Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Found Figure and Discovery

We picked up a clay figure of a girl glazed in bright happy colors. She definitely looked like the forties. We found another similar figure and by comparison we were able to determine that they were both by the artist Susi Singer. Who was Susi Singer? Today I tried to research her and was amazed at the story of an amazing woman that began to unfold.

Susi Singer was born in 1891 to a Austrian Jewish family. She suffered as a child from malnutrition related to World War I and the aftermath of that war. Although her body was malformed and she was frail she she won a scholarship, at age 17, to train at the Werner Werkstatte or the Vienna Workshops, established in 1903. This was a design group of visual artist who would produce work accessible to everyone. She worked here for 16 years. She was able to get a visa to the States enabling her to escape the Nazis and moved to California here she continued her art and even taught pottery sculpture. In 2005 the American Ceramic Museum gave her and another German woman artist an exhibit called Woman's Werk.

It is amazing what you can learn by doing a little research on a piece of pottery.

Monday, March 29, 2010

American pickers

We finially got a few shots of our confusion to show some of the variety of our items. We have been undergoing a transformation, and this just a sample of part of our shop. The following are some of our ideas concerning pickers and buying.

We have been on a buying rampage for months. There for awhile we even purchased some items from pickers, however we discovered that we do so much better buying on our own. Pickers are great if you are strapped for time, or you don't know what you are looking for. Sometimes you even do better buying from the people who the pickers sell to.

We aspire to be one of the very best shops. Having fine and unusual items has become our trade mark. When we go buying we have found that following our hunches is sometimes the best way to go. Lewis has a real nose for Antiques. He stopped at this one place that turned out to be a salvage yard selling old bathroom tiles. He looked around almost in despair, when he noticed a door leading to a back room. Inside the room were several lamps none had shades and they were very much in need of dusting. Among these lamps he came across some real jewels that he never imagined would be there. We always swear by our intuition. Occasionally we will head in one direction and on a whim we will go in another direction only to find that very special piece.

This reminds me of the time that we were headed out toward Richmond and decided at the last moment to turn around and go the opposite direction. We went into a thrift shop where we had not found much ever before, but we have learned not to discount thrift stores even in shoddy areas. This time we were amazed to find three stainless steel pieces done in the 1980's by a contract furniture company Brueton. One of the pieces new ran $35,000 to $40,000 and was only available to the trade.

That was the price of only one of the three pieces. We prefer not to buy from people off the street but from dealers who have already set their prices. This might sound a little crazy, but we let other dealers do the picking for us. We gleam from their mistakes, and they are happy with their profit. In this bad economy we feel as though we are helping out. When Lewis went on one of his buying trips to the western part of Virginia, some of the shops said it the first good sale that they had in a long time.

In fact it was the poor economy that actually prompted us to get a business loan last year and to expand our business. This allowed us to become a member of 1stdibs and in turn 1stdibs allows us to have the quality of a New York City or Los Angles style shop in a rural town. We have 8,400 square feet of space in which to house all our great finds.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Congratulations Comer & Co.

We want to congratulate Fred and Mark at Comer & Co. on becoming one of the 1stdibs family. We are very proud to have such a nice neighbors both in town and on 1stdibs. In fact outside of D.C. and Northern Va. we have more shops on 1stdibs than any other town or for that matter city in Va.. Can you imagine that little old Kilmarnock on the Northern Neck of Va. has two shops on 1stdibs.

Visiting Comer & Co. is a real treat both to the eye and the senses. He has french bees wax candles, and soaps by Seda France as well as a wonderful selection of Antiques.

Fred is an excellent buyer in fact Mark says sometimes he's too good a buyer. As you can see they have managed to fill their shop with some of the most wonderful pieces.

We feel as though we complement each other. In fact we both welcome any other wonderful antique shops that would like to join our company.
They also carry the ever stunning Christopher Spitzmiller lamps, and delightful Charlotte Moss candles and accessories. I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures of their shop and will come visit us both in person.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Yesterday Lewis returned home after 3 days of traveling and buying on the road. It is always so much fun to unpack. He arrived just before closing yesterday so that M.J. our faithful helper could see all the loot. He discovered a lot of great places to shop.

A shop that he enjoyed visiting was D.H.S . Designs. He recognized some of their items and realized they were on 1Stdibs. He took some photos of their shop to share with you. They have some really fantastic things. They are located in Queenstown, Maryland also on 1stdibs.

