Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Birthday Cake Recipe

Maybe just maybe we will get our act together, at Lewis Trimble, this Christmas.  We finally got our windows to look like Christmas.  This year we are keeping it simple and elegant.  Our Christmas tree  is a classic silver and white with lots and lots of tiny white lights.  We have added both gold and mirrors to the mix in our window.  The light fractures over our multiple mirrors dancing throughout the window and onto the street.  We have a gold sirmos table and pair of  large brass Giraffes sanding on a low round Milo Baughman table.  Added to the mix is a Fontana Art floor lamp and a Panton Mirror.

Lewis was blessed with a birthday close to Christmas.  So I'm off to make his favorite Birthday/ Christmas Cake.  I do this every year.  I posted the recipe last year, but for you who might nave missed it.  Here it is.



USE PAM IN BUNDT PAN or an Angel food cake pan (almost easier)


All of us at Lewis Trimble send our wishes to you for a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Aldo Tura

Swan Tea Cart by Aldo Tura
Aldo Tura started producing his furniture and decorative pieces in the late 1930's.  There was a new freedom in design and a new exploration with materials used.  He pushed designs in wood to the limit, using unique decorative coverings such as parchment, egg shell, and different veneers.  He used daring curves in his designs.  Because of the painstaking techniques he employed his design pieces were limited in number.

Aldo Tura Red Goatskin Table
Above is a Red lacquer Goatskin Table with a brass base in the style of Gio Ponti.  This is another example of the uniqueness of the Italian Design with the advent of early modernist design. Below is another example of the use of parchment, goatskin, in Aldo Tura Designs. The parchment was treated in such a manner that it took on the appearance of stone or a semi-precious jewel.

Malachite Green Parchment & Gold Plated Bar Cart by Aldo Tura
His pieces are prized for their uniqueness. Every old piece is cherished.  They seem to be enriched by the patina of age.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Influence of Current Events on Decorative Style 1950's

Massive Italian Brass and Enamel Sputnik

The 1950's was an exciting time to have been alive.  Man made his first trip into space.  Russia launched their Sputnik. In general everyone's imagination was captured by space travel.  The Sputnik, because of it's unusual shape fascinated people.  Everything related to space travel and space influence design.

Sputnik Light Italian
The idea of space ships or flying saucers sparked our imagination too.  The Roswell, New Mexico incident had us thinking already about flying saucers an aliens from outer space. 

Italian Flying Saucer Pendant Light
We have had our head in Space looking to the stars ever since. Always wondering and continually gazing upward.  We look to the stars and speculate.  There have been an abundance of innovative and marvelous designs inspired by outer space, as man has looked to the stars.

Italian Star burst  Venini Chandelier
Follow our link for more details on these. Lewis Trimble Decorative Arts & Antiques.Lewis Trimble Decorative Arts & Antiques

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Lewis is participating in Movember, helping to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men, by growing his mustache and the shop will match donations up to $100 total.  He is dedicating his mustache to his friend Robert Wells father , who is fighting the battle with brain cancer. We all have been touch by the effects of this horrible disease.  Lewis says he is not just growing it for looks, but to make a statement.

Monday, November 7, 2011

International Business !

We have made the transition from a local only business to an international one.  We buy from all over the world.  We have international taste, appreciating the world of good design.  We recognize the contributions made by the early modernist architect's who were forced to innovate new ideals in design to inhabit their buildings.  So much of this was done while still recognizing classic lines and design.  Interestingly enough, the combination of clean modern lines and the classic makes for superior design.

I think it is the combination of these elements in our shop that has enabled us to transcend from being a local business to a national, and now an international one.  From the beginning in our relationship with 1stdibs, we sold an item or two to foreign companies.  This last week it struck home.  We sold to France, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Japan, and Canada as well as in the states.  Some of our furniture has gone to Los Angelos for Designers, Photo Shoots, and even Movies .  It is fun being on the edge of exciting things.  There is a thrill when you open a magazine and see an item that you sold being used by the Designer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Found Warren MacArthur Chair

It is always fun to find something by a designer that you have not had before.  Lewis picked up a outdoor folding chair by Warren MacArthur.  It is in its original upholstery, which needs redoing, but considering that it is from the 1930's to 1940's it is in excellent shape. Lewis knew what he found, but alas I needed to be educated.

