Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Greetings friends!  The past week flew by and here we are at week four of the One Room Challenge (ORC) sponsored by Linda of, the blog, Calling It Home.  Week four has been more productive than week one, week two, and week three, combined!  It's the week where the fruits of your labor come into fruition.  Since we've visited last, I broke up with Mr. Upholsterer.  I know, he deserved it, right?!  No longer am I in Chicago!  I've moved my furniture to Duluth!  I'm in utter amazement!!!

Remember my storage unit, from week two?  Keep in mind, this photo does NOT accurately represent just how full it was, prior to sending the furniture to the upholsterer!

Here it is now!  Well, how I vacated it, I'm sure someone's rented it by now.  I couldn't even believe that it was empty after the movers cleared it!  I actually felt a bit teary eyed!  I sold furniture out of that particular unit for over 5 years.  It was the perfect amount of space to house my ever growing, ever changing inventory.  Believe it or not, the photo does not do it justice!  LOL!  The painted brick walls were terribly attractive, especially, the extremely high barreled brick ceiling.  I used to fantasize about staging it as a studio apartment...  Ever designing!

I could hardly believe that my belongings filled an entire 24' truck!!!  I knew I had a lot of stuff, but, I HAVE A LOT OF STUFF!  I've moved several times and have lived a few places- D.C., California, even France, to name a few; but this was my first experience organizing, rather orchestrating, a move of THIS  magnitude!  

It was rather bittersweet...

Remember the "kitchen" I loved to hate???  Specifically, the cabinets I DETESTED....


GONE!  OMG!  Looks 1000% better!  So much more lighter in that area.  You can see a difference in paint color where the cabinets were...

I was seriously concerned if the new white paint would perfectly match the existing wall color.  I simply did not want to have the ENTIRE (refrigerator) wall repainted; it runs the length of the apartment.  Fortunately, the paint was a PERFECT, EXACT match!!!
The stainless shelves are from Ikea (& here).  I am not a fan of Ikea.  EVERY TIME (seriously, without fail!!) I've bought something from Ikea, it's bumped, bruised, or scratched (in the box!)- these shelves were NO exception!  I would have returned them, however they were shipped (had I made a store purchase, I would have opened each and EVERY box to inspect the contents!), the nearest Ikea is 2 1/2 hours away, plus I HAD to have them installed- there was no negotiation of time.  The shelves look good (professional), even better, they worked with the budget.  Commercial restaurant grade shelves priced me out!  The Ikea shelves were a fraction of what a set of commercial shelves cost.  

Remember my living area and how I had been living for 7 months?

Welcome home!!!

My movers were THE most responsible, conscientious, professional team.  They knew I was very concerned about my belongings-  LOTS of glass, high ticket items, fragile pieces.  Every single item on the truck traveled safely into my apartment.  What a blessing!  

I was so exhausted, overwhelmed, and sleep deprived on move day, but I HAD to bring some semblance of order (and aesthetic) to the room...

I was soooooo right about my "new" sofa!  It's lovely, but far too dark for the look I'm seeking to achieve!  eBay & etsy, here it comes!

Those arm chairs look 1000% percent better, don't they?  Remember, during week three, I had the pair upholstered in the Brunschwig & Fils chocolate velvet and pink embroidered fabric?  I know, don't judge me!!  I disliked them so much that I had Mr. Upholsterer (re)reupholster them in the Robert Allen fabric and it's done them complete justice!  They are very chic, now!
Give it to me straight!  Does it look like I have a lot to do???  I really cannot tell.  Looking at this photo, I'm reminded that I still have to get the mirror replaced in the frame; I'm unsure if that's going to happen- the budget is getting a tad bit weary. 

Will my inspiration room become a reality???!!!  I just love that nearly every element of this room is a "conversation piece".  It's the the kind of vibe I hope to attain when week six appears.  Again, with the white sofa- I love a white sofa, I have to get one and fast!  

