Friday, March 30, 2012

Estate Sales Aren't for Sissies

Okay, so it's Friday and I realized I haven't posted since Monday. Busy. Life. What can I say? Since I hit an estate sale this morning, I thought I would do a sort of an "anatomy of an estate sale" type post. Although, I realize a lot of you are estate sale veterans, others are not. My number one tip: preview  estate sale photos online if you can - you can find some gems. Well, while perusing the sale photos for one of today's sales, I spotted this . . .
Oh, yes, I see you little Espana Chest. So, of course, I immediately thought this piece might look great in a client project I'm working on. After checking in with her, it was agreed - I should go check out the chest. So, this morning I put my husband in charge of getting our kids to the bus stop and darted out the door at 7:45 to hit this 8 a.m. estate sale (just for the record, I prefer 9 a.m. estate sales, but no one asked my opinion). When I pulled up at 8:07 I found the street was totally packed with cars and had to park at the bottom of a very large hill.
This was taken after I left looking down the huge hill. I was too busy trying to get to the sale and not pass out on the way up to take a photo.  I trudged on knowing there was gold (well, a chest) in them thar hills.
Once again, this was at the top of the very steep driveway looking down.
And here is the house that hasn't been touched since the 70's. Seriously.
So, once I arrived at the house at the top, I desperately needed some oxygen and a nap (I'm not big on exercise if you hadn't guessed), but knew I had to press on. I think you can guess what happened next -  I squeezed my way into what I'm guessing was the living room to find this on the Dorothy Draper Espana chest . . . 
Yes, foiled again. Being the nosy person I am, I peeled back the "Sold" sticker to see that it was only $60. Bummer.
But, I did notice the bottom of the piece had some water damage, and I'm not convinced it was an authentic Drexel/Dorothy Draper piece since I could find no markings. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. 

Since I had trekked up two steep hills to get there, I figured I might as well poke around. This house was in a serious time warp. To prove my point, here is a TIME magazine celebrating our country's centennial . . . 
This house also reeked of cat urine and looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in years (maybe since the 70's). Think hoarders. That's why I said estate sales are not for sissies.

But, don't worry, I didn't leave empty-handed. I picked up this lamp for $20 and the black shade for $2 (they didn't come together). I just need to get a shorter harp and I think it will work just fine.

As you may have noticed, I have a bit of an addiction to vintage lamps. I realized today that all eight lamps in our main living areas are vintage. 

I'm now in Memphis for a few days visiting family during my children's spring break (I started this post in Nashville, but finishing it in Memphis), so hopefully I can hit some thrift stores or estate sales while I'm here. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flea Finds

I'm a little late on my flea market recap, but better late than never, right? On Friday, Bri and I hit the flea, and it's always fun to catch up with her and see what she's up to . . . never boring! First of all, it wasn't a stellar flea market - there just wasn't a ton of great stuff. But, of course, a few things caught my eye and one thing even made it home with me. First, my favorite - chairs, duh. I thought this set had a great shape . . .
Then, I ran across these . . .
Now, I've seen plenty of caned-back chairs, but none with such a modern profile. I loved their mid-century vibe. Did I mention that I love Mad Men (did anyone watch the premiere last night? So glad it's back!)?

A pretty little pitcher . . .
A federal style resin eagle mirror. Only $7! Just needs a coat of gold paint . . .
And this is the piece that made it home with me . . . 
I'm not sure of its provenance, but it's a hand-carved drum table. Well, it's a drum, and I'm going to use it as a table. I found some online that were Asian, but the meander (like how I slipped in my newly acquired word?) at the top and the horse-drawn chariots makes this one look kind of Greek. Hmm. Who knows. But, it has a hidden door/compartment so I can stash my crap valuables.
It's pretty big and I wasn't sure where I would put it, but I couldn't leave it behind. For now, it's in the tornado room serving as a side table. 
Excuse the granny shade on my lamp. It's a place-holder.
I'll probably need to have a piece of glass cut for the top because it's rather unstable seeing as how it's actually a drum. I'm pretty sure the top is old worn leather . . . 
I put the lamp on top to see if it would sit flat. Not so much. Oh well, something to add to the list. 

