antique furniture

For all you oddball collectable collectors out there!

Collectables and Antiques

Hi Everyone,

It’s been some time since I posted on my blog, but I am on vacation and now have some free time. I came across an article by one of my favourite blogs by Vanessa AKA  Messy Nessy, A London born millennial and her partner (chief millennial technical expert she lovingly refers to as elf ) both young and pretty and with a great pulse on Paris.  One of her latest posts was about the oldest auction house in the world known as the Dorotheum, in Vienna.  Vanessa referred to her blog as Frankensteins auction, but in fact it had noting to do with the real Dr. Frankenstein.

The Dorotheum, one of Viennas oldest auction houses is auctioning off some of the most bizarre of the bizarrest items of curiosities. Everything from turn of the century phones to a rare navicular naventiis.

Below you’ll see some unusual but not terribly disturbing images of things you may just take a fancy for. Bidding can be done online and shipment of one article is possible from this auction house.

Consult with the Dorotheum for any additional information.

Collectables and Antiques

Open Heart Human Model starting at 150E

Collectables and Antiques

A Navicula de Venetiis,  or ‘little ship of Venice’, is a very rare form of sundial. It was developed in Europe in the Middle Ages, though it is possible that its origins were Arabic. Starting bid 10,000E

Collectables and Antiques

1845 Celestial Globe by Franz Leopold Schöninger. Opening price 1500 €

Collectables and Antiques

A Paris turn of the century Stereoscope with images of Paris. The quality of the images on these is clear and fascinating giving the viewer a glimpse of the old past of French and Parisian life. Stereoscope and image viewer “Souvenir de Paris”. Opening price 300 €

Collectables and Antiques

A c. 1890 Jan Felkl & Son Tellurian. Opening price 1,500 €

Collectables and Antiques

An early mechanical dress form. C.1900 Opening bid 1000E

Collectables and Antiques

Economic Microscope by R. & J. Beck. Opening price 300 €

Collectables and Antiques

Three 19th century Apothecary travelling chests. Opening price 450 €

Collectables and Antiques

A mid 20th century distillation apparatus Model. Opening price 850 €

Collectables and Antiques

A Kelvin Hughes Star Globe. Opening price 400 €

 

Collectables and Antiques

A c. 1900 Ericsson Telephone. Opening price 600 €

Thanks for reading.

Mark LaFleur

 

 

 

 

Flying Water Taxi’s for Paris?

If this isn’t the coolest thing ever, I really don’t know what is. And of course it’s started in France. Paris actually.

This summer a fleet of George Jetson like water taxis will be unleashed to the public and will jet up and down the Seine.
What fun!

Think Uber but as a boat which hovers above the water– so basically, a flying boat taxi, right along the Paris Seine River..

French Antiques
Alain Thébault and Anders Bringdal, who together broke the record for speed on a flying sailboat that they designed back in 2009, created these futuristic electric-powered water taxis which go by the name of “Sea Bubbles”. Although, to me they kind of look like weird little bug robots…

French Antiques

Each shuttle will carry 5 people, including a pilot (until regulations change to allow self-driving models)
They will be used with an application similar to Uber and cost no more than €10 a ride
You’ll able to summon them to specially-designed docks which will also serve as charging stations
They will be zero emission and eco-friendly, built with biodegradable material
They’ll be silent and generate no waves
They will hover a few inches above water, travelling at a maximum speed of 30km imposed by the city (about the speed of going downhill on a bicycle).

French Antiques

Interior Shot

The bubbles have gained support from the controversial Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who is passionate to ensure that the city cuts down on pollution and sets eco-efficient standards for the rest of the world.

The first tests for the Sea Bubbles are planned to commence June 14th on the Seine and rumour has it that if all goes well, they will be launched as a permanent form of transport next Spring.

French Antiques

Lets go to Paris and jet along the Seine. I can’t think of anything more I’d rather do.

Cheers,

Mark

La Samaritane Scheduled to Reopen

For years, one of the world’s most iconic and historic department stores sat empty along the banks of the Seine in Paris; an imposing ghostly shell of former retail splendour, a giant sleeping elephant in the room occupying prime real estate in the heart of the city.

When I heard that renovation works were finally set to begin again after numerous false starts and lengthy delays I was pleased. It was a beautiful building that deserved ressurection.

French Antique Furniture

The Art Nouveau Splendor Palace.