Glori Salva

Last, but certainly not least!  My Milo Baughman desk!  I've had this piece since '08.  Of course there's a story behind it!  Horrible Craigslist photo, but, I KNEW it was something, just as I did with the Schaefer bench.  Drove over an hour to take a look at it and snapped it up for a song, from the original owner.  Fast forward to the present...  I've located a refinisher who has agreed to lay down her principles and stain it ebony for me.  The walnut has more than a few issues; while I'd love to have it stained it's original color, it's best to employ a dark stain.  Dark, but with some translucence; I want to be able to see the grain of the wood- I do NOT want it to look painted dark.  More importantly, she can deliver the desk next week.  We shall hope and see.  

The three drawers are busted and wrapped.  I don't have a referral for the refinisher, I just pray she's not like my ex, Mr. Upholsterer!  As much furniture as I've had refinished this will be my first time working with a woman.  Go girls!  Lady, PLEASE do me proud!  

An updated version of my things to do...


-Remove kitchen cabinets
-Buy kitchen shelves
-Hang kitchen shelves
-Find someone to remove cabinets & hang shelves
-Buy kitchen work table "island"
-Locate and buy interesting art  Have a few cool pieces; could use more.  Paint a few large canvases???
-Hang LARGE mirrors
-Find someone to hang mirrors!
-Order round glass tops for side/end tables
-Sandblast metal cabinets (in Chicago; 4 pieces)
-Refinish 5 metal cabinets & 4, 5-stack metal barrister bookcases  Won't happen during the ORC!!!
-Refinish & ceruse brown wooden chairs  Won't happen during the ORC!!!
-Locate & buy pillows (custom pillows???)  Purchased 4, had 4 madeNeed MORE due to upholstery change!!!  Won't happen during the ORC!!!
-Select & buy upholstery fabric
-Upholster furniture (in Chicago; 14 pieces- by a professional of course!)
-Buy lampshades (in Chicago; have custom made???)
-Have lamp rewired & made taller into a floor lamp
-Locate wood refinisher (in Duluth) & have desk repaired/stained/refinished
-Have mirror replaced in frame
-Place furniture
-Lay rugs (possibly buy a couple!!!)  Purchased 2; using 1!
-Custom drapes (after further consideration, noooooo way $$$$$$$$$)  Not making the INVESTMENT!!!
-BUDGET???  WHO KNOWS!!!  I'll let you know!

Well, the show is still going on and is in perpetual motion, over here!  See you next week, by that time I shall have every piece of cardboard, peanut, bubble and stretchy wrap out of my life.  Be sure to visit my fellow participants in the ORC, leave them a cheery comment, they are all quite talented.  

Review my progress:

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Welcome everyone!

Here we are at week three of, the One Room Challenge, the event that Linda of the popular Calling it Home blog host for designers and bloggers alike.  We all have 6 weeks, (really 5, revealing week 6) to implement our design in 1 room.  Have a look at my week one plan and my week two progress of my living room area.  This week is all about SETBACKS!  Well, I have more than a few!  

To begin, I HATE my sofa!!!!  Well, I don't hate my sofa, it's lovely piece of furniture.  I've discovered that it's far too dark for the look I'm creating which is REALLY a downer because I've never even used it!  Feel free to laugh out loud, right here, in an ironic way.  I like the look of a Chesterfield sofa, but, did not want a Chesterfield (they're kind of overused, no?).  So, when I discovered this lovely, quilted, tight back leather sofa at consignment shop I genuinely fell in love.  I haven't even placed it in my apartment and I know that it's all wrong!  The sofa is in FANTASTIC shape and was probably in a room only "for show" because it's hardly been sat on.  It'll definitely wind up in my etsy and/or eBay shop.  Since my sofa is all wrong, the lamps and CUSTOM lampshades that will sit, on a console, behind the sofa are now all wrong!  I can't believe myself!!!  I really can't believe myself since the lamps have been unused in a box since 2008 and now they, too, will also have to grace a new home.  The new sofa is going to be white or even light gray.  The one that I'm okay with is on sale, however, this current one has to go to its new home, first.  I wonder if any of the other participants want to sell off their furniture and accessories BEFORE completing the challenge???  You'll have to stay tuned to the sofa saga...

Ideally, I'd like an open airy feeling that a white sofa has the tendency to lend to a room.


