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Posts Tagged ‘French antiques’

french chairs

So I have been promising this story for ages and it is a good thing that I hadn’t told it as it developed a surprise ending yesterday. Design resources here in Doha are in some ways more limited and in other ways less limited than they were in Japan, but for everyone back in the USA, it really is a struggle to source items that you all have in such abundance of selection. This story might have been part of a larger post on decorating as an expat – entitled “Getting Lucky or Making Do” perhaps? – but now I think it is entitled to its own show.

Those of you who have been reading along with me these past months know from this post and this post that I snagged 3 French style fauteuils for free early this fall. They have been an integral part of my design scheme for our dining room, which has been proceeding nicely.

dining room progress

Along with the chairs I also got a huge marquetry desk with gold mounts and an inlaid leather blotter. It may sound potentially ugly and it certainly is a bit over the top, but it arrived on my horizon as if it had been an answer to a prayer. As you may also know, I’ve been working on redesigning my elder daughter’s bedroom. Her Pinterest board is full of Moroccan shaped upholstered headboards in interesting fabrics, monogrammed hotel linens, simple night stands and gourd/vase-shaped porcelain lamps. Basically, it is a look that is super popular right now and in her case, Ashley Whittaker has been her go-to designer for inspiration.

Ashley Whittaker House Beautiful bedroom suzani

Circumstances make it such that like the Whittaker room below, we too bought the IKEA Malm 3 drawer dresser to use as night tables. There are not a lot of other choices to be had and its simplicity and large storage capacity is unbeatable. We discussed using mirrors and O’verlays to create our own IKEA hack and make the Malm look like the dressers above, but decided we were perfectly happy with it on its own.

ashley whittaker bedroom HB

The trouble for me in all this was that the room had become too full of bright white furniture and was starting to feel childlike or worse perhaps, have that blogger-on-a-budget look. It needed some weight, some gravitas, some wood to ground it. Had I been at home, I would have trotted off to some antique/consignment/thrift shop and picked up an interesting wood desk in an afternoon. That isn’t possible here so I thought a bit and realized that what might be perfect – and more importantly available – would be a French style desk. As I have mentioned before, decorating here has a tendency to run to the super ornate brocade/damask/gilded avenues, but a piece or two plucked out and used in a tongue-in-cheek manner in a different environment could be perfect. And certainly a little OTT can be just right for a teen’s room. I mentioned it to my family that night at dinner and my daughter thought it sounded like a fun idea.

The very next day I was visiting a friend over at her large compound (think gated community if that word is just too weird) and as we were taking a walk we passed a villa (glamorous sounding but basically a house) that is used for compound storage. In the open car park stood a bunch of washers and dryers, metal bed frames and other detritus, but more importantly a huge desk in full Continental style with ormolu mounts and dark blue leather top. It was so exactly what I had been thinking of that I couldn’t believe it. Even the leather blotter was blue! It was covered in sand and dust and had just been sitting out there getting ruined. Tucked in a corner under cover were the three chairs, so dusty you couldn’t see the color of their upholstery. While not antiques in any way, they were good pieces of furniture with definite potential and needed saving. My regret from that day is that I didn’t think to snap a photo so you could see how trashed they were getting.

My friend proceeded to call her compound manager and over the next few weeks they determined that nobody needed or wanted the furniture and they gave it to me gratis. Because they were free I was particularly satisfied with them – one doesn’t look a gift horse in the mouth after all! I spent a good day cleaning them and I worked on the desk with some lemon oil and slowly it emerged. Since the room is in no way finished, I don’t have real photos, but here is a quick snapshot. We are planning to turn the tall vase into a desk lamp and be sure to note my small IKEA hack – I painted the legs of the Snille desk chair with old gold spray paint to make the modern chair integrate with the antique looking desk. The room was really beginning to come together.

photo

So the closing of this post should have been some kind of musing on fate and luck. Instead, I got a call yesterday from the aforementioned compound manager. It turns out that the furniture didn’t actually belong to the company that leases all the properties and is actually the personal property of the Sheikh who owns the compound. And guess what? He wanted it back! So as of today, I no longer have accent dining chairs and my daughter’s books and papers are on the floor of her room. I feel a bit paralyzed about going forward. Do I look for just the same things? Do I try something different? I love the serendipity of the find and now that has been snatched away. Your thoughts?

Related Posts:
(Fabric) Bordering on Obsession
Tussle at the Antique Jamboree…or the Never Wait Rule

Image Credits: Ashley Whittaker photos via Ashley Whittaker and House Beautiful

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Today was a crisp and very cold day at the Oedo market at the International Forum, but as usual there was lots to see and plenty to buy. I have been wanting to find a way to start sharing what I am seeing at the markets every week, but when there isn’t a theme or cohesive feeling about the merchandise I find it fairly boring to post about. I have been thinking that real-time photos of what I am buying, both for myself and for sale, might be more fun and more interesting for both me and for my readers. So as of today, my plans are to start instagramming (is that a verb yet?) while I am out and about at shrine sales and antique shows. So if you would like to keep up with me, you can follow me on Instagram on your mobile device here.

