Tuesday, August 30, 2016


It's been almost 3 weeks since my last post and I don't know where to start.........so I'll start with the best news

Mia had her six month check up at St Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis last week and all of the tests and the MRI came back with 100% improvements scores. The photo was taken yesterday with her "Auntie Dao" (my gorgeous daughter) after her Hula Dance Recital. Of course, Mia had to be the center of attention during her dances and assumed the role of teacher telling the other tots what they needed to do next....I wonder what she'll be like as a teenager? A bit bossy is my guess. 
Business has been great (keeping my fingers crossed) which means that I get to buy. I was picking up at "my" auction today when I spotted this stunning and quite rare Chinese Coromandel Settee. I have never seen one quite like this example. The lacquer work is to die for (literally)--I would guess that this settee dates to c. 1880-1900. The condition is excellent--I know that it will go for a lot of $$$ and the Chinese buyers will be lined up.

All I can say about this stunner is: "Rose Tarlow eat your heart out."--I mean it in the most complementary way as Rose Tarlow uses this style of decoration on her Chinoiserie pieces.
This brings me to exactly what I have been buying. Remember the pair of 18th c. Tuscan Demi-Lune Trestle Consoles that I blogged about?

 Well, to continue in that vein and because they needed a little brother, I brought home this little late 17th c. Spanish (and Spanish pieces are my favorites) trestle table. The photos speak for themselves

The table has had a bit of restoration over its nearly 350 years of life and there is deep patination to the surface and shrinkage cracks plus a couple of losses to the top which only makes it richer (in my opinion). The last photo shows the under side of the top, revealing its hand hewn timber. After sitting on cold damp floors for hundreds of years, the ends of the table legs deteriorated and some silly person simply trimmed off about 3" from the ends of the legs; so the table is a little short. I haven't decided whether to "tip" the legs to their original height or leave the table as is. We'll see. I love the little wood diamonds that were used to help secure the large square nails to the top.

I went shopping with my friend Darren Ransdell of Darren Ransdell designs last Monday--so next up I'll describe some of the fantastic items at the renown Blackman Cruz design store and attempt to give just a hint of the ethereal interiors of the space.
For now, it's time to go to bed as I need to be on the road bright and early tomorrow.

Prayers for Our Nation--maybe we be wise.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Last week was one of amazing gifts. The Tuscan Baroque consoles were one of those gifts, but the little table shown above is another.
In fact, this beautiful table may surpass the Tuscan consoles in desirability and rareness (is that a word?). When the table came to the block, the auctioneer announced that it was a "cut-down antique table" or coffee table. I hadn't seen it during preview the day before, but just glancing at it I knew that it hadn't been cut-down. The legs and their period turnings were perfectly proportioned as were the drop leaves

I didn't know the condition of the table, but felt it was worth the gamble as I knew it was a highly desirable American Child's Table--Late Federal/ Early Sheraton Period (c.1825-35). When I picked up the table on Friday, I was astonished: the little table was in near mint condition and appeared to be 100% original--the underside being as beautiful as the top. As I have studied the table a bit, I'm struck by the fact that the cabinetmaker used a beautifully figured (and much more costly) maple to fabricate the table, the figuring is of the highest level.

No expense was spared--and this care seems to have protected this little jewel over its nearly 200 years of life. I feel honored to be watching over this special table....I'd love to give it to my little granddaughters, but I do not think it would remain in this condition for very long--they are rough little soccer players.
So hopefully, the table will go to a new home quickly and I won't be tempted to take her home with me.

We've been enjoying a break from the heat--gorgeous southern California weather.

Blessing for the week.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, August 5, 2016


One of the dangers--well, not really dangers, but definitely temptations, is that when we sell, there is money to spend.......
Wednesday, I previewed my Thursday haunt. There were quite a few pieces that caught my attention--but really didn't think that they would hammer at my price points........quick look:

Gorgeous George II/III cross-banded walnut slant front desk with original hardware (even the insides were great) one problem: I think that the bracket feet might have been replacements. I used to buy these guys, but haven't had too much luck with English pieces lately--so this guy was a "no".

