Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I went to see Pam (my amazing pillow fabricator) yesterday to take her a length of Scalamandre "Il Leopardo" silk velvet for a pair of large 24" square pillows. I had forgotten that I had purchased 2 yards of gorgeous gold very high end Italian silk velvet a few months ago. So this gold silk velvet will be the backing for the Il Leopardo silk velvet pillows. Because of their large size and gorgeous gold silk velvet backing, and because my cost for the Scalamandre velvet has gone up a lot, these pillows will be pricey--but what a statement they will make. I had already ordered a pair of smaller Le Tigre pillows when I visited Pam a few weeks ago.

I also took a few selections of gold silk to back the vintage Fortuny fabric shown above, but none of the various golds were quite right for this particular piece of Fortuny. There are innumerable shades of gold from green based to orange getting just the right shade can be very tricky. I've just ordered another length in what is called "old gold"--we'll see if  it works. The gold on this particular piece of Fortuny is pretty strong (the photo is not true) and rich which is why it is more difficult to match.  Wish me luck.

I thought I would show you another of my favorite hunting/buying haunts. This dealer is located in tiny Fullerton (where I live) and has a large following of top LA based 20th c. dealers. I spotted this Milo Baughman petit sofa or love seat in its original late '70s/early '80s upholstery.


The piece was in great condition, and very desirable, but the price point was a little too high for me to make a profit. (I would need to professionally clean and make new pillows for the sofa before putting in up for sale). 
But sitting beside the love seat was the N-I-C-E Milo Baughman sky scraper table

in booked olive wood veneer and sky scraper chrome legs. This piece went directly into my trusty Explorer.
Roberto will be coming in tomorrow and we'll polish the chrome and wax the top. The table is in overall excellent original condition, with only one minor scratch to the top. The table measures about 34" x 34" and would make a great coffee/cocktail table, side table or corner table.

(Just before I walked in the door of this great shop, a famous LA dealer had purchased one the the most gorgeous mid-century chairs (+ ottoman) that I have ever seen--the early bird catches the worm.)

I am immensely grateful that "Sandy" has passed with limited loss of life--the property and economic damage is immense. We are an extremely resourceful and generous country; the best of our national character comes forth during times of need. I have many friends in the affected area--all seem to have weathered the storm well.

Jones is well--tomorrow is a super busy day. Roberto and I are rearranging everything to get ready for the Christmas season--can't believe that it is already here!!

Be well
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I received my absentee ballot a couple of days ago and today I mailed it.
I vote for all of the patriotic reasons; I vote because I take personal responsibility for who is elected to office; I vote because I care about what is in our food supply; I vote because I care about our environment; I vote because I care about my neighbors; I vote because I want to continue to live in a democratic and free nation; I vote because I am privileged to be an American; I vote because I believe in the rights of the individual; I vote because MY VOTE DOES COUNT; I vote because I want elected leaders who care about the future of this earth, who care about the individual as opposed to the corporation, who hold a vision of what the United States should be. BUT MOST OF ALL I VOTED BECAUSE OF MIA. That she, her sisters and cousins and all of the children of this earth have the God given right to become the people that they were destined to become at birth. 

Please vote; vote for your own reasons; vote for the candidate you feel will guide us to a strengthened  relationship among nations. Stand up and be counted or forever hold your peace.

Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Friday, October 19, 2012



Yesterday was Thursday, which means auction day. But I felt certain that I was supposed to be at the shop...what to do?  I stopped at my favorite Thursday haunt and saw the most gorgeous, to die for, huge English style carved wing chairs in a perfect pale blue-gray linen and in perfect condition....I started drooling......but still felt that I needed to be at the shop for no particular reason. 
I left and called my friend and neighbor, Roy, who offered to bid on them for me since he wasn't interested. I set my mark at $1000 for the pair. That is quite a chunk of change for a pair of vintage chairs, even if they were fantastic.

I arrived at the shop convinced that a huge sale was just waiting to happen....I waited, and waited and waited expectantly....Just as I was thinking of leaving to avoid the horrendous Thursday traffic (and being a bit puzzled as to the fact that no one even the slightest bit interesting had come in), a charming pair of ladies stopped to study my chinoiserie Marbro Lamps

We started talking, they were dealers from Seattle and I realized that I recognized her shop as being on 1stdibs.  We chatted some more and she was interested in several other items. In a short period of time we realized that we had many connections and interests in common--I love it when that happens.
I gave the Seattle dealer great quotes on what she was interested in and then had to leave to hopefully miss the TRAFFIC and stay with THE GIRLS while their parents went out. (I followed up my visit with the Seattle dealer with an email firming up the quotes)
When I got home, I tallied up the dollar amount of the items that this dealer is interested in and that amount exactly matched the dollar amount that I had set as my goal for the day. I really don't know if any of these quotes will develop into sales, but I do know that I needed to be at the shop for a specific unknown reason and I followed the nudge. 
Inspiration is great, but without follow through--doesn't count for much. It is all in the listening and acting.  I think I'm finally listening.

