Thursday, August 28, 2014



Sometimes, but not that often, a great item just appears and I know instinctively that it is meant for me. This great table belonged to a dealer in the same building in which I am I called her for her best price.......Norma: "But there is a pair of them!!!!!!" A pair.....amazing. Norma hasn't gotten back to me with her pricing, but these two guys are going home with me.
The tables are in the style Gilbert Poillerat (1902-1988), a master iron artist who worked with Edgar Brandt for 8 years prior to establishing his own company. The iron work doesn't seem quite up to Poillerat quality, but the tables are certainly French in origin with the gold leaf detailing and form definitely in Poillerat's spirit.


From the photos it appears that the top surface is black opaline, but in reality the surface is highly polished and beveled black granite. I love the detailed iron bezel surrounding the granite tops. Although the tables have a 50's-mid-century feel, I think that they most probably date to the 1970s--still within the lifetime of Poillerat---(maybe??).

Update to Last Week's Addiction Day (as in AUCTION)
My little English Regency Sycamore Pembroke Table was not a sleeper; so she went to a dealer who specializes in Period English Furniture. However, there were more than a couple of other sleepers:
Pair of *ROSEWOOD* English Regency Klismos (my absolute favorite form of chair) side chairs... (they are going out Saturday for new ivory Suzanne Kessler linen upholstery).

A sweet Period Provincial Louis XV pear wood (?) Coiffeuse in excellent condition...

And a few other goodies.

I have been practicing staying in the flow. Disciplining my brain to be open to what is happening in the moment and not limiting myself to what my small brain can envision or expect. This is hard work for a perfectionist/former control freak.....but I have been able to set aside my limiting beliefs and just be for the past week or so.....and life is definitely flowing along. Now, the question is whether I'll be able to maintain this discipline? I do know that when I'm up early, with plenty of time to just be and allow myself (sometimes force myself) into meditation and prayer, life is eminently richer.
Tomorrow is, once again, Auction Day. I didn't preview--so I'll just have to see what pops up (or doesn't). I'm also picking up Fortuny pillows (and hopefully antique Obi pillows) from Pam tomorrow and that is always a very large chunk of change....we'll see.

This week is a scorcher--typical for end of August/early September for us. But we need rain so desperately--please send a few prayers for rain our way.
Jones is going to the Spa on Saturday--have to keep my handsome boy cool.

Be well.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I have learned so much this week.......from my two charming young ladies.

I learned that when you purchase ice cream at "Sky Dome" it comes in a tiny tiny approximately 3 oz. size with tons of added preservatives and synthetic flavors--and you get to pay $4.00 for such a desirable treat.
I also learned that sometimes curious 7 year olds feel inspired to check out Nana's new car and open the door in the middle of traffic while we are moving.
I learned that (despite their father's insistence that they knew the way) six and sevens are not very good at giving directions to Hula Class.
I learned that I'm still very good at getting sixes and sevens to do their homework......
The last two days have been filled with fun and laughter--Grace and Mia are in Memphis for Mia's check ups at St. Jude's Childrens Hospital--so I'm substitute Mom for a few days. 
We have come so far over the past year-- Mia is doing incredibly well; every assessment is more than positive. We'll be celebrating Mia's 4th birthday this week-end.

Blessings for a Happy Labor Day.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


This has been the focus of most of my attention over the past two weeks.......a charming period Louis XV Transitional Secretaire a Abattant, c. 1765.
Today was the day that Roberto was going to challenge the offending lock. Should I simply have him load the abattant into the Explorer and then cart it off to Carlos? Or should we try to open it ourselves? My idea was to cut out one of the oak panels under the top drawer; so that is where Roberto started... And Roberto will figure out just about everything and then stick with the problem until he arrives at a solution. After removing the panel, he couldn't see well enough to find the lock's screws--I scrounged up a small mirror and my neighbor had a flash light--and Roberto got to work


    IN PROGRESS (this took about 30-40 minutes)


Because I had not seen the interior of the abattant before purchasing it, I was a bit worried that the leather surface would need to be replaced (this would be very very expensive as thin splits are used for writing surfaces--but not to worry. JUST LOOK AT THE CONDITION OF THE ORIGINAL LEATHER!!! Almost mint.......not only that, the entire interior of the abattant, including the small drawers, is in top notch original condition.

