Antiques Blog

How to Mix Wood Tones

It is good news that the days of matching dining and bedroom sets is long gone, but many people are still afraid to mix multiple wood finishes in a single room. Don’t be. Allowing various wood tones to coexist, just like the many types of trees in a single forest, can create a more interesting and textured look. Here are some guidelines for successfully mixing it up without letting it get so out of hand that you feel like tossing your mismatched wood grains into a pile and lighting a fire.

Pick a dominant wood tone

The easiest way to pick a dominant wood tone is by choosing your floors. (If you are a renter and your floors have chosen you, work with what you have because the floor will set the tone for the rest of the room.)

The kind of wood finish you choose for your floor is a matter of personal taste and budget. Do you like dark-stained matte floorboards? Honey-toned oak with a glossy finish? Blond maple? Pickled oak with an aged whitewashed look? A new finish can radically change the feeling of a room, but it’s also a major investment, so pick something that you feel comfortable living with for years to come.

If you have concrete, rubber, or carpeted floors, choose a wood tone for larger furniture pieces as a starting point and add more tones as desired.

Pair similar (but not matching) tones

Medium-toned woods that don’t match but complement one another create a harmonious look. You can also use natural or unfinished woods to craft an organic and rustic feeling. Whitewashed elements add an airy effect, while dark-stained furniture lends contrast and a sense of groundedness. Incorporating too much of the same wood tone results in a static feeling, making it hard for individual pieces to stand out.

Limit your wood tones to two or three to start

The French love pairing white dining French chairs like the one above with a mahogany dining table. You can see from this small example of how interesting the white and mahogany contrast works. We've been advocating the mix for years!

The French love pairing white dining French chairs (like the one above) with a red or brown mahogany dining table. You can see from this small example of how interesting the contrast looks. We’ve been advocating the mix for years!

Limit your mix to two or three wood tones in the beginning, and try to balance them throughout the space for a harmonious look. Once you have your anchor pieces in place, you can experiment by swapping out a walnut coffee table for a distressed-wood piece or adding a driftwood lamp or a bamboo pendant light for another layer of interest. In a kitchen with a wooden floor, you might combine maple cabinets with rustic pine floors or glossy oak floors with a matte walnut island. If the tones of a chair, table, sideboard, or trunk don’t work in your space, consider painting the piece for a more neutral effect.


We love the look of the Victorian mahogany chairs paired with a simple farm table. Nothing fussy or boring about this room.

We love the look of the Victorian mahogany chairs paired with a simple farm table. Nothing fussy or boring about this room.

If your gorgeous antique mahogany table looks too harsh on your new bamboo floor, use a rug to create a landing pad and a smoother transition. The same is true when you want to lend the room a sense of contrast or help set off the lines of furnishings that might be lost against the backdrop of a similarly toned wood floor.

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, BC.

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Flea Markets in Vancouver for Antiques?


Marche aux Puces in Paris

We visit the Marche aux Puces in Paris, but not many in the Vancouver, area.

Many people ask us if we ever do the flea markets in Vancouver to source any of our furniture. The answer is no. Not because we don’t like flea markets or think we wouldn’t find anything, but it’s always been our focus to import our products from France and other parts of Europe. We love the uniqueness and the quality that European antiques are famous for. And our clients seem to love them too!


19th Century Italian farm table

The likelihood of finding a 19th Century Italian farm table like this at a Vancouver Flea market is remote.

Flea markets are usually independent people or dealers that deal mainly with ‘smalls’ as we in the trade call them. That means china, glassware, and other collectibles. The odd dealer will haul a big piece of furniture but it’s difficult and for a ‘day’ it’s hardly worth the effort.

However, if you like flea markets they can be a fun way to spend the afternoon perusing through the myriad of tables and displays. You’ll never know what you’ll come across.

I’ve put together a list of local flea and farmer’s markets in the Vancouver area. The list was gleaned from the website. Some I’ve attended and some I’ve not. I love farmer’s markets particularly! There is a very good one out in the Ladner area that takes place in the summer on alternating weekends. Great produce and interesting vendors.

21st Century Flea Market – The flea markets and Retro/Antiques Fairs are all held at the Croatian Cultural Centre and the two Kerrisdale Antiques Fairs are at the Kerrisdale Arena in Vancouver.

General Admission $5 at Door 10am-3pm, Special Early-Bird Admission $20 at Door 7am-10am Children Under 13 Free with Adult Free Parking Snack Bar ATM. Phone (604) 980 3159 for more information or visit their web site at “We are a European-style collectors market, specializing in collectibles, antiques, retro, vintage and the like, rather than new or craft-type merchandise” says Renee Lafontaine of 21st Century Promotions.


Vancouver Flea Markets - Croatian Cultural Centre

The 21st Century Flea Market by 21st. C. Productions takes place at both the Croation Center and the Kerrisdale Arena.

2015 Dates:

Sunday, January 18, 2015 – 21st Century Flea Market

Sunday, February 22, 2015 – Retro Design & Antiques Fair

Sunday, March 22, 2015 – 21st Century Flea Market

Sat & Sun – April 18 & 19, 2015 – Kerrisdale Antiques Fair

Sunday, May 24, 2015 – 21st Century Flea Market

Sunday, June 28, 2015 – Retro Design & Antiques Fair

Sunday, July 26, 2015 – 21st Century Flea Market

Sat & Sun – Sep 5 & 6, 2015 – 21st Century Flea Market

Sunday, October 18, 2015 – Retro Design & Antiques Fair

Sunday, November 15, 2015 – 21st Century Flea Market

Sunday, December 6, 2015 – Retro Design & Antiques Fair


Gates open every Sunday 7:am to 3:00 pm. Table cost: $15.00 inside the hall and on the patio. Parking lot space $20.00 each. Tables are available for rent at $5.00 each. Admission: $1.00, children under 10 years are free.

Reservation required for inside and outside space. To reserve call Gary Johal @ 604-580-8444 office.

Aldergrove Flea Market – This is a new outdoor only market for 2013. It is at the corner of 264th Street and the Fraser Highway in Aldergrove, B.C. It is outside on blacktop. You can find most anything there. There is a very large tool vendor there and others who handle most everything else. It current runs Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am to approx. 3:00pm depending on customers. No one will likely be there on rainy days. but it’s a lot of fun. There are restaurants nearby. You can take in the large Cloverdale flea market on the way there or back. Spots to sell are $10 per parking stall. You must supply your own tables. Best times are sunny or non rainy days from April 01-Sept 30. There will be some vendors there earlier and later that this if the weather is good.See you there.


Vancouver Flea Markets - Aldergrove

The Aldergrove flea market is a fun way to spend a warm sunny summer afternoon.

Chinatown Public Market Weekend evenings (Friday to Sunday from 6:30 to 11:30) Keefer and Pender Streets become an open-air public market.

Cloverdale Flea Market – Update April 24 – New at this point is the return of our nurseries. For the next several Sundays, we will be filled with plant vendors. The plant people carry everything from bedding plants, hanging baskets, shrubs, perennials, annuals, flowers, succulents, etc… the list goes on! Definitely the best deals in the lower mainland!

The hours, 6:00 AM – 4:00 PM every Sunday with very few exceptions, remain the same. It is located in the Cloverdale Fairgrounds with entrances at 176th & 62nd Ave. and 176th and 60th Ave., Surrey. Admission is $1.50, children under 12 are free.

Please contact Andy Janes at 604-837-1676 or email at [email protected]. Website,

The Eastside Flea – The Food Cart Fest ends on Sept 22, and the Eastside Flea is on-going monthly at the Wise Hall. We would like to invite you all to join us at the Wise Hall this fall, every 3rd Saturday of the month, for a day of wonders, treasures, charm, and good company! The Eastside Flea is a fresh new monthly flea market in East Vancouver featuring a diverse array of vendors from handmade goods, vintage clothing & antiques, art, craftsmen items, garage sale, and more! Admission into the market is by donation, and is all ages! Please bring the family, friends, anyone you know… we’ll have something for everyone!! This is a community-oriented event, and we would like to encourage all types of vendors to participate, from people with extra knick-knacks around the house to local businesses.
If you are interested in becoming a vendor at the Eastside Flea, or want more info, please send us an email at [email protected]


Vancouver Flea Markets - East Side Christmas Market

The east side flea market Christmas market.

East Vancouver Farmers Market has a number of markets in the Vancouver area and it stakes its claim as the only “true Farmers Market” in the heart of the city. Buy directly from farmers and other local producers. For more info, call (604) 879-FARM (3276) web site link and look under ‘Markets’.

