do business in a storefront. Since we refinish every single piece that comes through the shop, we need a big raw space to showcase and also work on the furniture. That said, Far Out Finds is more of a furniture source than a traditional furniture store.
The style and locations of the pieces vary. There seems to be a larger variety of vintage Danish furniture than American or elsewhere. What about the aesthetic of Danish furniture is it you love?
Mid Century American and Scandinavian furniture have many overlapping aesthetic principles. We got started with American furniture because we loved the style and shared an interest in vintage design and culture. American Mid Century furniture tends to be a little more chunky than Scandinavian pieces of the same era. We both personally like American Mid Century for the bedroom and Scandinavian furniture for basically everything else, but we have a mix of both in our living space.
American and Scandinavian designers of the mid century era were making furniture for the same purposes, so the variety of types of furniture is more or less equal. There are some additional pieces we have only seen from Scandinavian designers such as sewing tables and corner cabinets. There are likely some American-designed versions of these out there, but we have not personally come across any. One interesting type of table to come out of Denmark is the "Copenhagen Table," which converts from a coffee table to a dining table. It is adjustable in both height and width. Draw leaf dining tables are also very common in Scandinavian design, whereas many American dining tables incorporated fully removable leaves that have to be stored separately.
What we love about the Scandinavian aesthetic are the simple, yet elegant and well-thought-out designs that are so pervasive. It seems they had the functionality of an entire room in mind when designing their furniture. The furniture provides only what you need but is far from boring. The designers had an excellent attention to detail, the lines and angles are as simple or dynamic as your personal taste, and the teak and rosewood wood tones are just stunning.
Although we import from Denmark, the furniture itself has origins throughout the whole of Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland).
What are your favorite pieces at the moment?
We love the classic Farstrup chairs. We have about 50 of them right now and they never get old no matter how many we work on. We also have a beautiful Arrebo Mobler coffee table that is just killer! Some of the dining tables are also really wondrous and simple pieces. We are always taken aback by some of the dressers we get, but they always sell very quickly. As normal as this furniture has become to us, every shipment we get from Denmark is exciting and packed with pieces we've never seen before. We're really lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful objects on a daily basis!
Do you have artists you admire?
Sigmar Polke, Barry McGee, Robert Mars, Steven Schreiber, Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Deren, Yokoland, Jean-Luc Godard, Holy Wave, Tim Presley and White Fence, Errol Morris, Martha Graham, Mikkeller Brewing, just to name a few. We admire anyone making and doing because it's what they want to do.
What are the underlying values of Far Out Finds?
We are both native New Yorkers and we bring that no-nonsense approach to our business. We strive to provide a high-quality product that we can stand behind as craftspeople. We not only sell furniture, we refinish every piece that comes through our shop. We do all the work ourselves and use only the highest quality, non-toxic, and eco-friendly refinishing materials even though it takes more time to do it this way.
Most of all, we aim to provide accessibility to beautiful objects for our customers to live with in their homes. We keep our pricing flexible and are not concerned with squeezing every last penny out of our customers. We make it as easy as possible for our customers to be more than satisfied with their purchase. Dresser delivery at midnight to a 6th floor walk-up? No problem!
Interview & Write Up. Mayra Bajana. @maywild