Friday, February 28, 2014


I went to my Thusday Auction this week, having previewed on Tuesday and not spotting a single thing that would work for me, with a negative attitude, but a little voice was telling me to go. So I went...
I love the Barbara Barry for Baker line of furniture--updated neoclassical with Baker's fine attention to detail and MADE IN USA standards (by American craftsmen). But I have never purchased newer pieces for the shop...But this THURSDAY I made an exception. When I walked to where the auction was, there,  front and center and about to be auctioned were a near pair/associated pair of Baker chests. I have been looking for pairs of 20th c. chests for several months, but haven't had any luck--and since my last black lacquered pair will be on its way to NYC  next week, I though that I should take the plunge into newer top quality pieces. Baker pieces never loose their cache or style and Barry Barry is one of my particular current design heroes. These carefully used pieces were not cheap, but the quality and the fact that they do not need any work, makes them winners in my book.

Sorry about the size of the photos--I stole them from the Baker website. The Baker site quotes these guys at about $5000/each. Well, I think that I can do a lot better than that. This pricing differential is one of the reasons that vintage or very slightly used in great condition makes a great alternative to new--and with the internet and Google, we have access to a multitude of sales platforms--love it. The problem is how to stand out in the field---not that easy.

Then, I was about to leave.........when up popped a set of 12 (unheard of number of chairs) French ladder back rush seated chairs that probably date to the mid-20th century. Again, not as old as my usual purchases, but great chairs nonetheless. (And you know my shameful history with chairs........)

The chairs are this style--but 20th c........

Wish me luck, as I really don't have that much history selling late 20thc. furniture, but: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It has been raining non-stop for almost 24 hours, we even had a tornado advisory (no tornados showed up) and things should be looking a lot greener. We still are many inches shy of adequate rain to break this drought, but all moisture is welcome.
Have a fantastic week-end.

Jones is getting his hair done tomorrow--he will be so handsome. At the moment, I can't even see his eyes.
Be well.
Mary & Jones

Wednesday, February 26, 2014



I do believe that it is time to  PARTY DOWN....

Thank you for all of your prayers and love, we have turned the corner and James and Grace and Mia are headed home.

And we are getting a ton of rain for our poor parched California (also answered prayers).

Be well.


Monday, February 24, 2014


This is what the table base supports looked like originally

And this is what Flavio brought back on Saturday. Before lacquering the fragments, I didn't notice that they have a modified dolphin form....

I think I like them. Now off to Carlos to get their brass fittings and then some shades.

Mia is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. Please send prayers and love to Mia, Grace, James and "The Girls"

Be Well.

Mary & Jones

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Roberto and I are making slow but steady progress (I think)--time will tell.

But on to my favorite part of the week--Auction Day Thursday. A couple of weeks ago I had spied a little period (18th c.) Provencal fruitwood Louis XVI Secretaire a Abattant in the "good" section of the auction and thought that I had no chance of getting her at a reasonable price point.
French pieces (aside from tables and certain case pieces) in a plain wood finish are simply not selling very well; but I could see a lot of potential in this little girl. Well, much to my surprise when I previewed the auction on Wednesday, there she was sitting pretty and all by herself in the cheaper seats. On close inspection, I could see that she had previously suffered poorly executed restorations,  had wood worm damage that needed attention and had one leg that needed immediate intensive care. She had lost the little three drawers inside her drop front.......but she retained her original key!!! In other words, this little girl was badly in need of a lot of TLC.

And here she is looking fabulous amidst my chaos. I hate to modify period 18th c. pieces, but with this girl, I have decided to restore her and then lacquer the outside in high gloss black and the interior in an ivory lacquer.
Flavio picked her up today. I love working with craftsmen who know more than I do and enable my creative instincts. Flavio has spent 30 years working for the best Los Angeles antiques dealers and has restored countless period pieces. Denis (mover) forgot to leave her key; so I can't show the inside of the abattant; but Flavio (who even has keys that will fit this future beauty) will fabricate new little drawers using old wood; he will carefully protect the newer leather insert (this restoration was top notch and would be very very expensive for me to do) on the drop front and then he will carefully spray the interior in a high gloss ivory lacquer. For the case section, Flavio will first treat the wood worm--which I think is dead, but just to make sure--then restore the damaged sections of wood. He will properly restore the damaged back leg and generally go over the entire piece to prep her for the 12 to 15 coats of black lacquer. Additionally, Flavio has the gilt brass escutcheons that she has lost and will obtain the four brass sabots for her feet.
In the 18th century black lacquer was frequently applied to high end pieces. But provencal pieces, such as my girl, would be left plain. Because lacquering was an 18th c. finish option, I do not feel quite so guilty about modifying her. The other reason, of course, is that I want her to sell.  When she comes back from her spa days in a few weeks, she will go directly to The Collection and hopefully out the door to her new home ASAP. I'll post photos of this little girl when she gets home.
And, next up (with a horrible photo) is this unusual (for the US market) Butler's Tea Cart

