Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fresh Goods

I swung by one of my favorite antiques shops, Past to Present Collectibles in Niantic, yesterday and snagged some great new vintage and antique pieces to refinish. All of these are currently available to be custom refinished. Email me at to reserve a piece. Prices and measurements are listed below the pictures!

Antique c.1870 mahogany cupboard. Would make a perfect kitchen island base.
36.5 inches tall, 41 inches wide, 17 inches deep.
Available for custom refinishing - $350

Vintage cedar chest with pine exterior. Made by Lane.
26.5 inches tall, 42.5 inches wide, 18 inches deep.
Available for custom refinishing - $295

Vintage 100% solid maple server made in Keene, NH. 
34.5 inches tall, 44 inches wide, 20.5 inches deep. 
Available for custom refinishing - $375

Vintage teak mid century modern sideboard. 
31.5 inches tall, 60 inches wide, 19 inches deep. 
Available for custom refinishing - $350.

On Not Being Perfect

I've been stewing on this for a while. It's like a bit of sand in my eye, a pebble in my shoe, it's a truth that needs saying. I'm pretty sick of trying, failing, and then pretending to be perfect.

         There seems to be this gross epidemic amongst lifestyle bloggers, you see it on the Facebook feeds, in thousands and thousands of flawless, brilliantly lighted, beautifully staged photos on instagram, which compliment a steady stream of twitter selfies in which the taker is thin as a rail, immaculately dressed, and on her way off to some fancy expensive, exclusive outing. Geez louise.

        Can we all please stop being brands and start being real people again? PLEASE??? And by we, I mean me. I'm exhausted. Cards on the table, I've been trying desperately to keep up, to show only singular perfect moments, as if my life is just a series of miracles strung together, all ready to be photographed, all ready to inspire, and, because let's be honest I think there's another motivation here, to make you jealous. I'm not sure what secret magic these other blogger gals have-teams of house elves held captive in their cellars, or perhaps bottomless financial resources and a gardener, a personal chef, a fitness instructor, and a house cleaner? I have none of those things. If the dishes have just been done, it likely means that the laundry got skipped. If I've finished three or four great pieces of furniture this week, my house is in a state of utter shambles, all but on fire, possibly on fire, actually sometimes fire would be an improvement to the level of mess my house can achieve. I have a wish list seventy two miles long that I would just love to tackle to make my home better, perfect, instagramable, but I lack the time and money. Progress is made, but it's slow going, and for every two steps forward there's at least one step back. It's the house renovation cha-cha!
          And so, I'm going to embrace the not perfect. I can't be what I'm not, and honestly I'm not sure perfect is good anyway, seems a bit tightly wound and unpleasant, really. There can be so much beauty in imperfect moments. Maybe I won't be photographing my stacks of unwashed laundry, but I will stop feeling guilty about the paint splattered floor in the part of the workshop where I photograph new inventory, and the fact that my little cottage lacks the crown molding and natural lighting it takes to make it to the pages of Country Living.  I'm going to try to accept a bit more that my house is here to be lived in, and that's what makes it a home, that's what makes it real.

            Here are some not perfect moments from the last year. And feel free to follow my instragram @heirandspace, where I will continue to photograph my puppies and the adorable havoc they wreak, and my twitter @tagsalegirl, where I have the habit of getting tipsy and swearing, because I'm not perfect, and I'm through being sorry about that.

Selections from the 2016 Refinishing Haute Couture Collection:

Which is always complimented by a fresh manicure

And I have time for manicures 
because my house is always spotless

                       And so with all my free time,
I like to cook organic artisan meals and drink chai tea.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Win a Custom Watercolor!

Part two of our great giveaway week. I am giving away a custom watercolor to one lucky winner to celebrate reaching 500,000 views on the Heir and Space blog and 15,000 likes on the Heir and Space Facebook page. Anyone can enter, I will cover the shipping to the winner. One winner will be selected and can choose a piece from my pre-existing watercolor artwork inventory here, or choose to have a custom house portrait or landscape done for them.

Contest Rules

1. If you decide to have a custom piece created, the piece can be no larger than 9.5" x 7.5", 
but I will custom mat and frame it. 

2. The contest will start today at 9am and run until 9pm Sunday January 31st, 2016. I will then randomly select the winner and announce it on Monday February 1st at 9am.

3.  In order to enter I ask that you just help spread the word about Heir and Space. Tell a friend, share one of my Facebook posts, follow me on instagram (@heirandspace) or like the Heir and Space Facebook page. You can also follow me on twitter but I swear a lot there, so just fair warning. This is on the honor system, and I'm trusting you. You can enter once a day, just share or tell someone or whatever once a day. That's fair right? Totally fair.

4. I will cover the shipping charges of mailing the painting to the winner, so feel free to enter, wherever you live anywhere in the world!

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Win this Vintage Cupboard!!

As I promised last week, I'm having a giveaway to celebrate reaching two major Heir and Space milestones! We've now hit 15,000 likes on the Heir and Space Facebook page, and just passed half a million views on the blog. Woohoo!!! I started searching right away for the perfect piece to be the feature for the giveaway. It needed to be something of a reasonable size, so it could fit in most homes, and multifunctional, so it could be used in a variety of spots and serve a variety of functions.

      Last sunday I spotted this vintage Art Deco cupboard and new it was absolutely perfect. The piece probably dates to about 1930. It had great detail and so much potential, but time had not been kind to it. The top was absolutely shot, and there were various gouges in the case that needed filling before I could paint it. I added a new solid pine top for a rustic feel, made the surface repairs to the case, and then painted it first in a creamy white, then in two different shades of green so I could get lots of depth when distressing. I highlighted the detail work and painted the interior in the same creamy white as the first exterior coat of paint. I liberally distressed it and sealed it with dark wax.
And now I'm going to give it away to one of you!!

