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.

Worth the wait

Ages ago late home and garden(ish) retailer Smith & Hawken put out a reproduction of an old sort of accordian-pleated galvanized planter, and I wanted one.  The problem was by the time I saw one somewhere Smith & Hawken had folded and was in the process of liquidating their stock.  Stefan was even kind enough to swing by the DC store to see if by chance they had any left, but they were all gone.

Fast forward to the first weekend in August when we started selling our vintage goodness at Bottoms Up.  While out and about looking for a bit of air conditioning I stopped by Liberty Belle,  And what stopped me in my tracks but a pair of the planter I loved.  Real, live, vintage ones, gorgeously displayed at either end of a big console table.

Of course the good stuff always costs more, especially in pairs, so I had to pass.

This past weekend we were back at it, and while the crowd was pretty good, sales were pretty bad.  It happens.  So I took a walk Saturday afternoon and stopped in Liberty Belle as I always do.  And I'll be damned if the pair had turned into a single and the price had come down to something I had no qualms about paying.  I love it when patience pays off.

MidMal Reviews: Infiniti M37x

Brett's car was starting to feel it's 73,000 miles, so last Saturday we were off to the Infiniti dealer to look for a replacement.

I liked his old M just fine, but the new ones are even better.  And he got silver with a black interior, the same as my LR3 and one of my favorite color combos.

The exterior is a bit beefier than his previous one, which was a bit more sleek, but they're still handsome.

The interiors however, are amazing.  I think Infiniti makes the most attractive interiors in production anywhere.  And then they fill them with the most ridiculous and wonderful options.  I should also mention here that while we were out we hit the Audi dealership, and while I think their body styles are really attractive, I was totally underwhelmed by the interiors.  They really did remind me of the Volkswagens of my youth.

Back to the M, first there's the 9 mg hard drive for downloading your music.  Or you can stream it via bluetooth from your phone.  FM and Satellite of course as well.  They also take your phone and download your phone book into the car so you can call anyone.  And of course dialing is done by voice command.

Then there's the "Cabin Odor Sensor" which detects bad smells and works to clear them.  Or as we're calling it, The Fart Filter.

There's also the Forest Air system which filters the air coming into the car.  The breeze function randomly alternates between vents so that you get differing senses of air movement.  It sounds ridiculous and the salesman said he wasn't a fan, but I think its very pleasant.

The first two shots are from the Infiniti USA website, while the last one is my phone shot from Monday night when we went out for dinner.  The White Ash wood trim has silver dust rubbed into the grain before the lacquer is applied, and is just as pretty as it sounds.

Seating is firm and adjustable, as well as heated and cooled.  The steering wheel temperature is regulated to a constant 68 degrees.  And the engine is peppy.  Not quite as peppy as the G, but not sluggish at all. Responsive and totally fun to drive.

All in all, I'm a huge fan.

Foo Fighter

I was having a conversation with Raina about new fall offerings at Target (some of which are terrific btw, I was there today), and I said that for things I don't expect to own forever I love some of their stuff.  

Conversely, every so often I'll spend a little more on something if I think its a thing I'll want for a long time.  And that made me realize I hadn't posted about an auction a few weeks ago.

Brett rarely goes to a sale with me.  Consignment auctions can last forever and there's usually tons of things we don't want to own.  But a good catalog sale?  They're usually shorter and he can follow along.  Rick Pence had one a while back at the expo center by the airport, and Brett went with.

After 300 lots of Victorian silver and Staffordshire figurines at a brisk 120 lots per hour, during which Brett read a book on his phone while I took frequent smoke breaks, we finally got to the Asian goodness.

We picked up a woodblock print which I'll post about soon, and I let go of one that I really should have bought.  I also picked up a pair of stone chops and Brett got a killer deal on a landscape etching for his office.

But the winner for the day is the foo dog head pictured above with Brett's foot.  It cost me 100 bucks which in some ways seems like a lot.  Then again we'd hoped to buy a rug and one couple pretty much bought them all, spending well over ten thousand in the process.  So dropping a Franklin on some antique celedon coolness doesn't seem so bad.  Its absolutely the favorite thing I've bought in ages, and I'm sure its with us for good.

