Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Goodwill Dresser gets a Fresh Look

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. This will almost certainly be my last post of 2014. It's been a wonderful year, the best ever, actually. Thank you so much for tagging along on this journey, you guys and gals are fantastic. 
        To end 2014 on a classy note, here's one of my favorite projects of the year, which I just happened to finish today! I picked this vintage rock maple dresser up at the Goodwill on Friday for $25. Hell of a bargain! It was in gorgeous shape but needed some serious updating. I sanded, stained, and sealed the top- just look at it- hubba hubba! I painted the case in a custom mixed color somewhere between teal and green, then gently distressed it and finished with a wax. The pulls are antique, salvaged from an early 20th century dresser I worked on a while ago. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Buy Art

        I collect a lot of things (antique cork screws, early 20th century stoneware bowls, vintage glassware, FURNITURE), but my most valued collection is my art collection. To be fair, it's not terribly impressive in terms of value, but I love it fiercely. Each piece is so personal and unique, with it's own amazing story to tell.

      I'm drawn primarily to landscapes, oils especially, and the antique ones the most, though there are vintage and new pieces scattered throughout the collection as well. I'd say I'm nearing 100 paintings at this point. To accommodate all the art work, and keep my house from feeling cluttered, I rotate the pieces out seasonally. My largest grouping is of spring paintings, as that's my favorite season. I'm so incredibly excited to get all my pretty spring paintings back up on the wall again soon.

       I believe so fervently that adding art to a home, REAL ART, not something you picked up at pier one because you liked the color, is fundamentally important to making a house a home. Don't be frightened of prices, you don't have to spend a lot to get beautiful pieces. I've included the prices I paid for each of the paintings below so you can see how affordable this can be.

So, where do you find original and amazing pieces of art? One of my favorite sites is Invaluable.com; it's the world's largest online auction place, so you have practically a zillion incredible antique, vintage,  and original artworks from which to choose, all from the comfort of your own home!
Invaluable.com's paintings page is a perfect place to start building you art collection, especially on these cold winter evenings when armchair antiquing is the coziest option!

And here are some of my favorite pieces in my collection, with provenance and prices listed in the captions. It's the last Monday of 2014, surely that's something to celebrate!!

An oil on canvas landscape of a mountain scene. I bought this at the goodwill four years ago for $45.
It is signed 'Sister Mary Joseph, 1954"

An oil on canvas portrait of an adorable little girl. I've named her Emily, though I don't actually know the sitter's name.
I bought this six years ago at a flea market in Plainville, CT and paid $35 for it. It is signed Lois Taylor, and dated 1956.

Close up of the incredible Emily. 

One of my most prized possessions, this oil on canvas trade banner was painted around 1905 for the Vermont branch of the  Painters, Decorators, and Paper Hangers Union of America. I knew as soon as I saw it that I needed it. It was brought into the antique shop where I worked by our best picker. The shop purchased it for $250, and after a six month long campaign, I convinced my boss to sell it to me rather than bring it to the Folk Art Show. He kindly sold it to me for the price the shop had paid for it. 

A close up of the exceptional detail. It truly is an extraordinary work of American Folk Art. 

An early 20th century oil on canvas still life of daffodils. I purchased this last Christmas during my annual antiquing jaunt with my mother. It was $20, and worth every single penny.

close up of the painting.

Here's my kitchen last spring with two impressionist landscapes on the wall. I purchased these separately at my local flea market; one was $5, and the other was $15. Though I didn't purchase them from the same vendor, I do wonder if they are by the same artist. The subject matter and technique is remarkably similar between the two. 

Close up of the two paintings, with my lime tree in the foreground.
In my upstairs hallway I have my three favorite paintings displayed together. At least once a day I walk by these paintings and stop in my tracks just to admire them. 

The center painting was given to me as a gift from my parents last Christmas. It was $65, which I know because I choose it from an antique shop on Rt. 1 in Maine. It reminds me of the Shire,
and, above all other things I've collected over the years, my absolute favorite antique.

The top painting was done in the 1930s as part of a ladies' painting club in Connecticut. It is airy and fresh. I purchased it at the flea market for $17, if memory serves.
The bottom painting I purchased three years ago at the flea market straight from the daughter of the artist. It was painted about forty years ago, and the subject is a chicken coop in Coventry Connecticut. The artist so perfectly captured the exuberance and joy of spring. 

Finally, a little different take on art, this mid 20th century art portfolio which is tricky to display, but no less precious to me. The artist was taking a correspondence course, and the portfolio features her work, her notes, and the feedback of the instructor. Someday, when I have more wall space, I'll frame all of these and display them together on a large gallery wall. I bought it two years ago at an antique mall in Maine for $115 or so.

The notes and sketches add so much to the final work. 

So there are the highlights from my collection. 
I hope it inspires you to go out and buy some art of your own!!

It's Time For Spring

Ok, Christmas is done and over, and like every year, I'll be putting up my spring decor on January 1st.  I am by no means a fan of winter, so I'm perfectly happy to spend the next two and half months playing make believe, pretending it's not dreadful outside.
     Last night I spent hours and hours on pinterest putting a fine point on the Spring 2015 look. Here are some of my favorites. If you want even more (of course you do!) you can check out the entire pinterest page here- https://www.pinterest.com/heirandspace/early-spring-2015/

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Antique Dresser Turned Media Console

This was a fun project I was commissioned to do for a neighbor. I started with a lovely antique dresser that the neighbor had in her basement. It needed a little work, but nothing earth-shattering. We decided to upcycle it into a media console for her living room. The paint is a charcoal gray with just a hint of purple undertone finished with a dark wax. I removed the top trim and drawers and added the pine top and shelves. I swapped the old drawer pulls out for more modern brushed nickel cove pulls.
I'm delivering it in 35 minutes! (busy Christmas Eve!)
This will be my last post before Christmas so I hope you and yours, wherever you are, have a holiday full of love and beauty. Merry Christmas!!

A Sideboard Inspired by a Barn

I love driving around the countryside in Connecticut. Even in the worst weather it's beautiful in a wild rural way. As you may know, I'm an old house junky, and a large upside to picking up and delivering furniture is getting to admire all the gorgeous antique houses this wonderful state has to offer. Last week I drove by an early 19th century Greek Revival house with the prettiest old barn next to it. It was painted in a faded emerald green which was both unexpected and absolutely breathtaking. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to paint something that color. Since I had this sideboard in the back of my truck at that very moment, it seemed fitting that it be the chosen piece.
        The sideboard is vintage maple, the bottom half of a hutch. The top was seriously uninspired, and went straight to the fire pit. I added a pine top to give the piece a more rustic look to play off the green. I sanded the case, applied the custom mixed green chalk paint, distressed a bit, and finished with a dark wax. The draw pulls are antique pressed brass and salvaged from another antique piece, then re-colored in a soft copper.