So after doing some studying here's what I found on Warren Macarthur.  He was born in Chicago 1885 to an affluent family.  His father was one of the first to have Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home for them, and to own a motor car.  He grew up a forward thinker.  He studied mechanical engineering at Cornell, where he graduated in 1908. He designed multiple lamps between 1911 and 1913.  He moved to California in 1929 to start a business designing metal furniture. His father encouraged and financially backed him. He came up with many innovative ideas concerning construction, lasting finishes, coloring aluminum, and outdoor fabrics. After his father/backer died he moved his company to Rome, New York.

While he was in Los Angeles he was highly accepted by the Hollywood Stars, many purchasing his furniture for their homes and patios.  This aided in boosting the popularity of his furniture.  We owe a lot to forward thinkers like Warren Macathur.

Friday, October 21, 2011

carla scarpa

Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) studied architecture but never took the required pro forma professional exam.  Because of this he always work in conjunction with a certified architect. 
This vase is one like we sold this one sold at Phillip Du Pruy auction for 17,500 English Pounds
Scarpa taught drawing and Interior Decoration at the Istituto universitario di architettura di Venezia. He was a designer of Furniture and Glass (in Murano with Venini). He served as director of design for Venini from 1926-1947.

He designed the Brion-Vega Cemetery  as an extension to the family’s existing cemetery. He developed  geometric composition in concrete over a 10-year period completed in 1978 the year of his own death. As is suiting he is buried here in standing position in the manner of a  medieval knight.

The cemetery is in a L-shaped plot which comprises  a small chapel, the entrance hall, a small steel-and-wood pavilion on an island in the site’s water pond, the main tomb, and an open-air structure covering the graves.
the cemetery.  The island which the visitor cannot access seems to be a metaphor for the after life.Viewing this place is like no other.  It is both massive and majestic.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mastercraft Furniture

Brass Cabinet 1970's Mastercraft

There are some American Furniture Companies that produced finely made furniture in the mid 20th century.  Mastercraft was one of these.  Recently we picked up several signature pieces by Mastercraft.  A set of 6 dining chairs and a round pedestal dining table that extends to almost banquet size. What impresses us is the quality of their workmanship.  

Stunning Bernhard Rohne for Mastercraft coffee table clad in brass and Bernhard Rohne's acid etched banding. Beautiful high quality glass top.
I decided to try to find out a little more about Mastercraft and their designers.  William Doezema (1917 - 2009) designed for Mastercraft, Grand Rapids.   He founded Mastercraft in 1946 with his brother Charles and sold it  in 1974 to Baker Furniture.  John Widdicomb,  and Bernhard Rohne are also among the designers used by the Mastercraft Company. 

burled wood cabinet

Bernhard Rohne was born in 1944 east of Hannover Germany.  He emigrated in 1967 to Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada where he currently resides.  He is a sculptor as well as a furniture designer. John Widdicomb came from a family well into the furniture making and design trade.  He founded his own company, but designed for Mastercraft as well.
Black Lacquered Credenza Mastercraft 1970's

Mastercraft was known for their well designed and well crafted pieces using exotic woos such as Amboyna Burl,  Zebrano wood, as well as mahogany and native walnut often with incised brass details.  Designs by Rohne used  Acid-Etched brass detailing.
Four Mastercraft Chairs in Amboyna Burl

After doing my research, I now realize why Lewis was excited to find several pieces by Mastercraft at one time.  Unfortunately, even though they were purchased by the Baker Company, who were at the time was one of the finest American Furniture Companies, there is nothing produced today that compares.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Domus Magazine

Domus Magazine was founded by Gio Ponti, famous Italian Architect and multifaceted designer. It was published in both Italian and English.  It documented Italian design and architecture. It was established in 1928 and run by Ponti until 1940 when he left to run Lo Stilo.
An interior photo out of an old issue of Domus

Today it's reprints serve as a bible for  identifying the style of a particular age, from Art Deco, the Modern Movement, Functionalism and Postwar to Pop, Post-Modernism and Late Modern.  These are real treasures. It not only focused on the Italian, but gave credit to any new movement anywhere in the world in design or architecture.  It was a cronical of it's time.  A time capsule of design. The reprint is in twelve volumns edited by Peter and Charlotte Fiell and can be purchased at Amazon.

