Thursday, October 31, 2013


Roberto, Richard and I made a huge amount of progress on our many projects. Refining the details on restoration work is just like life--you need flow--too much or too little just won't work. And today we all synched.


Richard picked up the black glass for the console and Roberto went to work.  Not too shabby.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Saturday, October 26, 2013


This has been a very busy week. My birthday---which I usually don't celebrate was the best.....

Here is Kaia (middle child) at 5 quietly doing homework (kindergarten is like 1st grade)???  at the restaurant where my kids took us all out to dinner. (Homework every night in kindergarten......??? But she loves it; so I guess that I shouldn't be too concerned.)
And here is Kaia out for a nap--too much excitement for one day.

My gratitude is for so many blessings. Mia is improving daily. I seem to have Mia on Fridays; with about a week in between visits I can really see progress. Just last week she was still a little spacey and seemed to be having trouble expressing herself. This Friday, she was back to her happy and expressive self (also a huge temper tantrum.....) She still has many mountains to climb, but she is definitely moving forward. Thank you for answered prayers.

Update on completed restorations, etc.

Here are a couple of photos of the restored Louis XV-style desk (perhaps dressing table). It is really beautiful. I believe that it dates to the 1950's and it has all of the requisite bells and whistles. The marble top is an unusual feature, but a great one. The sabots are very well detailed, and, of course, the painted and inlaid surface is to die for.

And finally, the Japanese lacquer panel of Koi made it up the stairs. The panel comes in at about 4 feet square--very large but amazing.

It needs a tiny bit of touch up--Roberto will have it in top shape in an hour or so. I see this piece positioned over a quality mid-century sideboard or cabinet--perhaps large console.
I can't believe that we are about to start another month---how did October slip by so quickly?
Be well.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Saturday, October 19, 2013


There are many reasons for "sleepers" at auctions. (A sleeper is an auction lot that is ignored by the bidders present) One of the major reasons for "sleepers" is that there is something glaringly "off" about the item up for bid. The cast iron console below is a perfect example of what throws off/discourages potential bidders: The top is a total mess and a misfit for the gorgeous cast iron base. Just look at the iron work--stupendous--detailed, chiseled, beautifully finished with gold leaf and applied patina. And the top looks like a bad bathroom tile job.

So this where my little eye and creativity go to work...And we almost didn't buy it because I hesitated over struggling with the logistics of transporting this very heavy base, but Richard saved the day and stuck his hand up just in time.  Here are a few more photos--sorry about the quality.

The console is at the glass fabricator (last two photos) waiting for its new black glass top. See what happens to the console with that horrible top in the dumpster??
I really don't know what to call this guy: 20th c. Louis XV grotto, but acanthus leaves instead of shells? The glass will extend about 1/2 to 3/4 inch over the edge of the iron support.  Can't wait to see what it will look like back at the shop.
Here is a second example of an auction sleeper:

These are photos that I took when I previewed Thursday's auction. The auction house had this item tagged as a "table top" look at it, with the gorgeous raised lacquer koi fish would make anyone think that it wouldn't work as a table. And they would be right--this would never work as a table top. The problem is that this is not a table top; it's a drop-dead gorgeous 20th c. Japanese lacquer panel. I wish my photos were better--I'll update with better photos on Monday. The white crackle raised lacquer koi fish were created with a complex technique that I think is called eggshell lacquer (not sure) that is raised about 1/16 to 1/8 above the black lacquer surface. The panel is quite large--about 40" x 48" (I clipped the photo) and is stunning, with beautiful movement to the circular koi grouping. Lesson--never believe what a tag says, it could be wrong.
I guess it all comes to one huge imperative at any auction: ALWAYS DO YOUR HOMEWORK and know what your are looking at.
I'm not going to say what we purchased these sleepers for--but I was prepared to pay several times more than what the bidding ended at.
And I am so grateful. Business has been spotty at best, the Government Shutdown has really impacted so many of us in the design sector. I am also very grateful that we now have a functioning Federal Government--and that business is picking up.

I spent Friday with Mia--we ran errands for the shop and went to Costco and then out to lunch. She doing very well!! But there are some deficits resulting from the radiation treatments....I am sure that as her little brain heals and new cells replace the damaged ones, she will be just fine. It is still a journey (as I sigh and sigh) and I pray that her pituitary starts working again. Her medication schedule is very precise and she really hates the taste (can't blame her). The shots she takes like a little trooper.
Thank you for all of your prayers.

Be well,
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Friday, October 11, 2013


Every once in a while I buy something that is really sexy. Great curves, sexy legs and flirty. That's how I describe this unique console--you be the judge.


This is pure Art Deco, but so sinuous and sexy. Richard had the new black glass fabricated, but the hand forged iron base is entirely original and unique. We love French iron, but this example doesn't conform to the expected format. I love the patinated gold leaf surface--reminds me of Medusa. The console is quite a good size (48" wide), but its narrow serpentine top make it appear lighter and smaller. 

