Here is the late 18th c. mahogany chest of drawers that I bought last week. This guy is big: 45"w x 22"d x 33"h. He has retained all of his original brasses and one lock. I think it's the original finish, also. But he does need work: some one glued the brushing slide shut😒--so that means quite a bit a of work and there are several other minor restoration areas. My new restorers can bring the chest back to its original glory.
Because of his size and the uncommon brushing slide, this chest would make a great bar, would work in a library, dining room or a man's dressing room.
I have had the most amazing week. It has been one of those weeks when I knew that I was truly connected, experiencing the flow of life in the moment. One of my favorite images/concepts is that of the hawk and how he flies strait up into the sun when he senses danger--just like we should all do. But I manage to forget a lot of the time.
It started out with my stopping at my neighborhood gas station on my way to Pasadena and smiling at a lady that was also getting gas. I chatted a bit with the attendant; inserted my card into the terminal and the terminal went down......I needed to pay with cash and really didn't have much with me. The lady that I had greeted was standing behind me and said to me "I will give you cash". I was filled with awe: this person did not know me and yet she offered to meet my need. I thanked her and explained that I had just enough in my wallet to pay for the gas needed. When I returned with my little bit of cash, the terminal had gone back up (it was expected to be down for at least 30 mins.) In that instant I knew that God had sent a clear message to me of love and protection that morning.--I am still in awe and gratitude of how, if we choose, we can be connected and blessed by chance encounters.
That was just the beginning of the week......Roberto and I (mainly Roberto) reorganized the shop (it needed it badly) on Tuesday. On Wednesday I interviewed a new pillow fabricator (my amazing fabricator had retired to start a new direction in life--becoming an artist--Kudos for her strength and vision). Finding just the right person for the detail and perfection required to make my pillows is not easy--and this lady can do it. She works with Rose Tarlow and several of the other top Los Angeles designers and she knows her stuff and loves Fortuny.
Then I met with my new furniture restorers to check out their work on my 17th c. table that is having its legs extended.
That is perfect work! The photo shows the leg before the color and patina were matched to the 17th century wood. I was almost jumping up and down with joy--the result could have been awful as this was the first time that I had worked with these men on this type of restoration. (I didn't even care that the table took 3 times longer than expected and that it still wasn't completed when I went to pick it up).
Next up: I went to preview my auction and my good friend Gerry was there at the same time; so we previewed together. Gerry has almost the same "eye" that I do; so we could get competitive (but we don't). There were two pieces of furniture that I had regretted not buying in the prior weeks---and they miraculously were back.... a large period English Regency chest of drawers and a late George III tilt top breakfast table. These are two items that are out of fashion right now (especially in California); however, having just sent a set of 4 English Regency chairs back to London--I felt that nudge to buy them.
Gerry spotted a set of 4 antique open arm chairs. He loved them, I knew that they were really old and good. So I researched the chairs for Gerry when I got home......yep, once again English Regency and grrrreat! They have their original very dark green paint and maintain the original painted details. This (horrendous) photo of the table shows just a bit of the chairs
So on Thursday I walked into the auction (after being stuck in the worst LA traffic) just as the chest was coming to the block. I though that I would nail down the bid really quickly, but another "friend" (maybe faux friend) was biding against me (and I do not back down). I brought the chest home for a still very respectable price.
This photo shows a similar (higher quality) chest
My chest is a little later than the example in the photo and needs some work, but the form is the same. I love the fact that it has a brushing slide and that it's a large size--can use it as a dining room or living room piece.
Next up were Gerry's chairs--for some unexplained reason, no one of consequence was bidding against him. After Gerry won the bid at a ridiculously low amount, he turned to me and said: "do you want to share them?" His generosity stunned me. We are friends and we have bought together before, but this was totally unexpected (although I had been quietly obsessing over the chairs for 24 hours, a promise is a promise). Gerry has another business and is very busy but he knows that I will restore the chairs to the 9's; so that we can realize a substantial profit margin, but still...
And finally, after waiting over an hour (while other items were pushed up ahead of table)... up comes the breakfast table. He looks a little shabby, but his bones are great.
This is a quite large breakfast table and will comfortably seat six. It has a beautifully ring turned pedestal with true George III out swept reeded legs that retained their original brass caps and casters and original tilting mechanism. The finish appears to be original, also. These are all big plus marks---
Now here is his problem
That "crack" right up the center was caused by shrinkage in the dry California weather. The right way to fix it is to take the top apart; fit and glue the two boards together; turn the top over and fit two carved wood "butterflies" into the boards to keep them from separating in the future........this takes a true specialist. Camilo can do this work and Nicolas knows how to apply French polish (very specialized tasks).
My vision for these pieces is for them to sell to customers in the South or East, as that is where the market is.........
But guess what--I was talking to a designer friend today and she just happens to be starting a project in Beverly Hills and is looking for good antique English pieces. And I was reading a design article today (didn't see it before I bought these English pieces) that states that "Boho" is being replaced by a mixing of good Period English (late 18th/early 19th c.) wood pieces (no grandma pieces, thank you) that you haven't been able to give away over the last few years. I guess I was paying attention to the still soft voice. I am grateful.
