Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PROBLEM CHILD---The Upholstery Mini Nightmare

Finally......these guys have made it to completion...almost.

This is what the chairs looked like when I acquired them

This what they looked like while being painted

When I had completed painting the chair frames, I had a difficult time deciding what fabric to upholster them in. The fabric had to be appropriate for the period and design of the frames without looking "Grandmotherly"--so I first purchased a deep gray velvet, but wasn't happy. Then I purchased a top quality linen in a Chinese Chippendale pattern.......too boring. Finally, I found the perfect fabric--a top quality velvet printed in an abstract/ethereal lime green, ivory and gray pattern. I knew that there would be just enough fabric for the chairs, but just in case there wasn't enough for the welting, the gray velvet would be a perfect accent. Off the chairs went to Lalo (with whom I have worked for almost 6 years). Four days later I get a call from, there isn't enough fabric for both chairs!!! Lalo had cut and completed one chair without making sure he had enough fabric for both chairs and the welting. I have been doing upholstery for almost 25 years and I used to make my own clothes--so I really do know how to make the best of yardage and how to measure--Lalo had obviously been very careless and wasteful. And of course, I couldn't get any more of that fabric.........So I found another great fabric, but had to buy 7 yards and spend another $140. Lalo dropped off the chairs yesterday, when I wasn't at the shop. When I went over the work this morning, I noticed that pieces of straw were dropping out of the bottom of the chair. Lalo was supposed have replaced all of the insides--many times early 20th c. chairs (and period chairs) had padding created with horsehair and straw. When Angie and I turned the chairs over, the bottom liner was the old stained fabric!!! So when Lalo came to pick up his payment, off the chairs went again to have their undersides worked on......Ayyyyyyy!

But do love how these guys turned out

I think Lalo is going to be very surprised when I deduct the cost of the original fabric that I had given him. But perhaps he will be more careful the next time.

Next Up
The Jacques Adnet style occasional folding tables are ready. And they are show-stoppers!! I think I will hold off with cutting the 1/2" glass--the buyer can decide the dimensions of the glass top.


I love the vintage 1980s faux bamboo brass frame. And the workmanship is fantastic. Now that I have this new employee of the leather craftsmen (this is the shop that crafts all of the Disneyland fantasy costume shoes) who can do superb custom leather, I have started designing again.  Let's see what I come up with.

It's getting late and Mr Jones is starting to prowl as he waits for me to go to bed.
Hope you all have a wonderful spring day.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, March 20, 2015


Today is Friday and the only day of the week that I do not "do" LA freeways. So I stopped by the fabulous leather craftsman that I use for custom pieces.
This is the second pair of Jacques Adnet style tables and look at the design improvements. Here is the second set

Here are a couple of shots of the first pair.

The initial pair was good; but the second pair is going to be phenomenal. I am definitely in "The Zone" with this project.
After my disaster with my upholsterer last week, I needed this encouragement. I love it when someone takes initiative. Of course, if I had not liked this new design, nothing would have been lost.

Yesterday was the memorial service for Emily (and her birthday), my niece. I spoke on love and based my talk on 1 Corinthians 13.  It was a challenge to keep my emotions in check, but I felt so completely in His presence that I was fine. I have been meditating on 1 Corinthians 13 since Emily left us in November. It's hard to look with honesty at my failings and judgements. But that is the only way to grow in faith and love.......

Spring is finally here!! It's been a perfect week. Beautiful clear sunny skies and mid-70s.

Have a great week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Monday, March 16, 2015

SMOKIN'--- (Well, we're getting there)

Thursday, while I was at auction, I had an interesting sale--$250 worth of rocks. Well, that's a lot of broken up Geodes.... it turns out that Nate Berkus and partner were in and bought rocks from me and chairs from Angie. 
And Yesterday Joel Chen was in and posted photos of Jones to his instagram account. Joel came in with his mixed Bichon who was a little intimidated by Jones--but Jones is so sweet with little dogs.
So when two of the current top guys in the industry come knocking at my door (the reason is unimportant) I'm honored. Unfortunately Jones hates to have his picture taken............

Updates on Purchases
The 17th/18th c table is not French--I think that it's Flemish--love the stretcher and finials

The Chinese trunk looks a lot better than I remember

The Steuben Pedestal Bowl or Compote is stunning--I didn't remember it as being quite so beautiful

And finally, The Suzanne Pascal large glass sculpture. I did not realize that large chunks of glass--not works of art sell for quite a bit of money!! I priced this piece very reasonably as she has lost her marble plinth. I think she's stunning.

It's a gorgeous Monday--and thankfully cooling down from our mid-90s weather of the past few days. 
I've got to hustle the next few days as I will be taking a couple off for my niece Emily's memorial service and to spend time with family.
Jones says "hi"--he's gradually recovering, but it's still a long process.



