Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Covering Books With Script Paper

In trying to clean up for staging my study, I decided it was time to deal with the books.  The room is dark and the old leather books seemed visually heavy.  You see many trendy book covers that are very plain.  They can be linen or paper.  Below are some photos from Restoration Hardware.

The photograph below reminds me of a project my daughter told me about.  She helped a friend stage an apartment and used brown paper sacks to make dust jackets.  It would be so easy to use a wax seal to embellish your work.  Below is a photo from Restoration Hardware.
From Restoration Hardware.  I love the wax seal!   
Juniper Books has many books to choose from.  I love this one:
Custom Printed Elephant Spines
From Juniper Books.  Isn't this soo clever!  It's pretty artistic to me!
 There are some wonderful sources for beautiful vellum look books.  The real thing is quite expensive--an antique vellum book can easily have you let go of several hundred $$.   Click here for an article Willow Decor did on antique vellum books.  The reproduction books also look nice for a fraction of the price.  I googled script vellum books and found these two sources:
E. Lawrence LTD.  


While I'd love to buy some of these beautiful reproduction books, I'm afraid I don't feel like spending the money to do a bunch of books in my library - I'd need about 200 books!  Someday I'd like to purchase some of the "books by the foot" for my pretty antique secretary.

  I thought perhaps I could copy some old documents and make some interesting dust jackets for books that way.  It seemed like alot of work, and I haven't gotten around to it.  I then found this paper on Ballard Designs.  It is called Document Gift Wrap, and it is $24 for 3 10-foot rolls.
Document Gift Wrap - Set of 3
I wrapped a few books -- and now have a trendy shelf of books.  It's perfect!  The shelf looks cleaner and less cluttered.  I also was going for a lighter look.  The 33" shelf below shows you  how much one roll would cover.  The tallest books took a 10" high strip of paper. 

Ballard Designs Document Wrapped Books

I'm off to continue working on the bookcase--and staging all those shelves!  In addition to doing the books,  I thought about papering the back of the bookcase instead.     

I hope someone else will enjoy my inexpensive decorating tip!  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fabric for Wingback

Today I am going to the upholsterer.  I selected a fabric for the wingback chair.

In the running was a Schumacher fabric:

This seemed kind of old-lady ish to me!
The Highland Court Fabric, always a better cost selection:
Same problem as #1, and it had too much yellow in it.
Groves Bros,

It turned out to be too dark.  I don't have a nearby showroom, have to send away for more colorways.
This was the runner up
and a Brunschwig fabric.
The Winner!

The winner was chosen because it is the softest effect, pattern wise.   The project is this really old wingback.  It's English in origin, and looking at the frame dates from the early 1800's, or earlier.
What a sad mess!  Can you believe I see potential in this?
The huge wings on the side are really fun!

If the fabric looks familiar, it is because it was in the April '11 issue of Veranda.
April '11 Veranda, design by James Michael Howard
The fabric is on the valences.   I really like the effect of this.  The Bennison fabric was a more crisp design, and at the last minute I thought I'd go for a more subtle design.

Unfortunately, the fabric is thinner than I'd like, I'll see if the upholsterer thinks it should be knit-backed.  I've never done that before, I usually just pick a fabric that will work.

I had written about the original upholstery that would have been on the chair here.   However, I didn't feel like spending the money for a Chelsea Editions fabric.

This would have been a cool choice too!

Off to battle the traffic!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Topiary Christmas

There's nothing that says Merry Christmas like a topiary reindeer.

They don't eat your roses either!  Wrap one up and send it prancing over to my house!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pinecone Deer

I was out shopping and stumbled across a pinecone deer in a store window. It actually is a dik dik, made completely out of pinecones.

I came home and hunted around on-line, and I found the artist!   

Here's the website, Catherinegreenup.com, and a better photo.

Some of the other photos on the website were really fun!