Various covers from the magazine Domus

 These volumns have influenced and are still influencing architects and designers today, as well as students of architecture.  There is a real estate magazine produced in the U. S. that uses the name Domus.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Perks of Being on 1stDibs

We were hesitant about taking the plunge two years ago and going BIG  TIME with a site on 1stDibs.  Could we afford the charges?  Would we do OK?  All sorts off questions came to mine.  All our insecurities raised their ugly heads and made us doubt.  But then the only way one gets something done is to go ahead and try.

We had been on another national site.  We had made expenses and even done well.  We had sold to designers such as Kelly Wearstler and Micheal Smith, when he was working on the White House, also to Oparah's designer, Nate Berkus.   So why not try a bigger and better site.

December two years ago we took the plunge and signed up for and started listing on 1stDibs.  From the very first we began to do well selling well.  This was not without it's perils.   Shipping has been a real learning curve.  What to use more importantly what not to use. All and all 1stDibs has been great.  The really fun part comes when you sell things to designers and clients all round the world.  For a moment you can connect to important people and for a while we can live vicariously .  Producers, Famous Designers, and even a Princess are among our clients.  Who knows who will want what, but because of our site we are able sell world wide, even in a small town off the Chesapeake Bay. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ode to Catie

Catie Lake and Brian
Catie first visited us in the shop with her family.  I noticed that she was a pretty girl, whose walk was a little off.  I thought maybe that she had a birth defect.  Then Lewis dated her sister, and we got to know the family.  It was then that we heard Catie's story.  This was not a birth defect or something she could work through, but a devastating debilitating disease.  We watched as she declined.  We witnessed her marvelous attitude.  She always smiled.  She was in love, and in love with life.  She had found her soul mate and the love of her life Brian, who had himself over come odds.  Even though she continue to worsen her smile was always quick to come.  Catie died recently.  We are all sadden by her passing. Please visit the Mindlink site.

If it moves you please donate to help others like Catie.  Your donations will also help with research for a cure  for Parkinsons Disease.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is in the air...time to think about Decorating

A mixture of style makes for an interesting home
Fred Comer, of Comer & Co, was just visiting in the shop and we began discussing the difference in people's decorating habits, according to where they live.  Living in Virginia we have noticed that in certain areas there is a reluctance to change. In the more metropolitan areas the taste becomes more diverse.  Where people have come together from different ethic back grounds, there seems to develop an openest to experimenting with both colors and design.  Rules are broken and expanded.  Life becomes more and more exciting.
French Early Modernist Chairs 1940's

I've never been one much for following rules when it came to decorating.  To begin with I was forced to decorate with whatever we could afford.  There was a lot of, " would you like this," "Why yes thank you."  Things from the attic or hand me downs from relatives.  Most early married people start out that way.
Italian Deco Dresser 1940's

Today, however a lot of young people marry later, and have more money with which to work .  Some couples both work.  They have developed their taste. They can afford to be picky.  The period that seems to be the most popular is the Deco and Early Modernist.  The designs of this era are easy to mix with other periods.  The best looking interiors are those that are eclectic, drawing from all sorts of diverse sources.
1950's Modernist "wheat shaft tables"

The Deco and Early Modernist Furniture were made with a cleanest of design and with uncompromising quality that compares with find pieces of an earlier time.
Painting 1960's by Charles Sibley

My best advise is to buy one good piece at a time.  Good design never goes out of style.  Get the best that you can an build up slowly.  The good American, Italian and French designs from the 1930's and 1940's will continue to build in value.  They are good investments now for the future.
1940's green Murano lamps

All of the pieces that we have shown above can be used together in a room.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Curtis Jere revived

Curtis Jere Eagles in Flight in our shop

For awhile now wall sculptures by the company Curtis Jere have had a real comeback.  Produced in the 1960's, they fell out of vogue for years, until a few years ago. There are even cheap copies in Walmart.  The difference is definitely glaring. 

