Monday, June 25, 2012

Bonita Interiors--Angie Upstairs

My favorite chairs and ottoman
Bonita Interiors is located directly upstairs from me at the Pasadena Antique Center.  Angie brings an artist's perspective to every inch of her shop. In May, Angie completely remodeled her shop--painting, new merchandise, etc. After being closed for two weeks--the minute she opened back up the sold tags (as seen above) sprouted. I think that she almost sold out the first couple of days that she was open. The photo above featured my absolute favorite chairs in a blue/white Ikat fabric. It is a bit hard to see, but the bottoms of the slipper chairs are scolloped and her upholsterer did an amazing job--even the welting is perfectly placed--not an easy feat.

Here are a few more shots of the the shop:
I love these colors--and everything is sold here, too.

Just a small part of Angie's inventory
Angie's sense of color leaves me in awe--she goes where angels (pun not intended) fear to tread and it all works. I took some photos of her original art work, but the photos were awful. But you can get a tiny sense of her painters hand in the drips/child image in the first photo.

Bonita Interiors carries an extensive inventory of newly lacquered mid-20th century chests and tables--always with Angie's unique eye for a slightly different perspective.  (See Jones' tail?) In fact, Jones matches that chest of drawers perfectly. Bonita Interiors selection of mid-century couches is extensive; each piece is unique and beautifully detailed. The ceramic objects and lamps are chosen with a perfect pitch intended. And her collection of mid-century and current works on paper and other art stretches from traditional to abstract to funky. Her prices are reasonable--she makes me hustle to keep up.

Here she is making faces at me (I hate to have my photo taken, too)--she is sitting on the chair that she designed to take the place of the Ikat chairs--and she hits it with this one. To mix a Persian rug with mid-century is not the tried and true (and rather boring) way of displaying mid-century.

This grasshopper gives just a hint of the "little bit of funk" that Angie injects into her interiors--which all have a sense of flow.

But Angie is not limited to that odd funky look. Here is a great vignette that is 100% traditional American...The wall color is more intense and shows off the mid-century mirror a bit better. Look at that little funky figure nestled among the strictly traditional landscape!! (my photo is out of focus)

Working with Angie is a delight as she is a true professional and passionate about her trade. But her number one passions are her 3 gorgeous children and husband. Everything in proper perspective.

Ooooooooops. I forgot to mention--the best thing about Angie is that she is "in love" with Jones.

Bonita Interiors (just above me)
Pasadena Antique Center
480 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA

(I don't know why the text at the beginning is highlighted in white--if anyone knows the answer, please let me know. I am still technologically challenged)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Last week was a tough one for me. So many cares crept into my usually positive mind....worries about one grandson (about to be 13 and the usual issues with that age), worries about two children and their current life choices, worries about my precipitous crash in sales numbers (normal for this season), the murder of innocent people seeking freedom in Syria, sadness over Spain's (I lived in Spain for 7 years) economic turmoil, Monsanto and its lies and its poisoning of our foods (GMOs)--you name it, I ALLOWED "IT" (whatever the "it" was) TO BRING ME DOWN. Where was my strong faith that God was in charge and working behind the scenes for the good of all of creation? Obviously, that faith was not present in my pity-party.

So Thursday (auction day) I was out in the garden with my wonderful first cup of Espresso strength coffee of the day (finally coffee is considered to be healthful--which I have known forever) feeling very sorry for myself and STILL wishing I had bought that pair chairs from 2 weeks ago (how in the world can God bless me if I'm stuck in the past--when God is in the present--which is where I know that I should be--I know, I'm rambling).......when into my head pops: "there is a pair of chairs waiting for you in the "pile". (At my Thursday auction, the pile means a big mound of furniture items--and I do mean big--that are considered to have little value.) 

There was no doubt in my head where that voice came from. And I changed my attitude from pity-party to GRATITUDE and ACTION. I jumped up; showered; threw on my clothes; slathered on the make-up; apologized to Jones for having to stay home; picked up a banana and my remaining coffee and was out the door. Even LA's traffic gods were lined up in my favor and the usual heaviest-day-of-the-week LA freeway traffic parted--and I made it to my auction in record time and just a bit after the auction started at 9 am.

About 40 mins. into the auction, the pile was becoming much smaller and my expectation of the perfect pair of chairs had not waned (not even a bit). A great pair of Drexel, early 1960's chests suddenly appeared from the pile.....

I had no room for them and immediately envisioned these beauties (they are top quality walnut and in super condition) lacquered in a deep turquoise...I gave Angela (my upstairs dealer neighbor) a call to see if she could use them--yep, she could. So I brought these babies home at an unbelievable bid--where was everyone who should have been bidding against me? Yes, their eyes could have been temporarily blinded.

