Sunday, July 28, 2013


For me, right now, this highly detailed "Peacock Chair" represents so many of the elements that makes a particular design a "Great Design."
Yes, its material is very humble--simply rattan, a simple fiber--no highly figured precious woods, no applied finish what-so-ever, not even hardware--no gold or silver gilt work--just simple rattan.
But look at the detailed design of the weaving--everything is perfectly executed and balanced. Notice how the internal side of the arm rest has three strands of rattan while the exterior has only one large strand, but all is balanced. Throughout the design the element of 3 strands of rattan is repeated bringing harmony to the chair.

There are a multitude of design details that make this chair outstanding, yet none appear to be superfluous to the overall design--amazing.
I had intended to have a great mid-century Danish desk be the focus of our space, but the desk I have decided to use this humble rattan chair as the main design eye-catcher....I like its humility and its spunk. Although the chair dates to the late 1960's or early 70's, it is in almost mint condition (one little stand of rattan has split on the back) and it definitely stands proud and says LOOK AT ME.
Another unusual detail is that the chairs has kept its little side table/stool--so cute. It has had a bit more use, but is still in great shape.

I love to see great new designs that stay true to the ideals of creativity, quality and durability. Designs that are able to bridge the gap between the very refined and the humble.
Moving Tuesday; I'll post photos of The Peacock when she is all settled in.

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

Friday, July 26, 2013


I want to update last night's post with new photos of the pillows. When I took new photos in actual daylight, I couldn't believe the difference in the green and gold tones of the here is what the Fortuny pillows really look like:

Quite a difference!

Tomorrow I start packing for the move....organization is the key and some how, I have lost my desire to be organized....

Have a wonderful week-end.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)


Note:  I shot new photos of the pillows in daylight--the new images are in my next's just one comparison:

(Please excuse the photo quality--I took them w/flash)  

I like tweaking the usual and customary format a bit....
I went to see Pam (my amazing pillows fabricator) today to give her the vintage c.1950's Fortuny that I scavenged last week from the sofa. I can get three good-sized pillows from that fragment and wanted to start the fabrication process immediately as the color and paleness of this Fortuny is what is being shown right now in most of the design magazines. (And besides, it is ice blue--perfect for summer or a 50's style)
To my delight, Pam had a pair of pillows ready for me--I've been a little conflicted over this design---but upon seeing the completed pillows, I think it works. I chose to use rows of c. 1950 Fortuny border stitched together to form the pillow face. There is a spot on each pillow face where you can just catch a glimpse of the the vintage Fortuny stamp on the border. Pam did a beautiful job--French seams on the border strips and, as always, perfect tiny welting.

Just look at this micro-welt

I'm highlighting this final detail of the gold silk backing to show how difficult it is to match the exact tone of the gold and texture of the backing to the tone of gold and the pattern of the Fortuny front. There are so many tones/shades of gold silk. Even the weaving of the silk affects the way the gold "reads"--there is a brassy yellow gold, cool green-hued gold, warm reddish gold and so many variations of each one. It is very important that the silk backing and welt not overwhelm the Fortuny fabric. I'm very fortunate to have Pam who either confirms what I see or (very quietly) nixes the mix.
We are having the most gorgeous summer weather--just grazing 80* with a bit of a morning cloud cover...maybe we will have a cool summer?
Have a great week-end--poolside or beach-side??

Mia was released from the hospital yesterday. Grace and Mia are still at St. Jude's Children's in Memphis for further testing, but they should be on their way home by the end of next week. Miss Mia is back to her old tricks--stubborn, just like her Nana.

Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Monday, July 22, 2013




Mia  Update
I can finally report that My Mia is doing much better and will be discharged as soon as she decides to eat. We had a few anxious hours post surgery, but it appears that her little body has started to heal.
Thank you for many prayers.

Have a super week.

Mary & Jones

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Last Thursday was a very good day--and I was in the "zone".....Here are just a couple of the items that I bought (in addition to the vintage Fortuny fragment). Of course they need a bit of restoration, but then most antiques do--major cleaning, polishing, finish work, reupholstery, etc.

This gorgeous (soon to be) Meiji period Japanese candlestick in black lacquer, gold leaf and repouse brass was a sleeper.

I went to 1stdibs to find a comparable candlestick....

I'm not going to quote the 1stdibs price point for these gorgeous sticks--these guys appear to be in all original condition, which does increase their value considerably. My single stick, having been electrified and having lost its mate has a much lower valuation point, but has wonderful decorative value. I do have to change the electrical fittings and bring the lacquer back to a higher level and polish the brass detailing--my amazing magician Roberto will have no trouble doing this restoration work.

Peacock Fan chairs were emblematic of the late 60's and early 70's. Hans Wegner created one 

Verner Patton created an entirely unique peacock chair

But the one I bought was the rattan peacock chair designed and woven in the Philippines.

And it even came with its matching little table. Both the chair and the table are in exceptional condition and ready to go--as you can see, this rarely happens.

And then....eureka!! KLISMOS CHAIRS!! I spied this fantastic set of 4 French (?) wrought iron klismos chairs hiding under some stuff and being sold with a table that did not match

Just look at the gorgeous forge work--little feet, detailed saucy arm rests, thick soft iron, etc.