Fall Market Place Montage a Fall Artisan Market to be held @ the O.P Hall 1577 128th Street, South Surrey. One day only! Saturday, October 11th, 2014 10:00 a.m. ± 4:00 p.m. An eclectic mix of tasteful home and personal accessories from a variety of talented artists and artisans. If you are an artist looking to display and sell your works, contact me, Cathie, right away.

Leather Goods Woodworking
Sterling Silver Jewellery Handmade Soap
Original Paintings Photography
Up-cycled Furniture Knitted Goods
Collectibles Vintage Inspired Jewellery
Flowers for your Thanksgiving Table Fall Comfort Food
Admission by Donation and Concession (Admission and Concession proceeds will be donated to The Canadian Woman’s Foundation and BC Guide Dogs) Contact Cathie Stonier for more information.

Kennedy Flea Market **New Owner** March 2014
8870 120 St, Surrey, BC V3V 4B4
Contact: Lucky Ph. # 778-709-5872

Kerrisdale Village Farmers Market Saturdays, July 7 – October 6 10am – 2pm each week East Boulevard between 37th and 41st Avenue – near Kerrisdale Arena INTERACTIVE MARKET MAP

Kitsilano Farmers Market Sundays, May 20 – October 21 10am – 2pm each week 2690 Larch Street at 10th Avenue, Parking Lot of Kitsilano Community Centre INTERACTIVE MARKET MAP

Main Street Station at Thornton Park Wednesdays, June 6 – October 3
3pm – 7pm 1100 Block Station Street along Thornton Park across from the VIA Rail Station and near the Main St Skytrain Station INTERACTIVE MARKET MAP

North Shore Green Markets – Has a variety of markets each week with the SHOWCASE being the Friday Night market 5pm – 10pm June 15th – Oct 26th, 2012 Shipbuilders Plaza 138 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver. It features 4-6 different local musicians, dancers and performers each and every Friday night along with up to 70 local artisans, vendors and unique gourmet food trucks.
The market location is on the pier, to the east of Lonsdale Quay and is perfectly situated along the new and future Spirit Trail. The Pier development neighbours over 10 residential towers, Lonsdale Quay, restaurants, the Seabus and many other businesses. The location will make this event a perfect destination to bike, walk, rollerblade or hop the bus or Seabus and relax at the Pier take in the sights, sunsets, shop, eat and be entertained.

Their web site is: and the contact is Ingrid, 778-995-9461 | [email protected]


The North Shore Green Market

The North Shore Green Market

Otakara Hakkutsu (Treasure Hunt) Market at Japanese cultural centre! Date & Time: Every March. Location: Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, 6688 Southoaks Cres., Burnaby (Kingsway & Sperling Ave).
“One’s Garakuta (junk) is another’s Otakara (treasure).” Over 40 tables selling Japanese items, dishes, clothes, small appliances, toys, books etc. Find treasures! Join the many scavengers!

Open free to the public, free underground parking. Tables are available at $25 each. For more info: or call 604.777.7000

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 118 – Cost is $20 per table – come join the fun, make some money and clear out some stuff! For information please stop by the branch or call 604 985 1115 Royal Canadian Legion Branch 118 123 West 15th Street (@ Lonsdale) North Vancouver.

Star of the Sea Catholic Church hall – markets are held the first sat. of Sept.4, Oct 2, Nov. 6, Dec 4. Some tables are available for rent. Please call Phil@ 604 536 5411.

Trout Lake Farmers Market Saturdays, May 12 – October 20 9am – 2pm each week North Parking Lot of John Hendry Park at Trout Lake Between Templeton and Lakewood south of the 13th Avenue Alley Please note: There is no parking in the North Lot and no parking on 13th Avenue. Please park away from the area & walk in. INTERACTIVE MARKET MAP

The Twilight Drive In Theatre Swap Meet – Every Sunday, gates open at 7AM & close at 4pm weather permitting mid April to mid October. Admission Sellers: $15, Buyers: $1, 260th St. & Fraser Highway, Langley, BC. For more information call 604-856-5165 or go to Sellers are welcome all day, no reservations required.

UCWLC Branch & St. Mary’s Parish – Saturday, May 25, 2013 9:30 – 2:30 Great stuff new & used Lunch available Gently used articles No clothing Tables: $25 Contacts: Olga 604-274-9804; Mary 604-271-1131; Marlayne 604-274-3164 ** St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Centre, 3150 Ash Street, (16th Ave. & Ash Street, Vancouver) Sunday, February 22, 2015 – Benefit Concert by S.K.A.Y.
Location – 550 West 14th Ave Vancouver BC (St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Centre)
Time – 7 PM.
S.K.A.Y. band can fairly be called one of the most popular rock bands in Ukrainian show business. They will perform at the St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Centre with all proceeds going to support wounded Ukrainian soldiers and their families.
Tickets $40 ($45 at the door).
Call 604-336-0887 or e-mail [email protected] for tickets and more details.


SKAY Concert Performance

SKAY will be performing a concert in support of the Ukrainian soldiers during the crises in the Ukraine.

Vancouver Flea Market – 703 Terminal Avenue, Vancouver. The Vancouver Flea market – 360 tables Open EVERY weekend of the year Admission $1.00 Tables $25 We sell everything you can imagine. From Antique and collectibles to gold and silver jewellery. We now take consignment info 604-685-8843 Call (604) 685-0666 | 2014 Show Dates: Sun Jan 12, Sun Mar 9, Sun June 29, Sun Sept 14, Sun Nov 9 – Be sure and look for them!


The Vancouver Flea Market is located at Terminal and Main St.

The Vancouver Flea Market is located at Terminal and Main St.

West End Farmers Market Saturdays, June 2 – October 20 9am – 2pm each week 1100 Block of Comox Street across from Nelson Park at Mole Hill INTERACTIVE MARKET MAP

Vancouver’s Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium – Every Saturday, 10am – 2pm (closed December 24 & 31) Location: 30th and Ontario Street in the East Parking lot and Plaza of Nat Bailey Stadium. No access to 30th Avenue from King Edward on Ontario Street. There is no access to 30th Avenue when travelling south on Ontario Street.

You can always consider visiting the Antique Warehouse for a semblance of a trip to a flea market in Europe. We have over 12,000 sq. ft. of furniture and collectibles imported from France, Italy, Belgium and England. Our visitors and clients tell us they love to spend an afternoon just ambling through our store looking ( and buying ) some of the most beautiful things in the city.

If antiques are your thing then pay us a visit soon.

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, BC

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An Art Deco Christmas Eve

It was around 3 o’clock on Christmas Eve when we pulled into Brussels. We’d been on the road for over 7 days touring the Christmas markets in France and Germany, and visiting Larry’s family. Our final leg of our trip was to spend Christmas Eve with our friends who’d recently moved to Brussels. When I say recently, I mean that same day!

Jeff and his family have been the subject of many of my blogs. I have to say he’s unequivocally my best friend in Europe and I was sad when I learned Jeff and his family were moving to Brussels. For economic reasons, they left Paris like so many other Parisians after Francois Hollande took control and imposed so many unreasonable taxes.


Jeff, Helene, Louis and Constantine on the staircase of their new home

Jeff, Helene, Louis and Constantine on the staircase of their new home

But I could see that his move to Brussels was going to be a happy one. His new house, was nothing short of breathtaking with it’s 5000 sq. ft. of Art Deco detail. From 14ft. ceilings to 4 ft wide crown moulding details, every turn delighted the eye. There’s a large backyard garden for the boys to play in. Their Parisian apartment, while large (100m or 1000 sq. ft) what a fraction of the size of this house and certainly didn’t have a full backyard.


Art Deco details were breathtaking. Look at the grillwork spaning the main salon from petite salon

Art Deco details were breathtaking. Look at the grillwork spaning the main salon from petite salon

The house has four floors, an immense garage for four cars, and a large backyard. In European standards this is privileged living.


Photo of me on the sofa in the main living room or salon.

Photo of me on the sofa in the main living room or salon.

The next photo gives you some idea of the scale of the height of the ceilings in this place.


Larry is over 6'2 to give you some idea of the height of the celings.

Larry is over 6’2 to give you some idea of the height of the celings.

Art Deco details were everywhere in this house. The house was originally built in the late 19th Century, with the Art Deco additions done in the early 20th Century. (there were influences of Art Nouveau in the Art Deco details). In the ‘Biz’ we’d call this transitional.

From the grill work to the light fixtures, everything was intact from it’s last restoration. Above the fireplace was a stained glass Art Nouveau/Deco scene of a mermaid in the ocean.


The fireplace was 19th Century and made from solid marble. The above stained glass was added later.