I remember shopping at the Samaritaine before it closed. It had grown old and dingy even then, but it did have everything and anything. I think I was looking for fabric or something. When I learned the icon of Parisian shopping was closing it confirmed the sad state of trying to run a business under the current bureaucratic nightmare of a government in France. I was pleased to learn it was reopening under the umbrella of the fashion giant LVMH, spearheaded by French billionaire Bernard Arnault. (He owns most of the fashion houses in Europe now, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Celine and too many to list). At least Arnault knows how to operate under the system that’s bleeding the country dry and still make money.

French Antique Furniture

Mon. Arnault

The origins of La Samaritaine is another rags to riches story. The founder Ernest Cognacq, started out his career selling ties under a red umbrella on the Pont Neuf, until 1869, when he heard about a space for let in a petite room next to a café he frequented on the nearby Rue de la Monnaie. He took the offer, opened a small clothing boutique and recruited his wife as his first employee, who had been working as a saleswoman in the confectionary aisles at Le Bon Marché. I wonder if the couple knew then that the famous department store where she left her job would come to be their greatest competitor.

French Antique Furniture
By the dawn of the twentieth century, just thirty years on from Cognacq’s humble beginnings as a smalltime tradesman on the Seine, the couple had expanded their enterprise, giving birth to the large edifice seen today, the “Grands Magasins de La Samaritaine”.

French Antique Furniture
A clever and ambitious businessman, he steadily acquired neighbouring buildings around him and soon enough, entire city blocks were being reworked and reconstructed to make space for his growing empire.

French Antique Furniture
La Samaritaine was an art nouveau palace of retail, the ideally organised and managed department store, arranged as a collection of individually owned stores, each managed by “petits patrons” that operated in harmony but autonomously.

French Antique Furniture
Cognacq used revolutionary marketing techniques, attracting the crowds with “deal of the day” and started doing what might seem obvious to us today– price-labelling the items.

French Antique Furniture

La Samaritaine became Paris’ leading department store and was at its peak during the interwar period, when nearly 20,000 people were under its employ.

French Antique Furniture
It occupied four buildings between the river and the rue de Rivoli, living up to the famous slogan later coined for the department store; “On trouve tout à la Samaritaine” – One can find everything in La Samaritaine.”

French Antique Furniture
There was even a gymnasium and a nursery. That’s something you won’t find in the chic Vancouver ‘Nordstroms’!

French Antique Furniture
I will look forward to the opening of the new Samaratine. They promise to leave all the Art Nouveau splendor that went into building the original palace of luxury shopping. Maybe it will be that way again maybe it won’t. We’ll see now won’t we.

Cheers,

Mark

How Antiques Amp Up a Contemporary Space.

This week on the premier website 1 Dibs, an article was published “How Antiques Amp Up a Contemporary Space”. I’ve pulled the article and reposted on my website. The writer is Cara Greenberg and here is her article below. But I’ve been saying this for years now, and really any good interior designer or decorator already knows this.

How Antiques Amp Up a Contemporary Space.
By Cara Greenberg.

Antiques add drama — and ­more than a little gravitas — to contemporary interiors. Top talents reveal how they pull off the balancing act.

Call it the X factor: the unexpected juxtaposition of decorative elements that lifts a contemporary interior out of the ordinary and makes people sit up and take notice. Often, it’s the insertion of one or more well-chosen antiques, thoughtfully deployed against the clean lines of contemporary furnishings, that makes the whole setting pop. “Antiques are the element of surprise in a contemporary space,” says Los Angeles– and New York–based interior designer Alexandra Loew.

Alexandra Lowe

Alexandra Lowe

“Antiques are a great foil to chic-but-clinical newness,” is how James “Ford” Huniford, of Huniford Design Studio in New York’s Greenwich Village, puts it. “They can keep a contemporary interior from looking like a sterile showroom.”

James Huniford

James Huniford

It wasn’t until the last few decades of the 20th century that mixing styles and periods became acceptable, and then de rigueur. Prior to that, people lived with whatever was, for them, modern in its truest sense — “of the moment,” whether the moment was Louis XIV, Colonial or high Victorian. The early 20th century saw revivals of classical styles, the birth of the modernist movement and the swoops and amoeboid shapes of the immediate postwar years. By the 1960s, when the typical contemporary room was white and spare, with furnishings predicated on the right angle, some design mavericks began bringing in Tiffany lamps and bentwood rockers to leaven the mix.

Antique Accessories

This lovely Louis XVI Console is just at home in a contemporary setting as in a classic. Only this one was produced in France and has an enduring look and quality that will last for decades.