The Hippo is by Sergio Bustamante. This is no baby Hippo he is about 3' or 4' and out of papier mache.

It is always nice to see what other shops carry. Everyone is different. In the case of this shop in the most wonderful way.
They even have this fabulous Fornasetti table.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On the road yet again!

Having to make a delivery outside of New York City is an excuse to explore territories as yet unexplored by us. Lewis is taking a cruise in his van through Pennsylvania and up toward the Big Apple. Yesterday he found a Paul McCobb dining table and six chairs. These were the bow tie chairs that had the metal plate attached with "Paul McCobb for Calvin". We found this in a place that had nothing of interest for a long time. We had almost given up on finding anything there. We were driving my small van and will have to pick them up later. A picture of these will come in another post. Today, however, Lewis found a salesman sample chair that looks like a Paul Frankl rattan. This looks full size but is sitting on the dash to Lewis' van and is only 6" tall there are two side table that go with it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Over the last six months we have acquired several mirrors by The Marchand Company. We originally had two large mirrors with eglomise painting. Eglomise is the process where either gold leaf or painting is applied to the back of glass and mirrored. Just recently we have run into several more pieces. One is a free form mirror with eglomise mirrored free form pieces framing it.

Another piece has a clock face surrounded with eglomise mirrored pieces bracketed in bleached mahogany. Yesterday Lewis happened upon a mirrored screen that appears to be by the Marchand Company as well. It consist of square mirrors surrounded by gray glass squares of mirror held together by the same mahogany as the others. This has a real classy look. Makes you feel like it belongs in a New York apartment and makes you think of cocktail parties. Where is my little black dress?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On the road again.....

Well here we go again. Mom and I are keeping shop and Lewis has hit the road again. This time he is picking up pieces that he found while he was delivering another piece. I can't wait to see. It is truly good that we have 8,400 square feet of space, because we almost have every square inch filled. Lewis said something about a polka dot tea set. That should be fun. Tomorrow we are still picking up the pieces that Lewis found awhile back. One of the pieces is a large Renzo Rutelli library cabinet. This was too big to fit in his already packed van, maybe we should have bought a truck.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We've been "tiquing"

Sundays are not always the best day to go looking, but hey you never know what you will find. We always look for the unusual, and yesterday we ran into some interesting items. The most unlikely thing we found was a lucite optical cat from the 60's signed by the Brazilian Artist, Abraham Palatnik. We looked up the artist and found that he worked with Cinecromático art. Here is a you tube video to watch by Palatnik.
The cat we found has been used by the designer Johnathan Adler in some of his designs. So our little lucite opty cat has become quite the cat about town. Who knew!

On the other hand and to the extreme other end of the spectrum is the piece Lewis picked up during the week. He found an E. F. Caldwell Lamp. This lamp has an Chinese Ox Blood vase with ormolu bronze fittings. Caldwell designed early electric sconces and chandeliers as well as lamps. He was to early electric fixtures and lamps what Tiffany was to glass in the early 20th century. He started out as a portrait painter, and became a designer of decorative arts as an after thought. Caldwell lamps are rarer than his sconces and ceiling fixtures.

The fun thing about being able to go "tiquing" is that you never know where your finds will lend you or what stories or people you will discover..

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Too Busy

We have been busy. We are in the process of selling two pieces to the designers at Kelly Wearstler and another piece that is scheduled to be in an up coming magazine spread. The nice thing about being on line is that you get to be on the edge of exciting things and meet some really nice people. Lewis has also been very busy traveling all across the state and we have alot of new things coming in. We have a shop that is 8,400 square feet. I never thought that we would be able to fill the spot. We originally started out as an Antique mall. Almost seven years later we are a single owner spot with only a few friends in the shop. We are literally bursting at the seams. The latest pieces that we have acquired are 6 early Hans Wegner "Y" chairs with the burned in signature and a dining room table. Those wishbone "Y" chairs are really beautiful and classic.

Monday, March 1, 2010

WOW! Elle Decor

Yesterday we bought an Elle Decor Magazine and we both flipped through it quickly. This morning, however Lewis started studying each entry carefully checking out the pages of the different designers to become familiar with the various designers. All of a sudden he saw a John Dickinson style table that we had sold awhile ago in a room setting. It was our table! Check out the golden rock table on page 91 of the March 2010 issue of Elle Decor


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