By the way, the Chinese want their stuff back, and they've got the cash to make it happen.  Carved jade figures and buckles were selling for thousands apiece, and the final lot, a carved black and white jade brooch, went for TWELVE GRAND.  I was telling Cindy at Kincaid's about it and like me she thought it's likely all being shipped back overseas.

Jack Lenor Larsen

Elle Decor has taken a bit of a beating in the blogosphere, but the October issue is full of things I've enjoyed, especially a short interview with textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen.

The head of the Textile Design department at KU back when I was in school mentioned being friends with him, and shortly after I picked up a book on his designs.  I wish I could have been a weaver but the intricacy and math meant I was destined to become a printer.

The photo above is Larsen's Primavera, a 1964 design still in production today.  Just looking at it makes me happy.

Shopping Season: A Public Service Reminder from the management of MidMal

Before you know it we'll all be out buying holiday gifts and items to spruce up our places for entertaining season.  DO NOT leave things visible in your vehicle.

Yep, my reminder came the hard way.

Before we opened for business at Bottoms Up this past Saturday I hit a terrific estate sale.  Vintage barware, Japanese lacquer bowls and trays, miscellaneous kitchen coolness and an armload of sweet, sweet vintage ladies clothing that I picked up for my business partners.

Big crowds all over the neighborhood and people coming and going made no difference.  I got to my car just after 5pm to find my back passenger window smashed out, all my stuff gone (including my bowling bag, ball and shoes oddly enough) and a cop waiting to take a report.

The owner of the market was hit as well, so we were two of the 14 cars broken into in the afternoon crime spree.

It never occurred to me that someone would break into a car for 70s dresses and some Santa Claus highball glasses, much less old bowling equipment.  Obviously I was wrong.

So remember to keep it with you or secure your stuff out of sight.

And should you want to visit us at the monthly market but have reservations, never fear.  The email I received today noted that the parking areas will have attendants going forward.  And those of us who sell are always glad to hold onto your purchases until you're through shopping, all you have to do is ask.

If I were king (sized) redux

Who knew it would be so incredibly difficult to find attractive, durable, masculine bedding?  If I wanted pastel colors, florals, dog-unfriendly fabrics or trendy patterns I could have been done in an evening. Something handsome and high quality turned out to take a bit longer.

Since Pottery Barn elected not to have the ikat quilt in-store for me to look at I went another route.

The winner was Resto's diamond-quilted linen.  Shown here in Fog, I actually went with Indigo for the quilt and king shams.  Yes, king shams, just like I was looking for.  A little bit of color and texture in place of a lot of pattern, and should look good with any number of sheet colors.  I might actually do a pair of euro pillows in the Fog depending on how it looks with the headboard fabric.

As pricey as it was (even though we got it on sale) I have to say, its nice stuff.  I've often found bedding to be a bit stingy in the sizing department, but not here.  The king quilt nearly hits the floor on three sides, probably because they're hoping you'll use it on one of their mammoth bed frames.  The stitching seems good, the weight is nice, and will hopefully keep me warm while not killing Brett, who tends to get hot.

I'll figure out a bedskirt after the headboard comes back from the upholstery shop.

If I were king (sized)

What's up Pottery Barn?  You make a king quilt in this ikat print, but no king shams?  Not even a coordinating solid black king sham?  I can't do that other pattern you're showing with.

This guy

Someone has a birthday tomorrow!  It's a bit of a milestone.  He's mildly wigged out, but I guarantee if you put him in a lineup with 9 other guys his age he'd be the best looking and youngest-appearing dude there.

We're heading to Chicago for a weekend of expensive steaks, plentiful cocktails and general fun.

The trip is my gift, but he got something else cool too.  Shown below on Brett's wrist is the Rolex his mom bought his dad when they got married in 1950.  He wore it all through his tour of duty in Korea and for decades after.  Cleaned up and refurbished, now it's Brett's to wear.

Quality lasts, be it time pieces or boyfriends.  Happy birthday baby!

Sometimes it works out alright

Our maiden voyage selling at Bottoms Up was okay.  Friday's weather was just as hellish as it's been around here lately, so after a flurry of traffic in the morning it was pretty slow.  And hot, even with a big fan in our window.  Still, during that flurry I sold a few things and made rent.  Unsurprisingly, its the "odd object" that sells.