In this last photo you can see one of the sides where there is an additional locking mechanism (about 3 inches down from the top edge of the lid) that locks the sides so that the fall front cannot be pried open. 

This is not a simple, easy to fabricate key project. All aspects of the lock were custom made for this particular abattant; the double locking mechanism would cost me about $300-$400 to remove and then custom fabricate the new key from scratch. Fortunately, the fall front is very stable and remains upright even when Roberto hits the panel. 
So, I think my lock journey ends here. I will have the lower cabinet lock and the drawer lock repaired--a fairly easy task. And if the new owner wants to have a key made for the fall front, I will be happy to have Carlos create one at an additional cost.

Was there hidden treasure inside the abattant--haven't found it yet--but the beauty of the piece and Roberto's commitment to finding solutions is enough for me.
This fine little piece of furniture has been loved throughout it's 250+ years of life--I wonder what it has been witness to and who cared for it so lovingly. I am so happy that we didn't have to compromise any of its original integrity while opening the abattant. Roberto will do a little more restoration work on the rosewood veneer and then she will be ready to go.

AND TOMORROW IS AUCTION THURSDAY!!  I've got my eye on a sleeper (hopefully)--we'll see what happens.

Can't believe that it is almost Labor Day!!! This summer really did whiz by......

Be Well.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, August 17, 2014


 Close up of the offending lock


Close up of new key with drawer lock

Close up of new key

Will the KEY open the LOCK??

NO IT WILL NOT...............

But I have discovered other options.... Roberto is coming Wednesday and we (Roberto) will remove the top drawer and carefully cut through the section of the dust cover (there is already a shrinkage crack) immediately above the lock--and, bingo, be able to unscrew the lock from the fall front. And then I'll return to Carlos to have another a new key fabricated.
And the adventure continues--that lock doesn't stand a chance against my determination (hard head?).

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Mary & Jones & Cole


Friday, August 15, 2014


I love Muriel Brandolini's work--always deep, multi-cultural, textured and full of color. As shown on the cover of her book, Brandolini does period-inspired rooms exceedingly well. So I photographed the lock & key positioned on her photos as my little abattant might just work in a Brandolini room--the position is just a tad bit tongue-in-cheek.
Carlos was so sweet to stop what he was doing (and he is in demand) to see if he could make me a key for the lock that I brought in

First off, Carlos noticed that this lock had been tampered with.......Carlos: "Is the other lock on the doors also broken?"  Me: "Yes, it is also broken." Carlos: .....(after a very long pause) "I think there must be something of value in the abattant, but the thieves (?) couldn't open the fall front."
HIDDEN TREASURE!!!!!!!!?????????? Boy could I use a cool million or two just popped into my head.
But first making the key..........turns out these 18th c. locks are a bit more fussy than I had envisioned. (18th c. locks are made entirely by hand and the creator could add little tricks/traps to the lock, if he desired.)
But Carlos got to work and in a matter of a few minutes he created a new key (using an old 18th c. key) by drilling and filing and then drilling and filing a second time.

(And reveal the hidden treasure inside--I'll give Carlos some after I count it all in my treasure house.......)

One final note: If the key doesn't work, I will have to hire two guys to load the abattant into the Explorer and take the ________ over to Carlos. At that point he will try to very carefully jack open the fall front millimeter by millimeter to the point where the latch simply slides by. Of course, the KEY ADVENTURE may cost me more than the abattant.             Howard, are you listening? This is all your fault.

Please: prayers that the key slips in smoothly and opens the fall front to reveal my HIDDEN TREASURE.

Have a wonderful summer week-end. Home made Blueberry pie with home made ice cream......Anyone?

Be well.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, August 14, 2014


We have had the most glorious cool and fresh few days--the forecast was for hot and steamy--but we have had the gift of sweet breezes and slightly overcast skies. I hadn't really noticed until this morning.......
So to honor this sweet August gift, this morning I took stock of what would truly give me joy today. And it is not going to Auction Thursday! Do I need another object, piece of furniture or whatever? No. Yes, I'll miss connecting with friends, but they will be there next week. Today I intend to treasure.

Jones and I will make the trip to LA to visit Carlos

and hopefully resolved the abattant key issue. I love connecting with Carlos who has been a faithful friend for many years.

