Sunday, April 24, 2016


I'm so proud of myself for setting a limit on what I would spend on the French Louis XVI style settee of my last post

This puppy, so badly in need of reupholstery, went for the unbelievable sum (bid + lot fee) of $1500--add to that the minimum $550-$700 for reupholstery costs and there goes the profit. Remember this was NOT a period pieces of furniture and the finish (although fun) was poor.
I decided instead to concentrate on the various pieces that I had felt compelled to buy--but then wondered if I hadn't lost my mind.
Lalo, my upholsterer, brought this super pair of late 19th c. barrel back bergeres to me yesterday. I had purchased them because the two missing cushions from my set of 10 Brighton Pavilion chairs 

had ended up on the Louis XVI chairs. The Louis were really raggedy--the caned seat in one of the chairs had a huge hole. the cane was too crisp (fragile) to risk selling (I only offer items that meet my strict criteria) and they were badly in need of Roberto's magic--dirty and scratchy. So look at what arrived

Not too shabby for cast-offs. Of course, the fabric (and the cost of the custom down and feathers cushions) and labor costs were quite a bit more than the cost of the chairs.
Next up.......I bought this charming chest of drawers for me--it's Baker, but not marked, which is strange--but when I got it home, I realized that this guy was a seller; so off it went to the shop and into Roberto's magic hands

This chest dates to the late 50's or early 60's and is in a "French" neoclassical style in cherry and walnut. It's got a super look as I can price it very competitively. Both of these guys will be posted to 1stdibs this week (I think).
And finally:  I bought this very large (103" wide) mid-19th c. Chinese Elm Altar Table thinking that it would look great against the back wall and that I could display lamps on top and shorter items below. 

Roberto just waxed (needed no other restorations) it; so the photos show the unwaxed table. Well, guess what item has generated the most interest in the past month?? Yep, the piece that I bought for display purposes only. I've got three clients who are measuring spaces for it. Goes to show--you just never know what's around the corner. And that (usually) if you are following the voice in your ear and stepping out of your comfort zone at times--there just might be a plan beyond what is immediately visible.... sounds easy doesn't it?  Well, guess what? It's not! Especially when this stepping out in faith involves family and deeper, soul deep decisions.
Jones is coming to work today--he loves all of the attention and TREATS.
Blessing for a glorious spring day.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, April 7, 2016


I really like this French "En Corbeille" little sofa. It's only from the 1st half of the twentieth century, but I love the form (I just wish it didn't have those upholstered arm pads); some one has sanded off the painted finish and it almost looks like true natural patina--but it's not--take a close look

And that's exactly what I would have done--I even have fabric in my stash that would be perfect (the toile is so dated)--a dark grey Ralph Lauren Linen with hints of purple.............but there is one HUGE problem: I am being overwhelmed by my inventory and do not have an inch of floor space to spare......and I have a pair of chairs in line to go to the upholsterer already. I am of the conviction that if it can't be on the floor and ready to sell, then do not buy it. It used to be you could have a warehouse of inventory; but no more: styles change so rapidly that what's a hot seller today, might go dead tomorrow.
Well, maybe, if it is super super super cheap, I'll make an does have a great feather cushion??!!
Sending blessings for the day--looks like we will be getting a few very needed days of showers.
Mary, Jones & Cole

Saturday, April 2, 2016


It all began on a dark and stormy night....(actually not true, but catchy?)
I needed a display table for my Marbro lamps; so I bought the above antique Chinese altar table a couple of weeks ago. This altar table is REALLY LARGE--over 8 1/2 feet wide and in pretty good condition with great patina and the original lacquer surface. After we got it in, I decided that I should research it just last Monday. Much to my delight, it turns out that the table dates to the late 18th or early 19th c. and was originally lacquered in black over the heavy elm base. While I was researching my "display" table, I saw this gorgeous mid-19th c. ivory lacquered altar table on 1stdibs
It was love at first sight--I knew that I had to have one just like it. The only problem is that this table is listed at $17,500--and my pockets won't stretch that far.....but look at that patina and the purity of form.
Wednesday (as usual) I went to preview my Thursday auction. A bit down the first aisle, midway between the high-end and the low-end sections, I found this

MAMA MIA, I couldn't believe my eyes, I had not known this form of altar table existed until just a couple of days prior and it had instantly become my object of intense desire...... IT WAS SITTING THERE WAITING FOR ME. My auction table is a very tiny bit smaller and it does not have the inverted toe, but it is essentially the same table. 
The lacquer technique is called "daqi" which involved soaking a fabric in lacquer, applying the fabric to the wood and then applying additional coats of lacquer.
I was ready to go to $1000. So I gaged my timing, arriving on schedule. I sat with my friend Hillary and waited and waited. Finally, my table comes to block. I look around for all of the Chinese buyers who had been flitting around the table previously and they were no where to be found. Don starts the bidding at $100 (I couldn't believe he didn't know the value) and the bids go up in $25 increments and then in $50 increments and then the bidding stops with me at $350..... and stays there. No body else knew the value of the table (or maybe they simply lost focus and forgot to bid?).....Of course, I'm jumping for joy inside. Needless to say, my price point will not be any where near $17,500.
(To be transparent: I did make a huge buying mistake. I bid on something that I had not previewed/inspected. I'll take it back and re-auction the lot and I'll take a huge loss. But that was a good reminder to me to stay conscious and aware. And the truth is that if you aren't making a mistake every once in a while, you're not being aggressive enough)
Well I've got to get up early tomorrow.
Wish me luck selling some big things as I am jammed to the rafters.
Mary & Jones & Cole