My favorites and the most popular in our area are the boats, schools of fish, and birds in flight.
School of Fish
  I just sent photos out  to a customer who wanted one to hang over a bed to hide a crack in the wall.

Their trees are classic and I dream of their eye lash mirrors, rain drop mirrors, and Lewis' favorite those that look like squared off portholes.
Rain Drop Mirror

Porthole Mirror by Jere
 As well as doing wall art they produced Bronze table art and tall floor art, even Lamps.  Their pieces are signed. 

Wall Art Bistro Scene

The dock scenes and city scenes don't seem to be as popular.  They are more fragile.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Francis Elkins Loop Chair

Yesterday, Lewis came back from a buying trip with a real surprise, a Francis Elkins Loop Chair.  I'd seen pictures before and knew without asking that this was truly a great find.  I was famillar with the design, but I knew little or more likely nothing about the designer.  This is why when I blog about a new find or a design, I learn as much or more than what I write.

This is an Elkins Chair like the one Lewis found
 Frances Adler Elkins (1888-1953) is prominent among the legendary decorators of the 20th century.  As a young woman she travel abroad visiting her brother, David Adler, who was attending  the ├ęcole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied Architecture. She met and was impressed by Jean-Michel Frank, the French interior and furniture designer, and Alberto Giacometti, the sculptor .She promoted their works through her decorating business.  She redesigned and had produced the classic loop chair ( which with great variation in design goes back almost 250 years).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Italian Deco Design really Catching on.............

Pair of Italian Deco Chairs by Ulrich

We started to carry Deco pieces by known designers before people became aware of how great these pieces really were.  We found our job was to try to educate.  In the mean time while trying to educate, I have educated myself as well.  Two years ago, I would have said Gio Ponti ,Who?  Now I find his name flowing freely from off my tongue.  I can speak of Osvaldo Borsani, Paolo Buffa, and Guglielmo Ulrich fondly as if they were old friends, and in away they are.
Chandelier Gio Ponti

We are able to bring them somewhat alive by having their beautifully designed and well executed pieces in our shop and on line.  Being so close to their works makes you fond of the men themselves.  Most if not all of these men were architects like our own Frank Lloyd Wright, who were on the cutting edge of architectural Design.

Large wall cabinet by Osvaldo Borsani
They had a problem.  Their work was clean, with plane lines totally different than the more elaborate designs of prior years as a result, there was not any furniture appropriate for their buildings.  The answer was design what you need yourself.  Gio Ponti designed the furniture for whole hotels.  Frank Lloyd Wright was rightfully picky about how his buildings were furnished.

Frank Lloyd Wright Dining table

Monday, September 19, 2011

We're on Facebook!

Lewis Trimble Decorative Arts & Antiques
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Earth Quakes, Hurricanes, and More.....Oh My!

I have gotten off track and forgotten to do my Blogging.  So many things going on.  Our large Venini Chandelier swung for 15 minutes after being shaken up by the Va. Earth Quake.  We even made the local paper.  After Hurricane Irene, while everyone was cleaning up Lewis decided that our windows needed a serious upgrading so that we could show case our furniture and accessories properly.

He pulled everything out of our large display window and started demolition.  He pulled down not one but three false ceilings.  Having to haul all the stuff pulled down in a wheel barrow through the shop and out the back to our dumpster.  It has taken two plus weeks of work, but the results are going to be awesome! We have use a cement board to cover the walls and floor.  In the process we discovered that the window( large Plate Glass) need serious reinforcing.  It was a very good thing that we decided to upgrade.

The smaller window is now under construction.  We had a tangled mess of wiring to navigate was also fortunate that we redid this window as well.  The new look is a New York Loft Look.  Plain which will bring attention to the lines of our Deco Period Designer Furniture.

