An important announcement
Hey everyone —
I’ll keep this short. I’m moving this newsletter to paid subs.
Starting in a week, paying subscribers can expect the following Snake publication schedule: Auction Observers every week, Lores every month, Q&As every other week and essays once a month or so—two newsletters most weeks, one some weeks, with more features and interaction to come over fall and winter. Free subscribers will continue to get Q&As every other week. And will get a full Observer once a month, a Lore and an Essay now and then—one of them or so a month. Posting classifieds will also remain free.
While Snake is still free, and free subscribers will still receive regular newsletters, the meat of the letter will be behind a paywall.
The terms are $8/month, or a yearly discount. To subscribe, click the pic or this button:
Why support Snake?
I think there are a few reasons to pay for the newsletter. At the most mercenary, if you are looking for furniture and have any sort of budget, I will help you save serious money. Buying one, any of the items I break down every week either will build out your apartment for cheap, or well, or both. I know a couple people who are already flipping items I highlight… Personally, I outfitted my entire apartment (Loewy, Baughman, Magistretti, deco, Saarinen) heavily through Live Auctioneers, without paying over $1,100 for anything.
This newsletter is useful for:
People who want furniture—
who just want good furniture for a respectable price: if you subscribe and read every newsletter, you will run across, in a year, about 1,000 real pieces of furniture,many cheap, many canon, that you can legitimately buy. The pieces provide a way out of boring interiors. Many of the items highlighted each week are located in NYC or LA, where many of Snake’s readers are. Many styles are represented, many price points—couches for $100, chairs for $20; stuff you might see at Home Union or another great store for $4,000, but for $500—consistently, and with context, background and price history. And these are all real items that can be bought, unlike furniture on IG posts (scans of photos of old magazines; one item that is sold out before posting) or items listed on design websites and magazines (retail prices for design items is like lighting your money on fire).
People who want to learn about furniture or understand design—
In short: not even if you are not in the immediate market for furniture, I think my newsletter is the most frictionless way to learn about how furniture and design works. About what schools are out there, what items are big, what are small, how trends move, what eras speak to each other… what things look like, for someone whose tastes are either impressionable or evolving—for someone whose tastes are not static—for someone wanting to read. Why is it so? Because the breadth and volume of furniture on auction covers every price point, field, style and school, moreso than through any other delivery system. More items in more different styles come up in auction (and this newsletter) than would from reading magazines, surfing IG and so on. I enjoy the above activities; but they refract on their own tastes. They are also effectively ahistorical. Both avoid the obscure, or, at best, rationalize it or highlight it. It’s no way to develop taste, much less a room. As for social media, it is barren and has no real information and it seems at best reverse engineered.
People who want to join a lively design community—
There are more pieces of furniture on auction than can be rounded up in my weekly newsletter (Auction Observers); there are more companies and designers about whom we know very little, or not enough than we can count (Lores); there are more cool people out there with revelatory approaches to vintage than can be highlighted (Q&As); there are many ideas out there and questions to be answered about what design means than can be expressed within the margins of these auction descriptors or Lores (Essays); there is much to know about how to buy wisely (Explainers). There’s a whole world. I’d love to steer work towards what readers want—more Locks of the Week, more brands and designers that readers are curious about for Lore, specific pieces on auction… specific tricks for how to bid, ship and the like, specific ideas. Paid subscribers will get a say in directing what gets observed, lored up and discussed.
Paying subscribers can expect:
Q&As every other Friday—
Interviews with next level people—collectors, designers, dealers, artists—about their favorite vintage items, mementos, shops… north stars. I’ve found these Q&As often mention items that aren’t traditional vintage canon, but which have an emotional hook, which are forgotten, or which are not discussed much now—where the food critic and chef eats, so to speak. (Once again, free subscribers will get all Q&As, which will not go behind the paywall.)
Auction Observers every week—
A rundown featuring a shortlist of important or undervalued or new or exciting furniture items on LiveAuctioneers, with an emphasis on:
canon furniture (any style)
something that is undervalued/a subtle or ignored piece
straight up deals (on trendy and less trendy items)
straight up beautiful pieces of furniture (can be super mainstream, or not; doesn’t matter… false dichotomy)
and wildly insane expensive items that are worth being written about and contemplating (nuff said; BMF)
very good, simple items regardless of imprimatur
Lores once a month—
covering a designer, school, company, or era; effectively a price guide for whoever is the subject, as well as a primer… CIA factbook? More on Lore:
A nice and exhaustive explanation of what the company, designer or school actually does and is known for
A designer or school’s work is put in context for a buyer—what’s a deal, what’s a steal, what’s a fair price to pay
Essays once a month or so—
I have many thoughts, observations compiled from a decade of dealing and writing about furniture… a few teases here:
why furniture is so behind fashion… why it’s hard to buy some good old stuff and easy to buy other stuff… why IG is beat… why the best work from a certain era is in Europe… what design media misses…. the infinite supply of good stuff…. why only some stuff is overpriced… and so on
Essays are long-burning looks that question the way furniture works. The goal here is less criticism than showing there’s a fissure in the system, and that readers can either profit from it or chill out. There is no ceiling.
Need help designing your place? Need an item ID’d? Want some recs on books? Magazines? Want a Lore about a specific designer or movement? Curious about how exactly shipping might be best handled? Into other platforms, like Chairish or 1stDibs? The door is open to paying subscribers; happy to address this stuff in shorter letters, essays, DM mode or in the Discord.
Thank you for reading. And thank you for subscribing and supporting this newsletter. (A special, deep thanks to those who have turned their paid subs on already. It has helped.) Writing Snake is a trip: Every week feels fresh. I find it hard to restrain my excitement about how much good stuff is out there, and how much there is to write about and break down. We’re living through a golden age. I’d like to show how.