I need to get to bed to be fully functioning tomorrow.
Last week a Chinese couple came into the shop and were very interested in purchasing my large mid-20th c. Steuben bowl. The piece, which is in excellent condition was marked $750. The dealer who was assisting the couple declined to call me as the offer was $50, well below acceptable. This Tuesday, while I was at shop, the couple returned and I spoke with them (very limited English proficiency). The lady held up one open hand, indicating (I assumed) an offer of $500--which was still too low. I pulled out my trusty phone and showed the couple the item on 1stdibs which I had priced at $975. The lady smiled and held up two hands, which I assumed meant $550. We wrote down the amount on paper.........she wrote back $55.00. I pretended to be insulted at the offer--but I could hardly keep a strait face. (After all, she did increase the offer by $5.00.) Three days later, I'm still laughing. I guess that it takes all kinds of people to make up this crazy, amazing world. Sending blessings for the week-- Mary & Jones & Cole
I feel a little glum today........Planned Parenthood was defunded; the integrity of The Senate (60% majority on major votes is under threat); the people of Syria continue to suffer enormous tragedy (while the world stands quietly by).........so I need to switch my sights to the positives that are occurring. Don't feel very inspired right now--however we do have a huge ground-swell of motivated progressive legislators who are fighting the good fight to sustain our country. I see that the press is stepping up its efforts to present more truthful and balanced reporting. I pray the the tipping point will soon be reached for TT (Times of Trump) to be brought to its knees.
(Of course, Jones keeps watch at all times--doesn't he look great?)
Roberto hung the chandelier
We hung the early 19th c. William Curtiss hand colored botanical engravings
I really like this set of 4 botanicals (and they are very well-framed, too)--we are so used to the feminine floral, dainty botanicals; these are super beefy and masculine.
I also have an original Besler folio from the 17th century--Beslers are some of the first and most prized antique botanical engravings.
Tomorrow is, once again, auction day. I think I'll go with my $100 allowance--I love to play this game with myself: you just never know what turns up and with a severe self-imposed constraint, I have to be really focused.
I'm not a chandelier person---definitely a lamp lover, but chandeliers are just not my thing. This week my budget for the auction was very meager: while out in the garden this morning, I set my goal to spend $100 and make $2000 with that little bit of investment. I know that it sounds a little bizarre, but it is possible to do that---God must be in the mix to make it happen.
I arrived a little late--I'd run out of coffee; so I was really lagging with just the hint of the beginning of a caffeine withdrawal headache (not very auspicious for bidding); fortunately, the auction has pretty good coffee.
I watch and amble around and watch and wait patiently---and then, all of a sudden, after almost 2 hours of faithfully paying attention I spot a Venetian chandelier that tickles my fancy. It was on a rack with another two chandeliers (good ones)--when it was the Venetian's turn at the auction block, the auctioneer announced that "it had parts in a box"---I guess most bidders thought that Sean (auctioneer) had meant that it was broken. So at under $100, I had to take the risk that the chandelier was complete. Big Murano/Venetian chandeliers usually go for quite a bit of money.....take a look: the chandelier measures 48"high x 30"wide. You can see the parts in the box below--those are the parts of almost all of a second identical chandelier that my lighting person can assemble with a few added parts. I think this chandelier dates to the 1950's.
I pulled this photo from 1stdibs for comparison--this guy dates to the 1940's so it is more frou-frou, but it is very similar and about the same size.
The 1stdibs chandelier is priced at over $6500; mine will be a whole lot less--I love passing on the blessing to my wonderful clients.
The key to buying (or any adventure) is to keep an open mind.
Jones' eye appears to improve every day and it seems as if his sight is returning. And I'm grateful, I thought he would probably loose his sight completely. Well, it's off to bed. Ciao...... Mary & Jones & Cole
Roberto got to work on this little guy early yesterday morning. Some one had slathered a lot of gunk on the top of him. So, with a lot of sanding and then finely and carefully scraping the surface Roberto managed to get the top down to its original surface--the beautiful feather banding became clear and with a couple of coats of hard paste wax to the entire piece, he started to shine. I believe that the desk in most probably American (not a common form) as it has chamfered drawer bottoms and pine as its secondary wood.
The wood appears to be American walnut
Look at that cute little cubby, it has kept its original shelf, too.
The bracket feet are in good shape and have little spurs. I love the graining of the wood contrasting with the banding.
What I am most astounded by is the fact that this little guy has retained all of its original mid-18th c. brass hardware. A couple of the nuts have been replaced, but the most important elements are all present.
I am not an expert in American Furniture. I'm looking for some one to help me research this piece. I've emailed a couple of auction houses--but that involves a lot of politics.....(and I'm at present overwhelmed by the state of American politics)
So maybe the best course is to simply wait a bit and see what evolves. Besides, I don't mind having him around for a while.
Off to auction tomorrow--didn't preview; so we'll see what turns up.