7 Essential Pieces

June 6, 2012

The other day I sat down to read a book I’ve been wanting to read for a few weeks. The mother and daughter design team of Suzanne and Lauren McGrath have answered one of the most important design questions we all ask about making the right furniture purchases for our home – what are the choices you can make that will last a lifetime?

In their informative book Good Bones, Great Pieces: Seven Essential Pieces That Will Last a Lifetime, they explain in great detail why their seven choices are so versatile and timeless they actually will last for decades and through several phases of life, even if you give them a few makeovers over the years!

good bones great pieces book review

I’ve been reading the blog Good Bones, Great Pieces for a year now, and I’m always impressed with this dynamic duo.  Suzanne and Lauren are constantly on the go, hunting down incredible finds at flea markets and antique fairs and featuring the best trends in design.  Their spaces keep popping up in all the shelter magazines too, and rightfully so, these two have fabulous taste!

dynamic duo mom and daughter


As I was reading this book I had to smile, I felt so validated when I realized those same seven timeless and versatile pieces are actually present in my house, some from retail, others from second hand sources.  So what is the McGrath philosophy when it comes to choosing furniture?  It’s not about chasing trends but instead committing to certain pieces that have the ability to live in different spaces as you move through life.  And for someone like me (and you too?) who shops my house, constantly moving things around, having those pieces makes that “redecorating on a whim” possible. 

What are the 7 essential pieces?  Ha!  I won’t give them away, but I completely agree with their choices!  The book is written for all stages of life, from your first apartment to your dream home, whether it’s filled with family or just you and your spouse or simply just you!

Here’s what you’ll find inside, 190+ pages of…

stylish interiors

The book is filled with Suzanne and Lauren’s helpful glossaries and resources for finding those seven great pieces.  They also share seasoned design tips and advice for those wrestling with decorating decisions in the home.

design advice

You can buy Good Bones, Great Pieces: Seven Essential Pieces that Will Carry You Through a Lifetime on Amazon, or find it at your local bookstore.  I also have one copy of this lovely book to giveaway, simply answer this question in a comment on this post to be eligible.

1) What’s your favorite piece of furniture in your home and why?

Leave a comment before Friday June 8th at midnight, US and Canada only.  One winner chosen at random.  Thank you Lauren and Suzanne for writing such a helpful book and sending a copy my way.  It’s a most welcome addition to my library!


Giveaway closed, Winner: #165 Linda Southworth




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640 Responses to “7 Essential Pieces”

  1. Rita says:

    An old buffet that belonged to my grandparents. We changed the finish and it sits in our living room. Funny, once we made the change, everyone else in the family wished they had taken it! I wanted it, but was afraid we didn’t have room. Wonderful hubby insisted we not let it leave the family and said he would work on it so we could make it work. It’s by no stretch an antique or a “fine piece of furniture” but I can remember it being in the dining room for all those Sunday family dinners and it connects me to the grandmother I love and miss so much…..

  2. Lisa says:

    My antique rocker from my grandmother. It was painted with a black gloss lacquer with a rose colored cushion when it passed to me. My mom surprised me when I purchased my first home and had the chair stripped down to its original wood and re-covered the cushion to better match my taste. It is a beautiful piece and I’m currently on the hunt for new fabric to update the seat!

  3. Jane N. says:

    My favorite piece in my home is the dresser in my bedroom that I refinished. It was one of my first furniture DIYs and it turned out so great. It is a 50’s clean-lined solid, 6-drawer classic piece, and I got it for $30 on Craigslist. With about $20 more I had added more modern pulls and a darker finish. That was two years ago and I still think “I can’t believe I did that” when I look at it. :)

  4. Sara says:

    A maple hutch I purchased at an auction!

  5. Danielle says:

    My favorite piece of furniture in my house is an old dresser I purchased for $35 and handpainted :) It is now in my foyer but love it’s versatility!

  6. Ashley says:

    My favorite piece of furniture in my home is my cherry red couch. It’s my favorite piece because it’s so different and not something I would ususally buy. It’s bright and beautiful and really stands out. It’s also incredibly comfortable, just like a good couch should be.

  7. Elaine says:

    I love the old dining table that we just got and need to refinish. It will really make the space!

  8. allison says:

    My favorite piece of furniture (well it is actually two!) are two club chairs that are covered in a dark tweed fabric that I got years ago. They continue to move around in my house, at times getting split up, at times together, but always a comfortable addition to the room they are in: They really signal “home” to me:) Thank you for the give away!

  9. Rebecca says:

    Of all the pieces in my home, I love my grandmother’s trestle console table the most. For years it was the home to her well cared for violets. Now, it sits in my newly redecorated spare bedroom. It’s old and imperfect but I wouldn’t change a thing about it!

  10. Nicole says:

    I have two Crate & Barrel Sideboards that can really stand up to the test of time. They are beautiful and versatile!

  11. Janine Whislers says:

    A china cabinet that my mom left to me, complete with curved glass doors and storage for linens and china. I have been considering painting the dark cherry finish to a more modern light color but have a hard time taking that big step.

  12. erica says:

    my favorite item of furniture is my sofa – it is huge and comfy with tons of pillows for reading or movie watching. it is also modular, so it is so easy to move around the room, house or city :)

  13. KS says:

    My great, great grandmother’s kitchen table!

