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PHOTO Deep-seated discounts await you at the Modernica Sample Sale.
PHOTO ABC Carpet & Home rolled out the bargains at a recent warehouse sale in Morristown, N.J.

May 4, 2002 -- If your taste for furniture runs as rich as filet mignon but your budget is more rice and beans, don't fret. At furniture warehouse sales, you can outfit your home in high style for the price of an IKEA outing.

Many of the city's finest furniture purveyors - ABC Carpet & Home and Modernica among them - stage annual warehouse sales during which they clear their showrooms of last year's models, returns and damaged goods.

Prices are slashed up to 80 percent at these events, making that sleek Italian couch as affordable as a Jennifer Convertible.

"We like to regularly sweep our floor of stuff that has been sitting around too long," says Sergio Palazzetti, owner of Palazzetti, a small chain of furniture stores specializing in modern classics. "And our customers benefit from that attitude."

But you have to be patient: While there are sales starting this month, there are many more sprinkled throughout the year. So get your calendar ready:

Halcyon Summer Yard Sale (227 Smith St., Brooklyn; [718] 260-9299]): If retro is your style, make sure to pop into Halcyon's Summer Yard Sale, which starts today.

This groovy coffee-and-sandwich shop on one of Brooklyn's hippest streets sells equally groovy furnishings gleaned from estate sales and auctions in the tristate area.

If you're quick, you can get your hands on a two-piece, leopard-covered sectional couch from the '60s for less than $500 (originally $1,200), coffee tables at $40 to $50 (regularly $85 to $100) and end tables from $25 to $40 (regularly about $65).

The sales will be held on Saturdays in good weather throughout the summer. And the hours suit early birds and night owls alike: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Palazzetti Warehouse Sale (35 River St., New Rochelle, N.Y.; [914] 654-2900): Scheduled for May 16-19, Palazzetti's upcoming sale will include contemporary-style beds, sofas and chairs, all of them floor samples, window samples, older inventory or pieces that arrived with the wrong-color upholstery.

The store, which holds several such sales a year, will offer 20 to 80 percent off showroom prices.

ABC Carpet & Home at Tanger Outlet Center (1947 Old Country Road, Suite 1601, Riverhead, N.Y.; [212] 473-3000): While most warehouse sales last only a few days, this one will continue for (brace yourself) three months after it opens on June 6.

Directed at summer-house owners and renters who want to spruce things up for the season without tempting personal bankruptcy, the sale will include striped cotton area rugs, bamboo bedroom sets and marked-down patio furniture.

But be sure to keep your eye trained on the bargains; many of the items on sale (such as sumptuous Matteo sheets) will be offered at regular prices, while others will be discounted up to 75 percent.

Modernica Sample Sale (57 Greene St., between Broome and Spring streets; [212] 219-1303): Since this company's warehouse is in Los Angeles, Modernica calls its large annual New York sale a sample sale. Much of the merchandise, however, is trucked to SoHo from Modernica's L.A. warehouse.

Everything at the July 19 to 21 sale will be 40 to 60 percent off. This year's bounty will include slightly damaged George Nelson Bubble Lamps ($150 to $225), upholstered chairs ($500 to $1,100) and Case Study storage units ($500 to $1,200).

Michaelian & Kohlberg (578 Broadway, between Prince and Houston streets; [212] 431-9009): This to-the-trade-only purveyor of handmade rugs from around the world opens its doors to consumers just once a year.

But from Sept. 26 to 29, regular Joes like you and me will be able to realize incredible savings on varieties including hand-knotted Tibetan, needlepoint and modern patterns as well as samples.

A 6-by-9 area rug that usually sells for $2,000 to $5,400 can be snatched up for $500 to $3,000, representing 40 to 70 percent off regular prices.

Cassina USA (Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 W. 19th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues; [631] 423-4560): Take home Euro-designed couches, pull-up chairs, armchairs, tables and bookcases at up to 70 percent off retail prices when you visit Cassina's annual warehouse sale, running Oct. 25 to 27.

This high-end Italian furniture closeout will include damaged goods, overstocked items, and display units. Last year, seven trailer loads full of furniture sold at a brisk pace; Cassina insiders expect about the same volume to be cleared out this time.

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