Now, for the upholstery downers!  First up, the barstool seats.  The navy patent leather is gorgeous but something's WRONG!!!

Can you see it?  The top and bottom right corners are NOT perfectly rounded like the top and bottom left corners are.  Nothing that can't be rectified, BUT, it takes TIME!!!!  PLUS, I was so disappointed MAD to see that Mr. Upholsterer altered the design of the seat of the stools!  I was too shocked and upset to take a photo of it.  I wanted the stools upholstered EXACTLY like they were originally, however, Mr. Upholsterer apparently thought they need top and bottom piping!!!!  Can you BELIEVE IT???!!!  Now, I'm all for creative license and am even open to design negotiation, but, CALL ME FIRST- BEFORE you cut!!!!!  Of course, I had a limited amount of genuine patent leather- which you NEVER find.  I bought this patent 7 years ago and, OF COURSE, the company does not have any more; so top & bottom piping it is!  

You thought I was finished talking about the stools, right?  No!  During my inspection, they FELL APART!!!  Mr. Upholsterer failed to replace the screws!  Now, I was REALLY upset by this point because this particular upholster works with one of THE most renown auction houses in the country- who referred ME to HIM!  At this point, I'm not feeling valued by Mr. Upholsterer and returned the stool backs to be reworked and reattached.  
*Footnote - The stool backs were reattached with MISMATCHED screws!  Now I KNOW I'm not valued by the upholsterer.  I asked the owner, "Would you treat Mr. Auction House like this?"  Still haven't received an answer to that question.

Bought a simply beautlful rug, from an eBay seller that's damaged (even though I inquired about damages & was told there were none).  My 2 good rug/carpet dealer friends are ALWAYS telling me not to buy rugs from eBay or etsy!  They are extremely old school gentlemen and believe in the "process" of shopping for a rug.  I believe in the "process", as well; however, I told them that I HAVE to buy rugs from eBay and etsy because $50,000 rugs or even $5,000 rugs, like they sell, are currently out of my budget!!!  Hellooooooooo!!!  

My one rug dealer friend, Amir, was so angry when I showed him the rug that he told me to, "Return it AT ONCE!"  I admit, I actually felt my heart sink a little, when he was ordering me to do so.  He gave me a script to follow and the dealer agreed to repair the rug and pay for the return shipping. Thank goodness I have another rug I can use in its place if I don't receive it before the reveal.

Back to the upholster!  The cane-back bench was delivered.   However, they did not stain it; it was glossed up really nicely, but not stained.  Mr. Upholsterer and I had a little back and forth about it- I could not believe it!  I told him that I paid for the refinishing/staining of the bench- after he confirmed with his son, he agreed to stain the bench.  OMG!  Notice the seats on the right?  Well, those are mine and they are HORRIBLE!!!  I LOVE the fabric & might even have a jacket made out of it but, it's all wrong for the style of chair and will be too dark with my already too dark sofa!  

The second element wrong with the seats is the design or style of the seat.  It's too boxy for the design of the chair and needs to be more tailored.  Look at how thick the seat is- it's got to be 4"!  Too thick and that fabric is NOT helping.

When I initially conferred with Mr. Upholsterer, about the chairs, he said he understood the style of the seats, I sought, clearly he did not.  I delivered the below photo to him a few days later with the new fabric.  Come on, man, I'm on serious time constraints; get it together!!!  THIS is how the chairs should be upholstered:

The new upholstery I chose befits the style of the chairs.  It's a metallic linen blend called,  "Patina" by Robert Allen; it's part of his "Alchemy" line.  It's such a pretty and versatile linen blend.  I'd wear this as a jacket as well!  

I feel like I need to explain my reasoning in selecting the chocolate velvet with pink embroidery fabric.  Well, I had an emotional reaction to it.  Ha!  It's a Brunschwig & Fils fabric, I thought it was luscious and would compliment the kilim I plan to use in the area.  Honestly, I was so emotionally entangled that I didn't even consider it in combination with the mahogany sofa.

