Wednesday, September 11, 2019

CHRISTMAS???????????

This is what I saw at Costco on Monday???
Crazy--we are 3.75 months away from Christmas.

Enough said on this topic.

Sending Christmas Blessings.

Mary & Jones

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

I THINK FRENCH PROVINCIAL DESIGN IS MAKING A COMEBACK


We bought this sweet early 19th c. French walnut drop leaf table last week and had to spend a lot more than I had hoped to bring her home. It's a great table--54" round which means that it can squeeze in 6 for dinner. I'm not sure if it was just a high ticket day or if there is a definite trend brewing, but all French provincial antique furniture went super high. Single 19th c. walnut night stand sold for $600 and another sold for $550. Yikes--just a few months ago these would have sold for about $300/each. I also tried to purchase a small trumeau (very small, but very sweet) in its original blue-gray painted finish--but it went way too high for me. The return of solid French provincial pieces to main stream design would make me very happy, even if I will have to pay more. There is a richness to good country pieces with their original paint and patina that cannot be matched. The layering of textures and mixing of styles adds so much character and warmth to any room. Plus these pieces mix perfectly with mid-century pieces.....add some gorgeous textiles--maybe a kuba cloth runner or two. Pillows in antique ticking? Voila--Haute Boheme or Boho chic depending on the level of pieces chosen.
Anyway, here are few more of my provincial pieces that have been waiting for a new home..........

Period late 18th century Louis XVI begere in original paint and period early 19th c. toile.


Late 18th century Swedish side chairs



Mid-19th century Faux Bamboo Abattant


Early 18th century Regence Bibliotheque (Bookcase)


Late 19th/early 20th century Faux Bois table or stool
with 19th century garden finials


 And maybe a pair of Bagues-attributed sconces to lighten up the dark wood.


Wish me luck tomorrow........hopefully prices won't be so high?!

Blessings for the new month--the sky is just beginning to turn that less-intense blue of fall skies.  But it is still super hot--today was a cool 104-105 at shop. And I melt in the heat. But we'll have a cool-down and then we are not supposed to have any more hot weather and slightly cooler than normal September and October.

I gave to hurricane relief today. The images that are coming from the Bahamas are horrendous. And to think that the storm was only 50 miles from the coast of Florida. I pray that our "not my president" can muster up enough spare change from his emoluments to rush aid to our close neighbors.

Sending blessings for the month.

Mary & Cole

Sunday, August 25, 2019

GOT TO KEEP MOVING.........NEW SPACE!!



 I just cannot resist expanding......so when a space became available next to me, I grabbed it. Just for reference, I redid a space a couple of weeks previously using the screen (see below) 


So now the screen backs the new space, being the link between my yin&yang colors. With this new space, I wanted to bring out my traditional side (hence the mauve and gilt frames and fine traditional antiques) facing off against the intense warm yellow to highlight black & white abstracts and other work on paper along with modern or high level 20th c. furniture.
Traditional............



And my wild side...........



I still have to finished hanging art, etc. But it's coming.....
Of course, this new space required that I completely redo the other (packed) 1200 sq. feet; so Roberto and I have been busy. Amazingly, but true to what I've learned about energy movement, as soon as I moved everything around--sales went through the roof. So with that inspiration, last Thursday and Friday, I put about 10-12 hours into reorganizing my 1stdibs and Chairish sites and yesterday, Saturday, 1stdibs took off. So now I know exactly what to do when things get a little slow.

I have no idea where the desire for stools came from, but I have three new ones that required spiffying up. Lalo graciously came to the rescue, along with three serendipitous (favorite concept) fabric finds.

I think that I have already talked about this great walnut George I stool (c.1720) that came upholstered in a dated 1920s needlepoint which did nothing for the stool....... 


Lalo brought back the stool last week in the 17th c. flemish tapestry fragment--now we're talking.


(I have been obsessing over what to do with the rest of the tapestry fragment--hate to waste anything with a 350 year history. A new designer came in yesterday looked at the tapestry fragment and bought it for more than what I had paid!! Serendipity)

I bought this little 18th c. footstool a few months ago thinking that I could get the stained leather dyed.....


