Wednesday, August 28, 2013


It hit 100* today and I'm melting......

Last night I took James and Lauren (6) and Kaia (5) out to dinner....I'm missing Grace and Mia.
One of my conversation snippets with Lauren went something like this:
Lauren:  Nana, how is your leg?
Me:        It's much better, but I think that I will have 
              to have surgery to make it all better.
Lauren:  (Very serious face) Like Daddy?
Me:        Yes, Like Daddy, only Daddy had knee
             surgery and I am going to have hip surgery.
Lauren:  Oh! Well, how are you going to walk?
Me:        I guess that I'll have crutches, but I'll be
             walking in a day or two.
Lauren:  No, I think you need one of those chairs!
Me:        What kind of chair?
Lauren:  Those chairs with wheels.
Me:        I don't think so. I'll be even climbing stairs in
             a few days.
Lauren:  No Nana! You need one of those chairs with
Me:        (The light finally goes on) Do you mean that
             you would like to play with the wheel chair?
Lauren:  Yes!!! And then I could help you.
Me:        I'm a bit speechless envisioning Lauren 
             wheeling me around the back yard full tilt 
             and yelling at Kaia to "stay away from Nana"
             ......perhaps it was a nightmare?
If only we could all return to the age of 6 every once in a while. Life is so simple and so direct.

Mia Update
Mia is finishing her first week of Proton radiation therapy. Three more weeks to go. And then, if everything is looking good, home to California. Thank you for so many prayers for Mia's recovery. We all feel so very blessed.

Auction Preview
On my way home (in the blazing heat with my air conditioner not working properly) from West Hollywood I stopped to preview tomorrow's auction....(the hunt goes on even when I'm not).  I rushed through, but I did see a couple of things that looked promising.....

Of course, I did cut off the rest of the table--but I think this is a Maison Charles two tiered lacquered table--just look at those little feet and the intricate finial.......

Charming antique bronze elephant (I have so many animals that I must think I'm a zoo keeper rather than an antiques dealer.....).

There is a pair of these 20th c. Imari vases which I will definitely buy to turn into lamps. I would prefer 19th c. Meiji period Imari, but these are very nicely done and will make very decorative lamps.

And then there is this "near pair" of  antique French terracotta urns. I love the old painted surfaces and the little nicks and scratches to the terracotta--these guys might go pretty high--you just never know.

Update on the black lacquer chests:  YES!! I sold them about 2 hours after putting them in the shop and finalized the sale on Monday.....I think that I'm on a roll here. My new alliance with an old friend who loves to shop and buy is proving to be just what I needed.

Hope that your end-of-summer weather is a lot cooler than mine--but this will pass as soon as we hit October.

Be well,
Mary & Jones (and Cole)      

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Oooooooops--didn't intend for Jones to get in the middle of this shot. 
Here are a couple of photos of the Black Lacquer chests that I bought last week--now that they have been delivered and are viewable, I think that they are even better than what I had originally guessed

These photos were taken with my iphone; so there is a bit of distortion. In actuality, the cases are in perfect shape, but appear a bit warped in the photos. I love the minimalist perfect proportions and that the brass hardware is the only break in the high glass lacquer

I took these photos of the Russian/Baltic side chairs today after Roberto and I were organizing.

These neoclassical guys are another variation on the "Klismos" chair which is, of course, my favorite chair form.
I'm not sure exactly what the wood is, I think it's mainly mahogany.... will have to do a little research.
Note how tall the slip seats are; the back legs have a very stylized back sweep; the front legs are carved with acanthus leaf (?) detailing and a plain and a fluted ring at the bottom of the chair legs. The gilding on the acanthus leaf carving is not original--but does add a bit of interest. My favorite detail is the charming carving of the back splat--unique to Russian chairs. There are remnants of the ebaniste's label, but so far I haven't able to make sense of it. Serendipitously (word ?), I have just enough of a Scalamandre striped cut velvet to reupholster the chairs!! They have to have a stripe. The chairs are a bit later than I had originally guessed, probably 1830's.
These guys are a little too dressy and stiff for mainstream Southern California decorating, but will be more appealing to an international client.

Hope your last days of summer (before school starts) are glorious--it has cooled down a bit here and I'm loving it.
Have a super Sunday.

Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Thursday, August 22, 2013


This has been a very unusual much unexpected growth. I haven't yet processed it all yet, but I do know that life is expanding and good.