We are leaving pipes and cider block walls exposed. Some of the folks in our area just shake their heads.  They really aren't sure what we are all about.  There was an article written about Kilmarnock VA being Manhattan in Mayberry.  Little did they know how true that would become.  Because of the internet and our relationship with 1stdibs, we are able to compete in business of the world  even in a small town

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

They say that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

Milo Baughman Original chairs as seen on 1stDibs
We have noted recently that certain Large chain stores have started copying some of the designs of the early modernist.  Some Antique Dealers get mad or more likely worried over this.  In the long run it will only make the originals that much more valuable.  What we find annoying is that they rarely give the original designers credit.  We first noticed this when furniture stores locally started carrying goods that seemed to be knock offs of some of the early modernist pieces that we have in stock.  It's nice that it is making it easier for some people to afford the look that they desire.
Swan Chair with Wooden base at Zig Zag Modern

 Crate and Barrel is making Reproductions of Milo Baughman's Classic Leather Lounge Chair.  They are giving him credit.  The prices run almost the same as the originals cost now.  Restoration Hardware is reinterpreting Arne Jacobsen's Egg Chairs designed in 1958.  They are offering them in aged and hair on leather. They too are giving credit.  Arne Jacobsen's Swan chairs are being copied all over.  The one above is an original.  A lot of places just sell knock offs without crediting the original designers.

We see a trend toward the early modernist and a blending of today's and yesterday's designs.  A refreshing mixture that ads zest to a home.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lewis and the Radio and Setting Goals

The internet is now.  Radio is almost a thing of the past.  This morning; however, Lewis is bridging the gap.  He is being interviewed as I write this by our local radio host, Fredrick Johnson.  Fredrick is an old friend, father of four delightful daughters and husband to Jenny Johnson, who works for the American Red Cross.  Lewis is not a stranger to Radio.  He was a radio host, himself, while he attended Virginia Tech.  He is never at a lost for words and mesmerizes ladies in the shop with his rhetoric. 

It is easy to talk about something that you are knowledgeable about.  Lewis definitely knows his subject and loves it.  It is remarkable how he has honed in on the period and designers that we represent.  This is not something that he learned in college, however, he did learn the skills that enabled him to pursue his interest.  Antiquing is an art and a game.  The more you know about your subject the better you will perform.  This can apply to anything in life.  Set yourself goals and set out to accomplish those goals.

I have seen this in my father who on his own became an authority in American Art.  I see this in my son Chris, who seems to have unending knowledge about American Military items, Civil War and Revolutionary war items.  He has become very knowledgeable about American Antique furniture.  He is able to repair and to build furniture.

Lewis has built a shop showing off his love of the deco designers and the early modernist period.  He has helped me understand and appreciate the uniqueness of the designers of the early and mid twentieth century.  The architects of this period designed homes the likes of which had not been seen before, and as a result the existing furniture did not fit well into these homes.  These architects  had another challenge, that was to design furnishing that would complement their new concept of buildings.  The furniture of this period tends to be timeless built with the care given to the great furniture of the past.  True this furniture was often manufactured, but with quality woods and attention given to details.

These pieces represented new ideas and therefore the masses had yet to accept them.  There were not great numbers manufactured, and there was only a short period that they were made before another trend came about.  The pieces made during the 18th century and the 19th century were made over an extended period of time.  An interesting side here is that some of the furniture companies of today are beginning to reproduce some of the good early modernist designs.  This is a true sign that these pieces will endure.  Imitation is a form of flattery.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tribute to Cy Twombly

We were sadden to learn of Cy Twomby's death yesterday July 5,2011.  He lived part time in Lexington Virginia where he was born.  It was here that Lewis encountered him walking with a group of young people helping him shop.  Lewis followed behind the group curious, afterward realizing who he was.  Cy named after the baseball player Cyclone Young.  He lived up to his name in his works of art.  He blurred the line between drawing and painting.  His works having the movement of a wind storm tearing across a canvas.  They were both modern and timeless.  One admiring artist was so enamored with his work that she kissed it leaving red stains of her lip stick behind.  The world has lost a great modern artist, who took art to another level. He pushed the boundaries of art still keeping a link with traditions.  His works were loved by those who loved modern art and those who clung to tradition.