This guy was my find--but Richard was in charge of the Qing and Ming Chinese Scholar chairs (next post).

I been painting......Of course, I'm not satisfied with the color--it's just a bit off, so will repaint on Monday...that is the way it goes with colors. You just can't tell until it's on the wall as light refraction plays a huge role in how the color reads.

Let's end this crazy Federal shut down NOW!! I could go on for paragraphs about what I think of the individuals who thought that temper tantrums are a good way to run this amazing nation. Their job is to govern; not sabotage.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Monday, October 7, 2013



I am a firm believer in setting your heart (intention) on specific goals in life (spiritual and well as physical). Sometimes (most times) the realization of those specific goals entails an entire journey. I used to moan about the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of the journey as I never seemed to be arriving at my goal. But now I see the journey as the goal (I could write books about the crazy journeys...). My latest big goal (prayer) was to bring Mia home safe and on the way to total healing. She's home with her sisters and cousins!! I think this was the first good photos of the gang.....Blake (15), Lauren (almost 7), Ethan (14), Sam (11), Mia (just 3) and the fashionista, Kaia (5).  I am so incredibly thankful.  Of course, now that my body is used to getting up at 4, I was up--but Grace is now home to get everyone off to school.

Now on about INTENTIONS...........
Chinese porcelains, furniture, "you name it" has been selling like hotcakes the last 3 years. This week my neighbor sold about $60,000 of nice, but middling Chinese furniture. Of course, it is almost impossible to buy at auction because the Chinese buyers are bidding like crazy--even resorting to fist fights over certain lots. So I set my goal on finding some good Chinese pieces.... And on Saturday Richard simply arrives with a pair of nice Chinese Scholars chairs in his truck. I had not mentioned a word about looking for Chinese items--Richard was simply present when a couple arrived with a pair of antique chairs to sell. He bought them on the spot (we both hate to bargain when the price point is good) and brought them in. Boy, did my eyes light up.




The chairs are not quite what I was looking for, but they are very, very, very nice. I believe they are Elm Scholar Chairs dating to the late Qing Period, c. 1850. They are in great condition and a matched pair!! I love the carved scrolls on the top rail and the out swept arms. So strange...I set my goal and Richard achieved it---vicarious completion? Who knows. As quantum physics is proving, there is no real separation between us.  That means we had better keep our focus on the positive, rejecting that which might bring harm to others (who are really ourselves).

Jones is very handsome as he had a bath and his hair cut on Saturday. (I'm next)
I wonder what this next week will weather and rain!!! Yeah.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


It's auction day tomorrow. Unfortunately, there hasn't been that much to buy at my favorite Thursday haunt....but that doesn't mean there haven't been discoveries. Richard is an inveterate shopper --I prefer to study and observe and "know" what I'm buying. Richard flies by the seat of his pants and he does score (usually, but there are those Ooops days, too). Last week we were definitely on a score roll...
I posted on my antique copper pot....but on the opposite end of the spectrum are these super finds.
First up is my hidden treasure---just what I love: Neoclassical/Art Deco style in stone and with animals--great gilt brass fierce jaguar mounts. These alabaster sconces date to the 1970's --so not really Deco, but in the spirit of. And they are big! 24"w x 13"h.

And now for Richard's finds--both of us love beautifully forged iron pieces and Venetian style tile makes it even better. This table is English, perhaps a marriage as I think the top dates to c. 1880-1890 with Aesthetic influences, whereas the base has Renaissance influences--but whatever the origins, the results are fantastic.

As you can see from the photos, there are minor losses to the glass mosaic panel, but I think this just adds character and history to the table. I will go over the forged iron work with hard paste wax and that will be it for the restoration work...I'll post a photo once the iron is spiffed up.
And finally.......and this is Richard's baby (I'm usually much more minimal).... a c. 1880-1910 French Louis XV-style serpentine-form lacquered desk (perhaps dressing table as the top is a gorgeous antique marble) with gilt bronze mounts and gallery (and if that weren't enough...) it is finely painted and detailed with unusual inset mother-of-pearl cartouches with Italianate references. Yes, Roberto is working on the restorations--which are minimal. Some one's pup loved the front legs a bit too much and there is minor touch up work required to the black lacquer; otherwise, the desk is in very good condition. 

Sexy legs, that's for sure....just wait til Roberto completes the restoration and she is set to go.

As always, I am grateful for what is so graciously given. Nothing is simply earned--always gifts are given.

Miss Mia and Grace are coming home Friday. I took James (my son) to the airport last night to go pick up his girls in Jacksonville. That also means that my weeks of being morning mom to Lauren and Kaia have come to an end....I will miss those mornings filled with love.

Mary & Jones (& Cole)