Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Lalo brought back the Gustavian stool today.....as usual, this little piece has a back story. I bought the stool at auction several years ago. When I won the bid, the owner of the auction house yelled out "good luck with that one, Mary".......I immediately thought that I had bought a cheap replica (I had not previewed and simply bid it). I paid for the stool, picked it up and put it in storage thinking that I had made a mistake. Truth be told the stool looked pretty bad as some one had painted over the original paint with thick house paint. Well, my musician grandson pulled it out and was using it as a keyboard stand for his "gigs"......so I decided to take a good look at the stool and upon close inspection realized that it was actually a period piece. So last month I gave it to Roberto to see if he could sand down the house paint and get to the original chalky white surface. Eureka! He was able to do an amazing job.....most of the original paint and gilt work was still there. And last week I gave it to Lalo to upholster in my favorite Clarence House Cerulean blue velvet and nail heads. It's perfect. And I'm also over-the-moon with the serendipitous photo--I didn't stage it; I was simply too tired to position it properly so I shot it while sitting at my desk. I love the richness and layers that showed up in the shot......In my next life I'll learn how to stage photos.......

Lalo also brought back this adorable 18th c. Italian slipper chair that we upholstered in a fine Italian silk velvet......pretty cute.

And last, but not least Roberto picked up the Secretaire Chest and we made a vignette with the Danish klismos chair and the pair of Louis XVI chairs that Gerry and I bought a couple of weeks ago. I had a pair of Fortuny pillows, fabric dates to c. 1950-60, that synced with the rust tone of the silk upholstery found on the chairs (Lalo has the chair slip seat--going to be upholstered in the same fabric as the stool). That's a set of four 18th c. Botanicals to the right that were just waiting for the right place in which to hang. Ooooooops: I forgot to give a shout out to the lamps. They are 20th century majolica renditions of the Piazza della Minerva in Rome. The elephants supporting the obelisks are to die for--the lamps finally found their perfect spot.
I just love it when a plan comes together: I love working with Roberto as our minds feed off of each other; we work in sync, sometimes without even talking.

On to my other passion--exposing and defeating small "t". I could kiss Pramila Jayapal (except we are in "Times of Covid")--she took Barr down (big time) during his testimony today. Another strong woman standing up to the powers that be. Thank you, Rep. Jayapal for making all women proud to be your sisters.

Well, I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open....so it's off to bed.

Thank you for reading my ramblings.


Monday, July 27, 2020


Darren took me to an estate sales yesterday........I went to look at some French 18th century engravings of monkeys......but look what I brought home. (Sorry about quality of the photo--it was taken at the sale and I had to erase some one's Ipad from seat and water bottle from floor) The minute I saw the chair, I knew that it was a great one--the highly carved splat, great klismos form, flamed mahogany and carved legs were making it sing. But I wasn't quite sure of its origin. After I got home, I started researching the chair----it's Danish and of an exceptional form. All it needs is for Lalo to reupholster the slip seat--and I think I will have just enough Clarence House Blue velvet left for the seat. Here's another shot of the chair that shows the elegant klismos back sweep. It's pretty handsome.

I scored on the chair...but I think I over paid for this gorgeous American Butler's or Secretaire chest.

I think that I was swept away by the beauty of this chest.....and it is gorgeous. Plus I am a bit rusty regarding the important details of American furniture. I will be replacing the inappropriate hardware and the leather writing surface on the fall front. Additionally, the chest has been refinished--which would not be such a negative for an English piece--on American furniture the original patinated surface is what collectors look for. But its beautiful flamed mahogany veneer and inlay detailing, combined with the simplicity of the interior fittings, bring its status way up. The French feet and scrolled front also bring it up a notch. 
I think I'm just about done buying secretaire chests: I have the Gustavian chest c.1790-1800....

And the George I/II secretaire chest c.1725-30...

Of course, if a great French Abattant or Italian..maybe a mid-19th century faux bamboo drop front like this one that sold a while ago

Or maybe a French late Louis XVI Abattant like this guy that I sold a few years ago........

Anyway, I'm happy with what God has given me.

Sending blessings for the week...99 days and counting...............


Sunday, July 19, 2020



Finally--We were able to buy something really exceptional. Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows that I am a certified chair-aholic. I love chairs (the good ones). Can you imagine the stories an 18th century chair could tell? The overheard conversations? The palace or simply family intrigues and joys and sorrows? We sold a lot of chairs this week; so I felt that I could splurge and replace a couple. 
The pair shown above is 19th c. (maybe earlier--I need to check carefully) Louis XVI Bergeres that are finely carved and upholstered in a yummy silk salmon-colored velvet (there is wear to the upholstery, but the patina only seems to make the chairs more beautiful).


