Ga Ga for Florentine Furniture

It has been a dreary, rainy (tropical storm-like) June. This time of year I usually walk around on my break at work, taking in the sights, admiring the Victorian houses in the area – one of them, my new favorite, freshly painted in a light grey with turquoise shutters and trim; but I digress. Not feeling so spring-y out lately, I decided I needed to do something to perk up the mood in the form of a little “retail” therapy. A new antique co-op popped up on Main Street very recently, and I thought it’d make a great lunch hour retreat.

I had only been in the shop once before but already much of the inventory had changed (i.e. sold) and more great finds put in their place. My favorite area was the front of the shop where there is some painted furniture, Parisian inspired vanity accessories and some gorgeous beaded and needlepoint handbags. I tried not to linger too long so that I could get back to work, but I still wanted to make a quick loop of the booths and I am so glad I did because that was how I stumbled upon my newest treasure.

Sitting in the front of the store but tucked behind a standing screen so as to not be too obvious to passersby was a trio of vintage Florentine nesting tables with one extra table of the smallest, square table – all 4 being sold as a set. Circa 1960, each table was in the Italian signature white and gold with ornate scroll and floral carvings detailing the top tray and long, lean, Queen Anne legs bowing out. Very Paris apartment and absolutely gorgeous!

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Funnily enough, I had just been drooling over a Florentine table featured in an issue of Romantic Country magazine and day dreaming about how gorgeous it would look in my apartment. Not only beautiful, but practical, with the three tables nesting, each one fitting perfectly under one another, they are a great space saver to be pulled out and moved around as needed.

I picture a stack of vintage books and a flowery coffee cup with mismatched saucer on the tallest table. Do you go ga-ga for Florentine furniture? What would you place on your table?

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Weekend Thrifty Treasures

It’s that time of year again and flea markets, yard sales and estate sales are popping up more than ever. This Memorial Day I was driving to my local Salvation Army for their holiday 50% off sale to pick up a gorgeous brass and ornately detailed vintage Victorian style head and footboard when I spotted a tag sale on the side of the road. Right away my eyes were drawn to the two, too-cute Drexel nightstands that were parked right out front for all passersby to see. I couldn’t pass them up – but with my mind set on the vintage head and footboard I knew was at the SA – I decided that if the nightstands were still there on my way back (and the price was right), that I’d pick those up too.

As luck would have it, my vintage brass head and footboard was still available at the SA so I grabbed the tags to purchase. I looked around for some vintage frames I’d seen the other day, too, but they were long gone. However, to my great surprise, I stumbled across an excellent condition Louis XVI arm chair that was hidden by a monstrous pile of books that had been placed on its seat. When I drove around back to pick up my furniture finds, what did I see by the dumpster but the second, matching arm chair to my Louis XVI love! I asked the man working if they were throwing it away, to which he replied, “Yep, take anything you want over there.” My eyes lit up at the thought of not one but two Louis XVI arm chairs. The one by the dumpster was still in god condition but a piece of the wood that was supporting a leg had come unhinged from its screw – nothing a drill couldn’t easily repair! And so, I left the SA on my way to the tag sale with a car full of great vintage finds.

Check out my two new favorite finds (picture of headboard found online – very similar to the one I got; chair on right is my new Louis!)

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Having only spent maybe 15 minutes at the SA down the road, sure enough, “my” two matching French Provincial nightstands, in their signature white and gold, were still there in their spot by the side of the road. I couldn’t pass them up! Now I just have to decide, do I keep them? Sell them as is? Or paint them in my newly created chalk paint that goes on so easily, so smoothly and so beautifully. What do you think? Is it time for another transformation? I think I’m going to try my hand at painting at least one of them in a paint that I bought from Home Depot, Behr’s Sterling, to match (as close as I could) Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.

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Did you get to any flea markets or yard sales this weekend? Share with me any treasures you uncovered recently. I’d love to see them!

My French Revolution: French Provincial vs Louis XVI

As a little girl my room was all decked out in French Provincial furniture and décor elements and I never appreciated it for the beauty that they were. I wanted bright colors and wild patterns. By the time I was 13, my matchy-matchy bureau and desk were overpowered by an electric blue comforter with fluorescent leaves of pink, green and yellow and a shag pink rug (that had been in the house since the eighties). The eighties passed and somewhere in the 2000s I grew up and my tastes subdued – somewhat – and I’ve traded in my child-like love of neon bright furnsihings for a little more grown up taste of glitz and glamour by pairing jewel toned colors with ornate gold accessories. I still have my French Provincial set and have come to love and really appreciate its beauty; but being true to the “electric fluorescent” within me, I love to mix different colors and styles with the matchy-matchy furnishings that exist within my apartment.

