Tuesday, March 31, 2020



In these days of trouble and confinement I sometimes wish I were one of "the sailors three"--Wynken, Blynken and Nod. I wish I could sail the seas in a wooden shoe casting my net into the deepest seas. But, since I can't, lets just pretend.
I grabbed these photos from Architectural Digest Online......Pick your favorite island to spend the remainder of our "social distancing" adventure.
Can you guess my first choice? Better yet, pick an island hide-away and then imagine how you would decorate your space using antiques and art to suit the island and the culture. Or imagine how a 19th c. British Colonial would choose to decorate..........
Here are some of the less-traveled islands in which to seek refuge.
This island looks pretty posh!

It's a little too structured for me. But that hasn't stopped me from imagining a few of my newer items furnishing a suite:

I'd place this great mid-century tropical bench at the foot of a luxurious bed--bedding in a Madeline Wienrib textile and abstract rug. I am positioning these two antique walnut chests on either side of the bed

I can imagine the rich patina of the walnut complementing a carved Anglo-Raj carved headboard. 
Now for a pair of lamps for the chests......

Some parrots for the walls

A faux coral chandelier....

A pair of mid-century faux bamboo barrel back chairs in a tropical green (sorry about the photo--these guys didn't make it to shop before we were shut down)

A Mastercraft Brass garden stool/drinks table between the chairs for the Mai Tai's (I'd rather have a martini/Bombay Sapphire gin, please)...

A Regency mahogany tray to serve as a very chic bar (for the Bombay Sapphire)

Placed on the sculptural root table--which could serve as a desk for a luxurious remote office

OK, now it's your turn--here are the Architectural Digest island photos--all less-traveled islands

I hope I've taken you to far-away places and provided a few minutes of day dreaming fun.

Sending blessings,
Mary & Cole

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


         This is my new attitude for the foreseeable future:

                               TAKE NO PRISONERS

We need to band together to support each other--that includes landlords, mortgage holders, credit card companies, etc. Yes, apparently The Senate is going to sign the Emergency Relief Act (or whatever it will be called....), but each of us, standing in the foot steps of our friends and neighbors, clients and service providers, will be the positive force to move us forward.

I have added an additional layer to my attitude adjustment:

If you don't support community----------

       ******** YOU WILL BE EATEN********

Sending blessings...stay safe.

Mary & Cole

***Fine Early Edo Period Tiger Scroll***
Source: 1stdibs.com

Sunday, March 22, 2020

AND HERE WE ARE........... + +CHIC.SEATS.COM Fine Chairs, Daybeds, Benches, Ottomans, etc.

Like just about everyone else, I'm home "social distancing". Praying for those that are ill and praying that this scourge will not reach the worst-case scenarios that are being put forward. Thank you to all who are heeding the mandates to stay at home and stay safe. We are all doing our best to fight off the worst-case scenarios. My heart breaks for Italy and Spain, where I lived for seven years. These are countries where people are intimately connected with one another; where hugging and kissing is the cornerstone of friendship--so missed in our more distanced culture--which is exactly what has spread the virus so effectively.
It ain't pretty in my corner---fortunately, I have a pile of books that were waiting to be opened. And I have a lot of website work to distract me from the fact that business--like for many millions--has come to a standstill. Our collective, Pasadena Antique Center, closed on Monday ahead of governmental mandates--Chairish and 1stdibs have quieted, too, but I'm hopeful that when the stock market stabilizes--online sales will pick up at bit (happy face). As for so many small business owners, the prospect of a delayed recovery is daunting. 
Of course, not knowing what exactly was roiling towards us, we bought a lot last month. In this business, we can't simply order when stock runs low; we have a "buy it when you see it" perspective.
Despite the fact that we were buying blind........I always feel blessed whenever God drops unique inventory in my lap. And we were definitely given many gifts. In my last post (and it was too long ago) I showcased the amazing large Italian ceramic hippo, the large Italian Baltic-style chandelier and the large 19th century terra cotta shi-shis (we definitely need their protection now).
I finally was able to get some good shots of a 1990s Steuben vase entitled "Equinox"--when I took this photo, I had no idea that once I had manipulated the lighting on the computer, I had captured the essence of the sculpture.

The shadow captured by the refracted light is truly spectacular. (I wish I knew what I had done when I shot the image???) It was simply luck.
We also acquired quite a few less important pieces:
This is a terrible image (taken just after they left the auction block) of a pair of "A Rudin" Napoleon III-style chairs. (A. Rudin is one of the best-of-the-best upholstered furniture companies) 

Best of all, the button tufted upholstery is in a subtle grisaille chinoiserie pattern and the upholstery is in near mint condition.
Next up: A mid-century pair of barrel-back club chairs in near-perfect rich minty green silk upholstery, which is also tufted.

We bought two long upholstered benches. The blue (53") is going out to be upholstered in an ethnic Clarence House woven fabric called "Gazelle" (after we get back to business). I think I'll have Lalo tuft this bench.

