Saturday, July 30, 2016


I bought these guys a few weeks ago--I thought they were cool and perhaps Murano. I priced them rather low, not thinking they were anything important. I also posted them to Chairish at a very low price.
As I was checking out another piece, I saw a glass item that looked quite similar to mine-----which then forced me to research these vases.
Turns out that the above "amphora" vases were most probably designed by Karl Springer for Seguso (Murano). The amphora form dates to Roman times and the vases have been finished in an acid bath which was an attempt to replicate Roman glass dating back two thousand years. Both Seguso and Cenedese worked with this type of finish and form. And Karl Springer designed in this style for Seguso.
I quickly tore off my price tag and took down the posting to Chairish.  That was a close call!! 

Have a great summer week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

I was glued to the Democratic Convention. My patriotic spirit is flying. We are all so incredibly fortunate to live in this amazing nation. We must all vote as our voices count. And a woman heading a major party's ticket?? Long time overdue.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I received an email from Restoration Hardware featuring their "reclaimed wood" (read: splinters) trestle table and I though that I would do a quick simple post contrasting their table with my trestle table. But then realized that I needed to include a short history of medieval trestle tables, being that they were the first real tables, which then sent me down the rabbit hole of Google looking for photos and descriptions of Medieval and Renaissance here goes:
We all know that the Medieval Period in European history was pretty rough. There were the Nobles, Lords, Knights (not really in very shiny armor) and romantic ladies watching jousting tournaments. The reality of daily existence was actually very bleak. (Remember that the kings moved from castle to castle as each one became exceedingly filthy--and remember, people bathed only a very few times a year!!) The castles were working enclaves with the nobleman surrounded by his knights, and "underlings". The "Great Hall" of the Castle was a multipurpose space where much of the work of the Lord was carried out, including the common meal. The tables used to seat the vassals were assembled and disassembled before and after the main meal and were pushed out of the way when not in use. These table were roughly constructed of two or more saw horse-type pedestals surmounted by a long single board plank top.

The above table dates to c. 1520 and is a bit later than the earliest tables, but is representative of the saw horse/trestle form.

The massive oak timbers have ensured its survival. This table was one of the original furnishings of "Sutton Place" Manor and is in surprisingly great condition with wonderful deep patina and soul.
The table would be joined by a pair of benches of similar form, here is one example

(Just a quick note--Being raised in Mexico and living in Spain for seven years gave me a passion for these ancient pieces--to touch them and imagine what they have witnessed, the secrets they have overheard brings the past intimately into the my present.)
The next table represents a small leap in the development of trestle table--the table has become a bit more permanent and lighter but still easily disassembled. These are English examples, but the 

forms were common to most of Europe.
In the 17th and early 18th centuries the table became more streamlined as shown in the next few examples

And one of my favorites, this little rustic trestle table

This last example (above) is my absolute favorite (the Basque Country is a little slice of heaven)--it is a rare Basque, probably French, perhaps Spanish, 17th c. walnut and forged iron trestle table detailed with chip carved walnut supports and a single molded plank top.
There are many, many examples of antique trestle tables--I have pulled these few from 1stdibs and from Axel Vervoordt is a great reference for furnishings of this period.

Now to get to my original intention: RH's table vs. my table. 

After looking at the 16th through 18th century authentic tables, doesn't this one seem boring and stiff? Those pedestal are too chunky, this is supposed to represent an 18th c. style, but it lacks the grace of 18th c. pieces. It's more like a 16th c. table without the mystery.
Now here's my (probably made in Italy) 20th c. version of a trestle table

The table still does not have the grace of a period table, but the columns end supports are more refined and "finished" than the RH table. I also love that the designer of this table chose to cant its corners--no more bruised hips. In this photo the table is paired with a French bench dating to the late 18th/early 19th c. Now I'm pairing the table with a pair of Spanish Revival early 20th c. forged iron and walnut trestle benches (I really need to take better photos of these benches) which are highly unusual in their own right.

Newer examples of the trestle table include mid-century chrome and glass tables

And this Milo Baughman campaign style desk

The humble saw horse never imagined that it would become a testament to the timelessness of great design in its most minimalist form.

I have been watching the Democratic Convention and listening to the amazing men and women who have spoken on behalf of Hillary. Of course, President Obama's speech was exactly what our nation needed to hear, but Cory Booker's words opened another page in history. Now it's up to us to work to prevent The Supreme Narcissist from being elected.

Blessing for our nation.

Mary & Jones & Cole 

Sunday, July 24, 2016


This is the little English table that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I usually don't buy such dark and newer or "married" pieces of furniture--but there was this little voice that said buy me. The square base of the table is oak and it's an early 18th style--except for those feet. (True 18th c. pieces and copies have bun feet) The associated top does date to the early 18th c. and has great patina. I think what caught my attention is the practicality and rustic look--perfect for a breakfast room or any casual space. 
Yesterday I had enough time to read my copies of AD and Elle Decor....... Looks like my paying attention to that little nudge was a good idea. 
The first photo (Elle Decor) is of Nate Berkus' new townhouse in New York--look at that kitchen table!!