Mia has had her first Proton Radiation Sessions and she appears to be doing very well. It is way too early to tell if the radiation is having the desired affect, but God is in the midst of all of my faith is strong. I'm picking James (my son) up tomorrow night at LAX--I know how he is torn between wanting to stay with Mia and Grace and his desire to be with Lauren and Kaia...The doctors do not anticipate that the radiation will cause any damage to Mia's hearing or eyesight or to her brain. This is such good news--there is still a huge challenge to overcome the vision loss that has already occurred, but we'll just leave those concerns for the future.

There really wasn't much to buy today--but I can always find something.......Richard and I bought (and probably scored) a sweet and good pair of Baltic (Russian) neoclassical chairs that I believe date to c. 1810-20.....nobody was paying too much attention to these beauties; so they came home with us....I won't be picking them up until tomorrow--I'll post photos on Saturday.  And we also bought a nice medium-level set of six French Deco dining chairs upholstered in white leather----which means that they do not need any work and are set to go. I'll be posting these guys to One King's Lane. And we bought a good-sized bronze and crystal Louis XV-style chandelier which will also go on One King's Lane.
I'll post some photos on Saturday......
For now, I'm off to bed.
Be well.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Friday, August 16, 2013


Just a quickie........One thing to ALWAYS remember at auctions is that ALL auction companies twist the truth--some are better at concealing their truth-stretching capabilities than others. BUT ALL HAVE BEEN CAUGHT STRETCHING THE TRUTH.
So..........nope my candlesticks were not Matthew Boulton as they had been represented. The moment I picked them up, I knew the truth. 
So I called one of the managers and suggested that he give me a credit for the sticks when I returned them on problem. 
Remember: It is buyer beware at auctions--best to preview everything before bidding; but that does not absolve the auctioneer from speaking the truth of an item.
Have a wonderful week-end....
Mary & Jones (and Cole) 


I love auctions--it's not so much the acquiring, but rather how God will bless me today that excites me. You just never know if you are going to be successful with your bid and you just never know what God will simply drop in your lap. Today was a drop-in-your-lap day.
I was calmly watching the auction lots and seeing how the bidding was going (catching the rhythm of the day) when the auctioneer announced a pair of silver plated candlesticks, (I had not previewed the sticks and had assumed that they were 1920's--wrong!) he not only announced them, he stated that the sticks were hall marked MATTHEW BOULTON. Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) was one of England's most respected silver smiths of the late 18th/early 19th century. The bidding went something like this (remember it's over in seconds) 20..30..40..50..60 and then there was a lull and my hand shot up so fast and brought those puppies home. I guess that I was the only one paying attention and who knew who Matthew Boulton was--it pays to do your homework.
Here is a photo of a gorgeous set of 3 pairs of Matthew Boulton Sheffield candlesticks that I grabbed from 1stdibs.

Notice the hall mark on the bottom edge of the sticks? My pair is more neoclassical in form than these, but about the same size...I will be picking the sticks up tomorrow and will post photos then.
We also picked up a great pair of 1950's black lacquered bachelors chests........Please excuse the photo quality. These pieces are in very good condition and will only need to have their lacquer refreshed...when it comes to lacquer work, the cost of stripping and re-lacquering is almost prohibitive; so it's important to buy pieces that are in reasonably good condition. These are very well constructed case pieces; the Drexel signature is faint which may be one reason their price point was still reasonable. I love the excellent brass chinoiserie hardware and the fact that the chests actually have a brushing slide.
Here are a few (bad) shots of the chests


I like to have at least two pairs of black lacquered chests in inventory. (I sold the black lacquered Mastercraft chest 2 days after putting her into the shop--maybe that will happen with these guys?) My new lacquer artisan is picking them up tomorrow and they'll probably be back in a week or so.

Mia and Grace arrived in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday and James arrived on Tuesday to spend a few days with The Girls. Mia was so excited when she saw James as the airport.......

And here she is at the hard to believe that she has had two extensive brain surgeries in the last two months---answered prayers. Thank you so much.