The fireplace was 19th Century and made from solid marble. The above stained glass was added later.


Note the intricated moulding on the ceiling.

Note the intricated moulding on the ceiling.


I wish I had brought a good camera to capture more of the beauty of this house. As it was an Iphone 5 had to suffice.

I wish I had brought a good camera to capture more of the beauty of this house. As it was an Iphone 5 had to suffice.

It was after 1 in the morning when we wrapped up our visit. Our friends were so excited about their new home, they didn’t want us to go.


Fabulous Wall Sconce measuring over 16" Tall.

Fabulous Wall Sconce measuring over 16″ Tall.

I spotted a fabulous ceiling fixture that was at least 4 ft. long in the main entrance of the house. I would have given anything to find something like this to bring back to Canada.

celing fixture

More Art Deco detail in the entrance of the house.

More Art Deco detail in the entrance of the house.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of this magnificent house. We have an open invitation to stay with them anytime we’re in Brussels. This is one invite I intend to take them up on!

Happy Holidays.

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, BC

Hyatt Regency in Cologne Loves Antiques

In the ultra chic 5* Hyatt Regency in Cologne Germany we spotted this beautiful 19th Century farm table in the entrance foyer of the business class lounge. We’ve always said it…antiques in an ultra modern interior work beautifully. Evidently the designers of this hotel thought so too!

A beautiful 19th Century Farm table graced the foyer of the business class lounge at the 5* Hyatt Regency in Cologne Germany

A beautiful 19th Century Farm table graced the foyer of the business class lounge at the 5* Hyatt Regency in Cologne Germany

Happy Holidays!

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
Vancouver, Canada.

Was the Mona Lisa a Chinese Slave, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mother?

The elusive identity of the Mona Lisa, one of art history’s most enduring and well-loved mysteries, might have just been solved. Well, sort of. According to art historian Angelo Paratico, the woman portrayed in Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece might be, simultaneously, a Chinese slave and the painter’s mother, the South China Morning Post reports.

However, Paratico is not yet exactly positive about the details of his potentially groundbreaking theory. “I’m sure to a point that Leonardo’s mother was from the Orient, but to make her an oriental Chinese, we need to use deductive method,” he told SCMP.

The Hong-Kong-based historian is giving the final touches to a book entitled Leonardo da Vinci: A Chinese Scholar Lost in Renaissance Italy. “One wealthy client of Leonardo’s father had a slave called Caterina,” Paratico told SCMP. “After 1452, Leonardo’s date of birth, she disappeared from the documents. She was no longer working there.”

Apparently, Caterina (da Vinci’s mother is widely thought to have been named Caterina) was taken to the town of Vinci, outside Florence, to give birth. Paratico’s angle is that she had to be removed from the household due to her improper relationship with her master, Leonardos’ father.

Does the theory sound like a bit of a long shot? Perhaps. But Paratico argues that, already a hundred years ago, the venerable Sigmund Freud claimed that the iconic painting was inspired by da Vinci’s mother, in his 1910 essay, “A Childhood Reminiscence of Leonardo da Vinci.”

Paratico substantiates his thesis further by insisting some aspects of da Vinci’s life suggest an oriental connection. For example, he was left-handed as well as a vegetarian, both of which were uncommon at the time. The art historian also says that Italy was full of oriental slaves during the Renaissance.

He believes that the painting’s background depicts a Chinese landscape, and that the Mona Lisa’s face looks Chinese.

Does it all still sound a little tenuous? Francisco Vizeu Pinheiro, an architect and assistant professor at the University of St Joseph, thinks so, telling SCMP that Paratico is “jumping quickly to conclusions since there’s no concrete evidence.”

Meanwhile, according to the Telegraph, users of the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo have launched a Chinese-Mona Lisa meme parade, replacing her features with hilarious alternatives, for example the face of the Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan.

“I now understand why her smile looks so mysterious and concealed,” joked a Sina Weibo user. “It’s typically Chinese.”

The Mona Lisa with the superimposed face of Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan.

The Mona Lisa with the superimposed face of Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan.

The ‘Feasts’ of Christmas Past

While waiting to board between flights for Europe, I decided that instead of being glued to my computer and iphone like everyone else in the lounge I would revert to an earlier period in my life where reading a newspaper or magazine was all there was to pass the time. What a refreshing change that was.

I selected an English publication I had not heard of before ( by English I mean published in England ) that had written a fascinating article about a man named ‘Ivan Day’, an art historian by trade whose passion it was to examine cooking throughout the centuries. As I love to cook I read this article from beginning to end.

The article conjured images of roasting suckling pigs, fabulous meat pies, quince and pheasant pies, dinners by candlelight and roaring fireplaces. What could be more festive. Fascinating insights into how people celebrated the Holidays over the centuries.


 English Antique Furniture

Ivan Day photographed in front of his amazing creations.

The article written by Polly Russell ( Russell herself is a curator at the British Library), states that Ivan Day is a noted authoritarian on food making throughout the ages and runs food courses, advises museums and archives their collections and exhibitions. Day also has a website and has appeared on the BBC.

Day’s home is a charming authentic low beamed Medieval farmhouse in Cumbria that dates back to the 1600’s, replete with his collection of all the equipment needed to produce recipes as far back as the 1500’s. Day has a Medieval fireplace with a spit from the 1700.s that can roast a mutton, he also has antique copper moulds, both pie and jelly, fascinating implements for pie and pastry making that date back to the 1600’s.

Day’s passion began at the age of 13 when, after ducking into an antique store to escape the rain, he discovered a tattered old book published in 1723 by John Nott titled ‘The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary’. He took one look, purchased the book as was hooked!


 English Antique Furniture

Ivan Day preparing a dish in his home surrounded by antique copper molds.

Since we’re well into the Holiday period, Ivan discusses the Christmas Feast and how it was enjoyed throughout the ages. In fact, I learned that Medieval people dined more lavishly than we do now. Feasts of 2 courses of 20 dishes each were prepared days in advance to insure a memorable experience at Christmas. It’s little wonder gout was such a problem back then.


 English Antique Furniture

Typical Tudor dress of the era.

Ivan Day explains that roast mutton was a staple at Christmas along with turkey, pheasant, swan, and other wild fowl (all served during the same seating). By the time Christmas came about these birds and animals were at their fattest and ready for butchering. As early at the 1500’s farmers were encouraged to grow Turkeys because they produced the most meat of any bird.

The Christmas pie was the centerpiece of the table. A chef named ‘Francatelli’ produced a pie in 1848 that consisted of truffles, turkey, pheasant and a small york ham that took two days to produce and 6 hours to cook. To produce a pie like this today, Ivan claims, would cost over $600!


 English Antique Furniture

A partridge pie created by Ivan himself. In the medieval period the chef would take the head and feathers of the actual bird so that people knew what they were eating.

Ivan also discusses the preparation that went into making desserts and sweets over the ages.


 English Antique Furniture

A ‘motto’ shortbread from the Victorian Era.

In a Christmas Day bill of fare by Robert May dated 1660 you can see below all the dishes that were prepared and served!

by Robert May, 1660

1. A collar of brawn [pork that is rolled, tied, and boiled in wine and seasonings].
2. Stewed Broth of Mutton marrow bones.
3. A grand Sallet [salad].
4. A pottage [thick stew] of caponets [young castrated roosters].
5. A breast of veal in stoffado [stuffed veal].
6. A boil’d partridge.
7. A chine (a cut of meat containing backbone) of beef, or surloin roast. Here’s May’s recipe:

To roast a Chine, Rib, Loin, Brisket, or Fillet of Beef
Draw them with parsley, rosemary, tyme, sweet marjoram, sage, winter savory, or lemon, or plain without any of them, fresh or salt, as you please; broach it, or spit it, roast it and baste it with butter; a good chine of beef will ask six hours roasting.

For the sauce take strait tops of rosemary, sage-leaves, picked parsley, tyme, and sweet marjoram; and strew them in wine vinegar, and the beef gravy; or otherways with gravy and juice of oranges and lemons. Sometimes for change in saucers of vinegar and pepper.

8. Minced pies.
9. A Jegote [sausage] of mutton with anchove sauce.
10. A made dish of sweet-bread (Here’s a recipe from A New Booke of Cookerie by John Murrell, published in 1615: Boyle, or roast your Sweet-bread, and put into it a fewe Parboyld Currens, a minst Date, the yolkes of two new laid Egs, a piece of a Manchet grated fine. Season it with a little Pepper, Salt, Nutmeg, and Sugar, wring in the iuyce of an Orenge, or Lemon, and put it betweene two sheetes of puft-paste, or any other good Paste: and eyther bake it, or frye it, whether you please.)
11. A swan roast.
12. A pasty of venison.
13. A kid with a pudding in his belly.
14. A steak pie.
15. A hanch of venison roasted.
16. A turkey roast and stuck with cloves.
17. A made dish of chickens in puff paste.
18. Two bran geese roasted, one larded [larding is inserting or weaving strips of fat in the meat, sometimes with a needle].
19. Two large capons, one larded.
20. A Custard.