Thursday, March 12, 2015


It was a great Auction Thursday....sorry, forgot to take photos; so I pulled some images of pieces from Google and 1stdibs that are similar to what I bought today. You really have to go to auction with a very open mind--you just never know what is going to go way too high (and I've set my sights on just that piece) or what will go low. Or (as what happened today) the auctioneer doesn't see your bid because some one jumps in front of you...
I wanted to purchase a set of four Katavolos T-chairs (and so did a lot of other people)........ I loved the patination of the carmel colored leather---there's always more!!

I wanted to purchase a 19th c. French farm table similar to this one........

But didn't get it!

And I really, really wanted a 19th c. large French Bistro table

The Bistro table at auction today had a slightly more refined marble, but it went for twice the price of this 1stdibs listed table.......not my kind of price point. (It's a secret, but we dealers do try to make a little profit)
HOWEVER---I did bring home some really good pieces:
I bought a period Louis XIII small side table similar to this one, but with more exaggerated turnings and finial and it appears to retain its original dark surface and it has a little lip around the top. This is a nice little Louis XIII table, but just a tad bit boring, n'est pas?

Next up was a trio of glass sculptures by the well-listed American artist Suzanne Pascal (1914- ). Here's an example (higher level than mine)

I'm embarrassed at what I paid for them--yep, a bit of profit here.
Then I bought an early 20th c. Chinese lacquered pigskin trunk something like this guy

but in better condition and with its original lacquered stand. I have a client who was looking for a black Chinese trunk--perhaps this one will work.
And, at the very end of the auction, I bought two medium-sized Steuben footed bowls.

I realize that Steuben is not currently "in", but these beautiful Steuben pieces are classic and this amazing American company--sadly, is no long in existence. Quality never looses its value.
I also bought some other stuff--just for a bit of filler.
Hopefully Roberto will be close by so that he can come unload for me.
It takes a huge amount of perseverance, focus and a lot of patience to stay at auction all day--but I love this serendipitous, never quite knowing what's evolving process. (Note to self: drink plenty of water and coffe and always carry good chocolate.) Plus I get to see many of my dealer buddies (remember: there are no friends at auction).

It hit 90* today. I pray that is not signaling the end of winter just yet. We need quite a few more good storms to roll through to alleviate our drought--lots more snow in the Sierra. I hope that Boston is beginning to thaw--wish it were possible to truck all that snow to California.

Jones is gradually getting back to himself. And I'm grateful. I'm settling in to my two new/old locations and am soooooo happy. 
I'll take photos of these items and post them to my website shortly....for now it's off to bed.

Have a wonderful almost Spring week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Monday, March 9, 2015


The guys, Ethan, Blake and Sam, picked up their Dad's guitar last Christmas and in the past year have taught themselves to play electric and acoustic guitar, the drums and they are now working on piano.
We didn't even have much of an indication that they were talented........Ethan (on the right) has started writing all of their music. I wonder if we need an agent?
I think that you can link his most polished composition (I still don't quite know how to do this link thing). Anyway, the vocals are Ethan; the guitar solos are Blake and Sam (only 12) is on the drums.
I'm so proud of them as they have formed a super strong bond with their music.
Ethan does a killer Jimi Hendrix, too.
More photos:

The arts are the surest form of bringing about unity of purpose. Hopefully, we as a nation will return to a policy of non-intervention and reinstitute full funding for the arts in K-12.

Blessings for the week.

Mary & Jones & Cole.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


For some strange reason I'm being called by this antique painted Chinese altar table.

The table looks as if has been left out in the elements for a very long time. I just love the intensity of the green and the time-acquired deep patina.  I've got just the place for it, but it will have to be super cheap. It's pretty cool isn't it?
Next to catch my eye was this 18th/19th c. Spanish bracero fragment........and you know me, a sucker for just about anything antique brass. I think it would be great with a mirror in it's center??
And there is this original Noguchi paper lamp--
I'll ponder these guys for a couple of days.........but now it's time to pack it in!! Jones is waiting.

Instagram is going super well....


Mary & Jones & Cole

Monday, March 2, 2015


I've had an Instagram account for at least a year, but I never could find anyone to sit down patiently with me to teach me how to use it. Actually, just the vocabulary instructions, it's really not that different from blog posting, once you know what the symbols mean and the order in which you hit those symbols.
Angie and I are once again neighbors and she had some time; so we worked on my Instagram skills. And I think I get it.
So I posted some photos today and will practice some more tonight so that I do not forget. My brain simply does not work the way Instagram logic does. Oh, well, it does work my way.
Here are a couple of instagram posts--I'm still learning how to adjust the photos using the Instagram software; so patience is a virtue.

We have had the most glorious few days--clouds and rain, thunder, hail, wind and sun all mixed up. AND THE MOST AMAZING BLUE SKIES--HEAVEN!! It is supposed to clear tomorrow and I can't wait to see how low the snow line is. We need all of the snow that we can get. The San Gabriel Mountains will be stunning with the sun picking out the white peaks against the bright blue sky.
I think that my view driving to Los Angeles will look something like this (Image taken from Google).

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Mary & Jones & Cole