Hope everyone has a wonderful almost end-of-summer week-end.
Be well.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Monday, August 12, 2013


In March I wrote a post about the Loving Tree in my back yard. I love this tree and anxiously await the appearance of new growth and leaflets (as in fledglings) each spring. I marvel at the miracle that occurs without my doing anything. And then, all hot summer long The Loving Tree gracefully shelters all of us from the hot Southern California sun--especially when the Santa Ana winds coming roaring in sucking up all of the moisture--The Loving Tree gives back the water she has been drinking.
Here are a couple of photos taken in March when The Loving Tree was just beginning to share her beauty

And here is a photo of Jones under the fully leafed tree

I know...(he's gorgeous, too). That's not a great photo as the back yard is really a lot larger and greener.......
Unfortunately, one of the large and heavy branches on the right side of The Loving Tree could no longer carry the weight of the beautiful shading leaves and came down one night right about where Jones is standing. Of course this meant that Ms. Love would have to be trimmed.....
The owner of the house took forever to schedule the trimming, and unfortunately she scheduled the trimming of Ms. Love the day that I was moving into The Collection (La Cienega). I waited and was even late for the movers hoping that I would have a chance to talk with the tree trimmers. They had already been instructed to ONLY TRIM MS. LOVE.........The owner was advised that I couldn't personally be at the house and that she needed to be there to supervise. ALL TO NO AVAIL.........  Ms. Love was violated? butchered? injured?   This is what I found when I returned, hot and exhausted.  And the tears flowed.

I took this photo this morning almost two weeks following the "incident". It has taken me this long to make peace with the assailants and forgive them. I didn't meet them, but that doesn't mean I haven't taken the assault on Ms. Love personally.
When I caught my breath after first glimpsing Ms. Love, I picked up the phone and screamed at the owner of the house (just like a person who has been reading and practicing The Tao and constructive silence for the past 6 years is disciplined to do). Then I went out to Ms. Love and cried and begged her to forgive her assailants and I told her how sorry I was for about 10 long minutes........
This morning, when I could finally photograph Ms. Love with her buzz cut, I realized that she is still strong, she's getting a (probably) much needed break from all of that heavy leafing and she is being prepped for many more years of life and giving and love.
Isn't that what happens to all of us? Aren't we pruned and stripped of the excess to make way for new blessings? The pain of the trimming and minimalizing of our lives is real. In those moments it is so hard to see the new growth that will come after the darkness and shame--(I think Ms. Love felt a bit of shame the first week) of no longer wearing the emblems of ego. With a little space I've been able to see that next year and the many more years to come will be stronger and healthier years for Ms. Love.
Next year the cats and Jones will, once again, have a shady loving place to rest.....just not this year.
And I guess that it is like that for me, too, in so much of life's adventures---trimming and silent growth first. And then the blessings of bursting creation.
Have a wonderful week...

My Mia's journey....the last surgery was very much more invasive than the first surgery. She was home for a few days last week--and beating all odds and expectations........neither her personality nor brain has suffered any noticeable effects. Mia's very strong will is pulling her through....she was laughing and playing with her sisters as if nothing had happened. Grace and Mia arrived at the University of Florida, Jacksonville last night and Mia starts two months of Proton Radiation Therapy today. I humbly ask for your prayers for Mia's sight and for the tumor to gently shrink up releasing Mia's optic nerve. All is possible with love.

Love Well.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Our space at The Collection on La Cienega Blvd. is really small, but that doesn't mean I can't squeeze in a lot of stuff. Today Roberto and I unpacked and fitted the puzzle together. 
My intent was to make clients stop and say....."What in the world is happening here"--we'll see what the reactions are.



Still have a bit of fine tuning left....I think that we just might be having an African jungle party in there. Besides the cats, there are the camels, the elephant lamps, turtles, cranes, lions and foo dogs.

Have a wonderful summer day!!
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I am not usually attracted to frou-frou (spelling please?) things--I love neoclassical design, Great 20th c. Design, Spanish, French and Italian Renaissance and early Baroque--Louis XIV and LV with their extreme ornamentation and fussiness (I'll make an exception regarding textiles from those periods) do not call to me. But Thursday I bought something that almost verges on fussy, but isn't.

This pair of slightly funky girondoles was calling to me.
They are quite large at 34" and very heavy--that is a solid brass urn that supports the wrought iron floral sprays and candle prickets.
Anyway, here go a few examples of girondoles that I downloaded from and I think you'll see what attracted me to this pair.
First up is a pair of circa 1920's French Louis XV-style petite girondoles--these used to sell like hotcakes; today, not so much. They are cute and decorative.

Next up is a 19th century pair of good French  Louis XV/Transitional-style Girondoles, similar in form to the first examples, but much much more imposing and desirable. Look at the height of the top obelisk-form cut crystal finial--amazing. I see these in a grand French country or Parisian home--or Texas.