I wanted  to take the little dik dik home for decoration, but the $1680 price tag meant it stayed in the store.  I guess my deer won't have a companion this season.   However I did get to enjoy a beautiful piece of art!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Needlepoint Christmas

I just pulled out a needlepoint pillow I made.  It is probably the only modern canvas I have used.  I love the effect of a sampler with a happy reindeer bounding through it!

Winter Sampler - by Birds of a Feather
I think I should take the fringe off the pillow for a fresher look.  I might even put a trim of toile instead of gimp.  

Stay Warm!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stockings, Nutcrackers and Mohair Snowmen

Some of our favorite things about this time of year is pulling out family christmas collections.  With a German background, we like collecting many handmade christmas items.  My favorite collection is our Steiff snowman collection.  They are the cutest mohair snowmen!   Steiff comes out with one almost every year.   Every time I get them out, I have to giggle about how it all started.....My husband left my daughter and I to entertain ourselves in Munich.  We were to meet up with him by taking a train to Paris later that week.  When he opened his suitcase of casual clothes...it was filled with teddy bears and snowmen!

Between a trip to Rothenburg and Katha Wolfart, and the huge sale at Kaufhof in Marianplatz, we wound up putting Steiff creatures in dad's shoes, and every nook and cranny in the suitcases.  It was great fun!  (My husband keeps saying, if only I didn't have to share my doll with my 5 sisters while growing up, I wouldn't have buy many toys as an adult!)

This year they are standing guard over the cute needlepoint stockings....
Russian Santas are standing on each stocking holder.   They were a souvenir from a trip to St. Petersburg.   

Cutest Quimper Couple Needlepoint Stocking!  I purchased at Pierre Deux
 in Carmel after Christmas last year.  (I'm so sad that they are bankrupt... )

My daughter wrote a guest blog about her nutcrackers that she pulls out for Octoberfest here.   I thought that I should try to limit my collecting to shepherd nutcrackers.   My favorite ones are by Ulbricht.
Shepherd Nutcrackers
My daugher has a collection of santas with reindeer.   Isn't this one cute!
She has this one on loan to me for the holiday--the beautiful white Santa

Ulbricht White Santa in Center
We were in Gumps on Sunday and spotted this nutcracker by Ulbricht.  Isn't he cute!  OK, maybe I need to start another collection!

And for my favorite wall decoration, who can resist this reindeer?   He is about 5 feet tall, and traveled half way across the country to settle at home with me.
I must continue my hunt for boxes of decorations.   We really enjoy all the handmade German ornaments.   It is a way to enjoy the holiday with craftsmanship reminding the family of the old country.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fresh Look with Kitchen Paint

Before the holiday, I posted that I was painting the kitchen.  Well, we finished the job, jumped in the car, and left.  We have been gone so I have to rely on photos I literally snapped as we were walking out the door.

The reason we decided to paint was that the house didn't seem to flow very well.  The kitchen had a toile wallpaper that was an aqua shade with the adjoining room in a stripe.  I really love the color, and it is very cheery in anotherwise dreary climate.   For those of you who haven't lived in the northwest, we only get 60 sunny days a year!  

So I decided to do 2 shades lighter than the paint on the main floor.  Looking from the living room, through the doorway, you see the contrast I am talking about.

The color is brighter than the contrast shown above.  I thought that going with a lighter shade of the living room would make it flow better.   

"Before" with 2 different wallpapers 

After is below.

Freshly painted walls, and moved island.  I couldn't decide whether I wanted an island, so I made it so you can move it.   I'm thinking I should change the cherry barstools.   Perhaps something black?  I love black in a room, and tend to do it with trays.

I love my cabinets.  They were made by my dad who is 83 now.  He copied a Smallbone kitchen photograph for me, how sweet is that! 
Yes, I know the photo over the chest is too big.  The problem is I keep moving furniture to the other house
as this one is for sale, and I forget to move the photos.  This will have to do til I get back.
 On the paint color:  I went 2 shades lighter than the living room.

