Sunday, September 27, 2015


Well, I don't know him; so I can't really really love him...........but I do know his aesthetic, his encyclopedic knowledge, his focus on living well, his fearless stance (who would buy a Chateau in France and renovate it from top to bottom---we know the French "petit fonctionaire") and the fact that he is always photographed with a smile on his face.
This morning up pops an email notice that Timothy Corrigan is featured in a OKL article.......Although I am quite a bit ticked off with OKL (and their attitude towards their vintage dealers), I just had to run to read this article.
I'm going to pull out a couple of quotes and photos from the OKL feature..........I agree with most of what Mr. Corrigan says, but with a couple of major exceptions........

"Research has shown that when you live in a symmetrical space, you feel more at ease than when you live in an asymmetrical one." Notice that the emphasis is on SYMMETRICAL.  Not once does TC mention pairs. It would be so much easier to provide symmetry by simply using pairs of chairs or tables or pairs of lamps---but the interest comes with finding just the perfect mate--one that pulls out the details and interest of its new partner. When you study this room, there is only one pair (the chairs), while there is symmetry throughout.....the wall console vs. the French Empire bouillote  table; the large marble column lamp & shade together with the marble pedestal & bust vs. the large 18th c. painting. The symmetry isn't blatant--it's very subtle and PERFECT.
The above room also demonstrates another TC precept: "The furniture has to be comfortable to sit on, but the use of scale and flow are equally important." "If you go into a room with ceilings that are 16 ft tall and the sofa or coffee table is 12" off the floor, that does not feel comfortable in the context of that space."
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. As some of you may have noticed I love it all: period antiques and mid-century modern; rustic Americana and ethnic, a great mix--but the scale of the room needs to be appropriate to each piece. Just because a piece was designed by a famous and desirable individual, does NOT mean that it will work in your space. A finely lacquered Japanese Edo period low table will simply not work with a French 18th sofa or daybed--the scale is off and it becomes very uncomfortable to even reach the table from the sofa...the same can be said for certain mid-century pieces when combined with period furniture. But when the mid-century piece is equal in scale and quality and inspiration, to the 18th c. piece then the energy between the elements starts to sing.

TC: "I think that when you have disparate items in very different styles, there's a tension that is created. Whether you are mixing new and old, or expensive and inexpensive, or ornate and simple, I love the exchange that happens whenever you put two very different pieces together."
The breakfast room above, perfectly balanced and symmetrical demonstrates this concept of one period playing off another--take a look at the glass and metal table--2nd half of the 20th c. But the chairs derive from an early 18th c. French form. The feel of the room is French, but the painted cabinet is 20th c., with English inspiration. The light fixture is a rustic 18th c. style piece which one would not instinctively pair with the high-style glass table--yet, all of the elements of the room work to bring a sense of balance to the room.

Now I do have a couple of bones to pick with TC: being a seller of fine and unique lamps, I do not agree with his design theory: "You don't have to spend a lot of money on lamps, if you have good shades. I paid about $100 for these and then spent the money on the shades."

I, personally, would love to see a pair of period (these are my Louis XV brass candlesticks) electrified and then paired with those great silk shades!!! TC's shades probably cost close to $400 (or more) for the you make the calculations.
I'm also pretty well-know for my vintage and antique lamps and I personally think that a great lamp speaks volumes. Especially Chinese export porcelain lamps in a traditional interior and Chinese porcelain monochromes: sang de boeuf (ox blood), celadon, black, intense blue or robin's egg blue or that gorgeous Chinese chromatic yellow for modern 20th c. interiors.
(That is what inspires Christopher Spitzmiller)

I worship at TC's feet for espousing this belief: "SAVE MONEY: BUY ANTIQUES"...........Of course I'm in total agreement. TC goes on: "an antique has already depreciated. But if you buy a table from Pottery Barn (or Restoration Hardware) and you try to sell it tomorrow, it's nothing more than used furniture." Yep!! That just about says it all. THANK YOU.

BUT I DO HAVE ONE FINAL LITTLE BONE TO PICK WITH TC: He mentions shopping all over at auction houses around the US for great deals---and that is true there are great deals. But the flip side is that it is the knowledgeable person who gets the great deals--and it is always buyer beware. THAT IS WHY YOU SHOP FROM REPUTABLE ANTIQUES DEALERS (like me) WHO HAVE EARNED THEIR STRIPES.....
Example: a client came in yesterday who had requested that Angie and I find her a long mid-century credenza. She found one herself, then had to have it restored (natch). Well the restorer (she had had no prior experience with restorations) did a really bad job on the credenza which she did not notice until the piece was delivered and paid for ($800+ in restorations/delivery). She's not really happy with it (and she is a perfectionist), and she definitely did not save the money she thought she would by doing it herself.
Moral of story: I LOVE TIMOTHY CORRIGAN--but please consider patronizing reputable and knowledgeable (as in "me") antiques dealers.

Thank you to Timothy Corrigan for staying true to timeless beauty and quality while adding in your personal style and soul.