Next is a pair of Charles X, French Restoration girondoles circa 1820. These are big gorgeous crystal examples and in beautiful condition. They are extremely elegant and chic--New York, London, Paris design. I do love them for their neoclassical form and minimalism--but they are a bit over-the-top for the type of room that makes me comfortable. Dore bronze with beautifully faceted hand cut crystal pendants (I think the cats would love them).
And a final outstanding example of a girondole is this gorgeous English Regency Girondole Mirror that dates to circa 1820. The eagle surmount frame with all original gilding, retaining its original elements (even the antique bullseye mirror) together with the scrolling candle arms definitely lights a fire.

I used to sell many Federal and Regency case pieces, and this mirror would have been the piece de resistance (please insert the accents where needed) over many of my past sideboards. It still makes me drool........

But back to my newest girondoles:

These guys are a marriage of two elements.... the girondole sections with the hand wrought iron flowers and prickets probably date to the early 19th c.   (perhaps earlier) provincial France. As the pricket/floral sections are quite tall, they were most probably fitted to painted/faux marble (?) wooden urns. Today they are fitted to solid brass neoclassical style snake handled urns that date to about the 1920's--surprisingly, the marriage works. I placed the girondoles on 19th c. Italian faux painted pedestals--another marriage that works. One of the reasons that I love these guys is the patinated iron work that integrates so well in Spanish, Italian or Provencal interiors--not too fancy---but lots of character and they are big (a total of 34" in height). Perfect for California decorating. Texans would really like them, too. 
Here are some detail shots of these country and not too perfect (one leans a bit) girondoles


Hope that the new weeks brings fantastic summer weather--not too hot--margaritas and bathing suits.

Be well.
Mary and Jones (& Cole)


This is what our shop in Pasadena looked like when I arrived at 10:15 this morning... ONE ENORMOUS DISASTER. 


Thankfully, a bit after I arrived, my wonderful daughter, Dao, came to help. We started chipping away at the mess: bit by bit, clearing little areas of space. Around 2:05 Roberto arrived and we started making music. I had already formed a plan in my head and with Roberto as my wing man, who synchs perfectly with me, things started taking shape very quickly. By about 3:45 (that's only 1.7 hours) this is what we had come up with...



There is still another day of fine-tuning left: pictures and mirrors to hang, lamps to position, cases to be made right...but the basics are done.
(Please excuse the quality of the last photos--I was pretty tired by the end of the day)
I am so grateful to have Roberto--he gave up his Saturday afternoon with his family to help me. And I love working with my daughter who also gave up time with her family--times spent with the people that we love are so precious and these will be forever cherished memories.

Bernhard Rohne for Mastercraft Chest.
These photos are of an acid etched brass detailed chest of drawers by noted furniture designer Bernhard Rohne. Richard and I bought this little chest on Thursday. I have had a couple of Berhard Rohne pieces in the past and love the traditional form of the chest that is embellished with modern acid etched brass detailing. The craft of etching brass rises to an art form when it is executed by a master craftsman.

Just look at that happy guy depicted on the side of the chest. The chest needs just a bit of restoration to the black lacquer and it will have its brass hardware polished and then it will be ready to go.

Mia and Grace arrived home very late last night. It feels so good to have them close. I will hopefully see everyone tomorrow... so many blessings. Thank you for so many answered prayers.

Jones doesn't know that we have moved..I need to find a spot for his blanket tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Sunday surrounded by love.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Friday, August 2, 2013



Thankfully, true antiques dealers cannot stay away from auction day. We bought several things, several GREAT THINGS!! But I only snapped these two photos with my Iphone when I previewed on Wednesday (of course, I was a bit late to my own move so that I could preview)........this is a true sign of a chair addict: we bought more chairs, although we are over-flowing with chairs. But these guys were too amazing to pass up. In 25 years of buying, I have never seen anything quite like them. I have seen similar Italian tole beds, but never tole arm chairs.  Take a look...

I'm pretty sure that they are Italian, but they are painted in a French Neoclassical style.  Is it my imagination...I think there is more than a hint of a klismos form here. Anyway, they are very unique and fun. I'll take better photos tomorrow.
We also bought this little antique 19th c. Syrian or Moroccan tabouret--love the patina....

Mia and her Mom are flying home tomorrow for about a 10 day respite from all of the medical stuff. I can't wait to see them--Mia is doing really well and we are all taking it day-by-day. Still many hurdles before a full recovery. Thank you for all of the many prayers.

Be well.
Mary & Jones (& Cole)