My chairs had just made their appearance from the pile (which by this time has been whittled down to almost nothing). I don't like to look closely at items that are coming up to the block--I hate to draw attention because I just might inspire other bidders to bid against me. From about 30-40 feet, these guys were looking pretty good. I have to admit that they weren't exactly what I had in mind--but when dealing with inspiration and gifts, one has to keep an open mind. Once they came to the block, I held off bidding for a few bids (good auction strategy: wait for a lull in the bidding to start your bids--it knocks other bidders off their rhythm). And then I kept the bid, bringing these amazingly beautiful chairs home.  Remember: I had not really inspected them carefully--always a risk. But, as they say: NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED.


And just take a look at what I brought home.........

I plopped a pair of my vintage Fortuny fabric pillows on the chairs........perfection.  I'm going to give a few detailed shots as these bergeres are perfect example of mid-20th c. chairs created in an 18th c. style. I believe that they are English.


Note the gracefully down slopping carved back rail and the finial detail where it meets the reeded vase turning of the leg support.

See the beautiful reeding of the legs, the turning/carving of the sloping back rail, the tiny finial (in the first photo at top you can see the tiny pointed tips of the legs--ballerina legs) are all marks of top quality furniture making. AND I haven't even started talking about the upholstery: it is a c. 1960's light peach (that shades to deeper peach in the light) top quality silk velvet upholstery that I think dates to the early to mid 1960's --no staples, the upholstery work is done with nails.  While inspecting these chairs once they arrived in the shop, I found very, very old storage stickers still attached to the chairs. The only way to explain the absolutely perfect condition of the upholstery on these chairs is that they must have been in storage for 50 years (or so).  Oooops--forgot to mention the caning--so many times old/antique caned chairs have holes in the caning which is very, very pricey to repair--BUT NOT THESE GUYS!

Roberto is coming in Thursday to clean and polish (hard paste wax) my new loves--I'm going to leave the patinated surface as found as I think this old surface adds interest and depth to the chairs.

-Angie loves her chests...I'll post on Angie's shop, Bonita Interiors, later this       week.
-Jones got his hair cut and he looks AMAZING.
-One child has had her faith restored (the situation is still a work in process-- aren't we all)   "All works for good......."
-One child will always be a work in process--at least he is actively in process.
-Spain received bailout money....that is definitely a reason to rejoice (the Euro really turned Spain on her head 12-13 years ago when the peseta converted to the Euro).
-It seems that progress is being made regarding Monsanto and GMO's.
-Syria is still breaking my heart.
-I have some potential sales lined up--a few prayers needed in that direction.

And I love my chairs...if I had not listened to that "still soft voice" in my head I would not have received the blessings of the day. I would probably still be stuck in my pity-party and what-ifs, if-only-----not a good place. Instead of in the peace of Gratitude.

Have a wonderful week, thanks for joining me in this crazy adventure.

Mary and Jones (and Cole)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The pictures shown above give a very graphic view of what my Samurai Footed Armour Box looked like when I purchase it a couple of weeks ago and when I first posted about my newest adventure in finding and restoring beautiful antique objects. I had the suspicion that the white staining to the lacquer would clean up perfectly, but I really didn't think it would turn out as beautifully as it has.

I'm going to show a few "in process photos"---

Roberto very carefully cleaned the lacquer and buffed the chased brass detailing of the lid. When working with any type of restoration incredible care must be taken to maintain as much integrity of the original surface as possible--as you can see, Roberto has the perfect touch. Next came the much more difficult work of cleaning off "the white stuff" without damaging the original lacquer surface.  This is the result of several hours of careful work: 

Here you can see where Roberto has carefully removed an old restoration so that he can reposition the leg that has separated, reattaching the leg in the correct fashion. When carrying out any restoration it is super important to remove any prior restoration work, glue, paint, etc. so that the new restoration can be perfectly fitted to the original work.

Preliminary cleaning of lacquer

Buffing of lacquer and brass hoofed leg

As you can see from the clamps, the box is in the final restoration stages: it has been carefully cleaned, buffed and a very fine touch of hard paste wax has been applied to the lacquer to seal it and preserve it from the So. California low humidity. It is almost ready....the clamps will come off tomorrow (which was today). The next group of photos shows my new baby all set and ready to go.

(There is a flaw to the image--there isn't any damage to the lacquer lid)

When I had inspected this piece carefully, I noted that there were three small strips of chased brass detailing that were missing from the edge of the lid and one of the hoofed feet had lost its bottom brass plate. These would be considered to be only minor condition issues.  WHEN ROBERTO EMPTIED THE BOX, ALL THREE ORIGINAL BRASS STRIPS AND THE BOTTOM BRASS PLATE WERE SAFELY INSIDE THE BOX. Some one had truly loved this object and had taken care that all of its elements remained with the box. 

To find an Edo Period Lacquer Armour Box in this condition and conserving all of its original elements (with the exception of the silk cord) is a wonderful gift. Hopefully, just the right person will show up and will love this box as much as its previous owners.

Thanks for joining me --Jones is getting his hair done on Saturday.
Have a great week-end.

Mary and Jones (and Cole)