The weather was better on Saturday and the crowds were much bigger, so we all sold a few more things here and there.  It's a fun environment, but because the shops are in old industrial warehouses climate control is an issue.  If its cold this winter I've got great sweaters and jackets to keep the chill at bay, but in the heat of August there's only so much you can take off.

Because I've been out of business for a few years I didn't have that much merchandise to contribute, luckily Connie and Linda just moved out of their mall so they had plenty.  I went to tonight's auction at KC Auction Company in an effort to amass some stuff.

While furniture was what I was mostly looking for, there were a pair of Marbro lamps that looked promising.  They can sell high on eBay so making some money there would help me stock up for our space.  I let go of the first one, and it ended up selling for 80.  I liked it, but only enough to sell, so losing it wasn't the worst.

The orange one pictured here, well, it could totally work in the traditional/contemporary/asian thing we've got going on at Chez Malaise.  So when I bid and nobody else did I could hardly contain my excitement.  Its in perfect shape, including what looks like the original shade and finial.  Interestingly its painted metal rather than the porcelain I originally thought.  With a new shade its probably a keeper.

The booth didn't come away empty-handed though.  In spite of some woman hell-bent on buying all the furniture in the gallery I picked up this Asian-flavored chair.  The green color looked promising in this picture from the auction house, but in person it's not so great.  Even worse, that's vinyl covering the seat.  Both of those things are easily fixable though, so I've got another project to get on.

We'll be back at it on the first full weekend of September, which I believe is the 7th and 8th.  I'm hoping to have a small sideboard and a little drop-leaf table painted up and ready to go.  Also some vintage glass I picked up tonight, and with any luck maybe the chair.

Lets go shopping

We're back in business!  Locals, come see Connie and Linda and I, as well as tons of other great dealers at first weekend in the Bottoms.  Friday and Saturday, August 3rd and 4th.  We're in the new part of the second floor.

Bed head

When Brett and I met nearly 15 years ago he had an antique bed.  It must have been queen size, but looking back it seems smaller.  The only thing I remember for sure through the haze of our new love was that it was a bitch to change sheets (maybe the bed was full and the mattress was queen) and that while I loved shacking at his house, that mattress killed my back.

I spent 800 bucks (a fortune in 1991) on a mattress when I moved to Lawrence for school, so when Brett and I decided to live together my mattress became ours and his was relegated to the guest room. When we moved to the condo it was either sold or donated, I don't remember which.

Which brings us to the present.  There is something to be said for not skimping on a mattress because we are STILL using the same one.  Its not a bit saggy and is still very comfortable, but with the schnauzers (who expand to doberman size when they sleep) its just too small and frankly has been for years.

We've talked and even occasionally looked at new ones, but the array of styles, materials and prices are insane.  And we're lazy, so we've stuck with what we have and wake up clinging to the edges while the boys stretch out between us. Until now.

My friend Dan has been moving into a new house and through a series of events ended up with an extra headboard, which you can see here.  (our master has not been touched, please ignore the pink damask wallpaper and unfinished floor)  He needed it gone and nobody would buy it at his yard sale, so he gave it to me for free!

It's 62 inches high which is a little taller than I had in mind, but other than that its exactly what Brett and I planned on getting when it was time for a new bed.   Sears (yes, really) was having their Mattress Spectacular! for Independence Day, so we went to look.  We came home with a new grill, but found a mattress we really liked as well. Saturday was the last day of the sale so we went and bought it.  KING SIZE!

Today I stopped at Kansas City Upholstery to see about having the headboard recovered, which turned out to be totally reasonable, so when I got home I ordered four yards of this:

Its Double Feature by Holly Hunt in the "Silver Screen" colorway, from my favorite online fabric discounter, Modern Fabrics.  Kind of a thick, oversized ribbed texture.  I had a swatch and loved it, I just wasn't sure where I could use it.  And then the headboard appeared.

The new mattress comes Thursday, and once the fabric arrives it and the headboard are off to the shop.  And I'm looking forward to a handsome, and bigger bed.