This is not my mirror.  My mirror looks exactly like this one, except, my mirror is stained espresso and the glass is broken.  I could hardly believe it.  For the past 6 years or so, it's been in my old bedroom at my mother's house, wrapped in a old comforter and leaning against a radiator.  Perhaps it was the heat that made it crack?  Duh!!!  I didn't think it got THAT hot!  The glass used to make the mirror was over a 1/4 thick, which made it terribly heavy; it was stamp dated "May 1952" on the back.  I'll just wait until I return to Duluth to have it replaced with a thinner, lighter weight mirror.

Now for the uppers of the week!  The legs of the Bertha Schaefer bench are divine in espresso!

The brass Chiavari chairs turned out wonderfully!  

I LOVE the bold, graphic choice I made in selecting burlap coffee bags for the brass beauties- truly rough and refined.

This one is a downer mixed with an upper.  Remember, from week two, my Scarpa-esque chairs that I'm going to ceruse? 

The seat's busted!  Mr. Upholsterer says, he can fix it, no big deal!  Thank goodness!

I'm in LOVE (aren't I always?)!  The cowhide was THE right choice for the seats!!!  Additionally, the right choice to compliment the ceruse project!  They will truly look out.  of.  the.  WILD!

Response from my girlfriend when I sent her an example of cerused wood.  PRICELESS!!!  Exactly what I'm going for! 

Once again, I'm humbled by your visit!  To see my previous weeks, look here:  week one; week two.  I look forward to seeing you next Thursday, week four, at the One Room Challenge!   

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Sunday, April 12, 2015


Hey everybody!

Welcome back to, "Why on earth am I doing this, again???!!!"  That's right, I felt I needed to enter the One Room Challenge to keep me on target with my living area's decor!  It's week 2 and I've been a BUSY body!  I've been moving about just like a cartoon Tasmanian Devil tornado!  If you remember, from last week, I have this obscene extreme "laundry list" of things to do; one of which is to have 14 pieces of furniture upholstered by a professional who says he can complete the work in less than 2 weeks.  I know, I know- I've GOT to believe!  Please, don't shake your head or laugh at me!  
I've been quite productive!  The upholsterer picked up the furniture, my delivery guys dropped off the metal cabinets to the sandblaster, shopped for lampshades, and ordered glass table tops for a pair of end tables.  Did I mention that according to MY plan, I'll be moving my load, from Chicago to Duluth, at the end of next week???


Here's how I ended last week:

These photos of the 300 sqft. storage unit were taken AFTER we (my friend, Michele, & I) moved the 17 pieces of furniture to be upholstered (I'm using 14, selling 3) out of it .  I forgot to take a photo before we moved the pieces out, but, prior to moving the furniture you couldn't walk in the unit! 

Here's my mix of furniture, coupled with the hope of, coming close to, achieving what my inspiration rooms have accomplished.  First up, a bench, in the manner of Knoll, whose chrome I LOVE!  I was considering keeping it cool with a sumptuous navy mohair, but now I'm thinking since it's cool by nature (chrome) perhaps I should warm it a bit with a antique gold (a little darker than the current vinyl w/a bit of iridescent) velvet.  I have 2 of these coveted benches but will, for now, only be using one in the apartment and it may wind up in the bathroom or in my bedroom; I'm not totally committed to it being in the living room.

I LOVE these vintage Goodform stools!!!  They are so mechanical.  I stalked the eBay listing for 6 to 9 months before I ever made an offer.  Every other day, I'd check to see if they were still listed.  Once they weren't & I had a major upset for about 3 days until the seller relisted them!  I considered doing this to the stools, but, I remembered the genuine navy patent leather hides that've I've had since '08 and think it'll be a really cool look.  If, in the future, I change my mind and want a more rugged, industrial look I'll have the upholstery removed & the seats polished.  This pair will be positioned in front of the stainless steel work table/island in the kitchen area.