Gerry spotted this amazing trade sign at an auction that is located about 60 miles from Los Angeles. He was advertised as being Spanish in origin, but I think he's Portuguese. "Wilfred" is very big--48"w x 34"h and most probably dates to the early 20th century. He is in overall very good original condition--just look at that snout and that forged iron curly tail. Wilfred was very pricey, but we just had to have him.
Although we are paying quite a bit more for inventory and are unable to purchase many items as the pricing is prohibitive, if Wilfred had not been posted on an online auction, we would never have known about him.
Needless to say, I am missing my friends after so many months and cannot wait to see everyone (and bid against them--cause that is what we do).
I know that so many others are in much more severe circumstances, but I am very frustrated that California opened up so quickly. The pressure on Gov. Newsom must have been intense==but geez...... We should have followed ALL the CDC guidelines. Orange County (where I live) had a very low number of cases and then, all of a sudden, we are experiencing a huge increase in those sickened--even more than LA County. And guess what??? People (some) still will not wear a mask. The mask is for our safety--it's not a political statement. 
Fortunately, our collective (Pasadena Antique Center, Pasadena, CA) is open 1 day per week (to dealers only); so I can meet Roberto and get a lot of work done and also Lalo (upholstery)--which means that I can be a little creative. (BTW--Roberto is fine and taking really good care of himself and family)

John Lewis was one of my heroes. Yes, he was short in stature (like me)--but oh, so powerful. Our next generation is still very young--we need to focus our attention on promoting their activism and motivate them to speak truth to power. We must inspire this generation to engage in the quest to bring respect and the rights of citizenship and basic humanity to all.

Well, my eyes keep closing; so it's off to bed.

Sending blessings for the week----stay strong.

Blessings to all of  us who take this journey..........


Saturday, July 4, 2020


Like for so many small business owners, the past 4 months have been a challenge (huge)......For me personally, simply keeping focused on personal growth has been my biggest hurdle. (I admit to a bit of fear of back-tracking along my quests because I'm stuck at home without being challenged) But then, there is the fact that buying has also been a big challenge as there is little to buy and I've got to keep watch over a negligible cash flow........soooo I decided to inspect items that I bought ages ago, but never really put on display. First up--I had Roberto retrieve this large giltwood frame from behind an armoire

Do you see that little tag at the bottom of the gilt frame? Yep, it says "Degas" and there is a an old sticker on the back indicating the original seller. Jackson and Graham was a high-end London decorative arts dealer active during the same period that Degas was at his most creative..........
I was going to list this frame for $450......but after checking out other similar frames (and without provenance)--I can easily price it at triple that number. (Organizing seems to be paying off--plus, it's still a hunt)

Then I decided to photograph a pair of silver plate candlesticks that had been sitting in the back of a cabinet for a couple of years

These sticks were tarnished--so we polished them and I really checked them out........hahaha!! They are Sheffield and in super condition. They have a Regency form (early 19th c.) and the only copper showing through is in the interior of the bobeches...

My $195 candlesticks just jumped way up. These sticks have the original felt covering the iron base. And the fabrication method is that of 19th century Sheffield sticks.
(Note: the most important part of a candlestick without hallmarks in determining its age is the bottom where the construction is revealed.)

At least a year ago I bought this little Imari lamp thinking it was not great and never looked at it again...

She's pretty cute--the porcelain dates to the Meiji period and it was probably electrified in the 1950s. So she's being rewired and I think I have a shade that just might work.
I've discovered a few more treasures---I think I'll keep on cleaning up and organizing.............

Update: Here's a better photo of the Billy Haines lamps. I ordered shades from Restoration Hardware and Jon Michael will come on Tuesday to rewire them.... and then they will be ready to post.

I love that crackle glaze!!

I am not celebrating the 4th of July this year. I have, instead, prayed for a renewed national commitment to taking the necessary steps to move us forward out of bigotry and division. Discarding partisan politics........we need to unite to work for the "greater good".........we need to remove the stain of the last four years. Restoration, redemption and growth can happen, but it's not going to be a quick fix. We need to all arise from slumber to actively participate in the coming elections.

Blessings for the week.