But nobody wanted to dye it; so.........


I went through my fabrics and found the remnant of Scalamandre "Le Tigre" that I knew I still had.......and Eureka!! The stool shimmers.

And last up: Boring mid-19th c. French small ottoman. I knew I could make it fun, but how??


I won a long Kuba cloth runner on Ebay that I thought would be great--but then decided that would be something too Boho and a style past its prime. And then I came across (my favorite!!) Clarence House "Equus" Belgium Linen reduced from $295/yard to $19/yard......I bought 10 yards!!! And here are the before and after photos.


And voila!!!


Just add a silver tray and you have a coffee table.

Sending blessings for the coming week. Can't believe that Labor Day is next week-end. The summer has sped by so quickly. But those of us in Southern California still have 2 more months of heat. And I can't wait 'til its cashmere weather.

Mary & Cole




Monday, August 5, 2019

TALE OF THE JARS II


The restored lids came back two days ago and the jars sold that afternoon (I wasn't quite ready to see them go)!!!! Here's a photo of one little section of my shop and the jars make everything stand out.
Thank you Albert for helping me to figure out exactly what they are. Still think that they have a Dutch shape........
Life has been super busy--We've been blessed by some fantastic finds......like this period George II carved walnut stool that dates to c.1720.....and I haven't needed to do any restorations to the stool.


The acanthus leaf carving on the knees is first rate as are the trifed feet and stretcher. The needlework upholstery is date 1921; so I decided that I need period tapestry to reupholster the stool....another quest.  I must truly be in the flow: last Thursday a large (60" x 80") 17th c. Flemish verdure tapestry fragment came to the block. (Like this w/o border)


(When I had previewed the day before, I estimated that the fragment would sell for about $600-$900)  I brought the textile home for $145 and now I have another problem:I don't want to cut it up! (But I will)

I've bought some fun funky things, too---antique French (?) cement acorn finials and a little French faux bois table....


It's this pair of antique tin tile clad cubes that is drawing the most attention....


The cubes would make super eye-catching brutalist coffee or side table bases--just add the glass top of your choice.

But it's not all rosy, I think a friend of mine is intentionally competing against me at auction since I won the large 18th c. French round table over his bid. I have not been able to buy any French or Italian items, especially chests of drawers---they are all going to Fred. And I need chests of drawers.
I didn't get this beauty (late 18th c. Italian Neoclassical).


And this simple little, but charming, Biedermeier chest of drawers went to Fred also


I think I will have to develop a new bidding strategy at "My Auction" when it comes to period French or Italian furniture (Get Gerry to phone bid??) 

Well, it's late and I have a super busy day tomorrow.

I am beyond feeling any more. I am all dried up when I think about the three mass shootings in a 7-day period. Three mass shooting by young, estranged white males........ there is nothing more to say--except pray for the families of those killed and pray for our nation--that we be returned to governance by those that are committed to justice and justness (not the same thing), committed to true Democracy where the well-being of actual citizens takes precedence over all other considerations.

Sending blessings for the week.

Mary & Cole

Sunday, July 21, 2019

ARE THESE CHINESE???


I got these big (25") covered jars at auction about 6 weeks ago.......I didn't check them out very well, just thought that they had a certain charm and big is always good. I knew that they need to have a bit of restoration work done to the lids, but otherwise, thought that they were great decorative pieces. Once I had picked them up and brought them into the shop, I took a good look. And realized that they are old guys......like early 19th or 18th century old. 
But what were they?? My first thought was Italian majolica, but their shape was really puzzling.....that deep foot reminded me of early Han pottery, but the glaze was too thick.....so I went on a quest. My good friend, Albert, in The Netherlands thought they might be Chinese, also. If the Jars were actually Han, then they would be worth a very very very pretty penny. Albert directed me to a Chinese Specialist on the East Coast who could make a much more accurate assessment. Gerry also sent off an inquiry in England. For about 12 hours my adrenaline was rushing with the thought that the Jars were Han. But it was not to be. I was right on one point: the jars are old--18th/19th c. but European in origin. The specialist thought perhaps Italian; but the only similar forms that I have been able to uncover are 17th/18th century Dutch and Portuguese. So there you have it......almost but not quite ready to buy my mas in Provence.
Here are some close-ups of the jars (the bottoms are always the most important identifying elements)