Oranges and Lemons
1. A young lamb or kid.
2. Two couple of rabbits, two larded.
3. A pig souc’t [sauced] with tongues.
4. Three ducks, one larded.
5. Three pheasants, 1 larded.
6. A Swan Pye [the showpiece: a pie with the dead swan’s head, neck, and wings sticking up from it].
7. Three brace of partridge, three larded.
8. Made dish in puff paste.
9. Bolonia sausages, and anchoves, mushrooms, and Cavieate, and pickled oysters in a dish.
10. Six teels, three larded.
11. A Gammon of Westphalia Bacon.
12. Ten plovers, five larded.
13. A quince pye, or warden pie [pears or quinces peeled and poached in syrup, then baked whole in a pie].
14. Six woodcocks, 3 larded.
15. A standing Tart in puff-paste, preserved fruits, Pippins, &c.
16. A dish of Larks.
17. Six dried neats [calf] tongues
18. Sturgeon.
19. Powdered [salted] Geese.

And you know, nothing says Christmas like powdered geese and jellies.

No where does it mention how many people were served at this feast. But we can assume it was more than 4!


 English Antique Furniture

Quince Tart or ‘Pastello de poma cotogne’ – or quince tart made from a recipe in Maestro Martino, Libro de arte coquinaria, perhaps the most important cookery text of the early renaissance. The hollowed out quinces are stuffed with bone marrow, sugar and cinnamon and baked on a puff paste base.

If your ambitious and think you’d like to try a Quince Tart or Pie, there are several modern day versions on the internet. You could try the original recipe dated in the 1660’s posted below: (if you can understand it…also the creation of the pastry is just assumed )

Quince Pye Recipe C.1660

Boil your Quinces in Water, sweetened with Sugar, till they be soft, then skin them and take out the Cores; after that boil the Water with a little more Sugar, Cloves, Cinnamon and Lemon peel till it becomes of the thickness of a Syrup; when cold lay your Quinces in Halves or Quarters, scattering Sugar between each Layer; put a pint of the Syrup, or more according to the Biggness of your Pye or Tart, make the Coffin round with close or cut Covers, and bake it pretty well. And thus you may do with Pippins and Pearmains, or with Winter-Fruit, and also with green Codlings.

If this article has you hungry for more, you can always fly to Cumbria and take one of Ivan’s 2 day courses at a cost of $600. Here’s an example of his course on Pie and Pastry Making


 English Antique Furniture

Pies created in the Pastry making course.

Pie Making and Pastry Course:


10 am – Welcome and Introduction to the Course. This course is for those who want to improve the quality of their pastry and to learn to raise pies to a very high standard of workmanship. We will learn how to re-create English historical recipes from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Our sources will included recipes from Murrell, May, Kidder, Nott, Francatelli, Mrs Marshall and Gouffé.

10.45 – 13.00 – Hot water crust, freehand pie raising and wooden pie forms – we will make and decorate a number of raised pies from historical sources, including a Cheshire Pork Pie, a Stump Pie and some Marrow Chewitts.

13.00 – 14.00 – Lunch

14.00 – 17.00 – Lining Paste, Cold Water Paste and Metal Pie Forms – Using 19th century pie forms and boards for printing sprig decorations, we will make a very ambitious raised pie based on one of Agnes Marshall’s recipes.

17.00 – 20.00 – Free

20.00 – Historic dinner (lots of pies of course) at Wreay Farm


10.00 – 13.00 A Lamb Pasty – we will make a highly decorative lamb pasty based on a design in Edward Kidder’s beautiful Book Receipts of Pastry and Cookery from the early eighteenth century.

13.00 – 14.00 – Lunch

14.00 – 17.00- Fine Pastry, Torts and Tarts – We will learn to make puff paste and paste royal and make some taffety tarts and a banniet tort.

As much as I love the sounds of all of this I am here in France. I’ve heard from friends that the very same thing exists here. I’ll see what I can find.

Until next time.
Thanks for reading.
Happy Holidays!

Mark LaFleur
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive
Vancouver, BC

Please visit our website at

In The Tradition of The Old Masters

So you think the great European craftsmen of centuries gone by have all but disappeared? Not So! In fact, here in our very own New Westminster exists one ‘Alexandre Sukhomilov’ who is replicating the quality and beauty of the French and European masters right in his studio.

We first met Alex in our store, when he’d be buying some of our most beautiful French 19th Century pieces. That is when he told us he was replicating the designs for his upmarket clientele who wanted the beauty of Europe for their homes in Vancouver we were impressed.

Alex can make anything from elaborate crown mouldings to full walled panels, trumeaus and more. All made to order to fit any sized room!

This difference with Alex’s product that instead of Gesso ( a form of plaster used by the old masters ) which breaks down over time, he uses a high quality resin that will literally last forever. The results were astounding.

Have a look at the photos below that he sent us.



The quality and detail are spot on, but we have to say, if you like the look of the ‘distressed’ 19th Century mirrors with all their  imperfections and flaws, you’ll still have to come to us.

But if you’re looking for made to measure elaborate old world charm room panels, moulding,  and more, see Alex. His work is breathtaking.

He’s located at 1019 Quebec St. in New Westminster, B.C.

Contact us for more information.

Mark LaFleur @ The Antique Warehouse.

The Color ‘Blue’

I’ve always loved the color blue. It can be formal or very relaxed depending on the shade. But the color applies to one of my all time favorite foods. The ‘blueberry’. Chocked full of flavor and those ever so important ‘antioxidants’ it’s worth having blueberries almost every day of the year.

You may think it odd that I’m writing about blueberries. But I discovered something quite wonderful this week that I felt I just had to share with all of you.

This year, like most years, we travel up to the Shuswap and stay my great friend Brian who has a wonderful place on the lake near Blind Bay. He was buzzing about this super place he loves called ‘Onninks Farm’. When he mentioned all they farmed was blueberries my interest suddenly peaked.

Brian suggested we stop in on our way back from the Shuswap. And that’s exactly what we did!

When we arrived at the farm the first thing I loved was the blue fence surrounding the property! The drive up to the sorting house was like discovering something special that we’d only see in Europe. We were greeted by the proprietor below (who’s from Rotterdam) who proceeded to tell us how her blueberries were washed, sorted, ( by an amazing computerized sorting and cleaning maching you can see right there ) and then packaged in boxes that were freezer ready.


antique discoveries

The charming owner ‘Arina’ of Onninks Farm. (Everything was spotlessly clean and new) She also told us she loved our store and had purchased many things in the past.

The boxes are only $26/box for all these organic pre-washed blueberries!

antique discoveries

The ‘Birgit’ Berry is one of her best and in season now. Large, plump and very sweet!

They also sell these fabulous blueberry bonbons. ( I bought a small box and they are delicious!)


antique discoveries

These delightful little creations are boxed in the cutest little boxes that are so pretty they could be given as gifts.

Sadly I discovered their ‘blueberry tea’ after I left. I will definitely be ordering bottles of this!
No added sugars, no preservative and chocked full of antioxidants!)


antique discoveries

Blueberry Iced Tea!

So if you’re a blueberry lover as I am, it’s worth the trip to Abbotsford just to take advantage of these wonderful berries. Click on this link to see the Onnink’s Blueberry website for more information.

Enjoy the rest of our fabulous summer in beautiful British Columbia no matter where you are!

P.S. our antiques 25th Anniversary Sale is ending soon….if you haven’t stopped by do it soon before it’s too late!


Should I Reupholster or Buy a New Sofa?

That all depends if you purchased a quality sofa to begin with!

According to Suzanne Dimma, editor in chief of House and Home Magazine, investing in the best sofa you can is her advice. If you invest early in the best, a sofa can be recovered for years and years to come.


Suzanne Dimma of House and Home Magazine

Suzanne Dimma of House and Home Magazine

“Invest in the best and start early. I still have the same sofa I bought for my first house. I chose one that was well built and the design I knew would be timeless. I’ve even had it re-upholstered time and time again, and still love it” says the doyenne of style.