Just some quick contest rules
1. I don't ship my furniture. If you live far away and want to enter, that's fine, but you're fully responsible for any shipping costs and logistics.

2. The contest will start today at 9am and run until 9pm Sunday January 31st, 2016. I will then randomly select the winner and announce it on Monday February 1st at 9am.

3.  In order to enter I ask that you just help spread the word about Heir and Space. Tell a friend, share one of my Facebook posts, follow me on instagram (@heirandspace) or like the Heir and Space Facebook page. You can also follow me on twitter but I swear a lot there, so just fair warning. This is on the honor system, and I'm trusting you. You can enter once a day, just share or tell someone or whatever once a day. That's fair right? Totally fair.

*if you live far away and don't want to deal with shipping, don't worry. I'm also hosting a giveaway for a custom piece of artwork, which I will ship to the lucky winner! You can enter that giveaway here! (and YES, you can enter both contests!!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Antique Empire Table in 'Envy' Green

Furniture is beautiful, and this antique empire table is particularly beautiful, though it needed a bit of convincing to get that way. I picked it up last week from Carl the Furniture guy along with several other pieces that you've already seen 'before' photos of. I didn't share a 'before' photo of this one initially, or offer it up for custom refinishing because I was not entirely sure how it would turn out, or if it could be saved.

       The table is classic American Empire with a spectacularly bold geometric vasiform base supported by four deliciously scrolled feet. The apron features a handsome ogee curve on the ends, but it was the top that I was worried about. You see, this table started life as a drop leaf. I love a good drop leaf as much as the next gal, and this one was particularly fabulous in that both the center top and the two leaves were single solid mahogany boards, not veneer, solid mahogany. The problem, though, is that the two leaves had warped rather badly over the last hundred and fifty years. The cup wasn't particularly pronounced with the leaves down, but when raised into the upright position they looked bad. But this table was too spectacular to give up on, it HAD to be saved one way or another.

       First I removed the warped leaves and set them aside. Next I had to unscrew the entire top board to get at the hinges that had held the leaves on. I had to work at the hinges for a loooong time; those flat head screws hadn't budged since around the Civil War and were more than a bit reluctant to start now. Next I needed to add trim to the long sides of the apron. There were unsightly open sections where the swing support arm had been, where the hinges had been, and down at the bottom there were a few notches that I guess the original designer hadn't troubled about since the leaves hid them when down.

I selected two pieces of molding to mimic the ogee curve on the end sides of the apron, cut them to size, and applied them. I then patched a few places where the veneer on the base and feet had chipped, and painted. The paint is a custom mixed green somewhere between duck egg and emerald. I've named it 'Envy'. I sanded, stained, and sealed the top. That solid mahogany board all but sings now, and it's smooth as glass and absolutely flawless.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Unique Mahogany hutch with 'Correct Interiors'

I get to meet so many fascinating people on my furniture travels. Between the folks I buy furniture from at tagsales, fleamarkets, and craigslist, and the folks I sell furniture to, it's a steady stream of new faces. And what's especially wonderful about that is that each piece of furniture then has its own story, it's own provenance as it were, however humble.
      I bought this spectacular antique mahogany hutch off of craigslist from the loveliest man. He was an antiques enthusiast and I got to peruse some of his beautiful artwork collection before we loaded the hutch up into my truck. The hutch had belonged to his grandmother, and it dates to right around 1920. One of the drawers retains the original brass plaque identifying the maker. It reads, "John A. Colby and Sons. Chicago/Evanston. Since 1866. Correct Interiors." I can only imagine that final bit refers to the fact that the drawers are made with solid mahogany, correct indeed, but heavy as well!
      I refinished it custom for one of my favorite clients, who all but collects my hutches. I think he has seven or eight of them now (how flattering!). We decided on a slate blue for the exterior and then he gave me free reign for the rest of the design decisions. I created a custom mixed cream with a full body and rich tone for the interior, it's named 'Peach Chardonnay'. The exterior blues are mixed just for this client. The main blue is called 'Windsor Blue', and the paler panel sections are in 'Amelia'.

An Antique Washstand in Blue

This piece breaks quite a few of my 'paint or don't paint' rules. It's very early, I'd say about 1830-1855, it's handmade, as evidenced by the fact that the original maker signed his initials twice in pencil, once on the underside of the top, and once on the bottom of the beautifully made drawer. But I had no doubt that I would paint it nonetheless, for several reasons- first, there's a good chance that this piece was painted originally, in face I saw traces of a deep red wash on the underside. Second and related, it was no longer painted. I'd wager this sweet little washstand was on something like its fifth surface, and sometime about 100 years ago it had been lye dipped. So the surface retains no historic importance or original integrity. Finally, and probably the reason I paid a whopping $10 for this beauty, it had a large shrinkage crack on the top. The crack was repairable, but if I was already glueing and clamping, I might as well paint too.
        And with all that in mind, I selected a pale smoky blue that I've named 'Mist'. Totally unrelated but 'The Mist' is one of my favorite scary movies. Have you seen it? It's based on a Stephen King book and it's super scary. Probably my second fav scary movie after 'The Mothman Prophecies', which I also highly recommend.
        But back to the topic at hand, I also happen to have on hand a spectacular antique pitcher and bowl set that looks lovely with it. I'll be selling them together.