Friday, January 25, 2013

Auction Mania

I love finding a good deal and it's even more enjoyable when the environment is appealing and you're not digging through some dusty, smelly, gross antique store basement.  Last summer I went with my mom to an auction located in the small town of Mountain Lake, MN, where she grew up, with a population around 2,000.  Although it is more diverse now, the town was initially composed of mostly 1,800 Russian Mennonites who settled there between 1873 and 1880. Most of the auctions are on farms in that area, but this one happened to be in the town. Auctions can be fun even if its just for the people watching, or looking for that one little treasure.  I often find that auctions in rural or farmland areas contain a lot of tools, mostly rusty and not too functional, or heavier equipment, but this one was a gold mine!! The family was very creative--painters, decorators, upholsterers, sewers, and obviously collectors.  There were gorgeous murals on the walls throughout the mid century house (sorry didn't get pics of those!). 
 Oodles and oodles of quilts of all kinds in fabulous shape, and with their creative eye, many were very unique.  I tend to like the crazy quilt style above.

 Wool, wool, and more wool.  Being a textiles and fiber nut, I was instantly drawn to this.

 More gorgeous wools--plaids, stripes, solids...bags and bags of it.

Many fabulous oriental/persian style rugs.

 Antique dolls, tins, and notecards.  Look at the gorgeous turquoise and yellow design on the top of the can behind the dolls.

 Antlers and antique game boards -- all the things you see being used in decorating and design magazines currently.  And not just one of each -- if they had something, they had many variations of it.

 I am also a nut for the Art Nouveau period with its undulating lines and curvy movement.  This mirror was so indicative of that.

 Close up of mirror's sinuous lines

 Tons of rag rugs, which I could really use now for a current upholstery project of mine!

 The grounds at the house were spectacular, yet natural, earthy and like the Art Nouveau period, very undulating, so of course, there was a lot of wonderful garden statuary.

 Fun collectibles

 What can I say, I am the ultimate cat lover, so of course, had to take a pic of this.  However, there were many other with dogs, one with birds, one name it!

 Teacups, teacups, and more teacups! Not typically uncommon for auctions, but WOW...this many for a single household? Some had the coolest designs.

 Part of the grounds...isn't this inviting?

 Exactly what most people in a town of 2,000 on a nice summer day came for...socializing and catching up with friends and neighbors.

 Rolls and rolls of designer upholstery fabrics

 Stunning carved antique furniture

 One thing I did buy...this funky white peacock antique print by Jessie Arms Botke.  I wish it was an original but then the cost would have been out of my reach. However, since the print is antique, the quality of brushstroke imagery is lovely.

 And talk about an impulse purchase...just as we were leaving, the auctioneer was starting the bidding on this faux mohair sofa, which can be separated into 3 separate pieces.  Starting bid: $4.50.  Did anybody want it? No one.  So, I bought it for $4.50!  The bad news...I live 3 hours from where the auction was and have a small SUV car, so it is currently at my parents house, which is just fine. Do I need it, do I have someplace to put it? NO. But really, when in your life can you say you bought a sofa for $4.50 that looks this good??? Yeah, I know...impulse.

Have a fabulous weekend!!

XXOO Susan Registered & Protected

Monday, January 21, 2013


I love playing with design elements...looking at strategies a different way, reversing the norms, etc. For the last few years, a trend of reversing the size of wall decor over furniture has been booming.  I love it!  It really gives a new sense of energy and enthusiasm for rooms by playing with proportion and scale, and of course, I always love it when art takes center stage! It works brilliantly in creating a strong focal point and can give the illusion of enlarging a small space. In addition to being great examples of oversized art, below are also some of my favorite rooms of all time.  Enjoy these fabulous examples, and please, try this at home!!!  If you're not sure how to make it work, let's talk!

What can I of my all time favorite designers.  His mix of styles, patterns, proportions, and colors always makes me smile. Miles Redd

Another of my fave designers. As Jamie has said, if you're looking for all beige, don't come to me.  I agree! Design by Jamie Drake & Assoc.  Art by Lana Gomez

 Cool Liz Taylor art--Love the image of her in her slip with a drink, the pinky rosy hues of it, the retro feel, the way it fills up the wall, but in a child's bedroom? Hmmm...not so sure about that. I think future therapy will be in order. Vogue Archive

A mirror also does the trick.  Make sure it has a substantial, interesting frame.  Elle Decor

Steven Gambrel

So minimalist, yet feels so complete. Garret Cord Werner Architecture & Interiors

Don't hesitate to tuck the art behind the sofa if too large -- of course, this also may depend on the image. Design by Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects. Photo by Nikolas Koenig.

Notice how the sconce shades, on either side of the photograph, blend into the wall giving the art even more focal power. Amanda Nisbet Design

Photograph or painting, I see this design strategy as a sure winner and a classic, yet avant garde approach, that will never go out of style.  Go for it!!!

XXOO Susan Registered & Protected