Things I am good at: porch pots

After having the porch and sidewalk re-poured last fall and having the beds built and doing lots of planting this spring, the porch was looking a bit bare.  We needed some pots, and as big as our porch is they needed to be a decent size.

Ace Hardware in Westport turned out to be the spot.  I'd looked at planters everywhere and had money been no object Resto would have won.  That's rarely the case here of course, and we got these (about 2.5 feet tall) on sale for 45 bucks.

The plant selections at the Westlake were dry and sad however, so we were off to our go-to spot for plants, Soil Service nursery.

For some reason I've always had a way with mixed pots, and as usual I went with a lot of my favorite workhorses:  Sun coleus, varigated ivy, dracena, sweet potato vine.  I also decided to try some new things like ornamental pepper, persian shield, and in there somewhere is some plain old rosemary.  The giant firework-like things are papyrus, which I've never used before but like a lot.
They find themselves in both sun and shade depending on the hour, so there's a mix of sun and shade plants.  I don't usually do that but not knowing exactly what to expect in this location I just went for it.  The persian shield (those dark purple things) like mostly shade, and the coleus seem to be big enough to protect them.  One great surprise has been that potato vine.  I've always used it but its never grown like I thought it would.  These seem to like their spots (and the plant food they've received) because they started out with maybe one or two leaves over the edge of the pot, and now they're down to the porch floor.

Another smart thing we did was to buy a couple trollies to put under the pots so we can move them back and forth to even out the sun exposure.  They come in all sorts of overly-ornate designs at prices that seem silly.  These were the cheapest they had at Lowe's and they disappear nicely.

I used styrofoam peanuts to take up some room and provide some drainage at the bottom, and a potting soil that is supposed to hold moisture.  We're in the middle of a long stretch of 100+ degree days however, so I'm watering most every day as things are usually wilted by the time we're home from work.  Hopefully I can keep them alive through the rest of this hellish spell.

Bernhardt Interiors new release

So a while back I mentioned that Henredon asian-legged cocktail table from Craigslist that I was working on for the tv room.  I had a basecoat of paint on it, and bought 4 yards of great Pollock fabric to have a cushion made to go on top, and it was going to be this teriffic cocktail ottoman.  

Until Tucker got bored and chewed a whole corner off the top in ONE DAY.  He's a whopping 14 pounds, his head and mouth are tiny, I have no idea how he did it.

I can probably replace the top, I just need to turn it upside down and see how it comes apart.

If that doesn't work, I found the table above among Bernhardt Interiors new introductions.  Same lines, polished steel.

Give that a whirl schnauzer mouth.

Well worn

Picture ganked from FMAMB, no idea where she got it

Jenny posted this a while back, and I've never loved an old paint texture more.  I'm also feeling the blue.  I bought a little shaker drop leaf table off craigs today, and this is what I'm going to try to do to it.  I've always used bees wax as my resist, but I'm going to try a heavy application of paste wax in places to see if I can make it happen.  Cross your fingers.

Where am I planning to use it?  Well, I'm not.  Its going to be a bit of a slow start but I'm kind of back in the resale business with my friends Connie and Linda.  More to come.

Now with mulch

Our new landscaper guy (who's name is David, no wonder he's good) was back on Saturday with truckloads of mulch.  The difference is amazing.

Brett and I have made repeated trips to multiple nurseries for more boxwoods, holly, and some variegated euonymus for the west end of the house.  We also planned to snag an Atlas blue cedar at Sutherland's 50% off plant sale this morning but literally missed it by a few minutes.  I resisted giving the side eye to the man and woman who had it on their cart.

Its hotter than hell today but we're heading out now to continue searching for some big pots for the porch.  As we've been concentrating on trees and shrubs we're both feeling the need for some potted flowers.  Resto REALLY needs to mark those zinc planters down hard at the end of the summer.

Boxwood blast

So you'll remember last summer after we had all the yews pulled out we built some beds.  One mild winter later and our borders were broken and coming up and just generally a mess.  So we called in some pros.

Following the line of our boxwoods (which did beautifully!) they installed a heavy duty liner.  They also roto-tilled everything, brought in dirt and graded, and buried all the downspouts.  So over the weekend and while the dirt was all fluffy and light we got to planting.

