Saturday, December 31, 2016


This is Jones at work: giving me the "I'm ready to go home" look.........but this is also the look that I'll be getting all night plus his attempts (in vain) to sit in my lap. Jones has become terrified of fireworks and we are going to have a lot tonight. (Jones measures 28" at his shoulder and about 33" at the top of his head so sitting in my lap definitely poses structural challenges--he has already had his doggie downers--not working)
Leaving Jones' neurotic behavior aside, 2016 was a good year (excepting The Trump (liar, liar) disaster) for me and MJH DesignArts. I am immensely grateful--my buying patterns have become more spontaneous and I am definitely seeing the results. The move in November was another good decision and sales have definitely benefitted.
Looking to 2017? Well, my top priority will be to work towards removing Trump from office. I'm not exactly sure what format my actions will take, but I cannot allow our nation to be taken down standing on the sidelines. As far as I know, Russia is still our greatest threat; we did not elect the Trumpettes (Donald's children); we need to actively support the United Nations and NATO; Presidents are prohibited from taking any form of renumeration from foreign entities because of possible conflict of interests undue influence; Social Security/Medicare are not entitlements (we have paid for these budget items) and the list goes on and on and on. Our country needs us to stand up and say NO.

But I also need to BUY!! So, for the first purchase of the year:

These Elk (?) antlers measure a large 37" in height and 26" wide.....I loved them at first sight. My Thursday auction house has been closed for three I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Well, the fireworks have started up I must take care of my big baby.

Sending blessings for the New Year.

Mary, Jones & Cole 

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Today, in consideration of the fact that this humble little blog is named after two big black/gray dogs, I'll honor the boys with their presents.
(**Note: Jones first found his present and opened it way before Christmas**)

Jones with newly unwrapped toy

Cole with his toy

Jones deconstructing last of his presents

total time elapsed from opening to deconstructing was a short 5 minutes..........He only gets toys at Christmas.
Jones and Lauren were also busy helping me make cookies

I hope that everyone had as wonderful and blessed Christmas as our family. With 24 for dinner on Christmas Eve, we made it joyous.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Christmas arrived a little early this year. Lalo, my faithful upholsterer of the past nine years delivered this pair of French Deco period barrel-back bergeres on Tuesday.

Lalo had just spent nearly a month in the hospital with a very serious peritoneal infection that progressed to sepsis. I spent many days praying for him as the outcome was tenuous. I am so grateful that Lalo is a very strong, determined man--- he has just started back to work after a two month recovery.
Infections are not something to overlook: Lalo had spent a couple of days thinking that it was a minor problem and had a fever of 109 by the time he first arrived at the hospital. I'm sure that Lalo's wife and children will be greeting this Christmas Day with very thankful hearts.
Bravo Lalo--and thank you for the beautiful job that you did on my chairs--it was definitely worth the wait.
These period Deco chairs have quite a few bells and whistles: the frame are carved walnut in a Louis XV style, at one point they were entirely gilded, and have acquired a deep natural patina and "chippy" surface which contrasts beautifully with the Ralph Lauren charcoal linen that I chose for the new upholstery. Barrel-back chairs are always good sellers, I think that these guys are up there with the best of their type.
Christmas Eve is on Saturday and with about 20 coming for dinner, I had better get ready to cook.

Sending blessing for a wonderful Christmas surrounded by those that you love.

Mary, Jones & Cole

Thursday, December 15, 2016


This is what the shop (part of it) looked like before Roberto and I got busy reworking the front.....

And this is what it looked like after a little bit of love and those amazing Palm the Jansen chair, too.

Please note: Jaguars, cobra, alligator (only tail is visible), swan, palm trees in planters, silver plated cocktail shakers for those Palm Beach parties, bar cart (Aldo Tura) and those Paul Laszlo lamps add just the right beachy touch.

Darren and I bought this unusual games table a couple of months ago--I just picked it up brought it to Pasadena to begin the restoration process yesterday.
When I turned the table upside-down I discovered a few details that I hadn't noticed:

Look at this great natural patina--a sure sign of a very old piece.
When I bought the table, I thought that the little piece of wood at the bottom of the foot (toe) was an add-on (as I had never seen feet like this) and had planned to remove it. But on close inspection, that is one continuous piece of walnut. (You learn something every day and a little bit of funkiness never hurts)

The table still has a bit of active wood worm--that means that it must be treated to kill all of those hungry beasties--see that hole on the lower front leg? This is a true tell-tale sign of infestation as the hole is new without any traces of dust or old wax. (Walnut just happens to be woodworm's favorite dinner.)