All in all, not a bad day at the flea!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Guest Post & Chairs

I'm off to the flea market and a couple of estate sales pretty soon to do some shopping for clients (and maybe myself too), but you can find me over at Interior Design Musings today where I'm sharing some of my favorite picks for spring. Thanks so much to Mandi for having me . . . her blog is always chocked full of inspiration, and I'm honored she invited me. While I usually focus on interiors, a lot of my spring picks are more fashion-related (shocking, I know), so go check them out.

And since I can't do a post without something to look at, here are some chairs I've found on Craigslist lately. I'm a chair fanatic, and while I really don't need any right now, I can't stop myself from looking.

I really might get the white and chrome one for a desk chair for my daughter's desk. Oh, to be Kelly Wearstler and have a warehouse just for my chairs!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It Does Exist

So, since my last post was about something other than tortoise shell sconces, I thought you might be having withdrawals. Thus, I've got good news for you . . . I found the tortoise shell sconce! Well, technically I didn't find it, it found me. Or rather, the lady who sold it at the flea market found me. Confused? Don't worry, I'll explain. But, first, without further ado (and so you know I'm not making the whole thing up), here is the actual gold faux tortoise shell sconce I didn't buy at the flea market last month . . .
See, isn't it cool? A very sweet woman named Anastasia was the seller of the tortoise shell and told me more about it/her. She's a recently retired lawyer in Nashville with three young children who has always loved interior design/antiques. It's her intention to have an antique booth somewhere someday, but none are available right now, so she and her friend rented a spot at the flea market. She bought this sconce last year at Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta and had it in her home without any real intention of selling it, but decided to part with it after failing to find the right spot for it (I can relate). A friend of hers who is an interior designer came by the flea market that Friday after I did and said she wanted to buy it, so Anastasia pulled it aside for her. Soon thereafter, she saw my blog post, took pity on my crazy obsession and shared the back story. Oh, and just to give you an idea of the scale of the sconce, she shared a photo of her sweet 3-year-old holding it.
And, by the way, how cute does her house look? Thanks so much Anastasia for alleviating my curiosity about the tortoise shell sconce!

Also, thanks to everyone else who has given me ideas about where to find some tortoise shells to make my own sconces. I've checked out the West Elm ones and those are a definite possibility.

Friday, March 16, 2012


It has been a crazy week, so I apologize for my absence. One of my best friends from college visited last night and my sister and her family are coming later today for a weekend visit, so I figured what better time to spruce up my guest room? I decided to do this on Wednesday, so I had less than 24 hours to transform the space. No pressure. Here's the result . . .
Yes, I realize this room is very green (very appropriate on the eve of St. Patrick's Day, no?), and if I had more time I might have tried to paint it as I'm apt to do. But, time and energy constraints dictated that I leave it for now. I picked this green paint color five years ago when we first moved in after seeing it in a magazine. Needless to say, it was a lot greener than I thought, but since it was the guest room I figured I could live with it. Here's what it looked like before . . .
The bed was dressed with leftover bedding from my daughter's former pink and green room. The room was looking a little too sweet and preppy, complete with shabby chic lamps from her nursery (that was 10 years ago, people). 
I decided I would try and tone done the bright green with some black mixed in with the white. I had this leftover lamp from Pottery Barn Teen that used to be in Meg's room along with some old "art" I found in the closet.
I painted the frames a bit to make them a little more black then painted over the fruit with black and white abstracts then hung them over the nightstands. The large black lamp was an estate sale find from months ago.

I painted the PB teen lamp black and used it on the other side of the daybed.
I did buy the ikat chevron Euro shams from West Elm and a little alarm clock and candle. Otherwise, everything was re-purposed, and the art was made by me. 