Living Room Color - BM Richmond Gray

Misty Air / BM OC-44
Kitchen Color - BM Misty Air

The color on the walls looks yellower to me.  I checked the sample and it does match....but that does show the difference in what happens when you add the variable of lighting.

At night, the color looks a little more intense, but not by much.

Wall color at night
The color seems to be more complementary to the granite on the counters.   Check out my nice Thermador wall oven.  The first time I turned it on, it didn't work.  I was in trouble because I was out of warranty...hee hee, that meant that I hadn't turned it on for over 2 years!  Cooking, not my favorite thing.

So why is it that I can pick someone else's colors in a flash, and my house gets loads of indecision.  That's why the settee in the above photo isn't reupholstered yet.  I'm waiting...

On my jaunts this past week I did manage to swing by George Smith for some Bennison fabric samples.   Wish I'd remembered to pull out my camera, their showroom floor was awesome.  All the upholstery was in white, so you could really see the lines of the furniture.
downloading image...
George Smith Chair

So should I repaint?  I miss the old color.  I thought about painting the beadboard the Richmond Grey color.  My husband said I shouldn't touch the beadboard as all the trim on the main floor is a creamy white.  I was thinking that something half way in between

BM - Abingdon Putty
The screen colors are lousy.     I was thinking about going a little green-gray with November Rain, but at the last minute decided to go to the similar shade as the living room.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Staffordshire Dog Followed Me Home...

This weekend is a work weekend.  We're stripping wallpaper that was hung in the kitchen and family room in 2003. ( I put it up for my daughter's high school graduation.  Relatives came in from all over - and we proceeded to have a wonderful weekend with family.  My daughter calls it her Big Fat German Graduation! )

Friday night I got the idea that I needed to change the kitchen.  I stayed up til midnight, and got 1/3 done.  The rest was stripped yesterday.  Today is spackle & sand, and prime.   We're dealing with a room that was added on 3 times since 1940, so you can bet walls are not even.

My pretty kitchen - before I destroyed it.  Toile in the kitchen, blue stripe in the family room.  My inspiration was those fabulous Diamond Baratta rooms. (edited per realtor, sigh)
My destroyed kitchen...

Yesterday, my husband comes in from his post office trip and says, "you're missing an estate sale a few houses down"...   so off I went...., wallpaper glue sticky fingers.... and found a little poodle, who enjoyed the walk back to my house!

The Staffordshire poodle is sitting on a bunch of Marvic toile fabric samples that I am contemplating..
for something.. I don't know what, I just like them!
So when my husband asked me Friday if I was going to estate sales this weekend, and I said no, I didn't realize I would be called on to provide a good home for a homeless poodle!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

18th Century George III Wingback Chair Upholstering Project

I purchased a really fun chair--an 18th century George III wingback with exaggerated wings. The curves of the wings, seen from any angle, really makes this a wonderful chair.  So now my project is--what fabric do I select?   I could use it in 3 different living/family rooms.  Colors that would go are likely to be a neutral cream/tan, blue, or red..  The 3 rooms could be one that has a country french yellow toile drape in it, a family room with brown la declaration drapes, and a living room with a coral sofa, blue would be great in there.

Finding an old chair made me wonder what it may have been upholstered with originally.  After hunting around, I found a reference Judith Miller made in one of her antique guides.  She says that originally these chairs were upholstered in grospoint or petitpont needlepoint.

So I started my hunt for pictures of what a wingback chair from the 1700's would have looked like.  There's a website called Furniturestyles.com that had this example. (See link below to read more)

Wing Back Chair

This beauty is on Ist Dibs - (click on the link to view ad.).  Interesting floral pattern.  Sort of a Jacobean influence?

Ist Dibs Chair $18,000
Another wonderful example with large bold flowers:

George II Walnut Chair, circa 1730.  Christies
More of those wonderful bold flowers.