If your sofa wasn’t all that great to begin with, consider buying a vintage or antique piece. The quality (particularly the European made) is usually superior to anything made today. From the construction, to the detailing, vintage pieces excel in almost every area. And lets face it, when you recover, you get exactly what you want. So start with good bones, and consider a vintage or antique piece.

How much fabric will you need? Here’s a guide below that can help you predetermine that.

A sofa from 76″ – 84″ Wide will need approximately 16 – 20 yards of fabric.

Classic Louis XVI French made sofa

This Classic Louis XVI French made sofa is timeless in design and when recovered will last for years and years to come. C.1930, the detailing is gorgeous (something you won’t find on a new piece) and will cost less than a new sofa. This piece will probably need around 12 – 15 yards of fabric.


Elegant and modern fabric on a classic Louis XVI Settee

Imagine this lovely fabric on this classic Louis XVI Settee. Elegant and modern.

For chairs, here’s some quick figures to help you out.

A wing back French Louis XVI style chair

A wing back like this French Louis XVI style chair will require about 6 – 7 yards.


French 20th Century Louis XVI Style Armchair

This chair, while almost 60 years old is a style that’s copied and manufactured today. You can buy this chair for less than $500! It will take probably 5 – 6 yards.


French Empire Chairs C.1800.

One of the French Empire Chairs C.1800 will require 4 yards. Times that by 2 for the pair. They’ve last over 150 years now. They’ll be good to go for another 150.

(Everything above is available at the Antique Warehouse). If you don’t see what you’re looking for, remember not everything in our 12,000 sq.ft. store is online. You can also sign up for our weekly acquisitions. You’ll never know what’s coming down the pike. This is Mark LaFleur signing off from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

Have fun!

An Extraordinary Encounter in France

Hello from France!

Just this past week, Larry and I had the great pleasure of meeting a very important lady in the world of early 20th Century furniture designers.

This extraordinary lady’s name is ‘Francoise Siriex’. Mdm. Siriex was the director of the ‘Maison Leleu’ from 1950 until it’s close in 1973.

What was Maison Leleu? It was the atelier of reknowned modernist designer ‘Jules Leleu’ (1883 – 1961).

In case you’ve never heard of Jules Leleu let me fill you in. He was one of the greatest art deco and modernist furniture designers of all time whose beautiful furniture commands several thousands of dollars to this day.

A very close Parisian friend of ours knew how much we loved Leleu and just happened to mention in fact she knew the former directrice. Brigitte, our friend, kindly telephoned Mdm. Siriex and asked if we could meet her. Much to our delight Mdm Siriex agreed.

Larry Adams and Mdm. Siriex at the exhibit of modernist designers at the Espace Landowski

Larry Adams and Mdm. Siriex at the exhibit of modernist designers at the Espace Landowski just outside of Paris.

It was a rainy blustery afternoon that day, in fact, I thought I might spare the lady our meeting by organizing a more ‘weather friendly’ day. When I telephoned her she remarked that a little rain was not a problem and she’d meet us at our arranged time and place.

Madame Siriex well into her later years, met us at the Espace Landowski, a gallery in Boulogne Billancourt and proceeded to tour us around the exhibit that featured Leleu’s work and other super star designers of the time.

We were later invited back to her apartment and chatted with this dynamic woman for over three hours about her past and her work at the Maison Leleu. We learned this incredible lady had recently published a book on the Maison Leleu in 2008.

The House of Leleu by Francoise Siriex Book Cover

The House of Leleu by Francoise Siriex available on

She spent years assembling this magnificent book, which is available through for anyone who’s interested. Be aware however, this book will set you back over $300. If you saw the book you’d know why. It’s one of those fabulous over sized ‘coffee table’ books that’s large, impressive and beautifully put together with loads of information on this incredible designer. In fact, this dynamic lady still flies back and forth to New York doing book signings and guest appearances.

At one point during our visit I remarked if she had any of the original designs from the famed designer. The gracious Mdm Siriex brought out a file of hundreds of original designs that she’d kept for decades. As I carefully leafed through the amazing collection she asked me if I’d like one. Thrilled, of course I said yes. She remarked she couldn’t leave Larry out for fear of rivalry between us so a grateful Larry picked out a wonderful sketch done for a bathroom designed in 1930.

An original pen and ink sketch by Leleu C.1940

The original pen and ink sketch that I chose by Leleu C.1940.

Brief history of Jules Leleu

French superstar designer 'Jules Leleu' C.1940

French superstar designer ‘Jules Leleu’ C.1940.

Jules Leleu was born in Boulogne sur Mer (North of Paris near Calais ) in 1883. Raised in an artisitc family, the young Leleu studied applied arts and in 1918 went into furniture design. He moved to Paris in 1924 where he lived with another famous designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann.

The House of Leleu prospered and later became a family business. By the late 1930s, Leleu’s sons, André and Jean, and his daughter, Paule, were active partners. The famous atelier had an elite clientele including the Prince of Monaco, The Emperor of Japan, and President Eisenhower.

Commode by Jules Leleu C.1930

Commode by Jules Leleu C.1930

The furniture of Leleu is often compared to that of Jacques Ruhlmann. Each liked simplified shapes, the use of exotic woods, marquetry and inlay of ivory.

Leleu outlived Ruhlmann, and his style evolved. He grew adventurous, adopting new materials like artificial lacquer, fiberglass, plastic and aluminum and continued his prolific career designing.

Along with the interiors of industrialists’ houses, Leleu designed sleek salons for ocean liners like the Ile-de-France and the Normandie, corporate offices and interiors for public institutions (the League of Nations in Geneva), and the Elysee Palace in Paris.

SS Ile de France cost over $10,000,000 to build

SS Ile de France cost over $10,000,000 to build.

1st class suite in the SS Ile de France

1st class suite in the SS Ile de France.

Lean Horne and Rita Hayworth

Lean Horne and Rita Hayworth were among frequent voyagers on this luxurious liner.

The Main Foyer of the SS Ile de France

The Main Foyer

Leleu died in 1961, leaving a legacy of elegant, refined and often surprisingly original work, and his pieces are highly sought after today. His family and loyal staff (Mdm Siriex included) continued his work until 1973 when the Maison Leleu finally closed it’s doors.

Beautiful sideboard 'attributed' to Jules Leleu

This beautiful sideboard is only ‘attributed’ to Jules Leleu and sells for $28000.

The Antique Warehouse and ‘Leleu’

A curious remark was made during our visit with Mdm. Siriex. She stated that “Pas tous de Jules Leleu meubles a été signé” which in English means “not all of Leleu’s pieces were signed.” We’ve had signed ‘Leleu’ pieces sold through the store before, but we’re sure we’ve had some that were unsigned. In any event we’ll pay careful attention to the detail and craftsmanship that is unmistakable ‘Leleu’ in the future. Have a look at this French art deco cabinet that’s unsigned and currently in the store.

We have several ‘modernist’ pieces arriving to the store over the next several months. If you’re a lover of this style, please keep tabs on our ‘new container‘ announcements. ( One expected in about two weeks )
You can sign up for our newsletter and product updates if you’ve not already done so. We’ve not picked up any signed pieces of Leleu, but you never know… That’s what makes our business so exciting!

A bientot, from Paris France.


Celebrity Sighting | Antique and Vintage Fashion

Celebrity Sighting | Antique and Vintage Fashion

My old dear friends, Simon and Julie just sent me this photo of Pierce Brosnan in their store. He graciously offered to stop for a photo which Julie quickly sent to all her friends.

Antiques and Vintage Fashion

Pierce Brosnan at an Antique Store

French Nobility Home Untouched for 50 Years

It was a cold rainy grey January afternoon when we entered through the massive gates of a once elegant 19th Century  house. It was a hotel particulier ( city home ) located about 2 hours north of Paris. We’d received a tip from a close friend that a descendant of French Marquis and Marquesa ( the last remaining inheritor in the bitter family feud that lasted over 70 years) wanted to sell the house and all it’s contents, including several pieces of antique furniture. The only problem was the house was left untouched for over 50 years. The prospects of such a find intrigued us so we’d made arrangements to see the house the next day. What we saw and experienced shook us to our very core.

Upon entry, the first thing we noticed was the bitter cold. The dark, damp interior chilled us to the bone. There was dust an inch think, cobwebs, broken floor boards, peeling 19th C. wallpaper and paint. Decay and abandon was everywhere we looked. Armed with nothing but flashlights and daylight streaming through the windows to help light our way, we continued guardedly on.

Climbing the Stairs in an Untouched French Nobility Home

“No one has stepped in the place for over 50 years” said our friend creeping along beside us “so be careful. C’est tres dangereuse.”