Happy Weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No Turtles Were Hurt . . .

First, I want to thank everyone for your great suggestions re: the tortoise shell sconce situation. However, I feel I must clarify a few points (I think I was in a hurry when writing the initial post so didn't explain myself very well). The tortoise shell sconce I saw at the flea market was FAUX not real, and that's what I'm looking for, and it was painted gold which I really liked - the texture and the shine. I don't really love real turtle/tortoise shells because they skeeve me out a bit when I look at the back sides and think of the poor fellas who used to live in them. These shells used by Kelly Wearstler at La Marea restaurant in the Tides Hotel in Miami are all made of resin . . . that's what I'm thinking of using - not the real deal.

Secondly, I saw the sconce at the flea market on a Friday then returned on Sunday to see if it was still there, but alas it was gone. So, I would've been happy with one, but you snooze, you lose. Thus, my obsessive searching for something similar. As some people suggested, and as I thought about myself, I could just buy some resin shells, paint them gold, and then have them made into sconces.

I found this set of two large (16" tall) resin tortoise shells on Amazon for $127 . . .

not a horrible price, but if I'm going to have to pay to have them made into sconces, not great either.

Then, don't laugh, but I found these on the PetSmart site for $17.99 each . . . they are "Shell Hides" that you put in your aquarium for your critters to hide under or bask upon. Hmm.
They're a bit smaller (12" long) and apparently made out of a sand-based composite that retains heat. Not sure that's the best idea for sconces. Don't want hot shells on my wall. Obviously, the colors aren't great either, but I think they'd look cool painted gold or gold-leafed.

Then, while blog and internet surfing, I found things that just sort of resembled tortoise shells. There's this Banana Leaf Tiger Bronze sconce from LampsPlus.

At $299 each, once again, out of my price range, but kind of neat-looking.

And last, but certainly not least, did everyone see this in the D Pages?
I'm sure these are way out of my league price-wise, but aren't they cool? They're African Bowl Sconces made by the forward-thinking lighting geniuses at APPARATUS. Love them.
Okay, so back to reality. I believe the first option is probably the best, but I'm going to keep looking just in case. In the meantime, I need to search out somebody who can convert anything into sconces. I know you all are sick of hearing about tortoise shells by now, so I promise my next post will be about something totally different.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Tale of Two Sconces

When I hit the flea market last month, I missed out on a very cool gold faux tortoise shell sconce. Why? Because there was only one, and I thought that would just look sad - one lonely sconce. So, I passed. Now, I'm obsessing over finding a pair of tortoise shell sconces. Of course, I neglected to take a photo of the one I found. No worries,  I knew I had seen some somewhere. Then I found the image that was swirling around in my design-obsessed mind . . .

These are in Suzanne Kasler's living room. Yeah, probably a little out of my price range. Of course, they're not exactly the same, but you get the idea. So, then I started googling like mad, thinking surely I could find a tortoise shell sconce somewhere. Um, no. Tortoise shells on stands - yes. Tortoise shells on lamps - yes. Tortoise shell sconces - nada.

I did find a ton of tortoise shells just used as decor. So, I'll share photos of those with you so you'll have something to look at. Since I can't find any sconces, maybe I can just rig up some tortoise shells and turn them into sconces. Or maybe I should just forget the whole sconce idea and put some big gold tortoise shells on my wall. They don't have to light up. But it would be a whole lot cooler if they did.

Thoughts? Ideas? Should I just forget the tortoise shell sconces already and move on with my life?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Double Digits

I knew it would happen, but I can't believe it's already here. Today my beautiful daughter turned 10. Double digits. Sadness for mom. This birthday has been particularly hard for me. I'm not sure why.  Think it has something to do with the fact that this sweet little girl who would only wear dresses . . .
Is now this sweet big girl who would rather wear sporty shorts or pants . . .
Happy Birthday, my dear sweet Meg. I love you more every day. Where does the time go?