August 22, 2008

A Corner Hideway and an Altar of Beauty

Corner cabinets are often charming, quirky pieces that are engaging because they're always a little bit unexpected. We don't quite expect a cabinet to fit in a corner, so once we realize what it is, the piece always feels playful. I think this makes them seductive objects-- You buy it because it makes you happy, and of course, doesn't everyone have a spare corner somewhere?

We have a lovely one to show you that came out of a fine local estate. It's painted a cheerful yellow, with yellow doors that are a slightly different shade-- I think they are the original paint, and the other paint is a bit newer (60 years or so "new"). The interior is turquoise, which is why it almost stayed with me permanently. (I have a fetish for old turquoise-painted furniture). It's a solid, heavy piece -- I helped carry it up the l-o-n-g flight of stairs, but the suffering was worthwhile. It is so good! I think it's from Pennsylvania. (I think this because I was told it was.) [sold!]

The textiles hanging on it are *real* Guatemalan textiles-- not the chintzy touristy things. Or, maybe they were the touristy things, but that was in the 1940s, when they still sold the good stuff to tourists. Textiles like the one draped on the lower door, and like those rolled in the basket, are why you've heard of Guatemalan textiles, but then been disappointed. We're asking under $20 a pop for each, and I think we have to, because not many people will get it. (But you, dear reader, will).

Our next scene should evoke what I hope your dresser already conveys-- an air of feminine luxury. If your dresser doesn't make you feel like a 1920s, or 1930s, or 1940s, or whatever- you've-chosen-your-decade-to-be-glamazon, then it's not doing it's job. Get some good lighting, some pretty trinkets, and a fine chest and set yourself up. This chest of drawers is substantial, marble-topped, and has lovely carved pulls.

But my favorite thing here is the lamp. I can't say enough about what a very special piece this is. It's a hand-turned walnut lamp, which is well and good, but the original shade is spectacular-- it's pleated printed paper from the 1920s. These things almost never turn up. And the photo doesn't do it justice. Whenever I go up to see it I stand close to the lampshade and coo at it.

She hasn't talked back. Yet. But when it does, she will say,

"Elise, why are you trying to sell me, you greedy little monster! Take me home, set my on your vanity, and let me illuminate you, very softly, every morning. I will provide just enough light for you to apply mascara. I will not make your one gray hair apparent. I will not make you wonder, is that my first wrinkle? I promise."

August 16, 2008

Crusted with dirt, languishing in the corner of an old garage, Kate rescued this fantastic Monte Christo Toilet Preparation display, nursed it back to health, and brought it in. We're pleased as punch to show it to you, and even happier to fill it full of the most delicate and exquisite niceties, including an old paper maché marionette head, a handmade Victorian sheep, a tiny Victorian paper chair, imprinted in faux wicker, a vintage fish hook box, and finally (and do forgive me for not having a photo of this yet) a wonderful box of old hairpins called "Scoldy Lox."

The display case seems inspired by the Crystal Palace. It's four tiers, and each part of the case has its own door, fastened with a tiny brass latch at the case's back.

The middle tier currently houses old passamenterie silk flowers. The bottom holds a bisque doll's head, a good-tacky tea cup, and some tiny paper roses.

I haven't been able to find out anything about Monte Christo Toilet Preparations. "Christo" seems misspelled on purpose to lead you off the trail of Dumas's count, but still evokes that hero's glamor.

It's a glamor that this beheaded marionette could use. He's no Edmond Dantés, though his paper collar shows he's a man who cares about personal appearance. And his probiscous suggests that a toilet preparation attracting ladies could help him.

August 7, 2008

in the details

filigree treasure box

I keep photographing these 1920s doll torsos. They are too wonderful. The little lost legs belong with them

This carved angel bookend belongs in a cozy velveted library.