Next Roberto and I checked out the break in the upper right leg. There had been a prior old incorrect restoration; so we decided to disassemble the old repair; reinforce the leg and then restore the leg properly with clamps and fine dowels.

Once the leg repair is complete, I'll fumigate the table. ***There is a very easy but great way to fumigate small pieces of furniture. Take a very large extra heavy-duty plastic leaf bag; place the item inside; insert a flea fumigator bomb into the bag; close bag leaving a small opening to set off bomb; seal bag securely and let sit for 4-5 days.*** Voila, the beasties have died and it's on to the next step in the restoration journey.
Next up is the surface restoration. This table is beautifully detailed with inlay, pen work and tinting of inlay, but the top surface has seen a lot of use

There's a bit of damage to the inlay, but more concerning is the small dark circular stain. Roberto will carefully attempt to bleach it without touching the surrounding wood (we don't want to harm the deep beautiful natural patina). He will also restore the bits of inlay that are lacking.

The open flipped top surface shows a bit of darkened areas, but I think that we will leave these alone. Roberto will next apply several coats of hard paste to the entire table. The surface has to "rest" a few days between each coat of wax.

Notice the added detail of a small inlaid drawer--another example of great detailing. (We'll try to lighten the areas of staining) Another very unusual feature is the inlay found on the back of the table. Usually the backs were not fine finished, but left in a semi rough state.

I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit--I was down with the flu for about 10 days; so I'm a bit late to the party. Hope everyone is enjoying this Christmas season--I'm trying not to stress about the fact that I have only bought a few does all finally come together. We're having 16 for dinner on Christmas Eve and it will be great to have the entire crew together.


Me, Jones & Cole

Friday, December 2, 2016


I'm not a fan of artificial anything--plants, sugars, chemicals, flavorings preservatives--you name it, if it's artificial, I don't buy it.
..........But there is one exception: tole faux bamboo or tole palm trees (or the like) and we are not talking about small faux palm trees--were talking life-size palm trees. This superb pair of c. 1960's Maison Jansen attributed tole faux palm trees were at auction today and I set my sights on them. I knew that they would be pricey (anything similar lists on 1stdibs for over 4 figures)--but still I thought that I stood a chance. And today was one of those days when the auction dragged on and on--the objects of my desire were near the end of the auction--it was sizing up to be a long day. I thought that I might be lucky, as many times in the past I had been able to buy items that were positioned in that same location for much less than what they should have sold for.
The bidding started pretty low ($100) and I jumped in at about $350; up and up the bid went until it was just me versus Joel Chen's bidder (we are talking David vs. Goliath) and guess what??? Goliath dropped out at $1000 and I brought them home with the next bid. I am thrilled--next problem: they will not fit in my SUV. Perhaps the palm fronds come off the trunks??
Because I had to stay so long waiting for my trees, I decided to pay attention to the sleepers that were coming to the block. A "sleeper" is an item that is very good and highly saleable, but draws little attention when it comes up for bid. I bought a late Edo paper screen with scenes of Tales of Genji painted on gold leaf for $10!! Yes, that is t-e-n dollars. It has a couple of damaged spots, but I have a person who can repair the screen. Then a beautiful early 20th c. Weller "Louwelsa" vase came to the block--apparently, no pottery buyers were there, because it is also on its way to the shop. Tiny 4-5 inch Louwelsa vases list for about $140; this one is at least 12-15".
And finally, I admired a beautiful Amphora Austria early 20th c. Greco-Roman Krater style vase. I thought that I stood no chance of buying it--but I guess that, once again, no one was paying attention......lucky me. I am so grateful.  (Photos coming next week)
This week I was also fortunate in that I acquired a c.1960's Maison Jansen Savonarola chair. These chairs are very desirable and sell quickly (I admit: I had to buy a pair of Jansen-style tables in order to obtain the chair--but that's the way you play this crazy game). The detail photo at the end is of the gorgeous cast brass ram's head finial.

I am going to talk politics, AGAIN. I can't help but continue to voice my immense concern over the election results. Trump's cabinet picks and other choices of individuals placed into important government positions are, for the most part, awful. So much for change. I am busy signing petitions and donating to organization that are fighting for change and justice. Because of the internet and connectivity our individual voices united with others do make a difference. My goal is to stay informed and to make a difference.
Well, it's getting late--Jones is waiting for me and snoring away.

Blessings for the week-end--decorating, seeing friends and baking (my favorite holiday task).

Mary & Jones & Cole