Increasingly there has been a trend over the last 20 years toward built-in wardrobes, cupboards, kitchens etc because of their size and convenience.
However people are now realising that while it may be convenient it is actually extremely expensive for questionable quality, and when they come to sell their property they cannot take the built-in with them and it becomes valueless. In their place, many people are tending back toward antique armoires, bookcases and cabinets which are often no more expensive than a built-in but are often vastly superior in quality and appearance. Best of all - you can take it with you from one property to another instead of giving it away to somebody you don't even know!
So what are the differences between armoires and bookcases and why is it important to know?
Two major differences, one is the depth and two is the value. The latter being the major reason you need to know. Bookcases are invariably considerably shallower than armoires, but also much more expensive than their equivalent armoires. Some dealers find that their is a financial advantage in buying an armoire, narrowing it down and selling it as a bookcase - potentially increasing its value.
This does happen in England and Europe, and so it's vital when buying a bookcase to seek written assurance from the dealer that it did in fact start out life as a bookcase rather than an armoire.
This is not to say that buying a converted armoire is a bad thing. For some who can't afford a bookcase this is possibly a good solution. Just make sure that the dealer tells you it started out life as an armoire and has priced it accordingly.
The beautiful 'bookcase' above on the left is actually an armoire that Wallrocks have converted. However the piece is sold as an armoire/bookcase. It has not been narrowed, and therefore stucturally it has not been altered and therefore it's authenticity jeopardised. The silver from the glass has simply been stripped to become transperant like a bookcase. Were the buyer to want an armoire, all they have to do is replace the silver for the mirror.