Friday, September 25, 2015


Yesterday I, among thousands of others, watched and listened to Pope Francis at the Evening Prayer Service and Re-dedication of St. Patrick's Cathedral. I watched as this simple man brought a spirit of unity to our Nation. His first spoken words were expressions of compassion and brotherhood for the Muslim community in regards to the developing tragedy in Mecca. The Pope's exhortation to all of us who listened (I interpreted his words as not being limited to Catholics/clergy-but applicable to all of us of faith) to lives our lives in gratitude, rejecting money and power and materialism as worthy personal goals. He urged reconciliation, forgiveness, generosity and love for the poor. Praising women; not judging or condemning those who were previously rejected by the Church. He urged a rededication to the work of the Church in service to those in need; at the same time he stressed the importance of balance and rest as forms of personal renewal. 
I so often loose my way, my balance in life--how is simple it would be to always remember to seek rest and renewal in its most simple form. I think of the times that I slip into judgement of others--usually because I've allowed my self to become out-of-balance--maybe too hungry, thirsty and especially tired. How much easier life would be if I could just automatically remember to be grateful; if I could automatically remember that my purpose in life is to bring light into my present.
I am honored to witness renewal and growth in so many forms that is occurring in the World at this time. Renewal, any kind of change that disturbs the status quo, will bring with it turmoil, but I feel that change is definitely coming and I would hope that I could welcome it with an open fearless heart.


Thursday, September 24, 2015


This signed and number lithograph by Marino Marini is calling to me. I love strong and powerful examples of abstract art. Last month I purchased two Antoni Clave lithographs and an art collector came in just a couple of days after hanging the lithos and out the door they went. Marini is known for his representations of the human form (Cavaliere) together with The Horse (Cavallo). We'll see how the bidding goes. That red horse is spectacular.

Next up on my interest scale is this pair of mid-c solid brass can pendant lamps......the photo is awful, but the pendants are pretty cool. 

I think that the cans are about 18 inches in depth--we'll see. I don't have a very good eye for overhead lighting fixtures of any type, much less modern.

Lately I've been buying Chinese porcelain lamps, but no one has been buying them from me!! Of course, this presents a problem: my instincts are telling me that gorgeous chinese porcelain lamps will be making a come back, but it just hasn't started yet.........
Any way, I'm going to make a stab at acquiring this Chinese Export Famille Verte lamp. It's hiding a the very beginning of the auction which means that I need to be out the door by 7:45 to make sure that I don't get stuck in LA traffic (which seems to be getting worse by the hour). I think that the Famille Verte porcelain dates to the late 19th or early 20th c.; the lamp fittings are definitely mid-20th.  I like the little roosters on the porcelain.....I'm such a sucker for anything with animals on it.......
I'm so grateful to be back on my feet--still not perfect, but so much better. Now, if the weather will cooperate and go back to the respectable high 70s or low 80s, my body will be very greatful, too.

Jones and Cole send love. Jones even went running last night--pretty good for an older guy--but if he doesn't have an hour of exercise, he turns into the world's naughtiest dog.
Wish me luck for tomorrow--the good things is that there is always more stuff.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, September 20, 2015


   It rained cats and dogs on Tuesday morning --almost 2 inches.
   We had a tsunami warning for the coast of Southern California caused by the earthquake in Chile.
   Nate Berkus came into shop on Friday and bought a table from me!!!!!!!!!
Nate's purchase was a great welcome back for me: I have tried to down play the fact that I was to have hip surgery on September 1. I'm not a coward, but I really abhor medical procedures, hospitals, the color of hospitals, the smell, the un-charming uniforms, etc. (Probably goes back to the fact that I was one of the first very tiny preemie babies to survive and spent the first 2.5 months of my existence in hospital. But as a dear friend used to advise me: "get over it!!"..........
Any way, the hip replacement goes back to an old dog park injury. When the pitt bull took me down (he actually loves me) by accident 3 years ago, I knew that this time the injury probably would not heal without some outside interference.
Since I had to have the surgery I decided that some goal-setting was in order. My goal was to be back at work two weeks (14 days) after surgery..........every one looked at me as if I were crazy.....but I stuck to my goal. The first few days after surgery are a complete blurr (the anesthesia and pain meds did not agree with me). Also I developed severe sciatica in the leg with the new hip.............and I was pretty sure that I would not meet me stated goal. But guess what??????? I got my stitches out and was released to drive and go to work on my target date. (See what goal setting and stubborness can do.) But I decided to listen to my body instead of my hard-headed ego.
I went back to work today, just a few days later than planned and on a day when I wouldn't be spending 2.5-3 hours in traffic (I'm not supposed to sit too long).
I have been going crazy (amost) can't stand the inactivity and having to be careful with every move I make for the first few weeks post surgery.  Worst of all: no auctions or buying!!! But I've been good and have stayed focused on getting all of my existing inventory perfectly restored---and the cost of restorations has increased.....

As you can see from the photo, Jones does not do well when we are not together.......but he's back to his usual naughty tricks now that I'm home.