Today, with websites making global shopping possible, the whole of decorative-arts history is fair game for those seeking to create interesting interiors, which can incorporate every style and period from antiquity to the present day. But a delicate balancing act is required. Many top designers selectively use antiques in otherwise contemporary settings to add drama and enliven their schemes. Examples of this are located on our ‘inspiration’ page of our website.

Antique Accessories

Louis XVI chairs like these were sold by us to Interior Decorator Superstar Nate Berkus who used them in one of his design projects just this past year.

Antique Accessories

I love the use of the bureau bookcase and the 60’s maison bague style table in this modern bathroom.

Antique Accessories

This beautiful French Farm table makes this contemporary space look simple and elegant.

So you have it. Mix an antique for drama and style. But you and I already knew that-

Thanks for reading!

Mark LaFleur
226 SW Marine Drive,
Vancouver, B.C.
Please visit our website

We ship worldwide.

Club Michou, Paris.

Mention Chez Michou to any Parisian and they all know it. It’s been around since the swinging 60’s when it was hip and impossible to get into. The second night after we arrived my best friend Simon said “Great you’re here..we’re going to Chez Michou and you must come…I’ll get you some tickets” At 150E a ticket he was being most generous. (I did offer to pay but he refused.)

Now Chez Michou is really nothing more than a crowded, impossible to get into, female impersonator club. The show was amazing, the food, well, mediochre at best. But then again, it is a club, not a restaraunt.

 Antique French Furniture

Club Michou, Paris legend since the 1960’s. It was completely packed on the Monday night we went.

Club Michou requires months in advance for reservations. It’s been like that for decades. So to get in last minute was something I wouldn’t pass on. I turned to my Nephew and asked him if he packed a jacket for going out.

“No” he said.

“Well” I said “Lets go shopping.”

I bought him a new sports jacket (short cropped very tight at the waist that can only be worn by 22 year olds with 18″ waists) shirt, pants, shoes, and flew him down to a great salon I knew to get his hair ‘Parisianized’. I told him just sit back relax! They know what they’re doing. They trimmed his beard (thank God) and redid his hair.

He’s such a good kid he listened to his uncle Mark and within minutes he was ‘Voila un Parisian’. The cut was beautiful, he looked totally French and I was completely satisfied with my creation. I was a stylist years ago when I was very young. I worked on the lead actor of the dreadful movie that has now has a cult following “The Evil Dead”. My long time New York friend, Lauren was the publicist and she asked me if I’d style the lead actor. We now laugh at the ‘popularity’ of this movie and frankly are slightly embarrassed we had anything to do with it.

 Antique French Furniture
Anyway, by 8 we were at my friend Simons for champagne and appetizers and waiting for a private black van to take us to one of the most legendary clubs in Paris. The private black Mercedes arrived, packed us in, and up we went to the Montmartre district of Paris. We entered the club without waiting a second, (there was a line) and were greeted by charming albeit half drag queen, and shown to Michou’s table for a hello. We couldn’t help noticing that every celebrity’s photo from the 1960’s to now were covering the walls.

Michou immediately insisted we have a photo taken with him by his photographers. We found out later they were 20E a piece and it was nothing about being special.

 

 Antique French Furniture

MIchou with the fabulous Regine, famous for her hip nightclubs of the 80’s.

 Antique French Furniture

Our ‘family’ portrait with Jackson and I in the middle standing next to Julie, Stany, The bottom row is their daughter Ana Kim, Mother Aimee, Michou, Simon and Gabrielle.

 

 Antique French Furniture

These two were there that night.

Don’t even think of getting out of Michou until way past 1 am. Their impersonations of Grace Jones, and Celine Dion sent shivers from the realism of the production. Jackson and I didn’t get home until past 3 and we had to be out the door by 9 am. That my friends what being Parisian is all about. Party all night, and work (for part of the day anyway).

 

 Antique French Furniture

Amazing Celine Dion impersonation, if you like Celine that is. They all adore her in Paris.

The club is bright red inside and stays that way until you leave.

 Antique French Furniture

Chez Michou is cramped, small inside, and the food was not that great. But the floorshow was amazing. When Grace Jones came on I thought I was dreaming. (or having a nightmare)

In any event, I hope you enjoyed this blog. Chez Michou is a fun place but I don’t know that it’s for everyone. The performers spoke in nothing but French so much of it was lost as they spoke in slang and very quickly

In any event, I want to thank my friend Simon and Julie for inviting us. We had a truly Parisian Experience.