Here are some new boxwoods we added in the front.  Also note that the caved-in sidewalk and carpeted front porch are now all new.

There were no boxwoods on the east side of the house, but here's Brett finishing up the last of the 20 we installed.  You can't see them behind him but there are also five new hostas in the shady corner around that bay window.

And here at the northwest corner of the house is our new eastern white pine.  I love pines, especially funky ones with some empty spots on the trunk.  At maturity it should only be about six feet wide so it should fill up that part of the bed nicely.

There's also one little society garlic plant there, two more were added after I took this phone shot.

The guys will be back Thursday or Friday to mulch, and shopping for a Japanese lantern is on my Saturday to-do list.

Its finally starting to not look like an old lady house.

A chambray shirt

If you're a guy you probably have a chambray shirt hanging in your closet.  If you're like me, it's always there but you rarely wear it.  It seems to be one of those things I love on the hanger, but am underwhelmed with once I put it on.   My closet currently contains a Polo chambray work shirt with chest pockets (one button-through and one flapped).  It fits me well, the sleeves are the perfect length, and every time I put it on I end up taking it off.

What it doesn't really have much of is details.  And details, of almost any kind, are what draw me to certain pieces of clothing.

Checking out the new arrivals at Unionmade tonight I ran across this:

Distressed and repaired by hand in Japan, its the Remade Chambray Shirt by Anachronorm.  And its $658.00.  Yes, the price is ridiculous, but the shirt itself is kind of interesting.

You have to like this sort of thing, but I do.  My favorite pair of jeans are a destroyed and repaired pair of Adriano Goldschmied boot cuts that get raves every time I wear them (and not just because they make my ass look amazing).

Now I'm thinking about that chambray shirt in my closet, and what I might be able to do with a power sander, some fabric scraps and my sewing machine.  I wish I'd seen this earlier.  We had torrential rains yesterday and this would have been a perfect project.

Auction results. From all over.

I went to an art auction last Sunday out at Dirk Soulis' gallery in Lone Jack.  It was chock full of really nice paintings, works on paper and mid-century ceramics.  I was prepared to spend a little money, especially on one oil on board of a seated figure.

It was lot 36 or so, so I had time to just relax and watch.  Around lot 4 or 5 a Birger Sandzen 1930s watercolor came up and sold for 13 grand.  I should have realized this was a sign and headed out to salvage my day.

But there I sat, and even tried to bid on a few things.  They all went high.  Not unreasonably high for what they were (I looked up some prices later), but higher than I could go.  So I left with nothing other than the enjoyment of seeing some great art.

Edvard Munch's The Scream (the pastel) hit the block tonight at Sotheby's, and broke the record for any artwork ever sold at auction.  Hammer price with buyer's premium?  119,922,500.00

Sunday's sale seems like chump change now.


                                                                                                  Heres a better shot

When we bought the couch I mentioned that we'd ordered something else for the tv room.  It's American Leather's Rex bench, and we picked it up tonight.  White leather with buttonless tufting on a brushed steel base.  I'm pretty darn pleased with it in front of the fireplace.  I wanted something that would provide some seating when needed but not block the view of the fire.  Kind of mid-century, yet kind of contemporary.

My tables should be in soon, leaving only a chair (or a pair, depending on size), window coverings, a floor lamp and a couple things I'm painting and the big furnishing items are complete. 

One olive or two?

As much as we enjoy cocktails here you might think that we own martini glasses. We don't. While I prefer my gin with tonic and lime, occasionally a dirty vodka martini hits the spot. What never sounds good however is the glass.

Seemingly made to be broken, they're also perfect for spilling your drink. An added bonus, I always feel a little bit ridiculous holding one. On occasion I've even asked for my drink in a regular old fashioned glass. Now I may have to relent.

From last night's KC Auction Company sale, one sweet little white ceramic horse with a mane of wooden olive picks.

Though I've never really bought any, I like vintage barware. It makes me think of a time when lots of people owned ash trays and ice buckets and decanters, and reminds me of my parents monogrammed glassware and the little bowls emblazoned with "Nuts" and "Chips."