Lewis & Leigh Trimble

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What's going on at Lewis Trimble Decorative arts and Antiques

We have been tagging pieces in the shop.  We  thought that it might be fun to list all the designers that we have acquired recently. 

A pair of Kittenger Mandarin chest 1950's that we are having restored.

A pair of Dahlia Sconces by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte 1950's.

A pair of Italian side tables in polished bronze for Gucci 1970's.

A Eyeball Floor lamp in solid brass by Oscar Torlasco for Lumi 1950's.

Six dining chairs attributed to Gio Ponti 1950's.

A living room suite consisting of two winged arm chairs and a settee by Paolo Buffa.

A chandelier by Gio Ponti.

A sofa by Marco Zanuso.

A gilt iron coffee table with marble top 1930's attributed to Marcel Bergue.

A huge parchment and marble sideboard 1940's by Dassi.

Another amazing bar late 1930's to join the two already in the shop by Paolo Buffa.

A unique Star Burst Brutalist lamp 1960's by Laurel.

A pair of the iconic figurine lamp bases by James Mont 1940's.

To see these items either come by the shop or check out our web page as we will be listing these soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New tags with logo

The work in a shop is never done.  Lewis got back from his second trip in two weeks.  He seems to be trying to cover most of the east coast several times over this year.  Now we have to play catch up.  We took the plunge and ordered new round tags with our logo.  They have plenty of room for us to write detailed descriptions and prices.  We had gotten so far behind on our pricing.  We knew the prices of items, but getting everything properly tagged was another matter.

New white tags with black strings gave us more incentive to get back to work and tag.  After doing a few everything looked so neat, that we just worked harder.  In fact now we are determined to redo all the old tags.

What a difference a tag makes.  Our old tags were hap hazard and looked messy.  The new ones are sleek, looking much more professional.  Now we are really getting prices on every item.  Our old customers might die of shock. 

Hitting the Road again!!

Last week Lewis was all over the North and Midwest.  This week it is down to Asheville NC to visit his friend Chris and to pick up a neat bedroom set that he purchased near by.  We're not so sure that the lure was not the Sushi Pictures that Chris kept sending to Lewis via his cell photo before he ate it all up.  We all salivated over those photos.  We have just gotten sushi in the Thai Pot, a restaurant across the street, good but limited..  At last we have gotten some, otherwise we had to go to Williamsburg or to Richmond.

He went down via Ronoake, VA and into the Mountains of North Carolina.  When he comes home it will be across the State of North Carolina and up into Virginia.  As usual I'm here operating the shop while he's gone.  We emptied out parts of the shop in order to fill her back up again.  Lewis takes this job seriously.

He will not be going to the Brimfield Shows this next month.  We have had some luck in the past up there in July.  Sometimes you can get better prices on purchases as that show is slower than the ones in May and September.  Chris is a trooper and he will be in his spot on the main road at the meadows.  He takes his helper Temple, so he can go buying too.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Work work work....the more we get the harder we work!!!

We have just gotten in some fabulous pieces.  Lewis had to enlist the help of his brother Chris in hauling in his goodies.  They traveled far and wide in their search for quality pieces.  Chris lucked out too! It is in deed fortunate that the two brothers enjoy antiquing together.  Chris goes for the historic American pieces and believes he found a piece from Williamsburg.  He will take it to be checked out by the powers to be in Williamsburg.  Chris grew up taking his bike into Colonial Williamsburg and loved American History.  We moved from Williamsburg to Va. Beach when Lewis was a pre-teen.

Lewis loves the great designers of the Deco and early modern periods for their classic designs that look modern even today.  These early pieces were made with the same attention to design as the pieces made 100 years earlier.

Lewis has been working feverishly even since.  He is cleaning,  polishing, and wiring.  Yesterday and the last few days the big project was cleaning and french polishing a huge parchment covered console, by Dassi, that sits on a green marble base.  Today he steamed clean the upholstered pieces that he acquired.  Cleaning and polishing two chandeliers. Our man Friday, Ray, worked equally hard .

