Auction season has started

I don't know what this little metal stool with under-cabinet was used for, I just know that I'm in love with it.

Rover, over

Long time readers (if I haven't been stricken from your blogroll for inactivity) will remember this joyous post from March 2009, where I rid myself of a ten year old car for the LR3 of my dreams.

I loved the Rover, but by 82,000 miles it was suffering from a bit of deferred maintenance.  The lifter and brakes alone were likely to set me back nearly three grand, and last week the heater started blowing cold, so we could add a thermostat to the list.

I'd been searching for a replacement for a month or so.  LR4, 2010 or newer, silver or white, black interior, low miles.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much.

The local dealer had the perfect one, certified used, but they weren't flexible enough on the price.  The dealer in Michigan had the right color and price, but it was a base model missing the Bluetooth that I really do use.  Landrover of Larchmont (NY) couldn't return phone calls, and the dealer in Wisconsin was advertising the silver 2010 as certified used, but telling me it wasn't.

Finally I found the one in Connecticut.  White, black interior, all options and the right price.  

Before I made my offer I had to check out a few things locally.  I went to the Volvo dealer just to look at the charcoal gray XC90 so I could cross it off my list.  Except that it had low mileage, and was in great shape, and the certified warranty (with no deductible) goes through December 2016.  And it takes regular rather than premium, and uses far less of it.  And of course it doesn't have to be shipped halfway across the country.  Damn it.

In the end I couldn't argue with the numbers.  I fully intended to buy another Land Rover, but I'm driving the Volvo now.  And while it's not what I planned on, it's pretty darn sweet.

A little pretty

Century's 48 inch center table was the last thing I needed.  Yet every time I was in the Design Gallery at Nebraska Furniture Mart I stopped to look at it.

And every time I looked at it I ran my fingers over that hand-planed, pieced top, and admired the tapered pedestal and bourbon-like color of the wood.  God, where wouldn't it work?

I was there last weekend to check out (and rule out) something else entirely.  That piece was gone, but my table was still there.  Only this time it's tag was red, with the words Floor Sample Sale across the top.

The Mart's price is generally just above half of MSRP, which can still be easy to pass on.  The floor sample sale though generally slashes their normal price by about half.  That approaches the 75 percent off mark, and for something I love I pretty much couldn't walk away.

It fits beautifully in that empty corner and lets me pull out some books and pretty things and use that vintage Marbro lamp that I bought to sell but will probably never part with.  

A new lampshade (my lunch hour task for this week) and something on the wall (and of course baseboards) and we'll be good.

Woodblocks, better

Hello again!  I've been a bad blogger.  The fourth quarter at my office is always crazy, and this year its been even more so.  We also had a death in the family at the beginning of the month and then Christmas to contend with, so I apologize if you've been wondering where I'd gone.

In my last post I mentioned that I'd been picking up old Japanese woodblock prints for the living room.  I finally decided on a small, simple, black moulding, and have two back from the framers so far.

We've got a little traditional/contemporary/Asian thing going on here and I'm really happy with how these look.  The archival rag mats are thicker than usual for just a little bit of dimension, and the stark black and white focuses the eye on the images.  I think they feel a little bit more graphic as well.

Brett and I celebrated our 15th anniversary of the 15th of December, another traditional blog post I missed.  The last few years instead of buying each other gifts we've bought a piece of art, so we we focused the hunt on another woodblock.

eBay has a ton of prints I don't want, but among the crap there are a few jewels.  I watched this print for a while, even though the opening bid of $345 was way too much for me.  Printed in 1861, its titled "Actor Portraying a Dashing Youth."

A few days before our anniversary I was sitting at work when my phone app went off letting me know the auction was about to end.  There was a "Make Offer" option, so I floated a lowball and went on about my day.  Checking my email later, I was shocked (and thrilled) to find my offer was accepted.  Score!   

I thought I'd have it back from the framer and was waiting to post, but the holiday seems to have put them a little behind.  I hope it will be ready this weekend.

I probably shouldn't put anything on the wall until I have the number I want, but I like them so much I probably won't wait.  I've got spackle and paint if I have to move them and need to fix a few errant nail holes.

Vintage woodblocks

I posted a while back about a Rick Pence auction, the one where I bought the foo dog head, and mentioned that I picked up a vintage woodblock too.  Well it's become a minor obsession.

Here's that print, just back with it's new archival mount and matting.  Thick board, double matted, white on white.  SO much more of a modern feel.  While I'm not always against a shantung-covered mat or a gold bamboo frame, all together its almost the visual equivalent of a stereotype.

I've decided I'd like to hang a bunch of these together in the living room so I'm going super clean with the framing.  I haven't chosen the moulding yet, but it will be small in scale, probably around a half-inch, perhaps less, and very simple. Black is likely, but I'm not ruling out a nice medium-tone wood either.

I've got two more coming from eBay, both female figures, and I'm hoping that the contemporary framing treatment will emphasize the graphic quality.  

Fat & Sassy

I haven't bought anything on eBay in ages, though I've been looking a lot.  We've picked up a few woodblock prints at auctions recently, so I've been looking to find a few more.  Wouldn't a whole wall of them be great?  

When I find them they always seem to have colored mats and that damn gold bamboo frame.  I'm going with crisp white double-matting and simple wood frames, although I haven't decided on a moulding yet. Brett worries that we've got a lot of Asian going on, but I think that a contemporary framing treatment should temper that.

Of course while I'm there searching for the thing-of-the-moment I have to search for the long-standing favorites too.  Vintage Henredon, industrial baskets, murano bowls, hotel silver and Blanc de Chine.

Searching through those Blanc de Chine listings last night what did I find but this super-sweet buddha.  He's unmarked, 12 inches tall, in excellent condition, and the owner estimates from the 70s.  She also described him as holding "a hard boiled egg cut in half, or a seed pod."  

Whatever that is in his hand, and wherever he's from, I think he's great.  And thanks to a bid I floated and guarded tonight (watching on my phone's eBay app) he's on his way here.

Yes, he's very Asian.  But he's also all white and small enough to tuck in most anywhere, so I'll be excited to get him.  Now if I can just score a few of those woodblocks.

About your porch

Ready for something a little different?  My friend Rich was for his covered balcony.  

His place is beautiful.  Traditional, but with a lighter hand and a fresher feel.  And he couldn't find anything that would really continue that outside.

So he watched Craigslist for a while.  It took a bit of time, but finally the right pair of wing chairs came up.  The ones with the straight leg.  And he grabbed them.

His upholsterer sent the shot above.  She's nearly finished and he's pretty excited.  The tan fabric and ivory welt is Sunbrella, so if the wind blows a little rain or snow onto his covered balcony it won't be a big deal.

He liked my suggestion of using Resto's zinc klismos side table between them.  The balcony's not huge so 24 inches and round is a great size.  AND its on sale.  A couple bright pillows and the vintage german porcelain ash tray I gave him a few years ago and he's set.