I don't think this is the start of a collection, but he seems like something that should be put to use don't you think? All I'd need are some good glasses and a shaker. And perhaps some linen cocktail napkins with embroidered elephants or penguins. And maybe a tray.

Reduce, reuse, replate - part two

I hit the first weekend antique sales in the Stockyards District last Saturday. The group shops keep growing in both size and number, and the dealers have all sorts of great things right now. There's something for any taste and every budget, from the pair of outdoor sconces in Christopher Filley's booth at Bottoms Up (fabulous, and priced accordingly) that I've been visiting for a few months, to the pair of 19 inch brass candlesticks shown above that I picked up for a paltry 15 bucks each.

The single 9 inch stick came from an estate sale over the winter and had just been hanging out in the garage waiting for some friends.

Acme Brass Plating isn't far from my office downtown (they're super nice btw) so I took all three over this past Tuesday on my lunch hour. Imagine my surprise when they called today to tell me they were ready. I picked them up and couldn't be happier with their new polished nickel goodness. And I've looked around, even with what I'm in for I'm still WAY below retail.

If you're local and you're not hitting the bottoms, or the Stockyards District as they're calling it now, on first weekends you're missing out. Stop at Fervere at 17th and Summit to pick up some bread, but do this first as they'll be sold out by noon. Then hit Genessee Royale for breakfast. And have a breakfast cocktail too, it's Saturday. And then scoot on over to the sales.

When you need a break I recommend the Coffee Cake KC truck. I got a really good cup of coffee to enjoy while I shopped, and then when I was done a coconut key lime cupcake to enjoy in the car (because really, nobody needs to see me tear into a dessert with that much buttercream piled on top). Next event should be May 4th and 5th. Go!

Resto Outdoor - S/S 2012

Did you get your obscenely large Restoration Hardware catalog complete with separate outdoor and small space folios all in a big plastic bag? Kind of seemed like it should have had a three-ring binder didn't it?

Theres a lot to like, especially among the outdoor offerings. The planters are great, like the round zinc ones above. The strap and ring adds a hint of utility I find really appealing, and they have feet, which they should if you're going to set them on a hard surface.

There are new furniture collections as well, including a number of terrific all-weather wicker ones available in four different shades. My favorite is the Malibu collection, shown above. My tastes seem to be running more and more to the clean-lined, and this is exactly what I would want if my patio furniture budget were bigger. Way bigger. I know things cost money, but man this stuff is expensive.

More like a room all the time

So we had the Chinese cabinet for under the TV and built the wall to fit it. Then came the rug, and we lived with the sectional that was entirely too big for the room, and a couple old pottery barn tables that have clearly seen better days.

Then came the sofa, which totally opens up the room. And over the weekend I started working on that asian-legged coffee table I bought off Craigs ages ago. With the smaller sofa it fits perfectly, and I can't wait to show you what I decided to do with it.

Then tonight came this:

From Drexel's Synchronicity collection, its the Lief drum table. I'd seen it when we were sofa shopping and liked it, but I had to think about it for a while. I love a drum table and at 28 inches in diameter it's big enough for the corner I need to fill. Plus the lamp I want to use has a huge base, so this will have plenty of surface left.

And while I don't like everything to match, I like a little bit of continuity, so for the other end of the couch I ordered this from the same group:

Its the Spiro serving table. I'm sure they call it that because its small and has that handle for easy moving. Except the base is iron, so its a little weighty to pick it up with anything spillable sitting there. With a floor lamp behind it we'll be good to go.

Anticipated arrival is May, which gives me time to finish the two furniture painting projects, recover a pair of pillows, replace some lampshades, figure out the blind situation (samples already here!), and maybe even install some dummy curtain panels and hang some art.


Whoever writes the headlines for the Post, I love you.

Current crush

Alexa Hampton for Visual Comfort. 28 inches, also available in white marble. I like it way more in black. I also might prefer a drum shade rather than the flare. I love urns as much as lamps so you can imagine my brain when I saw it on Gilt. I googled to grab a picture and found it for slightly more than half of Gilt's price. Filing it away for the next time I feel like I deserve a present.

