Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Roberto squeezed in a few hours for me on Tuesday. In the process of waxing the benches, we discovered that the benches are definitely early 19th century and were completely hand-planed and they retain their original surfaces. Additionally,  I discovered a couple of square nails--all of these details attest to the benches being very early 19th century. What more could I ask for. And......they are not oak; the benches are constructed with the much more desirable and now almost unavailable European chestnut. Which is why they acquired a warn soft touch when waxed.


PLEASE pray for our firefighters, those who have lost their homes and those who are evacuated. 

Thanks for visiting. Off to Auction tomorrow--I didn't see much today, but maybe something will show up.


Mary & Cole

Sunday, October 27, 2019


The best thing about selling inventory is the space to reorganize and showcase inventory that was in hiding without being able to stretch and show off.
This week was one of those weeks......I didn't win the little Italian chest that I coveted, but the shadow side is that I had extra space to reorganize. Best of all, Roberto had 4 extra hours and we hustled.......
I had wanted to get to the back wall of my main space for months....

 I was finally able to move out the large (it seats 8 as it is quite wide at 42") French farm table and take photos of it to load to my websites

Then it was on to redoing the side wall

Although the chairs are Art Deco Iron patio chairs, I think they would work well in a casual family room with very cool cushions..... My 19th c. French marble top butcher's table would make a stunning kitchen island--even an entry table.
Then it was on to the front section (still not quite happy with this section)

Next came a little vignette in front of my desk (see the farm table in the background?)

Here's a little table scape on the French table

The Louis XVI-style chairs look pretty good with the French table, but not as good as these guys (bought them on Thursday). Pairs of antique wood benches 

are not easily found. And these guys are either mid-19th century English or French oak benches in very good condition and just an inch longer than the table--so perfect. Roberto will give them a few coats of hard paste wax and they will look amazing.
And finally, this sweet carved and gilt Italian little sofa.......

I am not a frou-frou person and usually wouldn't buy a little carved gilt sofa, but I love things with just a bit of twist in them--Italian is more unusual than French and adds a bit more energy than the expected French examples. Plus, I don't need to reupholster--but I will--as the pink?? velvet is in super acceptable condition. I'm going to upholster it in this Clarence House Linen (it's pricey, but worth it) with a single black welt--sexy. Plus animal print anything is very popular right now.

I have Scalamandre "Le Tigre" and "Il Leopardo" silk velvet pillows in the works...

that will replace the Fortuny pillows. I know it seems a little tacky to mix disparate animal prints--but I think it will work and add that bit of a clash that draws in the eye.

So many wild fires are burning in nearby LA County. We are almost to November and desperately need for the weather pattern to shift to our winter rainy season. Prayers are needed for our Firefighters and those who have lost their homes.

Sending blessing for the week--Happy Halloween!!

Mary & Cole

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


I think I'm going to buy this chest tomorrow. I've been trying to buy good 18th/19th century chests of drawers and they have all gone way too high........
That said, I'm determined to get this little guy

Those antique Italian Lyre-back chairs are to die for--but I think they will be too rich for my blood.
The walnut chest dates to the end of the 18th c. or early 19th century and I believe that it is Tuscan in origin. I love its simplicity. The Louis XV-style brass pulls are not original and they will come off as soon as Roberto gets his hands on it. It just needs a couple of coats of hard paste wax and it will be perfect. The keys are affixed to the locks which is the original method of opening the drawers.

Now, on to the Perils of Antique Walnut Furniture.... yikes.

We bought this great round mid-19th century French walnut dining table last month. I inspected it and noted the old worm holes; tested the wood and was pretty sure that the wood was stable and that the old little holes did not compromise the table.....Roberto went over it; gave it two coats of hard paste wax; secured the casters and the table was ready for sale.
It sold almost immediately. Roberto was delivering it to the client.........when he took the table off the truck, he pulled it just a little bit and the drop-leaf hinge pulled away from the center section of the table. Fortunately, he was delivering two other items to the same client. He told the client that there was a problem with the table and brought it back. 
When I looked at the table, I knew that we couldn't bring it back up to my standards--so Roberto fixed the hinge and off the table went--back to auction. This table was pricey and we will probably take a loss, but I have learned that it's best to cut your losses quickly or the negative energy of regret will spread. There is no way that I could have known that that section of the top was compromised--there weren't any worm holes in the section of wood that was damaged. Those smart little bugs had eaten away at the internal part of the wood, leaving the outside intact.
So... now I'm looking at this great antique walnut chest....I'm just a little bit hesitant, there are a few little tell-tale holes, but they do not appear consequential. I'll check it out again tomorrow. Just to make sure, but I think it's a go.
A couple more photos of the chest

Here's a couple of similar chests of drawers that I pulled off of 1stdibs for comparison.