I like the 60" long mid-century bench just as it is in a Palm Beach "Lily Pulitzer"-type cotton. 

I love the little balls at the tips of the bench's legs. 
Both of these benches would make perfect end-of-the-bed pieces. The blue bench would be a great fireside piece. Hall bench? Window bench?

I bet you are wondering what I plan to do with the 110+ seating elements that we have in inventory?? I was, too!! Gerry has persisted in buying all sorts of seating elements---I haven't listed even half of the new ones (we also have a pair of period 18th c. Louis XV footstools (to be upholstered in Scalamandre "Le Tigre" silk velvet) and a sweet little Directoire footstool (to be upholstered in a deep cerulean blue silk velvet).
I am definitely a "make lemonade" type of person. As I was pondering (obsessing?), I wrote down all of my assets and talents: Gerry (Partner's great eye), Roberto (great restorer), Lalo (great upholsterer), Me (my knowledge of design, textiles, techniques and current trends), My Auction Company (inventory source), my fabric sources and plenty of inventory--  I DON'T NEED ANY MORE CHAIRS--on hand. Obviously, this popped up before my eyes.


I immediately purchased the domain name and one similar to it for good measure.
While hibernating (I have a severely compromised immune system--so I'm stuck), I'm going to design a website for CHIC.SEATS.COM. I also need a new site for mjhdesignarts.com.......we'll see what I come up with.

Thanks for letting me spout. Please send blessings for this new little venture and for my sales to open up.......we do need to keep flow open, even if its just a trickle.

Forgot to add photos of my newest pillows. 1 pair of Scalamandre "Le Tigre" and 1 pair of Scalamandre "Il Leopardo" Silk velvet pillows backed and micro-welted in a high-end fine strie silk. The custom filler is composed of 35% goose down to 65% goose feather, creating the perfect firmness for the heavy silk velvet.

It goes without saying that I'm doing AMAZING deals for the foreseeable future; so either call me (714-401-0556) or email (mjhdesignarts@gmail.com) me if anything strikes your fancy.
My most complete inventory listing is on 1stdibs.com,
but please contact me directly for more information or pricing.

Please stay safe. Blessings for the week.

Mary & Cole

Sunday, February 16, 2020


I love large animal sculptures in design--they add energy to more formal (stuffy) rooms and add warmth to just about any space. I have a many many beasties---Indonesian mythological horse & rider, a pair of carved Chinese camels, koi fish, a tortoise for good luck, a very large Tonala cat, dog portraits, tons of Staffordshire lions and dogs, various shi-shis (foo dogs) dragons, just sold a pair of monkeys.......I think that you get the picture.
Gerry brought in this amazing hippopotamus a couple of weeks ago and he (maybe she?) has become my best buddy. I think he's Terracotta and marked "Italy". The modeling and detail are top notch--she has a wonderful attitude and she's very large: 36 inches wide.

Of course, we have new large (25" high) Shi-Shis that are great protectors

With Mercury in retrograde I need all of the tortoise energy that I can find. I think I'll bring Mr. Tortoise up to the front of shop.

Sending blessings for the week,

Mary & Cole

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Just look at what came home on Thursday. And she's just about perfect. Not a single macaroni bead is missing. Old macaroni beads are the most impossible beads to replace; so if strands are missing, the value of the fixture is greatly diminished. This girl needs a good cleaning, new candle covers and the wiring checked (perhaps rewired) and then she's set to go. Best of all, she was a sleeper.
There were two paintings that we both loved

I love Italian Old Masters, especially when the painting features cupids with symbolism--the wheat sheaf, quiver and grapes. The tortoise shell framing on this painting is exceptional; the condition is quite good also.
And of course, French 19th century paintings ring bells, too.

I have too much inventory (and can't fit in any thing else=which means that I can't shop)..........THEREFORE:


Just go to my website  mjhdesignarts.com to contact me or purchase. (Or call: 714-401-0556)

Well, it's off to bed.
Blessings for the day.

Mary & Cole

Friday, February 7, 2020


I am so disheartened..........In my humble opinion, every single one of those senators who voted not to convict "mr. small t" are traitors. They have betrayed the oath they took to defend The Constitution and they have betrayed their oath to be impartial jurors. Now we are in even more serious trouble. God hear our prayers, we beseech You.

But I still have been on the hunt. This week I came up empty handed, but here are the things that called to me and things that are coming up at auction.
Well, I didn't quite go without a good buy.......I bought this pair of amazingly rare (it's a pair!!) of very early 19th century French Faience Tureens and Under plates from my neighbor, Pamm. I love them and I couldn't stand the fact that they might be split up; so they came home with me......just a couple of steps.

I love the fruit finial, the green and scarlet colors--and most of all, the chinoiserie silhouette with parasol. The tureens are not marked and are nearly perfect, with the exception of anticipated normal crazing.

Things I liked at Thursday's auction (didn't go as I didn't want to spend any $$$):
I love this set of 4 mid-century Mexican abstract gouaches........but too pricey for me at the moment....look at the colors and sharpness of the paintings. The artist is not listed, but from these works, it seems as if he should be.

