Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Sweet Antique Telephone Table

I love this little antique mahogany table. It's all curves and cutesy with those saber legs and quatrefoil pierces splat. Adorable. This was a custom job for a wonderful client, and was such a pleasure to do. I painted it in a rich moss green that matches the deepest shade of green in the upholstery fabric. It's certain to add a little pop of cheeky charm to her home!

The Perfect Round Dining Set

This is the perfect round table and chairs. Is that cocky to say? What if it's true? Look at this vintage dining set. I'm in love! I got it from one of my besties, who's last name is Valentine. And she's gorgeous, the world is not fair! So, this set was made in Massachusetts about 1940. It's 100% solid oak, the good stuff, chunky, and heavy, and built to sustain several pro wrestling style chair throws.
        Since there's a lot going on detail-wise, I went with a simple crisp white and a handsomely contrasting dark top. I covered the chairs in a velvety mocha color upholstery cloth. There are two leaves too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Go Vintage and Gift Better

Now, to be fair, I'm insanely biased here. As I look around my house I have serious difficulty spotting anything that I purchased new. You don't have to go to my extreme (but you should!!). I do think a vintage or antique gift can be so much more unique and heartfelt than "Oy, I bought this at Old Navy. It's a sweater- you wear sweaters, right??".

           Here's bunch of gifting ideas with links to the items. I used only Etsy and Ebay but there's a ton of great websites to score vintage goods now, and don't forget to buy local- every single one of us has an incredible vintage or antique shop somewhere around the corner.

Helpful Hints-

Try to make the gift personal- what hobbies does your gifting target enjoy? What's their favorite color? What's the style of their home? Is there anything they hate? Don't buy them things they hate. Or things they're allergic to, that's a bad idea.
And I don't claim to be the queen of this. I'm sure some of you have gotten gifts from me and thought, "Really? What the hell, Kate?!". Sorry about that...

Finally, if you haven't gotten me a gift yet, these are all excellent ideas, so, just mull that over...

Excellent Idea #1: Bookends 

Who doesn't own at least three books. I feel this is the bare minimum one needs to necessitate bookends. A single book, held up by bookends on either side, well that's just a bit silly.

For the musician or music lover in your life.  Also fabulous for holding up CD cases.
Though I'm not sure any of us still have CDs at this point.
Etsy Link

My particular favorite. These are just stunning. I wouldn't even clutter them with books. I'd put these on my mantel!
Etsy Link

For your patriot or bird lover. These Eagle bookends are hilarious, I'm not sure it's intentional, but they make me chuckle.
Etsy Link

 Excellent Idea #2: Vintage Prints and Lithographs

You would not believe how cheap some of these are- like $1. You can buy it, frame and mat it, ship it, and still be under $25 for an amazing personalized antique gift. There's prints out there for everything- mostly because Victorians were super interested in their world but didn't have google, which is sad when you think about it. So they'd just make amazing drawings of plants, animals, buildings, food, people they liked or hated, naughty stuff and funny stuff. Here's the link to the ebay search I like to use. 

For the architecture enthusiast or home renovator. A set of three different buildings would be beautiful. Or- find one of a building in the same period as their home.
Ebay link 

For the gardener, or person who loves flowers (hint hint- probably your mom would love this).

Ebay Link

For that guy who will not shut up about shark week.
Ebay Link

This one's for everyone. This print is just devastatingly funny. Look at that demon fox, stealing the poor monk's dinner. OMG I could die.
Ebay Link
 Excellent Idea #3 - Vintage Jewelry
Each piece is different and unique and funky and fun. There's a million different choices!

