Monday, June 30, 2014

AND HERE HE IS--Very Large Heritage Credenza

Finally, this bruiser is ready for sale. The total length of this unusual Heritage credenza that dates to the late 1950s-early 60s is 101" and it is in the style of Renzo Rutilli. To find such large mid-century pieces in good condition is not easy--which is why I expended so much effort to bring this guy to his Sunday Best.
Here are a couple of detail photos



The original mottled green lacquer on the case section would have been next to impossible to duplicate--in some lights it reads a yellow-green; in others an Italian green; in a dark room, it reads almost black.

Thanks for being so patient with my trials and tribulations regarding this credenza--hopefully, this will be the last time I learn the lessons of checking the details every single step of the way (*note to self).

All of my charges are surviving-- the alligator (as in gecko) stayed home. I didn't turn off the lights in the salt water fish tank last night because I was afraid of turning off the very imposing looking filter (and I would never recover if I killed Josh's fish and shrimp and clams and anemone, etc.); so I think that the fish will sleep well tonight. Jones and Cole are having a great time and Dao's cats are afraid of Jones so they have not appeared (but are sneaking around to eat)...all is well.

Have a wonderful week......and 4th of July.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Here's a quick shot of the pair of Jacques Adnet-style side tables that I've been working on for months. The leather "people" did a fantastic job of wrapping the top faux bamboo supports in leather...I just have a couple of touch-ups to do--but the tables are fine just the way they are. It is a little scary to design/envision a piece when the artisans who will be executing my vision have never done this type of leather work...... I'll take some better photos next week showing the details. Needless to say, I'm really happy with the results. I like the brass pagoda lamps just sitting pretty on their partners, too.
Now on to Flavio...........Aaaaaay! Well, Flavio did redo the doors and drawer fronts and they are up to snuff. Roberto will give them the once over and then I think that we are done.

This shot shows the credenza before the redo--but it essentially looks the same---except that once you really get into inspecting the details, it is infinitely more finely done. Will I ever use Flavio again? Well, I think that I will put him on the shelf for a little while--I've learned not to burn bridges as Flavio can RESTORE (not refinish) French polish and that is a skill that is ranked up there with gold and diamonds. I definitely will NOT be using him for any lacquer work (or just about anything else).

My absolute all-time favorite Fortuny Pillows sold within 10 hours of being posted to 1stdibs. I was sad to see them go so quickly. I will probably have to really hunt to find another textile like this beautiful mint c. 1920 Fortuny--but this piece just walked in the door; so you just never know.

For the next three days Jones and I will be baby sitting 3 cats and one dog and one lizard (at Dao's house) while James and Dao and families take a quick vacation down to Rosarita Beach in Baja. I thought about going, but decided to stay in LA. Our weather has been gorgeous and I'm not really a beach person with my Irish skin. Besides, I need to be Nana to the beasties--not too sure about the lizard as he and I have never really bonded. I guess that as long as I have crickets to feed him, things should be fine.

Be well!
Mary & Jones & Cole & Cats & Lizard.

Friday, June 20, 2014


My history of photographic skills has been riddled with husband took all of the photos of my (now adult children)---they would issue enormous wails of protest that he took soooooo long going for the perfect shot that had to be perfectly focused. I didn't take any photos at all for many many years...... I felt so incompetent that I developed a complex about taking photos. Well, that changed with the advent of internet shopping and my posting photos to my site as well as to many others--I purchased a good camera and at least could snap some photos that were barely passable. Then, that camera was I bought another camera--this time, a point and shoot. That camera was stolen; so I bought a Canon Point and shoot. That little camera was (still is) really  pretty good and my photos improved. But now I have a great camera and look what I have learned to do.
Not that shabby (yes, I'm tooting my horn....)
Here are photos of a pair of alabaster sconces that I took yesterday. These sconces are very large with a width of 24" and are in the style of the famous French Deco masters Sue et Mare.


Compared to photos of the same sconces that I took a few months ago with my old little Canon:

Of course, the lighting is much improved in yesterday's photos...but I do think that I am moving along in my skill level.
I'm posting these photos of a superb Antoni Calve intaglio lithograph to 1stdibs (The Collection) next week and they are much better than the original photos that I took in September or October......
These photos were a challenge because of all of the black and the resultant light reflections--I still have a bit of reflection along the left side. I was able to capture quite a bit of the intaglio and the shading of the impression.

Below is a photo that I took of the Clave lithograph when I first bought it.......... I am pretty amazed at the improvement...

Now, I guess that the next thing I need to do is purchase back lighting and background? Maybe I should take some Photo Shop classes? Here are a couple other photos from last week that I took of interesting Japanese items belonging to other dealers.

The hand hammered sterling contemporary Japanese vessel is so incredibly beautiful, with a purity of spirit.
And the photo isn't too bad.
I could have done a little better with the Imari bowl...I'm realizing it's hard to photograph a curve.....hmmmmm.
We have had the most glorious June--sunny and cool--perfect sleeping weather. I hope that this holds through til the end of summer when EL NINO is supposed to arrive bringing us the blessings of rain.
Have a wonderful week-end!