I am not in the least disappointed as I love the hunt, but more than a simple hunt, I love the adventure of discovering what an object really is; prying back the details to reveal its quirks and its history if possible. Plus, the jars are not without merit.......a pair of large 17th/18th or 19th century majolica jars in very good condition and retaining their original lids is a true find. The lids are out getting restored and I can't wait to see the completed jars--and get them posted to 1stdibs and Decaso.

Sending blessings for the week!
Mary & Cole

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MID-CENTURY ITALIAN BEADED SCONCES..........(It Pays To Look Carefully)

I have faithfully subscribed to the principles of "Blink" (by Malcolm Gladwell) for at least 8-10 years. But sometimes the Principle of First Impressions does not apply.  Case in point:


Just a few weeks ago this is how 2.5 pairs of extraordinary mid-century beaded Italian sconces were displayed at My Favorite Auction. Not very impressive--the only details that drew my focus were the hanging and loose crystal pendants and swags of macaroni beads. Applying the Principle of First Impressions, I would have walked right passed this treasure trove. Fortunately, I have had this type of beaded sconces before and I know how to restring/reposition the macaroni swags. (I also know some one who loves to do this pains-taking work). Our last set of 48" beaded sconces like (just one of these pairs) was quite pricey--Gerry and I paid close to $1500 for one pair.
AND HERE WERE TWO PAIRS--one at 48" long and the other at 33" long. Additionally, there was a small single sconce thrown in for good measure........we managed to steel them simply because no one bothered to see beyond that first impression. Jean Michael has been working on the sconces and he is almost done. I did have to order a few extra pendants, but for the most part, all the original elements were present.
Here are a few shots of the work in progress.......








As you can see, the little single sconce still has some work left to be done--had to take a break as we need some additional 1.5" pendants for this little guy.
And then, last week, Gerry was at auction early and up came another pair of beaded sconces. Once again, no one was paying attention to them when they went to the block and Gerry bought them for a song. Jean Michael cleaned this pair today and I supplied the secret sauce: when I first caught sight of this pair, I thought: add some rock crystal pendants. And I had just the right size rock crystal pendants from another project--but I have moved since that last time I saw the pendants and was fearful that I would not be able to find them. Mais...voila! The rock crystal pendants were in the bottom drawer of a little chest and they are just the perfect size.
Here are the photos of this pair as Jean Michael had just barely finished working on them...........




This pair of sconces feature either French or Italian Louis XV-style brass sconces outlined in small hand-cut faceted beads with the center detailed in graduated hand-cut faceted beading, topped with fanciful sprigs of rock crystal pendants. Not too shabby!!! And I am filled with gratitude.

Hopefully, I'm over the hump with my blogging break.
Wish us luck tomorrow as there are some sleepers (hopefully) coming up.

Blessings,
Mary & Cole








Monday, May 27, 2019

JONES




Well........I started writing this post almost three months ago, the day I lost my best boy. And I couldn't continue. My heart still hurts, but I do need to get back to joyful things like blogging.
Jones' breeder has puppies coming whose father is Jones' half-brother, but don't think I'm ready just yet. And Cole is very old and would not do well with a puppy. But if anyone hears of an adult standard w/o problems, I would love to adopt.
Here are some of Jones' character-filled moments

















