Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Friday Night Follies, This Friday, April 3rd, 6-8pm.

This Friday, April 3rd, 4 antique/vintage furniture shops (including, of course, yours truly) will be participating in a joint sale/walkabout/wine&snackfest that I have dubbed, in shockingly original fashion, "Friday Night Follies"! Participating (in order, south to north) will be:

Bernadette Breu Experience, 1336 SE 6th Ave (corner of 6th & Madison, www.bernadettebreuantiques.com) featuring an endless array of fabulous antiques and decorative items);
Denali International (1338 SE Grand, featuring imported Chinese furniture, their new line of handmade industrial furnishings, and every now and then a vintage piece or two);
Janus Home (1324 SE Grand Ave, www.janushome.com, featuring World Class Vintage Furnishings) and
Simply Grand Antiques (1226 SE Grand Ave, www.simplygrandantiques.com featuring 10,000 SF of 19th-20th century European antiques).

For my part, everything in the store will be 20% off, with select merchandise up to 50% off! I don't know the exact specifics of what everyone else is doing as far as discounts go (although Bernadette mentioned 50% off lots of stuff), but regardless, it will definitely be worth your time to come down and come see what we all have to offer (and...um...drink some wine. On us. Not that we're bribing or anything).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The '80s Ain't Always Such a Bad Thing - Burl Bedroom Furniture by Hickory

Yesterday, I bought these two lovely pieces of bedroom furniture, produced by the Hickory Manufacturing Co., likely sometime in the 1980s. Hickory is one of those "Grand Old" American furniture companies along the lines of Baker or Thomasville that have been around forever (or since 1911, in Hickory's case) in one form or another. Today they are owned by uber-mega-conglomerate Furniture Brands International (which, incidentally, also owns Thomasville), but they still put out a very high end, quality product.

These dressers are a testament to the quality of furniture that Hickory produces, even in the "dark days" of the 1980s, when even many major "high end" furniture makers were turning out loads of processed particleboard crap. It should be noted that there is not a bit of particleboard in these pieces - they are made of 100% solid wood (veneered, of course, but solid wood under the veneer). It should also be noted that the long dresser, despite its lack of particleboard (which is much heavier than regular wood) is INCREDIBLY heavy, easily 200 lbs if not more. If the current prices of Hickory's furniture is any indication, these pieces must have cost thousands of 1980s dollars when they were new.

The finish on them is good - but boy, would they be stunning if they were refinished. I can see the wood bleached and clearcoated, and the hardware darkened, or perhaps have the hardware chromed and refinish the wood dark. Either way it would be worth it, as these are stylish, attractive, bombporoof pieces of furniture that will literally last a lifetime any way you cut it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pair of Hans Wegner for Johannes Hansen folding chairs

I knew these chairs were good...but I had no idea HOW good! I figured the pair was good for a few thousand bucks, maybe a little more...turns out that two pairs have sold in the last two years at the Wright 20 auction for $22,800! Odd that both sets should sell for the exact same amount, but there you go. Interestingly enough, there's ANOTHER pair set to sell at Wright this Tuesday! The estimate is $10000-15000, I'll be very curious to see what they actually go for. Here's a link to the listing on my website, and here are some more photos of the lovely specimens.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Before and After Stories

I think that the most fun part of my job is taking burnt-out husks of vintage furniture that just happen to have great lines, and breathing new life into them, readying them for another 50 years of life on the planet (and diverting them from clogging up a landfill)! I've collected a few "before and after" stories for your perusal here. The first is a pair of Hollywood Regency style slipper chairs that I picked up at a local consignment store. Many times when I buy pieces "as is", I don't really have any grand plans for what they will eventually turn into. However, these chairs were an exception - I pretty much knew from the get-go that I wanted to refinish the frames dark and reupholster them in a fancy high end fabric. I went through a few options, but the Italian cut velvet that I picked seemed to be the obvious choice (you can even see that I had a swatch of it laid out on the chairs before they were reupholstered). I was really happy with how they turned out, and they sold pretty quickly.