I wish I remembered to take a photo of this Bertha Schaefer bench prior to the upholsterer stripping it!  Had it not been for the stain on it I probably would have kept the original fabric it was a wonderful multi-shade of yellow & white; I think it was a Jack Lenor Larsen fabric- VERY textural.  I returned to his workshop to take photos of it the, next day, & he had already begun the process.  Bertha Schaefer was one of the rare female furniture designers during the Bauhaus and mid century eras.  She's not as widely known as Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, or even Eileen Gray for that matter.  I purchased this piece not knowing it was a Schaefer or knowing anything about her.  The bowed legs, in particular, signaled me that the bench was a special piece.  I have something fantastic planned for it.  See more of Schaefer's designs here.

Another favorite piece of mine is this vintage settee.  It's the perfect size (48")- not to big, not too small.  I've sold at least 10 of these, over the years, and always buy one whenever I come across them.  I currently own 2 and will have this one stained a little bit darker, just to bring out the richness of the wood.  They'll be no tufting, just a clean tight seat.  No bolsters, either, just throw pillows.  It may look frail, but, this bench can hold substantial weight, like 400+ lbs!

Wolfgang Hoffmann...  He MADE me fall in love with him.   His design of this Art Deco era bench is so modern and timeless.  I tried to resist him, especially since he lived 2 hours away...  When I first saw the bench I knew what I'd use to recover him in, even though I did not yet have the upholstery.  One spring, while I was a vendor at the Randolph Street Market, in Chicago, a lovely couple (also vendors) were complimenting my furniture and accessories for sale and asked if I sourced pieces.  Sourcing is one of my favorite things to accomplish.  My friend Ted, calls me "The Bloodhound", because, if it's out there I can find it!  Well, the wife described, in detail, to me the design of the curved wingback chairs  for which she had been unsuccessfully hunting; she called them "angel-wing" back chairs.  She and her husband were cowhide rug dealers and whenever they could find the angel-wing chairs they'd have them upholstered in a hide and would quickly sell them.  She mentioned that if I was able to locate the chairs she'd be willing to barter with a hide of my choice!!!  My heart quickened!  I knew EXACTLY what I needed in terms of size and color, I quizzed her and her husband about my specifications, and within 7 days she had her pair of heavy, vintage angel-wing chairs.  She was shocked!  I got my hide!  Guess which piece it'll grace?  

I love this ottoman (as you can see, I love all my pieces!) and really think its legs need a tan!  Perhaps, espresso, to make them look rich.

I've got a project in mind for this pair!  It MAY not get accomplished w/in the next couple weeks so, you'll have to stay tuned to see how they turn out.  This particular pair of vintage chairs remind me of an Afra & Tobia Scarpa design.  I have BIG plans for them!  My idea is to use a white and black speckled cowhide & ceruse the oak.  The grain is ripe for cerusing; they will look like they're out of the wild!  

This will be my first attempt at cerusing.  Hopefully, the wood grain will be as punctuated as the grain in this cabinet:

My petite darling Chiavaris.  I'm having 2 chairs upholstered.  The plan is to go for something rough, rugged, and a bit industrial on this glamorous pair.  

I've got THOUSANDS of burlap coffee bags from around the world!  Well, certainly hundreds!  I collected them for several months from a coffee company in Chicago who was giving them away!  My dear Shana, was so generous with giving me as many bags as I wished- she'd even sit aside some of the most special, graphic ones aside for me.  Of course, I gave tons away- many to a fellow furniture dealer in Chicago who upholstered furniture with them, many to a friend who uses them as props when she displays her wares for sale, and many to my dear friend Ted who's designing a line of burlap tote bags with them.  Mr. Upholsterer seemed really intrigued with the notion of upholstering the dainty and classic Italian brass chairs with burlap.

The pride of my lot, my LABELED Milo Baughman ottomans.  Scroll down to my inspiration room to see how Madeline Weinrib interpreted them.  Well, I love the stools but HATE the color!  I considered dying them black or navy, but, the fabric IS original and my only hesitation to upholster them is because they are covered in a wool kilim!!!  Can you believe it?  That's THE only reason.  I told the upholsterer to just hold them aside and I'd let him know.  Well, it's been a week and I haven't committed to recovering them yet.  I already ordered & received a rug that, I think, will compliment them the best, as they are.  What do you say?  To recover or not to recover???