                                       BEST BOY

__________________________________________

Although I've been missing Jones, I haven't been abstaining from buying--of course, I know that this business is addictive, but you just have to buy (or else, you can't sell).
I used to sell mainly period 18th and early 19th century European and American antique furniture-- and then I slipped into mid-century and 20th century. Lately, I'm discovering more of my first loves. Of course, I always have my eye out for "sleepers" and I've been finding a few........
Two weeks ago I spotted about 1/3 of the back of what I thought might be a period tilt-top tea table. It was in the middle of the "junk pile" at my auction--so there wasn't any way for me to get to it to really check it out. So I was up bright and early as I knew the table would go to the block at the beginning of the auction.  When I arrived, I couldn't find the table--and I thought that i had lost it......But 20 minutes later, the table magically appeared. My heart started beating a bit faster. Yep, the front looked good and the pedestal feet were Claw & Ball. (I didn't want to draw attention to the table; so I didn't run up to closely check it out).
My little table goes to the block.....there was only 1 other bidder who (lost his nerve) and dropped out. The table was mine for a steal. (A post on tilt-top tea tables is in the works.) But for now: the table appears to date to around 1760; it's solid mahogany; 37.25" two board flamed mahogany top; turned pedestal ending in three beautifully carved Ball & Claw feet and floral carved knees. I think that it is most probably from Salem. We'll see when I get the appraiser in







The last thing I need is another period mahogany table, but this one just found me and it was free (how could I resist)---c.1820 Regency drop leaf table with amazing sexy ringed legs. The table's only problem (and it's a big one) is that it's been refinished with an open-grain surface. But it's still a true find.






Next up: 
  

This little sleeper is a late 17th c. Oak and Elm single drop side/gate leg provincial breakfast table (the side that was pushed against the wall does not have a drop leaf; the side facing outward has a single gate leg drop which was brought up for breakfasts or meals. Gerry was not impressed until I showed him this little table



This is a much higher level of table, but of the same period, woods and overall style. My little guy is exactly what I love to always have--great rustic appeal that can be incorporated into many settings. I don't think that much has been done to this table over it's 300+ years of life and it just might last another 300 with TLC.
And finally (for now). This pair of mid-century opaline lamps. I know that they look a little boring on those bases and with those awful shades.....but just a minute. Those old-school bases are exactly the type that William (Billy) Haines (decorator to many major movies icons of that era) commissioned for his iconic lamps of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Billy Haines also painted the electrical fittings (like these) to match the tone of the lacquered bases; he would also choose top notch (and unusual) elements for his bases.



(Just look at the pretty graining on top of my 17th c. table) I'm sure that the lamps were made by Billy Haines--they'll need to be rewired and the paint touched up a bit on the electrical fittings--but they are good.
Ooooooops. I forgot, just one more thing. This bucket was not a sleeper, and I paid $$$ for it. But it's big and beefy and in good shape (not refinished) and has a liner (not the original one). It's almost 20" high.




OK--So I've showed you my winners. Now (for balance and truth) I'll show you some misses......life also needs clouds and gray days......

(By the way--it snowed in the mountains on Friday and Saturday--yes skiing and snowboarding in May and June in Southern California. And the high in Pasadena yesterday was a chilly 53*)

I was jumping up and down when I won the bid for this huge (7.5 ft x 5 ft) 19th c. carved and gold leafed mirror at $200.00.




But when I received my bill from the auction, the mirror was not included. I questioned the mistake.
It took a couple of days for the office to get back to me (always a bad sign). The mirror had been sold the week before and wasn't marked as sold; so my purchase was cancelled (very sad face inserted)😣😬.
I very badly wanted this PAIR of gorgeous large Japanese Meiji Period Screens--but the bidding zoomed past my limit in seconds.......





And then there is the question of my lamp fabricator not following instructions.... When I gave the jars to Ken I was very explicit that the bases be crafted of very thick lucite/acrylic (this would be pricey, but aesthetically correct) and that the tops be carved wood. Well, as you can see the bases are very pedestrian wood and the tops although they look like wood, I think are actually composite.





Fortunately, I have an ace up my sleeve: I know a great gold leaf artisan. So the bases are out being gold leafed (leaving a raised band of black at the top) and applying a fine line of antiqued gold leaf to the edges of the caps. This additional fix-it is going to be pricey, but it's so important to get the details just right.
And here's what the front of shop is looking like right now....


 Yep, The Italian c.1920s marble top console is new--that Deco black marble is to die for. I do not think that I could replace it today.
Thank you for staying with me while I grieved my boy. I'm back to my old self--maybe better.

Blessing for the coming summer.

Mary & Cole