Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Paint or Not to Paint

People many times ask me how I go about deciding whether to paint a particular piece of antique or vintage furniture. Although I prefer to purchase antiques that have original paint finishes on them, there are times when an otherwise bland piece can be absolutely transformed and become breathtaking by giving it an authentic (or as authentic as possible) paint finish as I have done with these pieces.

For me, whether or not to refinish a piece depends not only on the aesthetics of the piece itself, but also, most significantly, on the type of wood from which the piece was made. The rarer the wood, the less inclined I am to want to paint it. Like the swedes did during the gustavian period, if a piece of furniture is made out of a less refined, less exotic and more common wood (like oak or pine), painting it brings out the beauty of detailed carvings and, frankly, brings more attention to an otherwise common piece.

However, if you are fortunate enough to come across antiques of a more fine wood (like rosewood or french walnut), please, please don't consider painting it but rather consider restoring by waxing it and bringing out the natural beauty of the wood.

Hence, when looking at my inventory, you will understand why, these pieces were fully restored and finished with a painstaking hand wax and polish.

Have a wonderful evening wherever this post finds you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hello, Goodbye!

Summer is nearly over and my children went back to school this week (first and second grades). Where did the summer go???? It seems just yesterday everyone was excited about school letting out, summer vacations, and lazy days by the swimming pool.

This summer was a busy one for me. In addition to spending the days with my 6 and 7 year olds, I worked hard at finding beautiful pieces and restoring them. I also parted with many pieces which found gorgeous homes not only in the U.S. but also abroad (to such places as Toronto and even Jakarta).

Say hello to a few of my most recent additions.

Louis XVI Painted Chaise in Belgian Linen (c. 1920)

Don't you just love this Louis XVI chaise? Original vintage frame painted in my signature swedish grey with blue accents and reupholstered in a belgian linen with a soft, plump down cushion. This piece is truly comfortable and would look gorgeous in any room, especially in a sitting area off the master bedroom.

Empire Style Rosewood Abbatant or Secretary (c. 1920s)

This early 1920s Lacquered Rosewood Empire style abattant/secretary with inlaid marquetry is to die for. The piece was converted into a dry bar with a mirrored interior and a gallery shelf on the bottom section for glasses and mixers.

Pair of Aubusson Style Handmade Tapestry Pillows

I simply adore the colors and modern print on these handmade aubusson style pillows. The asian dragon in tones of gold and the contrasting oranges and deep mauve make these pillows a beautiful addition to any modern sofa or chair.

19th Century Italian Handcarved Giltwood Lamp

This lamp was originally a candle holder. Beautiful carved details and original patina (left untouched the nicks and chips) and converted it to a lamp for practical use. A nice accent to any modern or traditional or even eclectic decor.

A Rare 19th c. Empire Settee or Sofa

c. 1860 (France) Very unique, this small sofa or settee is hand-carved with an interesting "lip back" that comes to a soft point in the back rest. Hand carved tassel legs in the front with acanthus leaves on the front arms. The chocolate velvet cut upholstery is like new (appears to be a recent addition) and finished with a soft, thick down cushion. The antique frame is painted in a swedish grey, with an aged finish that gives this piece an authentic patina. A spectacular piece.

And with each new addition, it seems I always say goodbye to many of my treasures. Gone, but certainly not forgotten are some of my most beloved pieces, all of which have found gorgeous homes in some of the most interesting places (and with some of the most interesting people, including some well known Hollywood celebrities).

Here are some of the pieces that have recently sold. You may remember them from prior postings.

Like my children when they go off to school every morning, I will miss each of these treasures but I am grateful that at least I was their keeper for a short time in their long history. Most importantly, I am glad I had the honor and pleasure of restoring them to their former glory and beyond.

For any of these pieces or to see more of my inventory, please visit my 1stdibs store at or simply click here.

Hope you are having a wonderful end of summer days wherever this post finds you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tufting -- It's What's In

There is something so elegant and so unique about tufted pieces. I, for one, adore a tufted sofa or settee and I spare no expense when it comes to reupholstering my pieces in that diamond tufting I love so much. The result always takes my breath away, especially when I see antique settee or sofas in a modern setting.

Take these images for example. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful????

The vintage look of this fuschia tufted sofa against the stark white, modern decor and the crystal chandelier is absolutely gorgeous.

A walnut tufted settee in olive green velvet from Carrocel Restorations.

If you saw this vintage, tufted sofa in a thrift shop, your instinct may be to walk on by. But look at it within this modern decor against the fluted corinthian columns. Doesn't look so grandma-ish now, does it?

Same with this tufted sofa.

The white Belgian linen tufted Louis XV sofa with down cushion below was one of my favorite pieces. It traveled all the way from my store in New Orleans to Queensland, Australia, and now is in the home of my dear friend and talented designer, Frances Russell. She had searched for years for this piece and when she saw it in my blog, she had to have it.

There is something so spectacular about a white tufted sofa.....

You can see how crazy I am about them.....

This little gorgeous number above is currently in my showroom at the New York Design Center (1stdibs@NYDC). For this and other tufted pieces in my own collection, visit my 1stdibs storefront at

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Design Challenge: Go Pink

The color pink has a certain appeal. While it can be playful and effervescent, it can also convey soothing comfort.

Pink is often a color we love or hate. Soft and subtle, it is delicate, peaceful and gentle....

But bold and vibrant, shocking pink can be emotional and stimulating to the senses.

Throwing in a bold pink into any decor is fun and can awaken an otherwise dull room into an extremely well thought out and well put together look. Take interior design diva Kelly Wearstler. Now there is a girl who knows how to use pink and use it well.

A splash here....

A splash there.....

And a lot here...

A designer who uses pink is a designer who is secure about her style. She's not afraid to be bold and experiment with a color that, let's face it, would otherwise be called "girly."

But pink , when used boldly, can transform a room and give it an emotional stability that few other colors can do (perhaps a cobalt blue can come close).

Here are some examples of pink used boldly. In my opinion, nothing says "I dare you" quite like a hot pink in a neutral setting.

From traditional...

To modern....

To whimsical...

And just plain bold...

So go ahead, live a little. I dare you......

From my own collection, this Louis XVI style liar back chair. Although I refinished it in a beautiful Swedish grey, I left the original hot pink silk taffeta upholstery with gold gimp. It was just too gorgeous for words. Soon to be listed on my storefront on 1stdibs.

Have a delightful weekend, wherever this post may find you.