  14. patricia says:

    We have a very cool piece that i will call the entrance hall credenza. It’s totally made out of old reclaimed recycled wood including: a big beautiful wooden door with three shelves, a low and high shelf and one in the middle which catches all of our mail, keys, etc. when we walk in the door. It is so beautiful and a good use of old things. Would be really easy to make one.

  15. Sandra K says:

    My large leather sofa from Crate & Barrel – it’s timeless, classic and so ‘us.’

  16. Vanessa says:

    My favorite piece of furniture in my house is a three-drawer cherry chest of drawers. It belonged to my mother and goes with me wherever I go. It fits in so many different spots and has moved with me multiple times. I plan to keep it forever.

  17. Carly Taylor says:

    I love the sofa in the living room. they are so comfy cozy and have stood up well to moving multiple times and a destructive puppy. :D

  18. Tipling says:

    I love a new-to-me yet 1930’s settee I picked up at a consignment store about a month ago. It perfectly reflects my style, is classic and is an actual piece of furniture (not particle board or fake leather). I am trying to create a grown-up house, one piece at a time :)

  19. Heather C. says:

    I would have to say my good’ol couch! Comfy and very old lol

  20. Michelle says:

    My English open hutch! It is incredibly versatile. I have used it in several rooms and it has functioned as an all in one library and office, white dish display, seasonal decorating, etc… It just sings in any room. Plus it hides a multitude of whatever I don’t want surprise guests to see!

  21. Ellen says:

    I’d have to say our bed. So comfy! A good investment piece!

  22. Lucero Young says:

    My favorite piece in my house is actually my white slipcovered couch from Ikea. It’s so versatile, and super kid friendly! I love that I can just throw it in the wash and it comes out looking nice and clean. And it makes my home so bright and fresh.

  23. Mandy says:

    My favorite is my recliner yet it looks awful in my living room. What can I do?

  24. vicki says:

    my current favourite is the custom desk we just built for our office :) looks like a great inspirational book!

  25. rohitha says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is my chaise lounge in my bebroom….It’s so comfortable that Ialways crash on it while working on my laptop or watching TV or putting my kid to sleep.

  26. Karen says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is the actual two pieces–bookshelves with cupboard below that I use to store my china and glassware. My father built the bookcases and my mother decorated them with rosemaling. They are the focal point of our living room, and they are a family treasure, because my mother died nearly 9 years ago, and my father is now struggling with dementia.

  27. Kendra says:

    My favorite piece is our coffee table because it was a free find on the side of the road that I revamped with spray paint. It’s huge, wooden and has child-friendly rounded corners. It’s perfect for us and I love that our treasure was someone else’s trash! This is a great giveaway, by the way – I’m crossing my fingers that I win!

  28. Dotti O says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is a small Italian secretary. It is much narrower than typical, and it really can go anywhere. I will keep my fingers crossed…………….I really need that book! Thanks for the chance.

  29. Sarah T. says:

    A storage ottoman ….lame answer but w two small kids…I love it!

  30. Susan S says:

    I have a large 3 door armoire that has been a linen cabinet, an office, and a crafting station. It is still just as beautiful as when I bought it 15 yrs ago at an estate sale.

  31. AnneSATX says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is a chest of drawers that I’m using in our front entry. It looks great and holds a ton of stuff. And I know I can move it into almost any room and it will work perfectly there, too!

  32. Cindi D. says:

    My favorite piece of furniture in my home is my set of Ikea black-brown bookcases in our living room. They’re solidly built and sturdy and I love the way they look against our gray walls. It was a set of four bookcases, but in our new house there is only room for three in the living room. The fourth one ended up in a corner of the dining room and it looks perfect there!

  33. Jenny says:

    My dresser is old, curvy, painted turquoise. Although I don’t love the color anymore the lines of the dresser are lovely. Fanciful and practical – just like me!

  34. Tirzah says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is my baby grand player piano! Pricy, but worth it.

  35. bbardot says:

    How lucky that I just found this blog! I’m just in the market for my first home and am already plotting and planning (seriously, is it just me that pre-decorates *every* home she looks at?) I’m just waiting for an offer to be accepted – and this book would come in handy! My favorite piece of furniture is a bookshelf. Not *the* bookshelf, not a *particular* bookshelf, just bookshelves. Doesn’t matter how many I own, I stuff em full. Then I go out and get another one so when I go into a second hand bookstore nobody can say “you already have too many books!” (Golden rule: If there’s a space in my home not occupied by a book, there’s room for another book.)

  36. Amanda says:

    My favorite piece of furniture in our home is my vanity in our bedroom. It was an antique mall find that my husband re-painted a glossy white. It’s a charming piece and adds so much our character to that room!

  37. Kathryn says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is our gold yellow chair in the living room. It very unpractical with our 4 small children, but I love it!

  38. Amy says:

    My favorite is my kitchen table… dinners, activities, just sitting and reading. Love it!

  39. Alex R. says:

    I love my large sectional. We all fit so cozy for a movie and it makes for a great pillow and blanket fort base! And the fabric is so durable it can handle all the little kids in my family.

  40. Heidi Caminiti says:

    I love my rocking chair that I nursed all three of our daughters in. The rocker is white faux wicker (paper wrapped wire) it was purchased at used furniture store 86 years ago in N.Y.C. when my grandma and grandpa arrived from Germany. The rocker has had many fresh coats of paint and the seat was recovered by my grandma, my mom and myself. Our daughters are all grown now and they also love to reuse, renew and repaint! I love that we come from a long line of thrifty women.

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