And the to-die-for wing chairs sold for $1750--way more than I was willing to spend (but I'm still drooling).

Have a wonderful inspiration-filled week-end.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012



I have been on a three-month odyssey/ adventure/ hunt for a particular screw to replace two 18th c. screws on the oval George III/Regency Breakfast  table. I have been to hardware stores, Home Depot, antique specialty hardware stores, the name it, I've searched there. After 20 years (and more if you count the time I lived in Spain), I thought that I knew a little bit about most kinds of restorations, finishes, hardware, pulls, locks, etc. Turns out I knew (now I know a bit) nothing, I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about screws. Did you know that there are metal screws, dry wall screws, wood screws, cement screws, self drilling screws, metric screws, machine screws, American screws, European screws, etc., etc., etc.
Finally, after going to the famous Muff's antique and restoration hardware store in Orange, California, and after being totally humiliated regarding my screw ignorance, I learned that I needed a machine screw (they didn't have the right size). So today, I went back to Ace Hardware with the 18th c. fitting plate that needed the screw. I had three grown experienced hardware men helping me find the right screw (and they were bickering between themselves--I felt rather smug). Turns out I needed a METRIC MACHINE SCREW in a very odd size. Well, I bought 2 screws each in lengths of 2" and 1 3/4" for $5.00.


Now lets see if they fit. My life saver, Roberto, is coming next week to install the screws and then we'll have to sit down and get drunk celebrating our success.

Be well-love the journey.
Mary & Jones (& Cole)

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Here we have Mr. Jones and Mr. Cole. They are best friends, but there is a marked difference in IQ between the two. It's not hard to tell which dog is slightly lacking in the intelligence dept., but Cole is so faithful and loving so we don't tell him that he isn't too smart. Both dogs are being very good boys to sit to have their picture taken.   
I've decided not to go to the shop today. Ethan and I are having the best time together. (I co-parented Ethan up to the age of 8, when my daughter remarried) so Ethan and I have much history, but not so much lately. On Friday we were going to go to the movies, but we decided to stay home and just chill. Ethan took such good care of me!!
Then yesterday after work, we went out to his favorite place for dinner; I tried to shut down the video games --without too much success (actually his mom has very strict controls on video games/computer/TV).

Isn't he handsome? The perfect teenage boy's room!  
Today, I'm playing hooky. We are spending the day together cleaning my car (I pay well); going to see ARGO and popping over to see James & Grace and The Girls. Just together time. He is THIRTEEN (how did that happen) and in just a few years he will be off to college. Ethan is a skater; all A's student; video creator; and all-around great kid (usually). He is also the only one to love antique/vintage furniture--especially the egg chair. He started his antiques training very early when I would bring him to the shop before he could walk.
By the way, Argo is great and seems to be historically correct.
Have a wonderful Sunday--it is gorgeous here!

Mary & Jones (& Cole)

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I went to see my former upholsterer on Monday. I still take him my most complicated/demanding projects. As I glanced in the window I noticed that Bob was looking older and my heart skipped a beat. I hadn't seen Bob in over a year and hadn't expected these changes in him.
(Side note: Bob was a respected attorney affiliated with the US Embassy in Vietnam and escaped to the US just as Saigon was falling. Of course, upon arrival Bob had to learn another avenue to support his growing family and he became a very well-respected upholsterer. Bob and his wife, Cam, had three children here. All three have become very successful--two are doctors and the third is the director of a British international bank located in Singapore. Bob and Cam supported all three of their children throughout  college and graduate school. Bob and Cam represent a true American success story and the value that many immigrants bring to our country.)
I brought Bob my Period Regency (c.1820)cock  fighting/library chair and the pair of Louis XV style Chauffeuses (fireside or boudoir chairs). 

When Roberto and I examined the chauffeuses up close, we noticed that one of the rear legs had been braced with a late 19th/early 20th c. hand forged iron brace and the screws used to fix the brace were old offset notched. I think that the chauffeuses are older than I had originally thought--at the very latest they are late 19th c. or very early 20th c. 
I bought an exquisite Beacon Hill woven peuter/green and gold silk for the chauffeuses and will use a 19th c. French army green & metallic trim as gimp (Bob is ordering new feather cushions). The cock fighting chair is being upholstered in a soft black Edelman leather and patinated nail head detailing. Bob is the absolute best for dealing with antique pieces that need an artist's hand.
But I'm saddened. These might be the last pieces that Bob does for me--he and Cam are retiring next month. Bob says that he will continue to take occasional pieces and work from home and I'm honored that he will keep me as a client. We have been friends for over 16 years (he has supported me through thick and thin) and I will miss him.
I'll post photos of Bob and Cam when I pick up the chairs in a couple of weeks.
Be well.
Mary and Jones (and Cole)

P.S. Jones and I are staying with Cole and Ethan (No.1 grandson) this week-end--it's my turn to pick the movie. Ethan chose "Transformers Whatever" last time and my ears still haven't recovered.