Fortuny Pillow update.

The tunic has been taken apart--and the 1920s red Fortuny stamp is present in three places. I had been searching for the perfect silk (must be heavy enough to balance with the Fortuny textile) and hadn't had any luck. So I went searching in my stash of fabrics... Eureka!! I already had the perfect silks to complete the pillows. I'll just make a couple of pillows to begin with as the custom goose down and feather inserts are pricey and the fabricator is one of the best upholsterer in Los Angeles (his client list includes Kelly Wearstler, Melrose House, etc.)

Well, it's off to bed. Wish me luck tomorrow.
Blessings for the day.

Mary & Cole

PS--- Go get him, Nancy!

Sunday, October 6, 2019


I think it is quite obnoxious of me to gloat and make THE MELAGRANA cover the entire width of the blog----but I am so excited that, even 5 hours after the fact, I am still jumping up and down.
I owe the win to auction STRATEGY and my sticking to my budget and game plan: The Melagrana was estimated to sell for between $3000 and $4000.....there was no possible scenario in which I could pay that much. But there are some auction tricks and collecting secrets that I have gleaned and that I'll share:

Secret No. 1. True Collectors value total authenticity. If the dress/tunic had been created in the 1920's by Mariano Fortuny, himself, then the estimate would have perhaps been on the low side. But the tunic was most probably fabricated in the 1960's (remember the zipper detail?) and it is not very well made. It is super attractive, but not for collectors of designer clothing. So that knocked out two (Couture and Fortuny Garments) types of collectors. Which, of course, left textile collectors (me). But the tunic was not listed as a textile, but rather as a designer garment (so maybe the textile collectors didn't know about this item??).............
....I thought that I just might have a chance.

SECRET No. 2. Sometimes, when an Auction Lot does not sell, it's possible to submit an offer that is below the reserve (or minimum bid). The auction house will then contact the consignor to obtain approval to sell the lot.

SECRET No. 3. Be a long-time loyal and consistent client of the auction house. In other words, we are on a first-name basis and the house will sometimes do little favors for their good clients. (Me)

My game plan: 1. Do not go to Auction. 2. Do not tell anyone (except Gerry) that you want the Fortuny. 3. Be prepared to put money down. 4. Pray that The Melagrana doesn't get a bid. 5. Check to see if it sold within a short period of time 6. Submit an offer that is reasonable. Although I may have wanted to offer a much lower amount; it is offensive to both the auction house and to the consignor.

I followed My Plan to the letter---and sure enough, The Melagrana didn't get a high enough bid (and was "passed"). I made my offer; it was accepted and ........everyone is happy (I hope). IT'S MINE NOW!!!!
I am so grateful.

I've already started searching EBay for the perfect backing fabric for the pillows--the cotton on which the pattern is block printed in called "museum" cloth, which is much heavier (and more desirable) than the more fragile Egyptian cotton usually used by Fortuny--so the backing must be a heavy silk. The perfect fabric will show up with just a little bit of focus and patience.

Well, I've got more work to do before bed--Thanks for staying with for this wordy post.

Blessings for the week!!

Mary & Cole

Here is a shot of Sabi and Kingston--Brotherly Love.

They are usually found like this or side-by-side.


It's been at least two years since I last purchased
1920's Fortuny fabric.........
Look what is going on the auction block tomorrow and I'm trying to avoid it.

This is the most pristine example of Mariano Fortuny's Melagrano that dates to the 1920's that I have personally seen. I have wanted this particular Fortuny pattern from the instant I first saw it. I don't know if the tunic actually dates to the 1920's or was created at a later date. Maybe it was created in the early 20th century and then modified, as it has a nylon zipper which was not invented until the 1960's.
Anyway, I'm adding a few more photos of this gorgeous textile. I'll let you drool with me --maybe hold my hand down tomorrow.

Wish me luck tomorrow....after all, it is really just a thing--so if I'm good (and judicious) I'll be happy, too.

Blessing for tomorrow.

Mary & Cole