Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I was envisioning how I would integrate my little 17th century side table
with some of my other 17th and early 18th century pieces. This is what I've been dreaming of--usually I don't like to have a purely period room-- and these guys all appear to be able to have a great conversation.
On either side of the table I would place this pair of early 20th c. Jacobean-style side chairs that I upholstered in a Scalamandre silk damask, retaining the original hand hammered nail heads

Above the table I would position my late 17th c Dutch mirror --it is just a bit more narrow than the table
Next I would place this pair of French iron sconces that date to the early 20th century on either side of the mirror above the chairs. Just look at that original patina!

On top of the table I would either place a Claude Conover Vessel (depending upon my cash flow)

Or my 18th/19th century Korean water Vessel.

Next, I would place my English 17th c. bible box on one of the side chairs.

I would probably choose a vintage John Saladino Shelter Sofa in a large weave Belgium linen.

I would add a couple of my antique c. 1915-1920 Fortuny pillows with 19th c. French metallic trim--these would echo the tones of the Korean vessel.

And finally, I would position my late 17th c. Spanish chest or "Arca" as a coffee table in front of the Saladino sofa.

For starters, I would place my Italian marble bust on the chest 

adding a Japanese lacquer box in gorgeous  gold makie detailing


Well, what do you think? I'm open to any suggestions...would love to work in some great mid-century or contemporary pieces. I think I need a great abstract, plus......

Jones say "hi" --he is patiently awaiting a trip to the P-A-R-K actually, he can figure out the meaning even when I spell out park....too smart for his own good.

Have a great last day of April.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Sunday, April 28, 2013



There wasn't anybody at auction two weeks ago to stop me from buying MORE CHAIRS........
How could I resist?  I had previewed this set of four mid-century pull-up chairs the day before the Thursday auction and was debating whether to buy them. They were marked Monteverdi-Young on the ticket and they had immediately caught my eye (if you have read "Blink" you will know what that means) which is usually an indication that the chairs are good. When they came to the block on Thursday I had just walked in and hadn't had time to check out the chairs a second time (never a good omen). The auctioneer even identified the chairs as Monteverdi-Young from the block...I ended up paying quite a bit more than I had intended and then had my doubts as to whether the chairs were truly fabricated by the highly desirable California mid-century furniture maker, Monteverdi-Young.
I started doing the usual guilt-trip and kicking myself for not being more prudent. I paid for the chairs and left, deciding to research them a bit more before picking them up. The more I researched the chairs, the more doubtful I became....but I kept on searching for similar examples. The auction house started calling me to remind me to pick up the chairs (not good). 
Finally, I found what I was looking for--a pair of similar chairs, but of dining room chair proportions. My  guys are indeed Monteverdi-Young, but an uncommon form. The defining characteristics of the chairs and the reason that I am convinced they were indeed  made  by Monteverdi-Young are the type of construction and materials used. The frames of the chairs are solid bleached mahogany (these chairs are very heavy), the shaping of the out-swept back legs together with the way in which the legs form one continuous line to join with the top back rail, plus the refined and exquisite workmanship of the joinery are all tell-tale signs of a Monteverdi-Young creation. The quality of these chairs is superb.
The upholstery is in almost mint condition with a bit of fading, but not much. Although the type of  fabric chosen and the pale aqua tone are indicative of late 1950's design, it is hard for me to believe the upholstery on the chairs has survived 50 plus years in this condition....on the other hand, the frames are in almost mint condition, too.
Here are a few more detailed photos.

If I were to reupholster these chairs (which I am itching to do), I would choose a very textural linen/silk/wool boucle in ivory with bits of gold and black. Unfortunately, the designer or retail client who buys the chairs will get to have all of the creative fun with these guys. I think that I will sell them either as pairs or as the set of four.
It has been a gorgeous week-end here in Los Angeles (almost too beautiful, because my buyers are not  coming indoors to shop).
Jones says "HI"--he has not gotten into the trash lately--maybe  I am finally becoming better trained.

Have a wonderful Spring week.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Monday, April 22, 2013


I love the patina on this little old table, but most of all I love the original forged iron hardware. Roberto will coming next week to spruce her up. Some crazy guy put a light coat of what I think is shoe polish on a couple of the surfaces, but I think that the original finish is under this slightly gooey stuff. Roberto will clean the surface and then apply several coats of hard paste wax and then this little guy will shine. The table is rustic and has acquired a deep soul over its 330 years of existence. A couple more photos......

I love the simplicity of this piece. Just wish I had a piece of Conover pottery to place on the top.

Be well.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Last Fall my faithful upholsterer moved to West Virginia--leaving me without a trusted partner. I tried using his brother to reupholster these cool c. 1940-50  Billy Haines inspired pull-up chairs. I wasn't happy the first time they were delivered and sent them back. Below is the second attempt by "The Brother"--not quite right. Just look at that curvy line and uneven box cushion.

And besides, the fabric really doesn't have much character--extraordinarily blaaahhhh!

So I set about finding just the right fabric and a new fabulous upholsterer------and look at the results:

I was jumping for joy when Alex delivered the chairs this afternoon!! I never really quite know how a fabric will work with a chair until I see it in place. Choosing just the right fabric is a lot more difficult when you do not have a specific client in mind--you need to be a bit more conservative without being boring and the fabric must be appropriate to the era and design of the piece. This particular fabric is a very high end Italian "cut" chenille with a diamond pattern which Alex turned into a zig-zag around the box.
Notice how Alex perfectly centered the fabric on the chair and then note how the welt on the center section perfectly lines up at the front of the chair (this is only  possible at the front of the chair because of the curve) with the diamond pattern of both the top seat surface and the zig-zags on the side of the "box"--this is not as easy job and it requires that the artisan (and these individuals are certainly artisans) be committed to the integrity of each piece. (Of course the insides of the chair seat are new foam--which has really gone up in price--and new padding.
I want to take them home so badly, but I have one insurmountable problem: two cats who would just love to make these chairs their own. Just imagine being a cat looking at that chenille: "Wow, now there's the perfect clawing post. AND IT IS ALL MINE"

I am so grateful to be assisted by my fantastic restoration resources--my life is infinitely blessed.

Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful Spring Sunday.
I need a few sales tomorrow--maybe the chairs will find a new home??

Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Friday, April 19, 2013


When I previewed "my" auction on Wednesday, I spied a great John Widdicomb sideboard in a gorgeous  dark mottled faux tortoise lacquer finish that dated to the 1960's--and I set my sights on it. The sideboard was kind of hiding at the beginning of the auction and I thought that I could probably get it at the price point where I could make a nice profit after minor restoration work. The sideboard was shaped like this (but much better quality and condition):

But, boy!! was I off with my estimate of what I thought the sideboard would sell for--it went for almost double what I had wanted to pay for it (I was the great under-bidder).
Fortunately, there was another little piece that I had my eye on (business has been a little off--so I'm watching my buying pennies very carefully). I love 17th and early 18th century pieces of furniture. They call to me: I especially love it when the piece has retained its original patina and hardware. This little table had all of the details that draw me to these very old pieces: original patinated ebonized finish, original iron hardware, original drawer bottom (replaced drawer runners--which is normal and means that I don't have to do the restoration work), great hand made square nails, original stretchers and very little worming (unusual in a table of this age and use). As an added plus, sometime in the 18th century the old top had been secured to the base with huge hand made screws.
The 17th c. side table looks something like this, with higher level detailing and slightly larger:

I think that she will be happy to join my other 17th century pieces....

This is a late 17th c. Spanish Chestnut "Arca" or chest

Her next new friend will be this 17th c. English Oak Bible Box

This 17th c. Flemish (Dutch) mirror will look great when placed above the side table. There's Jones....

And these Italian (Venetian) Hall Chairs will make great company--although they are a bit later and date to the very early 18th c.

I'll take some photos showing her great original details tomorrow when I unload the table.

I am so grateful that those responsible (known so far)  for the Boston terrorist attack have been detained. Saddened that so many lives were lost or shredded; senseless violence. 

Jones says "hi"--he needs a haircut very badly!
Have a wonderful Spring week-end; it will be gorgeous here in SC.

Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


As a nation our grief is immeasurable; our sadness, personal and collective. Lives lost, others in tatters.
Whether the Boston bombings were an act of international terrorism or the act of a home-based radical group makes no difference.

What we do know is that these individuals are  cowards.

The choices that we have as individuals in how we respond to this tragedy can be as varied as the spokes of a bicycle wheel. There are choices that we can make that will make us stronger as individuals and as a nation. I choose to walk fearless; I choose to have compassion for the victims and give to their support; I choose to talk about the unity of all mankind; I choose not to blame a particular ethnic or religious entity; I choose that an act of cowardice will never determine who I am or become; I choose to believe in the goodness of man; I choose to believe that all humanity is one; I choose to forgive my brother; I choose to connect with those that I might have previously rejected; I choose love in the face of fear; I choose hope in the face of darkness; I choose to  reject the assumption that further restrictions on The  Bill of Rights and human rights is a valid response; I choose prayer in the face of despair.
I am not in any way minimizing what has happened. I lived in a terrorist ridden environment for three years--we were under threat on a daily basis--these were the choices that I made every day. 
We are as safe as we can possibly be, there is no possible way to avoid tragedy--we make a daily assumption that we are safe so that we can function and conduct our lives. Most of the time our assumptions prove to be true. 
Let us continue to make that assumption. We are safe and strong and a nation faced with many challenges. Let us grieve and give thanks for what we have been given. Let us become better participants in the governance of this country-- with our eyes wide open with strength and courage.


Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm in the midst of updating my website......I know what I want, but I'm not sure how to get there. Structure seems to be out. Great photos on a slider are in. 
Today when I clicked on to Grant Gibson's blog post of the day--eureka (sp?)!!! There it was: clean, direct and just the kind of impression that I want my viewers to have. 
Yep, we are definitely all connected and answers just seem to arise when we most need them. Of course, my updates will be different from Grant's, but for the first time, I have a site that I can point my designer to and say: "This is what I'm aiming for!"

                       THANK YOU GRANT!

Have a wonderful spring day--it is gently raining here in Los Angeles--crisp and fresh and just a bit moody. (I can pretend I've returned to living in the Basque Country of Northern Spain)

Be well.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I love my orchids. For the past 6-7 months (maybe more) I have watched patiently as my orchids sat on the south facing kitchen window sill and were (to my eyes) not doing much. I talked to them often and watered them infrequently, their leaves were deep green and fat and strong..........but I didn't see any new flower spikes emerging. So I continued to talk to them and just let them "be".....
About three months ago, I noticed tiny little nubs beginning to emerge from the bloom spikes and about a month later...four NEW bloom spikes started to show their heads from the bottom of the plants. (It is not an easy trick to get those new bloom spikes)
So for the last two or more months, I have been watering a bit more and talking a lot more to my babes...I have a total of 13 new bloomers from 5 little plants. Every time I walk into the Kitchen there they are as if they were waving to me...........
I am full of gratitude--I am finally learning to let things just be; to follow their natural course; not being terribly invested in the particular outcome; simply being present and applauding what is.
And here are THE BABES

Aren't they gorgeous--and so happy.
New goal--better photography: new camera? new computer? new software?  (Maybe just a cleaner kitchen window sill?)

Have a wonderful Spring Day.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)