Nate's table is French and several notches up from mine, but the lines are the same, it's dark and that scrubbed top is not that different from my guy.
I grabbed the next two photos from AD and Elle Decor. This large French "money" table is spectacular, as are the mid-century chairs.

What is striking (and perhaps an indication of future trends?) is the large antique dark wood table combined with mid-century chairs and that spectacular modern light fixture--and it works together perfectly, the furniture taking the place of art or sculpture.
Last up is a large family dining room table (Elle Decor). The room is very traditional, ....that dark wood is cropping up again--the legs are chunky and 

                                                                         the table has great patina--if the room were smaller my table would make a very good substitution.
I've been waiting for good antique tables and case pieces with patina and interest to return to the design repertoire--and IT'S HAPPENING.

Last up is Sam (grandson)

Sam (13) spent half an hour getting his hair "just-so" this morning so that he could go to the beach looking like a stud. The hair do made it through to the movies tonight. He's pretty cute, isn't he.

Jones & Cole say "hi" they are patiently waiting at my feet for a t-r-e-a-t.

Be well,
Mary & Jones & Cole

Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE '60s

I just watched CNN's series The '60s"-- as a product of the 1960s, having come to adulthood at the very end of that tumultuous decade, watching and re-experiencing that time period was mind opening. I think it is impossible to understand the current political upheavals without a thorough understanding of what the 60s meant to American society.
Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are products of that decade. A decade where the youth yearned for and sought peace. A decade that was seminal to the birth of social consciousness.
We know how Trump turned out. I hope and pray that Hilary took to heart the lessons of the 60s.
We need a president who will allow the lessons of the 60s to give birth to a renewed spirit of creativity, generosity, awareness, true equality under the law, a resurgence of the middle class, control of the excesses of Wall Street and corporate power (etc.) In the 60s we protested Monsanto--50 years later we are still protesting Monsanto.
I could remain on my soap box, but I will leave it to everyone to express their own values and hopes for this great nation.
I strongly urge everyone to obtain a copy of "The 60s" and watch it in one sitting. 
Thanks for letting me spout.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Historian Ken Burns denounces Donald Trump

This interview with Christianne Amanpur is one that all Americans should see. I will return to non-political posts. As an individual who loves this amazing country, I feel that I must raise my voice a little louder against a fear mongering, hate spewing, narcissistic candidate who lies about this financial strength of the United States, promotes racism and xenophobia. 
Please share this video.

Mary, Jones & Cole

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Has anyone been watching The Republican Convention? The above image is what I think of when I ponder that waste of time, human intelligence (I think some of those people think that they are intelligent???) and breath, not to mention money.
Pathetic, sad, useless, boring, inappropriate, distasteful, idealess (not a real word) week.
I'm sorry, but this is my space and I know it's supposed to be devoted to design and antiques and a little bit of wisdom............but I just can't help myself. I believe that this was Ted Cruz's finest and hopefully last hour in the spotlight. 

Jones and Cole watched with me and they were also disgusted.

Friday, July 15, 2016


It is just over 24 hours since the unfolding of the tragedy in Nice; just a few hours from the foiled coup in Turkey. Things are not back to normal. But I can still celebrate Thursday's gifts.

I spotted these chairs on Wednesday when I preview my auction. I thought they were super handsome and unique, but I also thought that they would go for a lot more than I would be able to spend......But that is the thing with auctions: you just never know who will be in the room; who will know as much as you do about an item; who will simply not be paying attention; and of course, who is having a cash flow conundrum. The bidding started pretty low; so I waited to come in late. I bid only a couple of times and then the chairs WERE MINE. 
These are pretty amazing chairs: early 20th c. double caned Louis XVI style wing chairs in their original superb French gray/green paint with just the right amount of patina and the caning appears to be in excellent condition (recaning would be an exorbitantly expensive undertaking and a definite no-buy flag). The upholstery isn't too terrible and almost appropriate as it's a neoclassical stripe. I'll probably removed the back cushions as they detract from the curve of the chair back. These chairs can post to 1stdibs without any added investment--they are extremely unique-hopefully, some one will buy them immediately. My guess is that they will go to an East Coast or Southern buyer.
Next up is an English Regency (early 19th c.) chess (or checkers) table.

This little table is all original and untouched. Roberto will tighten it up and replace the small pieces of veneer that have gone AWOL--fortunately, the restoration will be minor. Note the little drawer that holds the game pieces. I love little classic pieces of furniture--they add sparkle to space and make them a lot deeper--and this one can actually be used to play games. Look at those cute toes on the tripod.

I also bought a small antique English 18th c.-style dining table. I usually like to purchase period pieces, but this guy spoke to me. The top is old, probably early 18th c., but the bottom is younger--it also has a great look and is super practical. It would make a great kitchen table or covered porch element. I've sold a lot of tables recently, so I thought I would give this one a whirl.