Perhaps we will pay a visit to Pam

to take her fabric for more Scalamandre "Le Tigre" silk velvet pillows and silk backing for another pair of Fortuny pillows. I love spending time with Pam whose sweet yet strong spirit always seems to nudge me in just the right creative direction.

Maybe Jones and I will stop off at Dao's (just around the corner from Pam) to visit with THE GIRLS

who are having a sleep over with Auntie Dao. I can't believe how much they have grown (and how many things we are all grateful for since this photo was taken last year)--Ethan is now a sophomore and in all AP classes....Lauren has many new teeth and Ms. Kaia has lost one tooth! Of course, Mia is our little miracle.
Yep, taking time to intentionally be just me for today.

Thanks for bearing with me.
Here's to a glorious end-of-summer August Day for all of us.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Roberto brought this little beauty upstairs today. It's prettier than I remembered. The beautiful tulipwood, rosewood, satinwood and pear stringing add just the right amount of detail. (I would prefer a more simple design, but this works) Unfortunately, the original keys are missing; so it will be a small adventure to have new ones made--I'm going to see Carlos tomorrow. Roberto removed the lock from the drawer and hopefully the key will work for both the drawer and the fall front--otherwise, I'll have to load the entire piece back into the explorer (and this GUY is HEAVY) and take it to Carlos.
Note the beautiful (and unbroken) original French "liver" marble top:

Here are a couple of photos of the pair of Art Nouveau period Louis XV-style bouillotte lamps. I'm just starting to clean and very lightly polish the patinated bronze--I'm very fussy regarding the cleaning: if you over clean/polish the patina is damaged and that is a huge no-no. I still haven't gotten to the finials and they will be the most troublesome.

I can't believe that I'm becoming so frou-frou--it is all Howard Slatkin's fault........

Wish me luck tomorrow--you just never know what will land in my lap.

Mia and family are back from their Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii--they really dodged the bullet with the two hurricanes just missing the Islands while they were there. Needless to say, they had a fantastic time. Thank you to all of the many Make-A-Wish volunteers and benefactors that make so many wishes come true.

Be well.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I want this tree sooooooo badly. I previewed Thursday's auction today (getting back into the swing of things). This brass banana tree is life sized and amazing! It will sell for an enormous amount of money and I'm going to be there to watch it hit the block. I've seen a few of these mid-century beauties, but never one as perfect as this camels would look fantastic posing under it.

I hope that this lamp is a sleeper. I think it is a late 19th c. mirror black chinese porcelain. Hopefully, the Chinese buyers will dismiss the piece because it has been just never know. Chinese mirror black porcelains are quite uncommon and very desirable. I love the modified pumplin/gourd form of the vase, and it is quite large. The green lamp in the background isn't bad either.
But what I really have my sites on is this very large period Regency c. 1810-20 folding butler's serving table. I've never seen one this size--wouldn't it make a super sofa table or entrance hall piece--best of all it doesn't need any restoration work.

Note the reeded edges and fantastic hand made brass hinges. I think this folding table measures about 48" wide by 25 deep. THIS WILL DEFINITELY BE MY SLEEPER OF THE DAY.
Next up is something I need to display my pillows at The Collection. This beautiful etagere is in the regency or Jansen style and was created with brass and mahogany in the first part of the 20th c. Note the beautiful detailing--the Fortunies are calling for it.

And, finally, this pair of smaller Chinese porcelain lamps is pretty cute.

Well, wish me luck........especially that Butler's Folding Table (and I need some tables).

Just a quick note. My heart is sad over the loss of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall--both Icons of the 20th century.

Be well.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Today is THURSDAY--and we know what that means: AUCTION DAY. I've been a bit, actually majorly under the weather; so it was great to actually feel good enough to make it to auction and have some play money in my pockets. Jones and I had previewed very quickly on Wednesday and we had only seen one item that was calling me (but only slightly). (Jones LOVES to go to auction to preview-he even knows which exit from the freeway leads to the auction house). So today, I arrived late. I mentioned to a good friend that I wanted to bid on a pair of bouillottes--of course, he did, too. So we decided to share the bouillottes if we got the bid. I expected that we would have to pay about $1000 for the lamps. But the stars must have been shining on us and we won them at an unbelievably low bid--I don't know what happened, nobody seemed to see that beneath the grime and tarnish was a gorgeous pair of late 19thc. (hopefully gilt) bronze pair of very frou-frou French bouillotte lamps with the most gorgeous large finely detailed flame finials. The photo below is of a Louis XV bouillotte, but not nearly as beautiful as the pair we bought. Of course, the bouillottes need extensive cleaning and new electrical fittings, but still..... I felt really lucky. 