I think this cart dates to the early 20th c.--look at the detail of the hinges-- and is in mint condition. It has a folding towel rack to one side and a drawer to the other. THE PERFECT EAST COAST BAR. Just look at all the space on the bottom shelf for bottles, etc. And a drawer to store all of the bar stuff that usually just sits on the top looking messy. Plus, it's got those killer fold down sides. This cart is not the usual California item, but will probably go back East to Connecticut or New York. Sorry about the dust.

Jones says "hi"--he's getting his hair done next week; I had mine done today (much better, thank you).
Hopefully, it is starting to warm up a bit back East--and we are scheduled for a bit of rain.

Be well,
Mary & Jones (& Cole)

Update: I bought another Explorer--this one is a dark gray----I think that we'll get along just fine.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I opened "Habitually Chic" this morning and look at what Heather had posted*!!!!!!!! Just look at those KLISMOS chairs (and we do know how much I love Klismos Chairs).
The next photo gives a better shot of these amazing chairs; I don't know why Michael Bruno isn't smiling?
But we'll pretend that he temporarily forgot that he lives in one of the most beautiful houses EVER and has great TASTE and access to all the best SOURCES. The point is that these chairs are to die for. Just look at those super sexy legs; the exagerated curve to their backs--pure passion.
Of course, I had to find some more information regarding these duck bump-producing beauties. My first source was (thank you Michael Bruno for this website). I came up with this pair of mid-century Danish chairs
These guys aren't quite the same, note the out swept back legs. Actually, I think I prefer this pair. But Michael Bruno's pair is definitely smile-worthy!! The klismos form of chair dates to the Classical Grecian Period--I don't think that it will go out of fashion any time soon.

Roberto came for 1.5 hours and I finally feel as if we are making some progress. By Wednesday, almost everything should be ship shape.

Have a wonderful week--stay warm and dry.
(We need wet and cool over here)

Mary & Jones (& Cole)

*Original photos: WSJ Magazine.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Several months ago I acquired this set of French Moderne dining chairs. During the weeks after putting them in inventory I searched and searched for the designer to no avail. I knew that they were great chairs, but an assumption carries little weight: not the same thing as being able to truly identify the maker.
Then, a couple of weeks ago as I was checking the new listings of 1stdibs I saw a set of chairs that REALLY caught my eye
Here is a close up comparison 

The chairs are identical in every detail except one: the dip at the bottom of the back rest on the 1stdibs chairs is carved wood; the dip on my chairs is upholstered. Also my chairs retain their original finish; whereas, the set that I found on the FIRST page of 1stdibs is refinished.
Fortunately, the dealer had carefully included the creator, Pierre Patout*, and provenance of the chairs.....and I finally had my puzzle solved. In the antiques business PROVENANCE and creator is almost everything. But the value of my chairs (even without provenance) increases dramatically now that I know the designer/creator. (And I'm a very lucky girl--and grateful)  
I think that I like my chairs better-I love the slightly patinated and glove-soft vintage (not original) white leather upholstery.

*Pierre Patout was a well known and respected French Art Deco architect and designer, in addition to being a collegue and intimate friend of Ruhlman. Patout designed Ruhlman's home, in addition to many outstanding buildings during the Deco and post deco period. In 1935 Patout reached the highest level of artistic success with his design of the steam ship The Normandie.