I didn't sleep very well last night with my thoughts on Nice; so I need to get to bed so I can get up early tomorrow.....I can feel it in my bones that tomorrow will be a banner sales day--wish me luck.

Mary & Jones & Cole 


I took this photo this morning--the gloriously blue California beach morning defining the fruiting pomegranate tree in the back yard. I took it before the massacre in Nice. While I still retained a bit of innocence. While the day was still unburdened.
Today's tragedy took me back to when we lived in Bilbao. A time when the Basque Separatist Movement (ETA) was reaching its peek of terrorist activity. A time when our project along the gorgeous Basque Cantabrian Sea was one of the main focal points of ETA's atrocities. I remember so well the feeling of imminent threat; of taking care to scout every place we went. The fear of not knowing when a bomb would go off or the myriad bomb scares--the loss of lives. Some known or even relatives of friends; some--simply unknown, but mourned nonetheless.
France's tragedies, Syria's tragedies, Israel's tragedies, Iraq's tragedies are our tragedies also. The tragedies of our own, as seen in Minnesota, Louisiana and Dallas are so fresh. We are essentially all one. Humanity is grieving and groping for a new paradigm, a new way of conceiving life. 
Isolation will never lead to greater security--a false sense of security--perhaps. We live in an infinitely connected age==the only way forward is through love and compassion. We must also accept the fact that we are responsible, in part, for much of the violence and terrorism that is arising in different sectors of society around the world. For it is only when we accept responsibility for our actions and the resultant consequences can the healing begin, can hope be restored.
My prayer tonight is for courage for all of those affected by these senseless and cowardly acts. A prayer for courage for those of us who care about this world so that we will not to give in to easy, quick-fix, isolationist, hate-filled solutions promulgated by narcissistic individuals who spout empty rhetoric and fear mongering. 
Yes, Mr. Trump, I am directing my words at you. 


Friday, July 8, 2016


This has been a glorious early Los Angeles summer week. Two weeks ago we were sweltering in 100+ and this week we were in the mid-70's. And to top it off: not much traffic as lots of commuters took advantage of the 4th of July to go on vacation.
This week there were so may little details that needed organizing--miraculously, just when I needed to speak with some one or get help unloading a piece of furniture, an "angel" appeared to make the tasks effortless and I didn't even have to ask. I wish I knew exactly how creation is organized for this to happen, but I am constantly reminded of how intimately connected we are and how my attitude changes my reality. My old reality was to bean count and focus on little insignificant goals. I'm becoming aware of when I step back into those self-limiting patterns and I'm learning how to escape them. It feels good to be open without end-point expectations.
Last week I went to auction having previewed it, but hadn't seen much to strike my fancy--but decided to visit with my dealer expectations, just open to what might show up.......and I did score (big time). I guess the biggest surprises/gifts were these guys

I had liked them the day before, hadn't checked them out very well, but they reminded me of Dunbar or Robsjohn-Gibbings chairs, c. 1950-60, plus the original upholstery was still in pretty good condition just needed new cushion inserts.
Well, when I picked them up today I looked for the maker's tags. Sure enough, they were marked Cal-Mode, Culver City. Although the name sounded familiar, I couldn't place it. Well, Cal-Mode was the name that Monteverdi-Young used in its first year of production!!!! And Monteverdi-Young is a really great company. I found this similar single Monteverdi-Young chair on 1stdibs--I think that my profit margin will be just fine
The legs are just a bit different and the back cushion is loose, but essentially it's the same chair. 
Next up is this late 1950's chest of drawers or buffet

An entire unmatched bedroom suite was being offered in one lot.... nobody wanted the entire suite; so I stole this gorgeous Henredon piece and donated the other pieces to charity. Usually black or ebonized pieces like this need to be completely stripped and refinished, but I think Roberto can fix this one. Chests like this can be placed in diverse settings: dining room buffet, grand entry, living room--and, of course, bedroom. I'd love to see this guy in a New York living room--the copper and wood hardware is to die for and all twelve handle are in perfect condition. Roberto finish the mirror black Japanese porcelain lamps-they would look better on a lighter buffet.

If anyone follows Ellie O'Connell's blog "Have Some Decorum", here is the latest: she's coming back to California (yeah!!!) and Ellie is having a fantastic sale this Friday with amazing new exclusive chinoiserie items. If you haven't read Have Some Decorum, I highly recommended it--not the usual design blog, but a heart-filled narration of one person's journey through life that is also filled with love and passion for people and antiques/decorative arts. 
Well, I've got to wrap this up and get to bed. Thank you for letting me vent my blessings/lessons of the day.

Mary & Jones & Cole
(Jones is still suffering from post horrendous 4th of July fireworks nerves--my poor boy starts to get shaky as night falls anticipating the booms)