I know, I know, I promised myself that I would not buy any more chairs.....but how could I pass them up?

The last item still needs to be further researched. I know that it is most probably a unique piece dating to the 1960's and Italian...beyond that, it is still a mystery. 

It needs to have two of the glass sun rays restored--but I have a very good glass restorer who is coming tomorrow to give me an estimate.
As always, I feel so grateful to be able to do what I love--the eternal hunt...research...and bringing an item back to its best condition.

It has been a tough few days, but tonight Mia seems to be doing better. Prayers still needed as her recovery remains tenuous--tomorrow (the 4th day post surgery) should be a much brighter day.

I hope that the week brings fantastic summer weather for everyone--not too hot, but just right.
Be well.

Mary & Jones (and poor Cole)

Friday, July 19, 2013


Yesterday was auction day....I woke up early as I had previewed the day before and knew there were a few things that I wanted to bid and that were coming up quite early. As I completed my morning mediation time, I realized that I felt as if I were in "The Zone".....yes, bidding at auction is quite a bit like an athlete's feeling of being in the zone--perhaps a deep connection to the moment (wish I always felt this way--working on it).
One of the first items to be brought to the block was to be a 1950's low slung sofa in very poor condition, was covered in 1950's Fortuny in the Maori pattern. Wish that I had thought to take a photos of the sofa....but just look at what I cut off the back of the sofa

This is almost two yards of "Maori" that dates to the mid-1950's. The blue color way is very desirable, especially right now as very ethereal, soft colors are being shown in many of the shelter magazine. 

These last two photos are detail shots of the Maori--as you can see, the fragment is faded, but still very beautiful and it retains quite a bit of the silvery gold overlay. The reverse is for comparison and I'm deciding whether to use the reverse for the pillows--maybe make two smaller pillows using the reverse?
And for the icing on the cake, just look what I had in my fabric stash............

Yes! A length of vintage silk that perfectly coordinates with the 1950's fabric. You're probably wondering if I bought a large sofa just for this length of vintage Fortuny?  Yep...and it was worth it. Good vintage Fortuny fabric is getting harder and harder to find and it is so much more beautiful than Fortuny created today. Although the current Fortuny Owners represent the fabric is identical to the original, it really isn't. (I left the sofa at the auction--what in the world would I ever do with a 7-8 ft. long sofa?)
I bought some other great items, but those will have to wait for another post.

Mia came through surgery just fine a short while ago. The surgeon said that the cyst "just fell away from the optic nerve"--I am so grateful; so many answered prayers. Mia and her parents are so far away in Tennessee, but I know that they are in the best hands.
Thank you for all of your prayers.

Be well.
Mary & Jones (and Cole--Luxie went home-poor Jones)

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I just pulled this photo of a new Murano Sommerso lamp by Seguso from this month's Architectural Digest.  (Please forgive the image--my scanner isn't scanning....) 

There is no doubt that this is a gorgeous lamp, designed with a 21st century color. But is this really a new design?
Here is a gorgeous pair of c. 1950-60's murano sommerso bookends by Barbini. The shape is more elongated, but still there is a huge resemblance.

The next image is of a c. 1960's Sommerso vase by Cenedese. Could the form and porportions of the the sommerso be any closer to that of the "new" Seguso lamp?  Don't think so. Of course, Seguso had to invert the sommerso and drill through the glass (not that easy).

Now, we are getting to the meat of what caught my attention! Just take a look at the next sommerso lamps:


These lamps were created with gorgeous c. 1950's Barbini(?) sommerso, bullicante and gold flecked murano bookends. The bullicante detailing is a delicate process and the gold flecks are emblematic of mid-century Murano glass making.  Yep, they are my designs........ I designed them and had Carlos fabricate the 3" custom lucite bases and electrical fittings.  The sommerso glass elements measure approximately 5". They are paired with gorgeous black shades lined in gold foil (the total height of the lamps is about 20"). The next photo gives a hint of what happens when the light from the lamp passes through the glass and then is broadcast by the lucite--in reality, it looks like an explosion of light passing through the lucite.

And of course, the real kicker is that I designed these guys way before Seguso came up with their idea of recreating mid-century Murano sommerso bookends to turn into lamps....I'll take the compliments any way they come. I'm so happy that current design is finally catching up with me.  By the way, I still have the lamps in inventory.......

My Mia is having surgery again on Thursday at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in heart is hurting. But I know that all will be well.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Monday, July 15, 2013


I used to know what my customer base would be buying, but over the past few years it has become very difficult to know what "will sell". "Great" used to always be "great" and saleable--but now, it's hard to tell--a super period 18th c. item may languish, while a vintage piece will sell for big bucks. 
So with this in mind, I'm making choices based on 20th century pieces, with a few period pieces thrown in.
I'll take two of my set of four Tomlinson Horseshoe chairs that date to the late 1950's.


My pillows made from vintage and antique Fortuny fabrics...and the pair of mid-century lacquered chests.


This wonderful set of c. 1960-70 brass and glass nesting tables.