A pair of chairs

Perpendicular to the couch (and more importantly perhaps, the tv) I want a pair of chairs. Something that swivels wouldn't be bad, although you won't be so far from the tv that you'd really have to turn to see. Here's one from Drexel. I like that its kind of round, although in that fabric it screams hotel lobby.
There's also this from Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams. I like the round part, the skirted bottom really bugs me.
Or maybe since the swivel isn't absolutely necessary I should just forget it? This is another Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams chair that I like a lot. Just not in that fabric. I'd probably want something solid, with some texture, in one of the two blues in the rug this will sit on the edge of.

So what do you think? All three are about the same size, and all about the size I need. Do you mind sitting at a 90 degree angle to the tv if it's only about 8 feet or so away? Or maybe Chair #1 is considerably less lobby-like in a better fabric? Opinions wanted.

Can you believe it? We bought a sofa.

We're getting ready to maybe have a deck built, so Saturday morning we ran out to a deck supply place to look at decking materials. That led to a stop at Seasonal Concepts to take a look at patio furniture. The insane pricing there made us head out west to Family Leisure. Neither had anything we loved.

While we were so far west we thought "why not run by Nebraska Furniture Mart and see if they have anything. Plus they sell nice grills, and we're due for an upgrade." I know, I've never had much nice to say about NFM, and they DO sell an amazing amount of things I don't want. But they also have the Design Gallery where you can order Henredon and Drexel and the like. We planned to stop in there after looking at the outdoor stuff.

Then, on our way to the patio area, we saw the Rowe sofa shown above and I immediately said to Brett, "sit on that." Not bad at all. Firmer back cushions, which we both prefer.

Not fine furniture I know, but its not Ashley either. And its kind of a riff on the Florence Knoll sofa that I love. We looked through the fabric memos and actually liked the floor model's fabric best of all, and that's when it just got crazy. They have it in that fabric IN STOCK. So they're delivering it Thursday.

A side note, I'm not one for extended warranties and such, but they have a fabric protection plan that covers any one-time damage for 5 years. So if I forget I have a screwdriver in my back pocket and sit down and poke a hole in the fabric they'll fix it. Or replace the whole cushion. Or if thats not possible they'll replace the couch. We're a definite dogs-on-furniture household, so we thought that was 89 bucks well spent.

We ordered something else from the Design Gallery while we were there, but I'll save that for a post when it comes in.

I'm on a roll

The weather was great today so I spent the day in the garage with the sideboard we bought the weekend Brett sliced his finger open.

I've never been a fan of chemical deglossers (liquid sandpaper) but I tried one I've never used before called Paso. It seems to work really well, and my Fine Paints of Europe oil base primer seems to be sticking just fine.

You see it here about halfway through. I stopped shortly after I snapped this phone shot as my brush was getting gunky. Incidentally, Purdy brand brushes suck. I bought a new one for oil base paints and the damn thing loses bristles like I lose hair. (I'm way thin on top, fyi)

I've got some missing veneer spots at the bottom to fill and sand and I'll finish priming the case and doors. Then its a light sanding (after 24 hours of dry time) and on to the exciting part, the burnt orange high gloss FPE sign enamel.

Cheap and easy

So I hit the auction Tuesday night and came away with this 48 inch pediment mirror from Uttermost. Not fine furniture by any means, but kind of fun. Definitely a little heavy on the gold leaf and black though.
Here it is this afternoon on sawhorses out in the garage, with its new gray primer and the glass covered up with magazine pages.

And finally, here it is with its new white paint. Please pay no attention to anything surrounding it here in our crappy kitchen.

No clue where we'll use it, but we'll find a spot, we still have lots of empty space here. I've not painted anything in ages, it felt really good, and I've got plans for more over the weekend.

Hello Martin

After a spin through River Market Antique Mall today I stopped in at Urban Dwellings to see what Mitchell Gold sofa frames were on the floor. Meet Martin.
A strong contender in my never ending search for a sofa, I'm taking Brett to look at this Saturday. Clean-lines, ample seating, relatively firm (which we prefer) and pretty reasonable. If you order it in the poly low pile velvet shown its a jaw-dropping $1295. There were other fabrics I liked even more, which wouldn't add too horribly to the total.