Today, I stayed late as I had spied a period Louis XV Transitional marquetry Secretaire a Abattant. Louis Xv and fussy marquetry is not my usual style--I much prefer Louis XVI and gorgeous unadorned figured woods. But I'm stepping outside my comfort zone. I've been thinking of Howard Slatkin's book and relishing all of the beautiful rococo details. Southern California, at the moment, is not in a Louis XV mood, but thanks to the internet--the rest of the world is just a few clicks away. (I forgot to take photos before I left today--so I pulled this example from 1stdibs--it is much finer than the one I bought, but it is a good representation).  
The auctioneer started the bid at $500, and received no bids. He kept going down and I opened the bidding at $200---and I almost had the abattant at $350. But I did finally pull it in at a super low bid. It's a pretty little abattant and I won't need to do much restoration work--hopefully, the keys are in the office.

I guess that today was my day.

Mia and family are in Hawaii awaiting the pair of hurricanes.......I'm sure that everything will be just fine at the Disney Resort!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, August 3, 2014



Last Monday we celebrated Mia's progress with another huge blessing.......The Make-A-Wish Foundation is sponsoring Mia's entire family on a 10-day vacation to The Disneyland Resort in Hawaii....The "Reveal" was Monday. For "The Girls" this was a huge surprise--and tons of excitement.

This has been a year of tremendous uncertainty and huge ups and downs regarding Mia's prognosis. Last year at exactly this time we were scrambling to find space at a Proton Radiation Center--and then the Gates of Heaven opened when Mia was admitted to a St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Tennessee Proton Radiation study. Poor little one then had a second major brain surgery, followed by almost two months of Proton Radiation sessions. In January Mia was once more scheduled for surgery...but once again, miracles started appearing, and the tumor and cyst started to disappear just prior to the scheduled surgery.
We now have had several months of remarkable healing. Mia's eyesight is coming back; her coordination is immensely improved; she's on schedule for mainstream preschool and many, many points of healing. I am incredibly grateful to all who prayed and kept Mia in their hearts. 
When Make-A-Wish interviewed Mia and family in January, we did not know if we would have this miraculous outcome. Everything seemed so tenuous. So now to send a completely healthy family off to Hawaii, not only Hawaii, but DISNEYLAND, for ten days......
Here are a few shots from the Hawaii Send-Off

Mia & Fam. with Make-A-Wish Volunteers

Mia with Auntie Dao

Mia with Uncle Josh

The Girls with Hula Dancer--she was pretty cute.

This is the big moment (I wish all of the screaming that went on had made it into the photo)--the best part for Kaia and Lauren is that a LIMO is going to escort them to the airport!!!

I love this photo of Mia and the Hula Dancer--Mia has been taking Hula Classes this summer...

I really didn't intend to be away so long--many obstacles to overcome and then a huge summer cold and bronchitis....I'm better.
I have still been on the hunt.....This Alabaster Urn/Lamp was a little gift just dropped in my lap. I love transluscent white alabaster-- at first glance it seems to have not much character. The moment a light is shone upon it, the stone opens up to reveal its depth and beauty. Just like us--that little act of listening and paying attention to another brings the blessings of connection, of love and friendship.

Jones Update
Mr. Jones celebrated his 8th birthday. I can't believe that my guy and constant companion is inching up there (I guess I am, too--but Shushhh). People think he's two or three when he's running at The Park--I guess my cooking for The Dude has paid off.

Mini and Jones are buddies--except for when Jones defends Maddy from Mini--then he is the sheriff.

Wishing the best for a fantastically cool and rainy summer in California. We had a much needed (and highly unusual) gentle rain for much of last night. The morning was gloriously fresh and clean.  Prayers for a good El Nino event this fall and winter are needed--the draught has reached dangerous levels.


Mary & Jones & Cole