Looking forward to seeing this chic pair of Ward Bennet cantilevered arm chairs refinished and recovered...

Believe it or not, I ordered a kilim rug from Turkey via an etsy seller and it arrived in LESS THAN 48 HOURS!!!

It's the rug I selected to balance the rust colored Baughman stools and it is FABULOUS!

I have a sinking feeling that the glass table tops, that I ordered, may be the wrong scale for these end tables to flank the sofa.  After further consideration, I think the dimensions that I ordered won't be substantial enough, nor look as high-end as the tables are.  Oh brother!  In all honesty, budget and time constraints prevailed.  I cannot afford the time required to have the table tops sent to the company's laser and bevel cutter out of the city.  Plus, I'm choosing to avoid using over $500 of my budget on table tops.  A rug, yes!  My cost came in at $51 (total), however, I think they may look like $51 table tops!  I can always upgrade, in the near future.

The following metal cabinets were delivered to the sandblaster.  We shall see if I'm able to polish them in time for the unveiling.  I am totally at peace with the prospect of completing their restoration at a later time.  I drove from Chicago to St Louis just for this dental cabinet; it was priced far too incredibly for me not to make the trip!

You know I always have a great story about locating a piece.  I wanted one of these medical cabinets for YEARS and this one fell into my lap!  I had it shipped from Seattle and must share the story in a later post.

Traveled to the lamp shop and since I wasn't attracted to any of their fabric selections I've decided to have shades custom made- so excited!  I wanted a plain cylindrical drum for this Italian tole sheaf of wheat lamp, but, when the owner's wife topped the lamp with this hexagon shade I fell in love!  I've decided to raise the height of the lamp.  Apparently, in it's current state, it's a table lamp.

This shade LITERALLY took my breath away- OMG!!!  You can't even tell, from the photo, how utterly breathtaking it is.  Custom made, hand pleated silk, scalloped octagon- oh my!  I don't think it's right for my Simon Pearce lamps but I just couldn't resist styling them on my lamp.  The sumptuous fabric and the immaculate hand craftsmanship makes the $800 price point understandable.  

I need opinions about this shade.  What do you think?  This particular size is too large for the lamp, however, I'm attracted to the irony of the shapes and how well they coincide.  Please share your thoughts.  If I select it, I'll have to provide the fabric, ASAP! 

The following pictures are of rooms I REALLY like!!!  I seem to be attracted to colorful, airy rooms that are painted white with conversation piece textiles.  The creamy sofa is a considerable backdrop to the room, it adds dimension to the white wall and is not in competition with the dramatic rug.  The footstool is so playful!  It's bold; yet it does not fight with the rug.  There's an element of simplicity to following 2 rooms that's really appealing...


From this shot of the room, you can see how successful the glass (invisible) coffee tables are in creating a fluid, undisturbed sight line- the designer truly understood that the rug was far too sensational to be covered by a solid table.  The conversation piece rug (when it's that large, is it a carpet?) is a stunning palette on which the decor of the room was developed.  Extracting aqua, from the rug, as the color choice for the curtains was the right accompaniment and the best compliment to the dark tones of the antique club chairs and the ottomans.  


Madeline Weinrib has the same elements in her living room:  white walls, light colored oversized chair, dark leather club chairs, "invisible" (chrome, glass & lucite) coffee table.  Although Madeline's room doesn't pull in the full spectrum of colors, it's successful due to the movement created from the chosen textiles.  Brown, beige, or tan rooms can often be sedate or stagnant, leaving one to feel a lack of dimension to the room.  The black elements, specifically, have created movement in her living room- the black side tables, the black in the beige/cream rugs, the use of black in the khaki horizontal stripped throw featured on the arm of the oversized chair, and one of my favorite elements of the room- the black and white mid century upholstered side chair.  Madeline and I have similar taste in seating, she, too, has a pair of the Baughman stools (fabulously recovered, of course!).

Elle Decor

Thank you so much for visiting with me, I'm truly honored!  Be sure to stay tuned to my progress, next Thursday (promise!)!  Also, take a gander at the progress of the other talented bloggers in the...