Friday, October 5, 2012

French Deco Glass Lamp

I decided not go go to auction yesterday...too many things on my plate and I needed to be in the shop. But I did take the time to photograph this wonderful example of French Deco glass that dates (probably) to the late 1930's that I bought last week. This particular piece happens to be signed Sevres glass (same name as the reknown porcelain manufacturer). 

I have sold several similar lamps by both baccarat and Daum, but these lamps never measured more than 8 inches in height (glass height). Shown below are 2 Daum glass pieces taken from these guys are in the 8 inch range:

From the photos it is appears that the quality of glass of my lamp is superior, but this could simply be the focus of the photos. What isn't quite so obvious is that my lamp measures an incredible 14 inches (glass section) in height as opposed to the circa 8 inches of the 1stdibs examples.

I love the fluidity of the amorphous design of this glass piece, the clarity of the glass and its impressive size. It does have a flake at the bottom and a small ding down near the bottom, but the piece is going out to be polished and these imperfections will become almost invisible (I always disclose restorations or repairs when selling an item). These minor restorations will slightly influence the price point, but not too much as the lamp is considered a decorative rather than a collectible item. I'm also taking the lamp to my super lamp maker who will fashion a custom electrical fitting.
Notice the original French electrical fitting hanging over to the side? It was secured to the lamp with what looks like a cork from a wine bottle!!! Wouldn't pass inspection here.
And finally, I think that I will pair the lamp to a black paper shade, with white lining (silver if available) to give the lamp more of a deco appearance.  
If you check on for pricing comparison, my lamp will be priced considerably less than these  much, much smaller lamps. I love it when one of my inventory items finds a quick home making some one happy; so I make the price point more accessible.   Hopefully, this beautiful piece of glass has a new owner all lined up. 

Jones says "hi"--we are taking some time off today: in Jones' mind this equals more time at the park. We'll see about that.
Wishing ya'll a perfect Fall week-end.
Mary and Jones (and Cole)

Thursday, October 4, 2012


It's auction time--again. My cash flow is a little under the weather today; so I will be buying very judiciously.
Last week I was very good and stayed true to my goal--I didn't buy any furniture, wasn't even tempted by a single chair.  But I did buy these amazing floor lamps


I believe the lamps date to the late 1960's, perhaps late 1970's. They are hand wrought French gilt iron of Easter Lily form. If the gilt iron detailing, gorgeous tripod foot and great condition and rarity weren't enough bells and whistles==LOOK AT THE SHADES!!
If I were to replace these shades, each one would cost over $200.00.
So I'm going to auction aiming for a couple of hits and am going without any preconceived limitations (other than the final tally for the day).
Jones says "hi"--we are both loving the change in will be a true Fall day with temps in the 70's (mink coat time). I am so grateful.
Have a wonderful Thursday.

Mary and Jones (and Cole)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012



I think that you can see what I did Saturday night. I can't believe how much these little beauties have grown in the last 6 months!! Lauren (the athlete) is in kindergarten and is currently the principal (perhaps only) scorers on her soccer team. Kaia (the girly-girl) has already developed a sashay (sp?) to her walk and is a sweetie. And then there is Mia who just turned 2 a couple of weeks ago. Mia is still busy keeping up with her sisters, but she clearly has her own personality. We will see how this one develops--she loves to cuddle. I think she might hit six feet if she continues to grow as she has....not a bad thing.
Well, it hit 105* yesterday. Hopefully today will be summer's last hurrah and then we'll go back down to 80*s until next August. I just hate being brain dead. Can you imagine that Mini Beast wants to cuddle in this weather?
But I did make my trip to see Pam at Fine Details to start the process of making up the Fortuny Pillows. I went through my stash of fabrics and found the perfect backing silks for 9 Fortuny pillows and a pair of Scalamandre "Le Tigre" silk velvet pillows. This is clearly serendipity in play as I bought the silks over the past 3-4 years with no clear intent in mind. So that means 11 in progress. I had forgotten that Pam had some of my Fortuny so I ordered a gorgeous pair in a gold on cinnabar. It's a time consuming process to make the pillows, including the custom down inserts that have to be just the right size and heft for each fabric.
Patricia (PVE Blog) brought to mind that fact that there are five Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in October, which is apparently something of an oddity.
And suggested that we all become super productive with this unique configuration and accomplish FIVE goals each day. I'm going to attempt cleaning up the shop today, getting everything in order with fresh energy flowing in (good luck) and I will be super productive tomorrow as Roberto is coming (at least Roberto will be super productive) and I will be the super director.
At home: I finally found a housekeeper.
Have a wonderful Fall week filled with Super 5 creative days.
Mary and Jones