I can absolutely guarantee that Macy's is not currently selling a duck/knife pendent. Perhaps for your avid whittler, or outdoorsman/woman who likes to get all dolled up pre-adventure. I'd wear it just because it's fabulous.
Etsy Link

I wouldn't wear these earrings and necklace together unless I was drunk, and taking selfies...So I would wear these together on Wednesdays and Saturdays. But separately, so chic and playful.
Etsy Link 

This one's on sale! Are we still wearing brooches? I have so many brooches I want to wear.
Etsy Link

Excellent Idea #4: Serveware, Glassware, and Barware

No one cooks less than yours truly. I'm a horror in the kitchen, and yet I still want lots and lots of serving pieces, drink glasses, trays and the like. Why? Because someday I will host the most fabulous dinner party and you'll all be like "Damn, Kate's got it together". And if I, who never cooks on purpose, wants this stuff, all those weirdos who like to cook and entertain will surely want it.

This antique platter is so pretty and sophisticated, you could serve crunchy cheetos on it,
 and still put Martha Stewart to shame.
Etsy Link

I might need these. Polkadot vintage bar glasses. This is the kind of thing you sip bourbon from, while lounging on your velvet settee at two in the afternoon, on a Wednesday...whilst taking drunk selfies, and wearing too much costume jewelry.

Etsy Link

 I'm not precisely sure what a crumpet is, but I'm sure it would look divine served on this charming tiered stand.
And in teal, I know you all love teal with a shocking ferocity.
Etsy Link

 Excellent Idea #5: Vintage Leather goods.

I've already gifted my two little sisters from this category for Christmas. I bet they're using their vintage leather satchels as we speak, looking all classy and academic. Leather gets better with age, all soft and supple. I've got a wee addiction to vintage leather bags, an entire cupboard full of it, actually. But it's just so effortlessly fun in that old school New England way that's the final word in flawless style. I'm sure a zombie Kate Hepburn would carry a glorious vintage leather bag.

An awesome vintage leather wallet with all the geometric goodness the 80s could give it.
Etsy Link

Remember in the 40s when a gal would sweep into a room, and remove her hat, her gloves, her jacket. It was like some fabulous performance art, a real entrance. Now we just schlep into the house and kick of our ugg boots. I love how these have contrasting turn downs too. So sexy.
Etsy Link

And of course a vintage leather bag in the most delicious shade of caramel.
An absolute essential for every complete adult wardrobe.

Etsy Link

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Cedar Chest Rescue Project

There's refinishing, and then there's rescuing. Refinishing is just giving a piece a new look, a bit of paint, maybe a new top or some new pulls - no big deal. Rescuing is pulling a piece of furniture back from the brink of death. This is the second cedar chest I've rescued in the last couple weeks. Where as the last one was on death's door structurally speaking, this poor cedar chest had fallen on hard times and begun to associate with bad company, I had to rescue it spiritually. Or in other words, the place I purchased this off craigslist was a meth den, and I was lucky to get out with the cedar chest, to say nothing of my life. No I'm kidding, they were very nice and polite meth heads...but super high.

So anyways, this cedar chest had seen better days. At some point it had been painted arguably the worst color I've ever seen in all my years of doing this. It was a hazy, sticky mustard yellow with a dark glaze, I think. Luckily the interior was in excellent condition, which is the important part in a cedar chest. So I sanded the top, and I must admit I did not have high hopes, but thankfully, this absolutely stunning mahogany was underneath that gross paint. I sanded the rest of the case and painted it a pale sage green, lightly distressed, and finished with a dark wax. This is one of my favorite transformations ever, and since I know it's going to a wonderful client who already has quite a bit of my furniture, it will be in much better company from here on out.

Look at those antique bottles reflected in the surface of the top. Hell Yea!

A Pair of Mint Green Nightstands

We've needed a new pair of night stands in our master bedroom for a while now. The current ones are the last remaining vestiges of the absolutely horrible furniture we first purchased when we moved in together. It came from a discount furniture retailer, and it was absolute junk. The new night stands are vintage, such a cool and funky shape, and certain to adds lots of character to the room. I added new tops because I know these are gonna get a lot of wear and tear, and solid wood can do the job where veneer fails. I painted the cases in a pale mint green, lots of distressing, and a dark wax to finish. I adore the original drawer pulls, so there was no need to replace them. I added a backsplash on the back because, fun fact, I'm blind as a bat, and forever knocking my glasses off the back of my night stand as I fumble for them.