Sunday, May 27, 2012


I think that Jones is a little bored with my photography (it has been a long day: daycare with his best poodle friend, working with me and greeting everyone, getting love from his people friends, treats from David...what a life!) but he is a dog (a great dog, but still color-blind) and dog's usually don't go nuts over design details. Although Jones really likes Juan, he really doesn't appreciate the fact that Juan Vazquez, my lacquer and refinish expert, has worked a small miracle with these late 1950's Michael Taylor for Baker Far East Collection tables.

The photos above shows the tables in the condition that I purchased them...the brown stain/finish--although considered to be the "bees knees" in the late 50's is really very dull/boring by today's aesthetic--the finish is also a little sun damaged--bleached and dried out. 

I usually run from changing the look/color/finish of great pieces of furniture, but these tables were crying out for some love and attention--face lift (oh! so Hollywood). Michael Taylor also included black lacquer tables in his Far East Collection for Baker Furniture; so I don't feel as if I have really betrayed The Master with my updating the tables with black lacquer, leaving the tops to show their beautiful satinwood* graining. Notice the beautiful inlay work to the tops of the tables--the satin wood slices radiate out from a small center radius.

I am so grateful to have Juan in my life--quality craftsmen are essential elements in both the design and antiques fields. I knew a lot regarding the restoration of period antique furniture, but over the past 5 years I have learned volumes from Juan regarding lacquer work, colors, application processes, etc. And Juan has expanded his knowledge and expertise into the period antiques arena: he does a nasty French polish.

Thanks for joining me on the crazy journey.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day week-end.

Mary and Jones (and Cole),

*Satinwood is one of the most valuable woods and has been used as inlay on the "best" pieces of furniture from the early/mid 18th c.


  1. Mary absolutely stunning I adore the makeover of these iconic tables! Bravo!

    Do come and see my interview with Leslie of Segreto Finishes and enter to win her Fabulous Book!

    Art by Karena

    1. Hi Karena,
      I'm going right over to you. I have heard amazing things about Segreto Finishes-In the past I have used other artists to faux finish many pieces. Thanks for the heads-up. Mary

  2. Mary-
    Lovely. You are such a gem to appreciate artisans who are skilled at their craft.
    I am sure that they must appreciate you and Jones. I have a few artisans like my framer, my printer and several other people that I just love to work with.

    1. Hi Patricia, Yes, I am truly blessed to have them in my life. Roberto (my live saver) is even from the same town (Cuernavaca) where I was raised. Of course, being bi-lingual is a tremendous advantage here in California where the majority of the skilled artisans are from Latin America. But later this week I will be posting on the person who advises me on lamp shades--this is another skill that we so often do not give sufficient credit. And all of my shades and lamps are made here in California. Have a wonderful light-filled day. Mary