Monday, November 25, 2013


Life has been a little unsettled lately and probably just bit off-center. Things are beginning to even out to a new normal; so I'm back.
So many lessons to digest and understand more deeply that life is not linear and that as I spiral towards more growth it does get richer. My youngest son is back from teaching English in Thailand for the past year and a half. It is good to have him home. I was "Morning Mom" for a few days while Mia and Grace were at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Tennessee. Mia's journey to health continues to be one of climbing mountains, prayers are still needed. St. Jude is beyond anything I could ever imagine--a truly healing place filled with generous, loving caregivers. Thank you for all that you do for you little patients and their families.

But.....we have also been busy BUYING and selling.
I was sad to see the Japanese lacquer panel find a new home as I really love this piece and would have been happy to keep it.

And the Chinese Ching Scholar's Hat chairs sold to a charming couple that had just moved to LA from San Francisco.

The Fortuny Farnese Freize pillows sold on 1stdibs.

The early 19th c. French girondoles went to one of my favorite designers.

Of course, the eternal quest for more treasures is always calling. Richard found a fantastic Kittinger desk at an auction house that is holding it's last auction tomorrow. After 3 generations, it is closing it's doors after the gavel falls on the final lot of tomorrow's auction. It is sad to see an LA institution fade.
I've pulled a photo of a Kittinger desk similar to ours from the internet.
This desk is called "The George Washington Desk". Kittinger made exact copies of the desk that the Continental Congress gave to George Washington in honor of his being elected as our first president. I have had this desk in the past; so I recognized it when Richard sent me photos from the auction. The desk we acquired is an early example in deep rich solid and veneer mahogany with an oak carcass that I think dates to the late 1940's or 50's. The desk was in overall excellent condition, with one huge exception: some one had spilled a high alcohol content drink right on the front center of the desk, leaving a really noticeable spot where the finish had dissolved. I thought we were in deep doo-doo as I did not know any competent French polishers who would be able to restore the surface without stripping the entire top (never advisable) --but the universe does supply what I need when I ask. My friend Bill, owner of Villa Melrose, referred me to Flavio. Flavio arrived a couple of weeks ago and perfectly restored the surface.  (Note: this is an EXTREMELY heavy piece of furniture and simply getting it to a restorer's shop would have been a huge adventure--and then bringing it back????)

****As a quick bit of information. French Polish is the type of polish used in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is always made from shellac flakes (derived from insects, I think) dissolved in alcohol and turpentine (I think) by the individual furniture makers. It is then hand applied with a special pad in quick "swipes" with layer upon layer applied until a rich, deep surface is obtained. The practice of the craft of French polishing is the mark of a true furniture expert. These specialists are few and far between and are treasured and nurtured by those that need their services.****

So what I thought would be a disaster turned into a blessing with my forming a new relationship with Flavio. Flavio has also restored and French polished my early 19th c. Regency Breakfast table and lacquered (he even has a lacquer spray booth!!!) a pair of black and ivory chests of drawers. Don't worry, Roberto is still my main squeeze and love and is coming tomorrow--the only thing that Roberto can't do is French polish (although he does a pretty good job faking it).
I'll take photos of the "George" Desk and the lacquer chests tomorrow and post them.

Now, can anyone answer this question:
What's up with vintage Italian carved alabaster and marble fruit?? This large grape cluster is listed on 1stdibs for an astronomical sum.........

I bought one a bit smaller--haven't picked it up yet and, much to my surprise, found a medium-sized vintage 60's red alabaster grape cluster hiding on my bookcase--I'll post some photos. These fruit pieces date to the mid-20th century and just a few years ago sold for about $90 to $100 and then you couldn't even give them away..........

*******See, life is simply NOT LINEAR!!

Jones says "hi"--he has had his teeth cleaned and also a trip to the Salon. Yes, he's very handsome.

Wishing everyone a glorious Thanksgiving Day. We'll be celebrating at my daughter's home and I get to do my absolute most favorite thing in the entire world--cook (without having to clean up).

Be well,
Mary & Jones (& Cole)


  1. Mary, Bravo on the sale of so many of your gorgeous pieces, and the George Washington desk is stunning! I am with you on the prices of alabaster grapes as I have passed them up many times..
    Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers, hugs for Mia.

    The Arts by Karena

    1. Hi Karena, Thank you!! Life is flowing along. Happy Thanksgiving--surrounded by love.

  2. Dear Mary,
    I was so delighted to see on my blogroll a new post from you :) Sounds like you have been very busy and biz is good - yay! I too get a bit sad when my favorite pieces go out. Enjoy cooking for your family, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  3. Dearest Loi, Thank you. Yes, life is good--still need to pump those sales figures, but all in good time. Sending blessing to you, also. Hope that your day is filled with love and laughter. xoxo