This complete vignette composed of a marble roman style bust, Marbro lamps and a lacquered French demi-lune console (one of a pair) the 17th c. Dutch mirror.

And, of course, my funky French Moderne Chauffeuse and 17th c. French side table.....

I'll add in some mid-20th c. lighting.

I think that will do it for the moment. The space is not large and I do not want to fill it too full--to the point of not being able to see what is available. 
OOPS....forgot about the Dorothy Draper (all original condition) Espana Tables..........

Grace and Mia left for Tennessee yesterday. A few tears from Lauren and Kaia--but they are spending time with Auntie Dao and loving it.

Have a super summer week--wish me cool weather for the move--it can go either way here in Los Angeles--either blazing hot or beautifully fresh and cool.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)
    (Luxie is going home this week)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


It seems as if it has been months since I last previewed my favorite auction much has happened in the intervening weeks.
But today was free enough to get back on the horse. With my approaching expansion to The Collection on La Cienega Blvd at the end of the month, my creativity factor is ratcheting up a few notches. Here are some of the items that I'm looking at for Thursday's auction --and it's going to be a good one as there are two weeks worth of lots to be sold. What is pulling me in are several different pairs of lighting elements:

These guys, at first glance, appear to be simply mid-century desk lamps. But they are in the style of Paavo Tynell whose lamps and ceiling fixtures are really hot at the moment. My guess is that these guys are 40s-50s French and they are in excellent condition considering there age and use. The donut-shaped base is unusual and unexpected. The brass shades are in pretty good shape, with a little patina--but that is normal......I don't think that they will go cheap (one can only hope).

Of course, these beauties are probably my favorites. Monochromatic deep blue in a traditional Chinese Porcelain form. I love the intense blue of the porcelain which is not very old--perhaps 70s or 80s, but still stunning. (The gold rimmed chargers aren't shabby, either)

Next up--yep, another pair of lamps. These silver leafed obelisk lamps probably date to the late 1970s (please excuse the photo--they are lying down on the table)--they are in fantastic condition, with just the right amount of patina. And neoclassical in form!! Although the photo doesn't properly represent their size, I think they are over two feet. So, with shades, they will reach about 34-36"--not bad.  I love the sphere that separates the plinth from the actual obelisk. They look like they might be Marbro lamps, but there aren't any identifying stickers....

And last, but definitely not least, is this pair of vintage lamp post lanterns. I love the faceted panes of glass and the deeply patinated brass fittings. I will have to have plinths made and lacquered, but they will be well-worth the effort. Pairs of this type of vintage lantern are not common and the glass in this pair is intact.

In addition to the new plinth, the lanterns will be rewired as table top lamps. Perfect for the many old Spanish Revival homes in Los Angeles and new construction, also.
There were a couple of other items that caught my fancy, but I'm sticking to lamps for Thursday. Lighting either makes or breaks a room and all of these four pairs could make spaces sing.

Mia and Grace leave for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Memphis on Sunday. Things are definitely moving along and I am so immensely grateful.

Luxie goes back to his normal home on Monday--Jones and I will miss him, but the cats will be happy to reclaim the house.

And Mr. shaggy dirty Jones is going to the Spa on Saturday.
Hope that the week is bringing you wonderful summer days.
Be well.

Mary & Jones & Luxie (poor Cole)

Friday, July 5, 2013


Here are my three beauties on a hot summer day. We spent the afternoon together having a tea party with very tiny English porcelain cups and saucers, coloring in the back yard and playing with Jones and Luxie. 
And then we had some very bad news a couple of days later--Mia's brain tumor is growing and it seemed as if the only recourse was to start traditional radiation therapy with the knowledge that the therapy would cause some brain damage.....I started shaking cages and exploring options. But on the following Tuesday we had miraculous news: Mia has been accepted into a study program at the University of Florida that has one of only 10 Proton Radiation Therapy facilities in the US (there are only 12 world wide). There are enormous waiting lists at all of these facilities; so being enrolled in a study seemed to be the only option. It will be a long process: 2 weeks at St. Judes in Tennessee; home for a week; and then 2 months at the University of Florida. And even more miraculous:  everything, including transportation and hotel and meals is paid by the study. My joy has been off the charts. God is, indeed, very good. 

Of course, we are all getting our calendars out to fill in where we are going to be substitue Moms for Lauren and Kaia while Grace and Mia are away. I think that I will getting up very early for the next few months as James leaves for work around 5:15 every day.........

MORE NEWS.........
........I'm expanding MJH DesignArts. I set my sights on returning to West Hollywood and 1stdibs several years ago. And I'm taking the plunge. I'm joining "The Collection" that is located on La Cienega Blvd. on August 1st. I will retain my location in Pasadena where the client base buys mainly "traditional" furnishing; The West Hollywood client base has a broader taste level and is more current with trends in 21st century design.

I'll be back in the swing of blogging this has been a little tumultuous lately....but think that things are settling down.

Luxie has been visiting for the past month--his parents are in Spain--and he will be going home soon, too. Luxie bosses Jones around (Big Dog/Little Dog complex) and the cats are hiding......

Mary & Jones & Luxie (poor Cole)