My favorite details are those that were expressed in Europe in the 1800s that showcased beautiful patterns of damask, toile in rich materials like satin, brocade and velvet. The furniture they sat in looked so elegant and refined; in creams and muted blues and greens that were made to look even more stunning by the sparkle of floor to ceiling mirrors with the most ornate scrolling details in gold that curved around the edges of an ivory mirror. I do the best to make my apartment mirror the gorgeous styles of yesteryear while maintaining all the modern necessities and conveniences of today. I’ve hung rich plum purple curtains from my ceiling to section off my apartment’s closet/office from the living room/bed area. I love the juxtaposition of the curvaceous lines of my Louis XV end table and Queen Anne Victorian side chair mixed with the fluted legs of my Louis XVI style sofa.  And I’ve hung several ornate gold mirrors throughout my apartment to reflect the light and to trick the eye into thinking the rooms are larger.
One of my mirrors could easily have been part of my original French Provincial set, with its gold on ivory colors, curvaceous bottom legs and fluted decorative railing on top; but in the spirit of mixing (rather than matching), I really want to transform this mirror into a more ornate Louis XVI inspired find like those pictured below. How would you do it? Is it even possible? What ideas do you have that I could add or take away from the current construction of this mirror to make to more fitting with my décor?

Check out the Louis XVI inspired home décor goods in my Etsy store. From Mirrors to clocks, wallpaper, fabric and more. Do you have a favorite decorating style? Are you drawn to any particular artifacts when you’re out treasure hunting? Share it with me here. 
Happy decorating and happy thrifting!

Shabby Rococo Chic

Decorating in Shabby Rococo Chic? I am definitely a girly girl at heart – I may wear a lot of black, but there is usually something pink on me at all times, too.  In my love of shopping, vintage and home décor everything, I’ve been reading a lot of Rachel Ashwell books lately to see how she’s mastered her craft from thrifting to decorating and designing. She coined the décor term “shabby chic”, infamous for its pale pinks, blues and greens (think, painted furniture) paired with crisp clean whites (especially in slipcovered sofas). While I love everything about her style, I, personally, still need a little sparkle, a little brightness, a little bling in my space. While I love the traditionalism of certain décor elements, like a curvy Queen Anne leg, a French Provincial dresser and ice cream color palettes, I also love the ornate scroll detailing of a gorgeous gold, oversized mirror and those decadent glass dripping with crystals.   Think Betsey Johnson (the ultimate Queen of Black & Pink – with a lot of blinged out gold) meets Rachel Ashwell. Pair them together, and it’s definitely my design dream come true. I believe the best fitting term for this style is Rococo. You see Rococo in the architectural details of Victorian décor as well as in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood Regency and even in the color palette of Shabby Chic.

          The word Rococo itself comes from the French; rocaille, or stone, and coquilles, or shell. Not surprisingly, shells are one of the signature decorations in this style’s architectural details and designs.  With its 18th century origins, it is also known as late Baroque, encapsulating the curvaceous lines of Louis XV and the beginning of the architectural fluted posts of Louis XVI. It is famous for its mixture of pastels with gold, beautifully decadent painted murals, and curvaceous S lines in all its furniture and ornamentation. I think it is so elegant, so inspiring and fun all at once. For me, when I think of Paris Glam, I think of Rococo.

Check out some of  the Rococo style home décor goods in my Etsy store. From Mirrors to clocks, wallpaper, fabric  and more.

                Do you have a favorite decorating style? Are you drawn to any particular artifacts when you’re out treasure hunting? Share it with me here.  Happy decorating and happy thrifting!

Vintage Fabulous Vanity Accessories

What girl (or woman) doesn’t love a pretty vanity area to get ready in each day and night? I picture a white vanity table with a matching scalloped edge mirror or a fabulous gilted gold desk and coordinating leopard print stool; whatever you imagine that would make you feel like a queen getting ready for her day. Here are some of the recent treasures I’ve come across lately that you can add to your own personal vanity that won’t break the bank.

My absolute favorites are the filigree perfume bottles that were so popular in the 50s and 60s. One of the ones I have for sale is undoubtedly made by Stylebuilt, a manufacturing company from New York, well known for their “guaranteed never to tarnish” filigree metals that enwrap these beautiful trinkets. Not only are they stunning to look at, but they are super functional as well, serving as a container to hold your most breathtaking of scents, perfumes and fragrances. I have two of these beautiful bottles for sale, one with intricate rose detailing and the other with an ornately melded braided rope.
 Among the other items I’ve plundered include a gorgeous gold makeup compact with mirror adorned with a ruby heart gemstone on its cover from England brand Stratton. There is a set of shabby but fabulously chic hairbrush and comb set in ornate gold and rose detailing. And of course, a gold filigree metal vanity tray to store all of your precious goods.
**Want to buy one of these fabulously chic vintage vanity items? Check them out on my Ebay listings for these and a whole lot more fabulous vintage home décor finds. Also, finally my Etsy shop, Vintage Velvet and Lace, is open!! There are only a few items posted as of yet, but if you follow my shop you will get alerts as new items are posted throughout the week!