19th Century Hallstand in French Nobility Home

This is a shot of the 19th Century hallstand in the main entry foyer. We bought this even though it needs some minor repair. Notice the beautiful tile work in the entrance. Typically late 19th Century C.1880.

Beautiful furniture gone to waste in a French Nobility Home

The beautiful parquet flooring was all bent and broken from moisture from the ground. Documents, old papers, china, objets d’art lay strewn about everywhere. Furniture was everywhere, some still in it’s original place. Notice the beautiful gold gilt furniture ( which was sadly too far gone ) against the broken floor boards and the sad lamp and shade. I just shook my head in disbelief and wonderment. What insanity could possess any family to become so bitter as to let a beautiful home like this fall into such a deplorable state.

French Nobility Bedroom in Disarray

A staircase led to the second floor which had four bedrooms, a full bathroom and separate WC and a sewing room. Closets, armoires and chests of drawers were literally stuffed full of linens, old clothing, documents, and more. Even the bathroom cupboard was full of old prescriptions for the Marquis and his wife intact, from the turn of the Century.

But ours wasn’t to judge. We were in the enviable position of assessing the contents and purchasing whatever we wanted. And we purchased a lot. Amazingly enough, the furniture was all ( well most of it ) in good condition. Very dirty, covered in dust and cobwebs, but in good condition.

All the photos I took are with my iphone so the quality lacks. Hopefully you’ll be able to see past the rubble and dirt to recognize the grandeur that was once this lovely home.

Antique Pram

Antique Fireplace Insert dating from 20th Century. C.1900

This fireplace insert dates to the beginning of the 20th Century. C.1900. It was in perfect condition and one of the loveliest examples of Art Nouveau we’d seen in awhile. (It’s on our next container due to arrive shortly.)

Destroyed Hunters Antique Table

Sadly this fabulous Hunters table did not make on our next container. It was located in the Dining room and had 12 matching chairs, 8 which were in decent condition.

Early 20th Century dress form C.1920

This is an original early 20th Century dress form C.1920. We bought this too as these are very very rare and highly decorative (this was located on the second floor in one of the bedrooms.)

One of the three bedroom suites that we bought. Remarkably in excellent condition. C.1900.

Antique Armoire and Prayer Bench

A prayer bench that we bought along with everything else in this room. The Armoire you see behind was full of untouched clothing.

Main Dining Room Floor and Antique Wallpaper

Another shot of the main floor dining room. Note the elegant wallpaper C.1900. Typical to the late 19th Century.

Antique Mirror, Newspapers and Documents

The mirror wasn’t for sale. Note the piles of old papers that were over 100 years old. Newspapers dating 1910 and older.

Empty Antique Cupboards in the Library

Empty cupboards in the library on the main floor. You can see how beautifully designed this house was and how elegant it must have been in its day.

Typically French mouldings of an elegant home C.1900

Typically French mouldings of an elegant home. All C.1900

Dirty China Piled Up in French Nobility Home

Dirty china just piled up for decades untouched. ( we didn’t buy any of this ) No gorgeous limoges in this pile.

Beautiful French commode from the late 1800's

A beautiful French commode from the late 1800’s. We bought this too. (located in the main entrance of the house)

Antique French Buffet Hutch

A French Buffet Hutch we bought that went along with the dining table and chairs ( all in the dining room )

Dusty Attic of Untouched French Nobility Home

The attic. It was literally buried in dust and dirt. There were four servants rooms on this floor.

Larry Debating Purchase of the Antique Chandelier

Larry in deep thought quietly considering if he’d like to buy the chandelier or not.

It took us three hours to complete the tour and assessment. Happily for us, much of the furniture was salvageable so we made an offer and bought everything that interested us. It was experience we’ll never forget. A peak into the insane world of a family gone mad with greed and grief.

Keep an eye out for pieces of this antique furniture to be available in our showroom at the Antique Warehouse.

Know what a Jarret de Porc Roti Ancienne is?

If not, I’d be delighted to tell you.  Why mention it? Because it’s a traditional French specialty dish sought after by all Antique Dealers when going to a twice yearly Antique and Ham Fair at the Island of Chatou.

What’s Ham got to do with Antiques you might ask? We failed to see the connection ourselves. It was our dealer friend Simon that first introduced us to the fair, and to this dish, where upon he explained that the Island of Chatou was famous for it’s porc in the 19th Century.

Jarret de Porc is nothing particularly fancy or haute cuisine, but it’s the flavor that is incomparable. The crackling is crisp and fire roasted, and the ham is tender.  Larry tried to convince me that all the fat had long since disappeared in the roasting process, however, I think that was more wishful thinking than fact.

In any event, I ate the ham and the crackling. And loved every bite.

In fact, even if we don’t find anything at this fair, we’ve never been disappointed as the Jarret de Porc makes the trip worthwhile just the same.

What exactly is a Jarret de Porc? In simple terms it’s a open fire roasted hamhock. But it’s the way they roast this delicious piece that makes it irresistible to refuse.  Even for confirmed calorie counters who are on strict diets.

The Roti Ancienne is the method that it’s prepared which is literally roasted the old way over an open fire on a spit. The result is pure heaven.

There is two ways, to eat Jarret de Porc.  One is on a bed of ‘choucroute’ or ‘sauerkraut’ or simply with fries. The dish in the foregound was mine. Larry opted for the fries.

Either way, you take dijon mustard and smear it on the plate, either to dip the fries, or add to the hamhock for flavor.

Eating Jarret de Porc

I’ve included this photo for you to see how delicious this dinner is. I am as weight conscious as the next, but this rare treat is something I never pass up.

Plate full of Jarret de Porc Roti Ancienne

These are photos from the Antique Fair at Chatou, which by the way, was freezing cold.

Antique Fair at Chatou

More photos from Chatou.Antique Fair at Chatou

Antique Fair at Chatou

Christmas Inspirational photos and more

My apologies for not blogging for many weeks now but things have been super busy.  I’ve just returned from France on a six week buying trip and have chocker blocked 2 full jumbo containers full of wonderful French things.  From 17th Century Antiques to present day Decorative bits.  The first container is slated to arrive towards the end of November (fingers crossed). In any event, please see below some inspirational photos I have collected over the past few months.  All Christmas decorations from the simple to the sublime!  If any of you have beautiful Christmas photos please send them along. I’d love to see them!Christmas Antique Interior Dining Room

Art Nouveau Doorway in Paris

Nothing particularly Christmasy about this photo except that I love it. Fabulous Art Nouveau at its best in Paris.

Christmas Dining Room with a French Buffet, Mirror and chair peaking out

I like this photo because a French Buffet, Mirror and chair are peaking out from the left side of the photo. And oh, the tree’s nice too!

Peacock topping a Christmas tree

That’s a peacock on top of that tree!

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

We have chairs like these at the Antique Warehouse

All White Christmas Tree and Interior Design

Not particularly fond of ‘all white’ environments…but this tree is especially pretty.

Lanterns and Christmas StockingsBeautiful Antique Interior Design with ChandelierChristmas FireplaceIcy Wreath Christmas Designs

Charlie Brown Christmas

I LOVE the non cultivated tree. It reminds me of Christmases as a little kid when those ‘perfect’ trees weren’t invented and everyone had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Christmas Decorated Living RoomChristmas Decorated Living RoomPeacock Wreath Around a Doorframe

Antiques for your Bathroom?

Antiques for your bathroom?  Yes indeed!  Antiques can give charm and warmth like nothing else can.  The possibilities are endless….antique vanities, washstands, tables etc. Antiques are used by designers and decorators with great abundance in the 21st. Century Bathroom.  And what’s more, the costs are way less than something custom built and with double the style.

See the following photos to see how some designers have transformed an otherwise austere environment into something warm and charming.

Iriss Cottage Bathroom Tub

Studio Peregalli Naples Apartment Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Victorian Inspired Bathroom

Antique Bathroom Vanity

Antique Bathroom Vanity

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Antique Inspired Bathroom

Off Gassing and Out Gassing of New Furniture

Outgassing and off-gassing of furniture

Outgassing (sometimes called offgassing, particularly when in reference to indoor air quality) is the release of a gas that was dissolved, trapped, frozen, absorbed or adsorbed in some material. It can include sublimation and evaporation which are phase transitions of a substance into a gas, as well as desorption, seepage from cracks or internal volumes and gaseous products of slow chemical reactions. Boiling is generally thought of as a separate phenomenon from outgassing because it consists of a phase transition of a liquid into a vapor made of the same substance.