I went to my favorite website for pictures, Liveauctioneers (yes I got permission, ok to use if I put in a link), and found this --and subsequently went to the Bonhams website.  Again, a lovely floral needlepoint.
Fantastic chair from a Bonhams auction - photo Liveauctioneers.com
So I checked out a few English antique websites and found more floral needlepoints.  I'm assuming that the backs may be replaced?
Wakelin-Linfield Antiques had this chair.  They said it is a George I period chair with most of it's original needlepoint
A 1750's chair with later 1800's needlepoint.
Notice the background color is different from the other examples.
Not liking that.  At auction.

WING ARMCHAIR CIRCA 1715 - ($62,500) Christies.
Hmm.  An interesting departure from the other florals.

I thought that I'd check out what museums have, and found this at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. -- An American chair.  I totally love this back.  The front is interesting, a geometric patten.  Date:  1758.  I find that fascinating.

Fantastic needlepoint on the back of a chair, dated Newport 1758
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
Front of 1758 Chair at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The back reminds me of a needlepoint sofa-back - I'd just love having something like this.  Don't you just love this.

Here's another to die for chair with a price tag equivalent to a few houses in Iowa:

Christies Auction Nov 2010 Sold for $113,000
From the Christies catalog:
CIRCA 1720 
With associated gros and petit point needlework, the back with a panel depicting a maiden by a well, surrounded by trailing foliage and flowers, the sides and back with plain cotton, on shell carved cabriole legs with pad feet and leather castors, some reworking to the needlework, the back seat-rail replaced, restorations to the ears of back legs

Check out the detailed stitching.

CIRCA 1720 
Upholstered in associated 18th century close-nailed gros and petit-point floral needlework, the back and seat depicting classical figures, on cabriole legs with pad feet
Christies Auction Nov 2010 $55,000
Here's one in an upcoming auction.  I have to say this is what I think most motifs are, although most of what you see is floral, I suspect that many I see in my price range (ok, not in my range, but ones I am able to see) may be later than 18th century.

Christies Nov 2011 Auction
With associated 18th century figural needlework covering, the back legs later and oak...

ANYONE READING want to buy me a christmas present? !!

Judith Miller said most of the antique chairs would be figural or I assume she meant like these scenic.  I do love the huge flowers.  Given the age of these pieces, can you imagine how bright the chairs really were?  If you think about the times, I'd like to sit by the fire, curtains pulled, dark rooms, most likely, to stay warm in the winter.  A bright color would be needed, don't you think?

So now that I've seen all these fabulous examples, needlepoint that is only 100 years old just doesn't have the same look: 
This French chair with needlepoint looks like a later design.
It is circa 1900 from http://www.oldplank.com

So how has the design community reacted to wonderful old needlepoints and tapestries?  We get stuff like this. YUK in my book after seing so many wonderful antique pieces.   

From Liveauctioneers.  Don't do this fabric.
There is another option:  Crewel fabric.  The chair below is probably the type of crewel that is available.

Chair from auction, probably not antique.
If you decide to go crewel, set the bar high.  Using a colorful crewel is definitely the way to go.  Often times the crewel is only used on the inside of the wing chair--I assume to save money as you can spend upwards of $500/yard for some of this stuff.
Read her fun article on wingbacks.
I spotted this on Ebay, one of my favorite dealers who carries textiles has this in her house:  She is spot on, having found a wonderful tree-of -life crewel fabric.  Don't you just love how the pattern fits on this chair?  Wonderful!  I would love to find something like this for my chair!
from a favorite eBay dealer:  rivervalleytextiles.  Click here to read her bio, and read about this project.  (Check out her listings, she has the prettiest pictures.  Plus  she gives you great tips on care and collecting of textiles.)

Chelsea textiles makes a dynamite option  $510/yard wholesale. 
Ochre with flower & fern

OK, so I don't have any connections to get crewel on the cheap, haha.  So what other fabrics are an option?