One of the fun parts of Instagram if you haven’t tried it is playing with the filters and the framing to add special effects to your photos. Typical me, I like all the filters that give an aged feel…

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…and I am a sucker for those old-fashioned photo borders…

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…or burned edges.

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I already made a faux pas in editing this photo down so that it didn’t fit the Instagram format.  Won’t make that mistake again.

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The photos have the perfect format for a blog post – a nice big square. There is also a very effective exposure button, used to fun effect here.

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This art deco mirror glows like a jewel using one of the filters.

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Kasuri kimonos seem lit from within.

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As usual Oedo was full of European goods, these lace patterns being some of my favorites.

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No lack of British goods either. This collection rivals any I’ve seen in English antique shops.

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Couldn’t resist these door knockers – just for Steve at An Urban Cottage.

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And you know you want it…If you see items you want to buy, just let me know via email.

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I made a couple of wonderful scores for myself, including this handmade folksy heart chair. It has a beautiful grey-blue wash paint and is soooo much prettier than it looks in this photo – the only find of the day that the Instagram filters failed to enhance.

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I know just where this sweet little baby is going to go…

beach house living room

I have also been finding the most irresistible and inexpensive art lately which deserves a post of its own. But this little oval print (nothing better than a few art pieces with circles or ovals to break up a lot of rectangles) is headed to my youngest daughter’s room at the beach…

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…along with this chiyogami you may remember from here. She begged me to hold it back for her from the sale so I did.

chiyogami 5

Won’t they look so sweet in here?

miss p beach bedroom

I am going to try to add the Instagram button to my sidebar, probably right below the Pinterest one. But I am including the link here again, in case I am not successful.

Related Posts:
Like La Brocante…French Day at Oedo Antiques Fair
Paper for a Thousand Years…Vintage Chiyogami

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So, I have been offered the chance to buy this amazing French marble-topped bakers table (expensive, but reasonable for what it is) from a friend of a friend. It is the kind of piece I have always dreamed of and written about.

Melding brass and steel, gold and silver, with its classic scrolling base and a white Carrera marble top, it is divine, much like the one I have always adored…

…in Suzanne Rheinstein‘s kitchen…

…and more recently at Charles Spada‘s Normandy Chateau.

Unfortunately, I believe that it is perhaps too large, too grand and too fancy for my humble cottage, although I am tempted to buy it anyway and keep it in the basement – it would be great for folding laundry, don’t you think? – for a future home “someday.”

In the meantime, I have been out looking for a similar style table, something with an iron base and a marble top. I saw this little cutie (much less expensive) down in Point Pleasant made from a vintage sewing machine base with an oval top added. You know what a junkie I am when it comes to repurposing!

The side view shows the nice detail on the base. Unfortunately, I think it is too small and the oval top too rounded to be very useful. You’ll see what I mean in the very next photo.

Searching online I discovered the perfect piece, with a classic French metal base and an oval top that is more like a long rectangle with curved ends, much more practical for serving and display. Unfortunately, it sold at auction somewhere in Atlanta back in March.

Just to torture myself some more, here it is in an outside view – I just love the simplicity of it.

It reminds me of a piece I spotted in a photo from Tone on Tone, Loi Thai’s gorgeous Bethesda, MD antiques store, which I have never actually visited in person, only drooled over on-line. Loi has recently started writing a great blog too, featuring his pitch perfect interiors. While I am posting this photo for the bakers table, I’d happily take anything else from the shop!

Last weekend I bought this vintage school desk at a garage sale (very inexpensive). I just could not resist those amazing ironwork supports. I thought I might replace the desk with a marble top, only it is way too low to be a practical work table. I have been thinking about ways to build up height in the legs but they all seem ugly and cluttery! If you have a good idea – let me know!

I keep coming back to this inspiration photo from stylist Lucyina Moodie. Long oval table with iron base, a lamp and some display items. And note the simple sisal like runner – that is the final decision for my white painted stairs too!

Related Posts
My Kitchen Island is Back on the Table
What’s Cooking? Peri Wolfman’s Kitchens Through the Years and That Marble-Topped Bakers Table

Image credits: 1-2, 5-6 & 10. me, 3. credit unknown, via Cote de Texas, 4. Weranda, photo credit: Andreas von Einsiedel, via Boxwood Terrace, 7-8. via Live Auctioneers, 9. via Tone on Tone, 11. Lucyina Moodie

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