Next up we have a pair of Danish chair frames that I bought in Austin, TX along with a bunch of other stuff. I really had no idea what I wanted to do with these. However, I figured that since I hadn't paid much for them, I wanted to go a bit out on a limb and do something a little "different". I had them lacquered white, and awhile after that, I found this Clarence House linen on deep discount at an online fabric retailer, and thought "that would be PERFECT for those white chairs!" I hadn't really counted on the fact that they would end up looking like beach balls, but what the hell. I still think they're pretty cool. My designer friend/client Martie Accuardi said "I would totally buy those if I had a beach house project!" Taking Danish modern to the beach - what will they come up with next?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Looking for Partners to Feature on janushome.com

I'm looking for local PDX retailers who sell things that I don't sell, but that would fit in with the Janus Home design aesthetic (clean, modern, sustainable) to feature on the Janus Home website. The idea is that we would do a photo shoot at Janus Home using Janus Home's furniture, and integrate these other things into the shoot to round out the look. There would then be text explaining where the pieces came from, and a link on janushome.com leading to the vendor's website.

We will be shooting four different "rooms", each in a different style. We are planning on shooting the following looks - "clean" modern, "family friendly" modern, industrial loft, and Hollywood Regency - but nothing is set in stone. There will likely be some intermixing of the looks as well, just to keep things interesting.

I hope this makes sense - if there is confusion, please feel free to shoot me an email and I will try to explain further.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stravacado Salsa

OK, OK, I know this is not a food blog...and I'm not trying to make it one. I'm just so fired up about this salsa that I had to share it with the world (or...er...the 7 people following me). Anyway, this all came up because I had to go to the store to get lentils and diapers. So I went to New Seasons, which is pretty much the best grocery store one could hope to live 3 blocks away from. Sometimes they have a little sample treats stand set up near the entrance of the store, and this evening they were sampling a Strawberry-Avocado Salsa. I tried it. It was yum. I tried it again just to make sure. I was not mistaken the first time. I remembered that we had a bowl of strawberries at home that looked like they were on there way out and were just dying to be turned into salsa...so a plan was made.

This stuff is amazing, I can't stop eating it. The recipe below will make enough to feed a small army. I made 1/4 the recipe (using 1 avocado instead of 4), and made a decent sized bowl that would probably be enough for most small gatherings (I thought about it for a minute, and, well, I DID get this recipe at a grocery store, so OF COURSE they want you to buy 3 pints of strawberries and 4 avocados). Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe:

3 pints of strawberries
4 ripe avocados
1 red onion
2 limes
1 jalapeno
1 bunch of cilantro
Salt to taste

Mash your avocados in a bowl. Chop your strawberries, onions, cilantro and jalapeno and mix in with the avocado. Squeeze the limes in there. Salt to taste. Dig out your favorite bag of tortilla chips. Prepare yourself for an addictive snacking experience.
*DON'T* do like I did and make up the salsa while you're waiting for dinner to finish cooking, and then eat so much of it that you don't want dinner anymore.

Thank You John Birch

Sold the desk chair less than 24 hours after I listed it on eBay. Thank you John Birch (if you don't know, and there's no particular reason that you should, John Birch runs a shop in NYC called Wyeth and is one of the top dealers of high end mid century design in the country). This means that either he just liked it a whole lot, or I screwed up and it's some rare design from someone important. Whatever, I sold it fast and made a nice profit, that's what counts.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fabulous Fabulosity

Great things have come my way this week, and it is my intention to share them with y'all. So...without further ado...may I present...BRUCE WAYNE'S DESK CHAIR!
I've had some pretty cool desk chairs in the past, but I think this one might just take the cake. "Sick in the pants", as some guy I used to know whose name I can't remember would say. Evidently this beauty was originally upholstered in turquoise leather. I mean, SHUT UP. Now it's dark red vinyl...which is OK, but TURQUOISE LEATHER?? Out of control cool. I wish I knew who designed it, but I honestly have no clue. I swear I've seen a Dunbar desk chair that bore some resemblance to this, but now I can't find any reference to it (of course). It also has some Jens Risom-ish qualities, but let's face it, this thing it just in a class of it's own.