If you can make it to our store come by and check it out or check out our shop's website . We will be listing some of our new finds this coming week and the next couple of weeks.  We are always getting in lots of interesting pieces.   There are always things coming and going in the shop.  What Fun!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trends Toward Surrealism in Contemporary Design

Furniture that looks like something else.  Wooden or metal furniture that resemble ropes and tassels.  The french particularly have a love for the rope tassel motif and have for ages.  John Dickinson did tables that appear to be covered with cloth and tied with robe all out of plaster, or his 3 legged stools with feet that might walk away at any moment.  Dickinson also did rocks piled into low tables also made of plaster.
a piece in the style of Dickinson featured in an article by Elle Decor  Magazine sold from our shop

Arthur Court designed his sconces cast in Aluminum to resemble tortoise shells they are mounted up right with lighting from behind. Serge Roche a 1930's &1940's French surrealist designer, created many pieces using the palm leaf motif.  Grouping these together with other trompe l'oeil items makes for a very unusual interior. Adding interest to interiors is a fun challenge.  Making use of the unusual and the unique takes an interior to something way beyond the usual.

A Plaster Chandelier

In our shop we try to set an example of using unusual items together.  Trying to get people to step out of the ordinary and to take a flight of fancy. The photo at the top is a grouping from our shop using some of these items.   Even small items like this old key bowl adds whimsy to a room.

Virginia Metalcrafters key bowl

Friday, June 17, 2011

Evolving and Changing Taste

We are situated in a rural area in Virginia, close to the Chesapeake Bay.  Because we are close enough for individuals from D.C. to come for the weekends, we are becoming more cosmopolitan in our taste.  So much for the need to be like the Colonial Capital of Williamsburg Va.., our customers are more and more tending to make the leap into the 20th century design if not totally into the 21st century.  Of course, this still is Virginia.

Maybe it is just that they are finally accepting our view point.  When we made the change from 18th century antiques to the classic look of fine deco designed furniture, there were those who did not understand.  We had all sorts of comments.  Now we are still getting comments, but more and more the people in our area are understanding and appreciating the fine pieces that were designed in the 20th century.

Furniture of the 20th century is coming into it's own.  The Italian and American designers of the early 20th century excelled in their concepts.  Great leaps were taken in design. The forerunners of design were primarily Architects designing furniture that would fit into their new concept of building.  They were forced to create their own styles.  There was nothing to base their designs on other than these new concepts in architecture.  Utilizing clean lines, new materials and finding unique ways to use traditional materials.  What an exciting time in which to design.  Gone were the old rules, the imagination could run wild.  Quality was still very important.  The pieces designed and manufactured were held to high standards and finished to perfection.  That is why they have held up so well and increased in value.  They were produced but not many on a massive scale.  There is a huge demand from the younger generation, those in their 30's and 40's.  So many pieces were mistreated, painted or just destroyed.  Now the fun job is searching out and finding these illusive pieces.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What a Good Auction Result Can Do

 DONALD DESKEY Silver-plated metal desk lamp, 1927. 13 1/4" x 4 1/2" x 5"
Sometimes auctions bring unbelievable results.  A Donald Deskey Desk lamp sold at Rago Auction.  It's estimate was $2,000 to $4,000 dollars and it sold for $138,000.  Every Antique dealer dreams of. finding and selling at auction something like this. Recently a pair of wing chairs by Paolo Buffa  went to auction at Wright.  The estimate was for $5,000–7,000, they sold for $16,250 and another pair with the same estimate sold for around $11,000. We had a similar pair, which we recently sold from our shop.

pair of lounge chairs from the Hotel Bristol, Merano, Italy
At the same auction last week a set of six armchairs from Hotel Bristol, Merano had an estimate of $7,000–9,000  and bought  $18,750.  This did wonders for all Paolo Buffa prices.  Auctions results often help sent the standard from which shops use to price their items.  Take the art world and the remarkable rise of the Impressionist prices.  In the mid 60's Renoirs and Monets were sold for prices in the tens of thousands as opposed to the millions they bring at auction today.

similar Paolo Buffa Chairs sold at Lewis Trimble


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