Monday, March 29, 2010

Lent 2010 goes on...

Lent is almost coming to a close and I have to say that it has been a somewhat tumultuous one for me on several levels. Even though I promised I would write everyday, the store quickly got turned upside down when we decided to paint the entire locale--including the ceilings. This meant removing EVERYTHING off the walls and covering EVERYTHING underneath. Now that may not sound so bad except that we have literally hundreds of items in our store. The good news is that I think we made a great decision and the store is going to look much bigger with white ceilings than it did with black. It also looks more modern and a little industrial--which is what it was when we bought it--one huge storage warehouse. All this moving around is not conducive to my thoughts, it just gets me going in a thousand directions and when my office is completely out of order-forget it, I simply can't think. I've now moved my office back to a closed room at the opposite end of where I previously was. I had been in this location several years ago when this room doubled as the nursery for Cecilia. I'm happy to be back in this space because it has a window. That might seem like a small commodity but my last office began to feel like a dungeon after years without natural light. I also like that I can close the door. If I need/want some privacy, it is possible!
Then, in the middle of this transition chaos. We went to France. Talk about putting me in the zone. Trains at 6am, walking and working ALL day. Forgetting to have lunch. Finally eating at 3 o'clock. Being exhausted by the time you get to the hotel, only to sleep in a not so comfortable bed that is never like your own.
But yes, at least there was some GREAT food! Foie gras from La Table de Marie, fresh poisson, a few ducks, and not just a few pain au chocolat. When in Paris, you also cannot forget to go to Pierre Herme for the world's best macarons.

In all this madness, I think that the real reasons of the Lenten season got drowned out in my world. Faith is a complicated thing you know. And like all relationships, they take a lot of nurturing. With three kids, a husband, and a job, the things that aren't flashing bright lights are the ones easy to forget. And when you stop struggling, you stop remembering what you believe in, and that is dangerous. Yet, conflicting views come from every corner and I'm too mentally exhausted to sort them out. So this Easter weekend, I pray that my faith becomes a little more tangible again. That I know what to believe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Enjoying some buying and dancing through Paris

I've been off on a buying trip for the past week and a are a few quick photos from my trip:

Theatre de L'Odeon (right across from our hotel-sorry about the big white truck!)

Crossing the Seine to the Ile des Impressionistes

My favorite Fois Gras Stand

Magret de Canard at Brasserie Fernand (permanent stop on every trip)

Place Saint Sulpice-6eme Arrondissement

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Redesigning our Home (again!)

Hopefully you recall what our living room looked like the last time I featured it:
Most of the items at our home (with some important exceptions) we maintain actively for sale on our website, so we frequently have to start over again with the design of living spaces. The first thing to sell was the great industrial coffee table, gone to Greenwich Village in NYC, via 1stdibs. We are still in need of a great coffee table. Those are really hard to find. My husband had seller's remorse after that sale. The next thing I changed (not because of a sale but just because I liked them better) was the pair of white-painted armchairs. Instead, I took home this pair of comfortable French bergeres:

But alas, those are now on their way to Hong Kong, so I decided to bring home some rough leather moustache club chairs for a totally different look:

The same week I sold the charming white settee to a designer from Illinois. So off that went and my only choice was this more formal gilt settee which I upholstered in a light burlap to dress it down. I think it makes a fun contrast with the club chairs.

I never really liked the proportions of the little table in the corner with the pink table lamp next to such a big mirror...
so I brought home this amazing antique processional statue. I'm sure you've figured out by now that I have a weakness for religious pieces, though part of what I love is its sculptural qualities.

She is sitting on this appropriate gothic style side table (also originally for processions):

I don't have pictures of the new room because my camera was stolen (grrrr....) but I'll have a new one soon, I promise!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The rarity of antiques: to love or hate the www?

In 1988, when Alhambra Antiques was founded I don't need to tell you that there was only one way to buy scouted them either from estates, auctions, or wholesale dealers, bought them and put them in your shop, where people from your area would come looking for them. As a dealer there were options to participate in group antiques shows, often monthly in many cities. There was of course no such thing as the world wide web. The antiques world was/is a world full of gypsies and interesting characters, people addicted to hunting and buying the rare, unusual, or simply under-appreciated.
A few years ago I got the "majolica bug" and began offering majolica in our shop. I also attended one the conventions of the Majolica Society, in Charleston that year. There are less than 10 majolica dealers who exhibit in the US (two of them being English dealers, two being French). For what the convention called "Majolica Heaven" all of these dealers were gathered into a not-so-attractive ballroom in the hotel where the convention was being held. All of a sudden, majolica seemed so common that you might find it at Walmart. The unique colors all blurred into one mixed shade of turquoise green. This was not Majolica Heaven as far as I was concerned, this was Majolica hell. Instead of making each piece look better, the grouping made each piece look worse.

So there is something that I don't understand about shopping for antiques on the internet. 1) antiquing has long been about the experience, the hunt, etc (my all time favorite blog Tongue in Cheek can attest to this) and 2) if you search for things on sites such as 1stdibs, by grouping just about every nice sunburst mirror (for example) in the country on one neat page, doesn't it cheapen the rarity and individuality of the piece?
Just wondering.
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