The reports that you’ve been reading about off-gassing of new furniture are correct. In many cases, the offending products are indeed made in China and swathed in formaldehyde, although this isn’t always the case. China often takes the blame because so much is made there and quality control is often lacking, but when it comes down to it, the manufacture of off-gassing furniture knows no geographic boundaries. And formaldehyde is a common culprit because it’s used to cure particleboard, pressed-wood and plywood, all manufactured composite woods. In reality, a stinky smorgasbord of chemicals can off-gas, not just formaldehyde, so while it’s good to be aware of the “F” word, don’t restrict yourself to it.

Outgassing can be significant if it collects in a closed environment where air is stagnant or recirculated. This is, for example, the origin of new car smell. Even a nearly odourless material such as wood may build up a strong smell if kept in a closed box for months. There is some concern that softeners and solvents that are released from many industrial products, especially plastics, may be harmful to human health. Some types of RTV sealants outgas the poison cyanide for weeks after application. These outgassing poisons are of great concern in the design of submarines and space stations.


Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness. The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.

Ways to prevent toxic outgassing in your home:

  •  Avoid furniture made from formaldehyde-treated composite woods and opt for “real” (preferably sustainable) wood furniture. In this day and age, this may prove to be difficult, so always consider going the vintage/secondhand route.
  • Consider buying a floor model, if possible. This way, the furnishing has had an ample amount of time to off-gas before it enters your home. Plus, you’ll probably save a few bucks.
  • Some furniture manufacturers/retailers give you the option of letting your purchase off-gas in their warehouse for a few days before you receive it. The extra wait may not be fun but if you’ve suffered adverse reactions from new furniture before, it’s well worth it. Just ask if this is possible.
  • Although the looks and dimensions of a piece of furniture are paramount when making a purchase, it does help to see where exactly it was manufactured. China should set off alarms although, again, furniture made anywhere can be treated with chemicals.
  • Ensure that any paints, stains and finishes used on the furniture are low- or no-VOC.
  • If shopping for upholstered furniture, make sure it’s not treated with toxic flame retardants (PDBEs) or are marketed as being “stain-resistant.”

An Introduction to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study” (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.


Household products including: paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; moth repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; dry-cleaned clothing.

Basic Information on Pollutants and Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Biological Pollutants
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Formaldehyde/Pressed Wood Products
Lead (Pb)
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
Radon (Rn)
Respirable Particles
Secondhand Smoke/ Environmental Tobacco Smoke
Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces, and Chimneys
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Read “Care for Your Air: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality”

Levels in Homes

Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.

Steps to Reduce Exposure

Increase ventilation when using products that emit VOCs. Meet or exceed any label precautions. Do not store opened containers of unused paints and similar materials within the school. Formaldehyde, one of the best known VOCs, is one of the few indoor air pollutants that can be readily measured. Identify, and if possible, remove the source. If not possible to remove, reduce exposure by using a sealant on all exposed surfaces of paneling and other furnishings. Use integrated pest management techniques to reduce the need for pesticides.

Use household products according to manufacturer’s directions.

Make sure you provide plenty of fresh air when using these products.

Throw away unused or little-used containers safely; buy in quantities that you will use soon.

Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Never mix household care products unless directed on the label.

Follow label instructions carefully.

Potentially hazardous products often have warnings aimed at reducing exposure of the user. For example, if a label says to use the product in a well-ventilated area, go outdoors or in areas equipped with an exhaust fan to use it. Otherwise, open up windows to provide the maximum amount of outdoor air possible.

Throw away partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals safely.

Because gases can leak even from closed containers, this single step could help lower concentrations of organic chemicals in your home. (Be sure that materials you decide to keep are stored not only in a well-ventilated area but are also safely out of reach of children.) Do not simply toss these unwanted products in the garbage can. Find out if your local government or any organization in your community sponsors special days for the collection of toxic household wastes. If such days are available, use them to dispose of the unwanted containers safely. If no such collection days are available, think about organizing one.

Buy limited quantities

If you use products only occasionally or seasonally, such as paints, paint strippers, and kerosene for space heaters or gasoline for lawn mowers, buy only as much as you will use right away.

Keep exposure to emissions from products containing methylene chloride to a minimum. Consumer products that contain methylene chloride include paint strippers, adhesive removers, and aerosol spray paints. Methylene chloride is known to cause cancer in animals. Also, methylene chloride is converted to carbon monoxide in the body and can cause symptoms associated with exposure to carbon monoxide. Carefully read the labels containing health hazard information and cautions on the proper use of these products. Use products that contain methylene chloride outdoors when possible; use indoors only if the area is well ventilated.

Keep exposure to benzene to a minimum

Benzene is a known human carcinogen. The main indoor sources of this chemical are environmental tobacco smoke, stored fuels and paint supplies, and automobile emissions in attached garages. Actions that will reduce benzene exposure include eliminating smoking within the home, providing for maximum ventilation during painting, and discarding paint supplies and special fuels that will not be used immediately.

Keep exposure to perchloroethylene emissions from newly dry-cleaned materials to a minimum

Perchloroethylene is the chemical most widely used in dry cleaning. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to cause cancer in animals. Recent studies indicate that people breathe low levels of this chemical both in homes where dry-cleaned goods are stored and as they wear dry-cleaned clothing. Dry cleaners recapture the perchloroethylene during the dry-cleaning process so they can save money by re-using it, and they remove more of the chemical during the pressing and finishing processes. Some dry cleaners, however, do not remove as much perchloroethylene as possible all of the time. Taking steps to minimize your exposure to this chemical is prudent. If dry-cleaned goods have a strong chemical odor when you pick them up, do not accept them until they have been properly dried. If goods with a chemical odor are returned to you on subsequent visits, try a different dry cleaner.

Standards or Guidelines

No standards have been set for VOCs in non industrial settings. OSHA regulates formaldehyde, a specific VOC, as a carcinogen. OSHA has adopted a Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) of .75 ppm, and an action level of 0.5 ppm. HUD has established a level of .4 ppm for mobile homes. Based upon current information, it is advisable to mitigate formaldehyde that is present at levels higher than 0.1 ppm. Levels in Homes

Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.

Click here to read a story from an individual who bought a cabinet from Crate and Barrel

‘French Kids Eat Everything’ by Karen Le Billon

I happened to catch an interesting interview on Global T.V. this morning about a Vancouver woman named ‘Karen Le Billon’ who’d relocated to France with her husband and kids.  Karen and her small family spent a year there in a small village where her husband grew up in the northern part of Western France.

She noticed quickly the difference the way French parents were rearing their children from the way North American families do.  What surprised her the most was the way French children ate.  French children were not picky, fussy or difficult eaters.  In fact, French children began eating the way adults do, from the very young time they began to consume solid foods.

She commented that even at school, the cafeteria was not called ‘ cafeteria’ but school ‘restaurant.’  The children were fed with chef inspired and cooked meals that would be comparable to any 4 star restaurant here in Vancouver. Every meal was different and none were repeated.  The children were never allowed to snack between meals.

My own close friend Jean Francois and his wife Helene who live in Paris have two little boys, Louis and Constant.  Louis is now 3 and the way that little boy has been eating surprised even me from the time I could remember him beginning to walk.

During our evening visits to Jeff and Helenes, little 2 yr old Louis would come to the coffee table and join us eating hors d ouvres like Oysters on the Half Shell, bulots ( tiny snail like crustaceans ), pate de fois gras, Mussels, etc.  Never grabby or rude, Louis always asks his father for permission before taking anything!!

His proud father would remark  “my son is a gourmand from a very young age.”

An uncharacteristically bearded Jean Francois and son Louis (refusing to pose for a photo)

An uncharacteristically bearded Jean Francois and son Louis (refusing to pose for a photo)

I would always comment that’s only to be expected seeing that he’s named after the Kings of France. Jean Francois always beams at that comment! (To be honest, I always feel like were dining like King’s of France when I’m at Jean and Helenes.)

In any event, Ms. Le Billon has written a book ‘French Kids Eat Everything’ and while I have not read it, I think it’s worth a read.  Particularly for those who have children that are difficult and picky eaters.  ( hmmm…..that would include just about everybody I know with kids here in Vancouver )

Note* (Ms. Le Billon commented that French children are taught table and how to be quiet and polite during dinner.)

Please click on the link below to see where to buy the book.


French Kids Eat Everything Book Cover

Click on the book to see where to get it.

Pourhouse Restaurant Loves Antique Warehouse

Back in 2009 the award winning interior designers of Gastown’s ‘Pourhouse’ restaurant chose Antiques from our very own Antique Warehouse.  It’s not the first time designers have chosen Antiques from our store.  They’ve been doing it for over two decades now.