....A great little Italian/Venetian chest of drawers with original paint.

I loved this little Venetian early 20th c. chest of drawers. Once again, I'm leaning Chinoiserie. I also  fell in love with this Italian 20th century carved Chinoiserie mirror..........but it was not to be.......

All of the original elements are present......and it doesn't need any restoration work. (Didn't come home).

Items Coming Up at End of Month: These are all very traditional high-end items that will go to the block at Andrew Jones Auction.
This is my favorite of the entire auction--just the right size; just the right wood; just the right era; just the right energy.

We need more chairs like we need extra holes in our heads--but here goes......
This is my favorite pair, probably because I sell every pair of this type almost the minute they walk in the door...........

And these chairs are not a bit shabby--a bit pricey, though.

Of course, there had to be a Regency Tilt Top Breakfast Table--one of my addictions......but I do sell all that I can find!!

Well, I'm off to bed. Blessing and restoration to our great nation.

Mary & Cole

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

FINALLY COMPLETE------Watching the Hearings

I've blogged about this table before...

******(You don't need to read the following paragraph--it's basically written out for me to remember the agony that I went through to get this table right).****** 
It has been nearly a year since I bought the antique marble that was on the root base to fit on a French butcher's table.

Then I thought that the root base was a great decorative element. So, I bought a large ugly coffee table for $50 so that I could steal the 1 in. thick glass top for the the root base. Of course, I wasn't happy with a simple rectangular top--I then took the glass to have the corners canted............When Roberto put the super heavy new glass on the root base, we realized that the four roots that were to support the glass were not level.....I then ordered custom lucite blocks to level the table. When we put the glass back on, Roberto and I decided that the root base needed stabilizing. Roberto took the root base to Camilo in LA and I went the next day to explain in minute detail to Camilo exactly what he had to do: .......make a platform base to raise the table up to 29 inches and reinforce the root base making sure that it was precisely level. Camilo put off working on the root base (which probably allowed him to forget what he needed to do to the table). Camilo then made the platform (which I had modified after it was done) and stabilized/reinforced the root base----and I thought that we were good. Camilo promised me that the table was level. Roberto picked up the table in LA; we brought it up stairs; put it on the platform; put the very heavy glass top on it....... and guess what? Camilo had leveled the bottom of the table but not the top where the glass sat. STEAM arose from the top of my head and out my ears......my language was not ladylike.......... Not only that, Camilo had stabilized the roots wrong and they could not be readjusted....... So I called Camilo and I was as nice as I could possibly be (under the circumstances). I insisted that he come pick up the table (I had already paid Roberto for two trips to LA and that is pricey). Camilo met Roberto and me on Sunday and Roberto explained to him exactly what needed to be done to make the table "right"---- in order to make the table level, some of the root tips had to be trimmed quite a bit. In order to bring the table back up to the standard 29" height, I designed feet for the platform which, of course, needed to be altered AGAIN............two weeks later Roberto went to pick up the table AGAIN. He took his long level and made sure that everything was as it should be (no more trusting Camilo's word)........We brought the table upstairs, placed the root base on the altered platform and finally placed the super heavy glass on the base.....And voila (many months later)---the table is PERFECT. I'm calling this "the Little Ol' Lady Who Swallowed the Spider to Catch the Fly that Wiggled Way Down Inside Her" table.....hopefully, never again.
This job has its complications....but it keeps me creatively solving problems which I love.

Now to new adventures.......
We bought this sweet little Flemish writing or side table last week. She dates to the late 17th/early 18th century...see the similarities between this table and English William and Mary tables? Same type of turned legs and stretcher and similar proportions. (William of Orange--the Netherlands--was also King of England and brought with him Flemish design elements) This little table was quite pricey...


But we also brought home a sleeper (I love sleepers). This is an 18th century Gustavian (Swedish) drop front secretary chest. The photos do not reflect the charm of this piece. It does have its problems, but those are easily restored.

There was not enough room for me to squeeze open the drop front, but the desk section is jam-packed with drawers and even a tambour section. But there are restorations in order: see the missing dentil molding section right below the top? The back feet are bad replacements--so will need to make new back bracket feet. And there's a section of molding at the bottom of the right side that needs replacement. All of the original hardware and locks w/keys are present. Also--this is a two-part drop-front which means that it probably dates to c. 1785, maybe a bit older--and I love almost everything that dates to the 18th century. So......it's off to Camilo with the drop front. (Fingers crossed that Camilo doesn't forget what needs to get done.)

I was going to ramble on about THE IMPEACHMENT of mr. small "t": I cannot believe that Dershowitz actually says the things that he does and claims the things that he claims. He must think that all of us are idiots. I believe that there is a designated place in hell for liars; and an especially horrendous corner for those who are both liars and traitors.
I am praying for God to raise up the dry bones of the Republican Senators' consciences. And I do have faith.

Now it's off to bed........
Thanks for checking in with me...

Mary & Cole