Up next we have a wacky, wonderful collector's item - a bent rosewood coffee table by Saburo Inui for Tendo. Never heard of him? Well, to be honest, neither had I, until I saw this gem on Craigslist and did a little creative research, and found the attribution - and saw that one had sold at the Wright auction back in 2005 for a little over $3k. Needless to say I snapped it up. Here's a shot of the top - very nice rosewood grain, and the way the legs bend and splay out is just subtly delicious. I was showing it off today to John, my ace finisher and repair guy, and he thumped on it and said "hmm - it's hollow!" The table probably doesn't even weigh 20 lbs, so this observation made sense - then he added "you know, like an interior hollow-core door!" I had to laugh at that - "a very fancy interior hollow core door that's hopefully worth about $3000!"

I don't get down to the Stars Antique Mall all that much - mainly because I'm hardly ever in Sellwood, and also because I've never really found much there that was worth buying. There's a few dealers who have interesting stuff (one of whom, I found out to my chagrin, is moving out), but mostly it's just a bunch of Grandma antiques (no offense meant to any hip Grandmas out there). However, they were having a storewide sale to coincide with the pain-fest that is the Portland Expo (and I was on my way to Lake Oswego to buy some nightstands), so I stopped in and snooped. I'll save my favorite piece for last, but these tables have a funny story. I'd taken a very quick spin around the mall and, to my surprise, I actually found some goodies. I took my finds up to the cash register, paid for them, and was on my way out the door, when I realized I had a need to use the restroom. I turned around, put my stuff back down, and headed down the aisle toward the restroom - and ran smack dab into these babies. Oh, and a matching coffee table too! The price was VERY right, and they were even 25% off, so I basically had no choice but to add them to the pile. I like the end tables a little better than the coffee table, but really, who's counting, they're both super cool!

And now, for my favorite piece of the week: may I present. "Dude with Spear".One of my favorite dealers at Stars always has the most random assortment of stuff - art, found objects, weird furniture that may or may not be missing essential pieces, sculptures, you name it. He also has a penchant for very direct, to the point, no-nonsense tagging of his pieces - for instance, this fellow, who was aptly and simply dubbed "Dude with Spear". I mean, how can you not love that? Our dude is about 2.5' tall, and really has quite a presence.

Now...why is he my favorite? He certainly isn't the piece that I'm going to make the most money on, or has the most significance in any way - and I certainly can't take him home, for fear that my 2-year old would very quickly injure either himself or someone or something else with it (this is a boy who has a honing instinct to grab the most dangerous object in the whole house that happens to be accessable to him within 30 seconds of one of his parents turning their backs). So, why is he my favorite? I just like him, that's why! He's got soul. And when it comes down to it, I really believe that THAT is the most important piece of the decorating puzzle that often gets minimized in the interest of flashier talking points - do you LIKE the damn thing? Does it resonate with you? Does it make you smile? For me, "Dude with Spear" scores a 3/3 on that list, so he gets the nod. Plus, he's more than a little eccentric and offbeat, which is also something that I feel is sorely lacking in many modern interiors. Get over yourselves, people, and have some fun with this whole decorating thing!

If you couldn't tell by my rambling, it is now quite late and I must be off to bed. Until next time, thanks for reading, and please do leave your comments if anything strikes you!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Robsjohn Gibbings King Size Headboard that is Unfortunately Painted Black

Today, against my better judgment, I bought this here king size headboard, designed by the one and only T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings for Widdicomb. It's really a beautiful thing, but I'm absolutely dreading the stripping and refinishing of it. Maybe it won't be as bad as I think, but when does that ever happen? We're currently working on a Gibbings desk that has proven to be an absolute NIGHTMARE, so I'm not really excited about the prospect of redoing this one. At least it was cheap.