But it wasn’t until this week that Larry and I happened to be in Gastown and decided to stop into Pourhouse to have lunch (and to check out our Antiques.) (We also heard from several clients including our own Manager Gareth that the place was ‘cool’ and fun)

The two Ceiling fixtures flanking the bartender were from The Antique Warehouse

The two Ceiling fixtures flanking the bartender were from The Antique Warehouse. They are Brass 19th Century Chandeliers from France.

Pourhouse opened it’s doors in 2009 and quickly grew popular for its fun and unique atmosphere.  Fashioned after the prohibition speakeasy’s of the early 1920’s  the waiters run around attired in ‘theme’ appropriate wear…from the vests and suspenders to vintage style ‘newsboy’ caps.

The menu consists of mouth watering comfort foods like ‘Braised Beef over Egg Noodles and Sour Cream’, ‘Steak and Frites’, ‘Spaghetti and Meatballs’, ‘Steelhead Trout with Braised Red Cabbage, Fennel and Orange Salad’ and much more savoury selections.

Newsboy Cap C.1920

Newsboy Cap C.1920

Our waiter ‘Mark’ was an affable chap and most helpful in suggesting some unusual drink combinations to start. Larry chose a Whiskey Sour with whipped egg white.  I stuck to a ‘Stout’ beer which I have no idea what brand it was, but it was great nonetheless.

For starters, we ordered ‘Oysters on the half shell’ with an excellent ‘mignonette’ sauce ( just like in France ).

For the main course I selected a ‘Country Sausage on Sauerkraut’  (In France that dish is called Choucroute) and Larry had the ‘braised beef on Egg Noodles and Sour Cream.’  Both were decent sized portions without being ridiculous and both were excellent savoury choices.  (Something extra was added to that Choucroute because it had an unusual lovely flavour unlike the usual run of the mill Sauerkraut dishes.)

We took a ‘creme brûlée’ for dessert trying to find some fault with this restaurant’s cuisine.  Sorry, the creme brûlée was just as good ( if not a bit better ) than anything you could find in France.

We saw many of our Antiques placed throughout the restaurant.  The most notable being that gorgeous French Hallstand C.1900 they purchased through us.  We found that rare and beautiful piece in France and it looked beautiful displayed proudly in the special alcove the designers built for the piece.

Early 20th Century French Hallstand from Paris. C.1900 at Pourhouse

Early 20th Century French Hallstand from Paris. C.1900.

We always like to support clients but this was well worth the visit to Gastown. Would we go there again? Most definitely!

If you’re looking for something with atmosphere and heritage charm ( you probably wouldn’t be reading my blogs if you weren’t ) I suggest trying Pourhouse for your next dining destination.

Check out Poorhouse at there one location on Water Street in Historic Gastown at 162 Water St.

They are open 7 days a week.

Antique Furniture Joinery

Antique Furniture Joints – Determine the quality of your antique furniture.

mortise and tenon joint

Recognizing different kinds of furniture joints can help you determine the quality of antique furniture.

If you discover that a chair is constructed using mortise and tenon joints as opposed to dowel construction you can be sure it’s a high quality chair. The same is true about furniture with dovetail construction on the drawers as opposed to rabbet joint drawers. Dovetails are a better joint and will last indefinitely.

A basic knowledge of antique furniture joints is also important in antique furniture repair for a number of reasons. If joints are loose on a piece of furniture, you’ll probably have to disassemble the piece to re-glue it.

When you look at the exterior surface of a joint, you may only see a line where the two pieces of wood meet. Your knowledge of antique furniture joints can give you understanding of what’s hidden below the surface of that line, enabling you to work the joint loose without breaking it. If you have a broken joint or pieces are missing, knowing the type of joint you’re working with allows you to repair it properly.

Butt Joint

A butt joint is made when two pieces of wood are butted together and glued. Boards are commonly joined end grain to edge grain, edge grain to edge grain, or edge grain to face grain, although other configurations are possible. When you glue an end-grain surface of one board to another wood surface, the joint won’t hold unless it’s reinforced with dowel pins or some other reinforcement. The reason for the reinforcement is that the end grain of wood doesn’t provide enough solid surface for the bonding process to take place. When magnified, end grain looks much like the end of a group of drinking straws bunched together. Consequently, the open end of the grain fibers absorbs most of the glue you apply to the joint and doesn’t leave enough on the surface to provide a good bond.

When you use the butt joint to glue two or more boards side by side, or edge grain to edge grain as when making a wide top for a table, however, the joint can be quite strong. You must make sure that the joining edges are planed smooth to form a perfect fit, though, and that the joint is glued and clamped sufficiently.

butt joint

Lap Joint

Lap joints are created when two pieces of wood overlap one another at a right angle. Usually at least one piece of wood is notched out, allowing the other piece to fit down into it. This kind of lap joint is called a full-lap joint. Both pieces may also be notched to half of their thickness, allowing them to fit into each other. These lap joints are known as half-lap joints.

lap joints

Miter Joint

miter joint

The miter joint is formed by cutting corresponding angles, usually 45 degrees, on the ends of two pieces of wood and joining them together. The most common use of the miter joint in furniture is in mirror and picture frames. The miter joint may be reinforced with pins or dowels or with the installation of a wooden back panel, often 1/4-inch plywood.

Rabbet Joint

rabbet joint

When you notch the end or the edge of a piece of wood and use that notch to join two boards, you’ve created a rabbet joint. You can also make a rabbet joint by notching both pieces of wood. The rabbet joint is not a strong joint in itself and is usually secured with fasteners like nails or screws. Sometimes drawer sides are joined to the fronts with rabbet joints. Rabbet antique furniture joints are used in casework furniture like chests or in some drawers to join the sides to the front and/or back. Cabinet backs can also be joined to the case with rabbet joints.

Dado Joint

dado jointA dado is a groove cut across the grain of a piece of wood. A dado joint is formed by cutting a dado in one piece of wood the exact size as the square-cut edge of another piece. The square-cut edge of the second piece is then inserted into the groove of the first piece to form a tight, secure joint. This type of joint is also usually glued. Dado joints are commonly used to join wood at right angles, as in bookcase shelves. Sometimes the dado is hidden because the groove is not cut all the way across the board to the front of the bookcase. This kind of dado joint is called a blind dado.

Mortise and Tenon Joint

mortise and tenon jointThe mortise and tenon joint is one of the strongest antique furniture joints, and its use usually signifies quality furniture. The mortise and tenon joint is normally formed by cutting a square tongue (the tenon) on the end of one piece of wood and an equal size square hole or slot (the mortise) in another. The tongue of the first piece is then inserted into the slot of the second. Although not necessary, sometimes a pin or peg is also inserted through the joint, perpendicular to the tenon, locking the joint together. Mortise and tenon joints have been used not only in furniture but in the construction of centuries old wooden bridges, barns, and houses. Many of these structures still stand today, a testimony to the strength and stability of the mortise and tenon joint.

Dowel Joint

dowel jointDowel joints are basically substitutes for mortise and tenon joints. Many modern pieces, particularly chairs, are constructed using dowel joints. A dowel joint is made by fitting a butt joint and then drilling corresponding holes in the two pieces of wood to be joined and inserting the dowel pin or pins before joining the pieces. Glue is used in this type of joint, and the dowel pins serve as round tenons, holding the two pieces together. Although dowel antique furniture joints are commonly used and are easier to make than a mortise and tenon joint, they usually aren’t as strong.

Dovetail Joint

dovetails jointsThe dovetail joint is one of the most distinctive and best antique furniture joints used in furniture construction to join wood at a right angle. Easily distinguishable by its multiple flared tenons, which interlock like fingers and look like doves’ tails, the dovetail forms a strong, durable joint. Most commonly used to attach drawer sides to drawer fronts, dovetails joints almost always indicate quality furniture. Antique and handmade furniture were built using hand-cut dovetails created with fine-toothed saws and chisels. Modern manufactured dovetails joints are cut by machine and are usually distinguishable from the hand-cut type because the interlocking flared tenons, called pins or tails, are exactly the same size and are evenly spaced. Hand-cut dovetail antique furniture joints usually have tails that differ slightly in size and may vary in spacing. Machine-cut dovetails joints are excellent, strong joints, but the old hand-cut variety is still hard to beat.

Dovetail joints can be constructed using either “through” dovetails or “half-blind” dovetails. Through dovetails are cut all the way through the thickness of both joining pieces of wood, with the “fingers” visible from two sides. Half-blind dovetails are cut so that the dovetails are visible only from one side. An example of a half-blind dovetail joint would be where a drawer side is joined to a drawer front with dovetails that are not visible on the face of the drawer front.

Thanks for reading!