Be well,
Mary & Jones & Cole
(Jones and I are going to babysite Mr. Cole tonight)

Friday, June 13, 2014


The last couple of months have been a stretch of climbing many of the lessons were ones that I thought I had already learned (silly me). Fortunately, I've come to the point where I know that these mountains will be climbed and conquered--but that knot in my stomach tells me I still have many steps to go before I reach the point where I'm engaged in life--no matter the circumstances.
When I was talking with my dearest of dear friends, Angie of Bonita Interiors, she said a few words that hit me like lightning. She said: "I'm going to power through this......" Yep, POWER THROUGH. In the past I would have interpreted this to mean take control, micro-manage all the details, stand up and yell, etc. But what came to mind is that I can be in my own power, asking for help when needed--I'm super independent--without feeling out of control, I can allow situations to flourish trusting that the solution will arrive and that help is really on the way as I know that we are all connected in some miraculous fashion. (I DO NOT MEAN LIE DOWN AND DO NOTHING! Which I have tried and have ascertained many times the ineffectiveness of this strategy) Above all, I can stand.
I've written about my restoration disaster(s) regarding Flavio--I trusted him to do what he said and I MESSED UP BIG TIME (notice that I did not say F*******up). I trusted him; did not go over his work on the credenza because his prior restorations had been perfect. What's more-- I paid him. The result was the hit-and-miss (cra****) restoration of several pieces that had to be PERFECT. And he refused to make them right. Not only that, I have about $25,000 of poorly restored inventory that is unsaleable and I keep a very tight small shop. Here's just a few of the problems on the credenza

From a short distance, it looked great

Yesterday, while talking to Bill (he called me) (who had referred Flavio to me) about internet promotions, I just mentioned what a terrible job Flavio had done on my pieces (not asking for help just updating Bill in case he made any other referrals)--Bill is a very big and influential antiques dealer here in Los Angeles and Flavio has worked for him for 20 years....
Bill told me to tell Flavio that if he "didn't make it right, Bill would give no further referals and that he would not call Flavio in the future.....WELL, boy did that message light a fire....Mind you, I had already gotten a quote and scheduled the piece to be redone ($600 for just the drawer fronts and drawers) plus another $400 for the other pieces......Ayyyyyy.
Anyway, Flavio is supposedly going to shop today (of course, I can't make it today so we'll have to communicate by phone)... 
Lesson Learned: Unexpected help did show up, plus I had to let go of my control issues (anger, frustration and fear).
Lesson Relearned: Check everything out from top to bottom. (Make No Assumptions --from "The Four Agreements")
I have quite a few more Mountains to "Power Through" and/or over on my plate......I wonder what serendipitous (dont' you just love Spell Check?) help or inspiration will arrive on the scene next.
Anyway, I'm powering through and STANDING ....knowing that all is well.

Have a fantastic week-end and Father's Day. We are having a fantastically cool month of June. It's just about 75* with sun & soft whispy clouds --just like the East Coast.

Be well,

Mary & Jones & Cole

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I'M BACK.........

The second space is finally shaping up--I painted the walls a muddy, masculine gray. At first I was disappointed with the color, but with things hung and lamps lit--it's not too bad. Once I get the overhead lighting installed--changing from cold light to warm light it should be just about right.

May was a tough month: nothing seemed to flow (except for Mia's fantastic news) and there were so many unnecessary hurdles to climb over.  I have had to get a new restorer to redo most of the work of the last guy--time consuming and expensive and very frustrating.....well, I think I'll turn the page on that misadventure.

Yep, some of my new Fortuny pillows were ready when I popped in to give Pam 2 antique Japanese Obis for pillows (new experiment in pillow design).
These are just inventory photos--I'll shoot some better ones in a couple of days.

FIRST UP are the two pillows that I created with the mint c. 1920's Fortuny textile

In my opinion, there is nothing quite like the very early Fortuny fabrics--the handblocked design is rustic, but very sophisticated (the blocking is a negative--the light color is blocked on to the blue). I decided to make generous pillows--the Fortuny textile was very pricey and I was tempted to stretch it for three pillows--but they just didn't look right. And I chose a high-end silk strie for the backing. Not the usual "safe" plain silk option. I love the original Fortuny border on the edges of the pillows.

NEXT UP is another pair of antique Fortuny pillows fabricated with a textile designed and created by Mariano Fortuny in the early 1930's.

This fabric was woven on a small 28" inch loom which is a good indication of the age of the fabric. The pattern is an early version of "Peruano"--I love the unique color way with that "pure 1930's" green. I made one pair with a high-end green silk backing and a single with a complementary raw silk backing and welt.

LAST UP is a pair of c. 1960's "Campanile" pattern vintage Fortuny pillows in a peachy tone with silvery-gold. 

I love this very busy and happy vintage Fortuny pattern. It is still being made today, but new Fortuny is just not the same as the Fortuny textiles that were created during the life times of Mariano and subsequently his wife, Henriette, up until about the mid-1960's.

Pam still has a couple of pairs of vintage Fortuny pillows in the works, plus the 2 pairs of Obi pillows that I just ordered.

Well, we are starting the second week of June and I've had a few good One King's Lane and 1stdibs sales; so I do think things are looking up! Today a young couple came in who had bought several things from me about 3 years ago---I was so honored--they made the effort to find me at my new location and said I was the first person they had tought of when deciding to look for additional decorative elements.

Sending June and early summer blessings--it looks like we are going to have an "El Nino" year here in CA starting late summer--we need the rain so desperately. 

Be well.

Mary & Jones & Cole