1. Car spent one week in shop and I picked him up today......I took him for a spin to preview Thursday's auction and he's NOT fixed. I almost cried, but decided that was wasted emotion........
2. Kimono arrived--not going to work for pillows. That is just they way it is when you purchase online....sometimes it's a perfect buy; sometimes not. (But my gorgeous daughter will look amazing in it with black leggings....)
3. Roberto is busy all week and I'm stuck...I've been stuck far too long with this crazy stuff. But the Canvas is up.......worst of all, I can't sell from a disaster. I do know that God's in I had better just let things flow.
4. Mia and Grace fly back to St. Jude's Children's at the end of the month.
5. Jones and I both need to get our hair done pronto.

Be well and stay warm you Easterners & Southerners.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Well............although it doesn't look like much now (and I'm a bit discouraged), I'm making progress. The walls are up; the swagged/pinched canvas is going up on Monday. And I think that Roberto is coming on Tuesday (maybe Wednesday) to work with me to organize this MESS.

The photo is deceptive. There is actually about 25 feet of wall. Not sure if everything will fit......hmmmmmm. You can't even see that I really do have some good pieces amid the chaos.
Oh well, The Collection (on La Cienega) is finished and it looks like business is starting to pick up on the West Side.
Wish me luck getting this done next week....

Be well.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, February 7, 2014





Wishing ya'll a happy week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole


Wednesday, February 5, 2014



Last November I purchased a collection of beautifully framed Carol Jablonsky (1932-1992) Lithographs. I was somewhat familiar with the works of Carol Jablonsky, but (as is usually the case) my purchase sent me on the hunt for more information regarding this well-listed American artist.

Carol Jablonsky was born in Port Arthur, New York and studied art at Boston University, Art Student's League, New York, and at the Art Institute, San Miguel Allende. Her inspirations included Roman frescoes, medieval book illuminations, astrology, Eastern philosophy and the Bible. She spent innumerable hours researching these cross cultural unifying images and symbols. At first glance her work appears to be superficial and light; a closer inspection reveals the depth of her understanding of the mythic symbolism which she incorporated into her works.
The "Rocking Horse" series, one of which is shown above, is one of her most recognized works.
However, Jablonsky's series on the Garden of Eden is where her depth of research and use of symbolism reached it's peak. In the collection that I acquired, there are several of the Garden of Eden Lithos--a few are shown below--(these are just quick preliminary photos).

I'll post upgraded photos when I started grouping these guys for sale. The framing and matting on the collection is top-notch. I will probably sell the lithos in pairs and at less than auction estimates, passing my good fortune on to my clients.

I finished organizing at The Collection today. And it is on to Pasadena tomorrow. And (big THANK YOU) it looks like the walls will be going up this week--things are moving right along..........

Mia is once again having a few problems, at this point we don't really know what is going on. She is scheduled to go back to St. Jude's Children's, Tennessee next week.  My poor little one.

Sending blessing for FEBRUARY--already?

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, February 2, 2014



I can't believe that I am doing this again, but I am. I'm moving spaces at Pasadena Antiques & Design AND at The Collection. Both are positive choices, but the logistics at this point are messy at best ..... ....Car's in the shop for one---and then just moving at lot of stuff when I am constructing walls, putting up spot lighting and..........the prior people have not yet moved out! AAAAAAAYYYYYY. The photos at top show Villa Melrose's inventory yesterday (the 1st)....see what I mean.  
I'll work it through one puzzle piece at a time.


But I'm keeping my promise---just purchased a mid-20th c. Haori Kimono--Man's over-kimono. It has a few beautifully executed repairs, but I will turn it into pillows--I love the graphic and powerful essence of the design. The contrasting silk lining is also very beautiful--we'll see what I come up with. I think that the plum color is just what Pantone is calling the color of 2014??
Flavio picked up the table base fragments to lacquer and turn into lamps yesterday--and he was such a sweetheart--gave me a phenomenal price point. (He dropped a huge marble top on his foot in November and is just starting to get back into action--crushes can be worse than fractures)
Today, is SUPERBOWL Sunday. And I'm the lone protestor of this blood sport in my family. James is a football coach (lives and breathes the game); Andrew played in HS and Dao, along with her brothers, is a huge Redskins fan (we used to live in DC). I guess they will be cheering Denver? Seattle??
Have a great Super Bowl party.......

Mary & Jones & Cole

PS                IT IS RAINING--Grateful even for little 
                          bits of heavenly RAIN.