This George II/III small chest of drawers was just as beautiful as the slant front desk and in really great condition--but can you spot the problem? Yep, once again, it is the bracket feet. They have been reduced in height and that really lowers the value of the chest. You could restore the feet, but with English pieces not selling that well, not a good idea.
Next I spied this phenomenal pair of bronze (or brass) candlesticks.

For years I collected 17th and 18th c. brass candlesticks--primarily while living in Spain and then here, upon our return. But I sold the collection several years ago, keeping only the miniatures. However, I have always wanted a pair (or even a single) of this type. The pair that showed up at auction are 17th c. Dutch with a large mid-drip pan; iron prickets were added to the nozzle (I think that's what the candle holding section is called). I didn't take photos of the underside (most important for dating purposes) but these guys were "right": exactly what I have coveted for more than 20 years. But did I really need them? Is there a big market for them right now? Or am I simply feeling my addiction start to raise its unwanted head?............. To be safe, I decided to not go to the auction until I was reasonably sure that these amazing pieces had already gone to the block. I don't know what they sold for, but I was on to other quests.

I brought home this set of 6!!! mid-century forged iron and woven leather folding stools--aren't those great balls!! I scored with these guys......... Just look at the great patina to both the iron and the leather and all were in superb condition.
Next, I spotted this French early 18th c. trestle table and I wanted her--the detail, the authentic wear and patina, the color are all the best.

Placed around the trestle table was a set of 6 Directoire (c. 1790-1800) walnut dining chairs all in perfect condition

Being a chair addict, I wanted them soooo badly. But I refrained, even when they sold at a very low price. You see, I was saving my pennies for these beauties.

On Wednesday, when I previewed, I knew that I wanted both the trestle table and these consoles.....I really didn't think I had a chance for either one of them. Trestle tables like the French table usually sell for about $2500-$3000. And a PAIR of 18th c. Italian Baroque Consoles usually sell for about $4000-$5000 at high end auctions (and some of the heavy-hitters were in the room). But with the knowledge of: "nothing ventured, nothing gained", I was determined to make an attempt.
The Italian (actually, I think Tuscan is the appropriate term--"Italy" did not exist until the 19th c.) Consoles were the first to come to the block. I really don't know who messed up or why, but the auctioneers didn't pull the consoles up to the block, they didn't even comment on how great they were or that they were 18th c., etc. The auctioneer simply left them against the wall behind and partially hidden by a huge Renaissance Revival dining table and chairs. (That was my first indication that I might have a chance) The bidding started at $100--(I thought that Don had lost his marbles: why so low?) I came in at $600 and won the bid at $1000 even (plus 18% buyer's fee). I couldn't believe it. These are the times I am very much aware of the Heavens convening to grant me my wishes. This is when my awareness of connections and blessings overflows. (You can go to 1stdibs to see comps on consoles similar to these guys)
The French Trestle table came up very soon after the consoles. Sure enough, the table was taken to the block and really talked up (praised) and she sold for about $3000.
I was so glad that I had followed that whispered advice to buy the consoles as I would never have bought the table (at that price) in a million years. Tables like the French one are being shown in many of the current shelter magazines; so that probably accounts for its price point.
I bought a few more items--they'll wait for another post.

Just a quick note on the campaigning ventures: GO HILLARY!! 

Jones badly needs a haircut, but I spent his spa money on the Tuscan consoles...I think he'll get over it (but only if I keep the air conditioning on as he gets very hot with all of the hair).

Have a great summer week-end. We are celebrating my daughter and very talented grandson's birthdays with a big family celebration--can't wait to see everyone.
How is it possible that it's August already?Hopefully, our weather will stay on the cool side as Pasadena can be hot-hot-hot.

Mary & Jones & Cole