After checking out all those wonderful English chairs, I thought I should check out what you see on American chairs.   I immediately thought of Colonial Homes, and how you saw two things:  plaids or damasks.  Talk about two extremes.  Both are really strong statements, I think...  Here are two plaid examples:
This is actually more historically correct--most of the chairs did not have a cushion, and if it did,
it was a thin cushion.
Another example of a blue plaid chair.
Probably more historically correct - no bottom cushion, according to other reading.
Then I read that they sat on plump pillows.  HMMM,  this is confusing.  What do you think?.
(FLAT CUSHION DIVERSION)  Here's another chair with that flat cushion.
This chair is interesting--it has the flat cushion.  The photo is a bit blurry--
I can't really tell if it is a tapestry or chinoiserie fabric.  Bonhams auction  

So I checked out alot of photos on historic wingbacks in the U.S.  There are alot of beautiful chairs at Winterthur, the White House, and Blair House --it seems as though damask is what is used on these expensive chairs.  I looked around on the internet, and found these beautiful chairs.

Interesting UK website 
Isn't the chair above really awesome looking?   I think the yellow fabric really looks the best, but I am pretty gutless when it comes to using yellow.  Coral would work better for me than yellow.

The same website has all kinds of interesting wingbacks.  I thought it would give me a good visual of what a pattern damask would look like.  

Interesting channel back.  I like the soft colors.  Cut velvet is something that is actually "antique".  
Of course if I do cut velvet, only $500/yard (guess) Lee Jofa will do.
Le Notre from Lee Jofa
But what if it winds up looking like grandma's velvet from the 60's?  OK, back to damasks.

Killer green chair.  But how would it look in a room? I really love many shades of green,
but this one I think would whack me over the head when I walked into a room.
Ist Dibs
I actually love this bright chair.  Great pattern.  I think the damask pattern needs to dominate the back, don't you?
These chairs are so big, it needs a big pattern.
Ist Dibs
I thought about blue.  This one is too baby blue, I'm thinking an indigo blue.  However, I am showing this one because I like the large cartouche on the chair back, works for me.

Or you could go conservative cream:

A fabulous period chair.  Very formal.
Ist Dibs
Of course, my version would be less pricey than $30,000
OK, another rule, give up the arm covers.  I have never liked them.   No, I don't care if the chair gets dirty.   The big problem with damask is that the "authentic" looking stuff is silk.  I am way past doing chairs in silk, unless they're a little chair that I'm just going to look at, and never sit on. (had to qualify that)

For those who were looking for wingbacks, and got stuck reading my blog, I'll throw in some current chairs on the market, that aren't museum repros breaking the bank:

Hollyhock has this one:
I don't think I'm in a "busy pattern" mood.   Could be fun in the right room.  
Jacobean fabric.  I always like the free flowing vines on Jacobean fabrics.
  Chair on http://assemblageltd.com

Below is one from Anthropologie.  It made me think, toile!
So of course I had to grab a Charles Faudree book and see what he likes.  

Plaid -hmmm.  Country French?  or too early American?  

Pierre Frey Petit Parc fabric.  A nice rich bold color.
Look no further than the front cover of Charles Faudree's book.
I think this is a Groves Bros fabric.  I sent away for samples.

I don't really like all toiles.  I'm not really liking the chair below, I don't know why it seems flat to me.

Red or blue would work very well as an option for my chair.  This pattern below is lovely, very Fortuny-like.

A nice large pattern works best on such a large chair--don't go for a wimpy cartouche!
Not sure if I like the look..............

Bright red pattern. The larger the pattern, the better.
Aspire Auctions
I do like this red pattern better.............

So what would you do.  My chair is like the one above.  I'm getting fabric samples.   Stay tuned.  Feel free to chime in on opinions.   I'm just so paranoid after the 80's and people putting huge floral patterns on everything...but I don't want plain linen, don't want country check, don't think I want velvet, saving that for the moss green upholstery job on the sofa.  I wish there was something out there that has the feel of the fabulous old needlepoints, but it doesn't seem to exist.  I would love that!

What would you pick?