Thanks

 Antique French Furniture

See you next week!

How to Mix Wood Tones

Living+Room+pair+black+leather+chairs+camel+Bv4rQKdk9jZl
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

Decor+gold+gilded+mirror+above+black+leather+No28a_5PV0Zl
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

Woodfurniture+pair+twin+beds+black+white+bedding+XUPDHOtDoifl
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.

Visit our Website

To Strip or Not to Strip….That is The Question

It’s amazing how many phone calls I get from people wanting to know how to strip their antique furniture because the finish is damaged in some way.

After a brief discussion with the person we can sometimes determine that a total strip and refinish may not be necessary at all. Some expert touch and minor repair up is all that’s required.

If the original finish is damaged and beyond redemption, than stripping may be your last resort. In this week’s blog we’ll explore how to determine whether a total ‘strip’ is required or not.

We’ve all heard experts tell us daily, altering the finish can destroy the furnitures value. In most cases this is true.  For example, a 17th Century hand painted finish on a rare American or Continental piece can spell disaster if stripped.  People hunt and pay dearly for those ‘distressed’ finishes that were done by hand over 250 years ago.  They are rare and should never be touched, other than with a light cleaning.  And even a cleaning can be touchy unless you know what your doing.

We’ve also heard of the person ‘cleaning’ or ‘polishing’ up a piece of furniture and completely destroying the original patina and devaluing the piece many thousands of dollars in some cases.  This is true in more cases than not.

Then there are the people that decide they want to refinish a lovely old piece to make it look ‘better’.  I see wonderful tables that come in to my store, where the client has totally refinished the piece.  The original color, depth and patina has been destroyed, devaluating the piece to a fraction of what it might have fetched.

Many finishes that look absolutely horrible may be salvageable with a little oil and wax.  It’s amazing what we do with pieces that come in from France that look like deaths’ door and after a little TLC they end up looking wonderful.

I would only strip a piece of furniture if the following applies.

A. Deep dark water marks have burled there way into the wood

B. The finish has chipped off in some way over the entire surface.

C. The finish has deep cigarette burns or fire burns.

D. You want a different color.

I would suggest either contacting us first, or sending a photo and we can let you know whether a little touch up will do the trick or if a complete ‘refinish’ or ‘restoration’ is necessary.

If you notice I have used the word ‘restoration’.  We do much restoration to finishes without totally stripping a piece.  This keeps the integrity of the piece intact, and leaves the original finish which is always preferable.

If you’ve scrutinized the finish and determined it’s beyond help, you may want to strip and refinish the piece.

Another prime candidate for stripping and refinishing is a piece that was originally finished in a wood finish but has since been painted over within the last 50 years. Usually you’ll find that the paint was applied directly over the original finish, making it easier to strip because the paint pigments have not been able to penetrate the wood grain. Stripping and refinishing this kind of piece often exposes beautiful wood hidden under an opaque finish.

Keep in mind, however, that some pieces were made to be painted; stripping them usually uncovers inferior or mismatched wood pieces that will not finish well. If the paint has been applied to raw wood, it’s usually an indication that the piece was meant to have a painted finish. In such cases you may still want to strip furniture paint to repaint the piece, or you may be able to simply repaint over the old color. To find out whether the paint is directly on the wood surface or atop another finish, scrape the paint or apply solvent to it in a small, inconspicuous area. If the paint pigment remains in the wood grain, it was probably painted originally; if not, the paint is over a natural wood finish and refinishing may be in order.

You may want to consider joining one of our French painting classes held at the store and conducted by painting guru Kathy Van Gogh.  She will show you how to produce a ‘faux finish’ that will look many decades old.

Another case for stripping is if the finish is so far gone or damaged that it simply cannot be renewed. Old finishes can become brittle or flaky as a result of age and mistreatment. Finishes can also be damaged by water or fire and often can’t be restored without stripping and refinishing. Water can make some finishes lift and discolor permanently, while heat and smoke can blister or blacken finishes.

Yet another reason to strip and refinish a piece: You don’t like the finish color or shade. For example, if you’re putting a piece in a particular room or with another piece of furniture, you may want to blend or match the room’s other furniture or the area’s decor. But again, before deciding, consider the piece itself: If it’s a valuable piece blessed with an original finish, you’d be better off saving the finish and buying another piece of furniture to fill your need!   To me it’s like buying a piece of artwork to match the color combination of a room and not for the artworks sake itself.

Remember, it’s easy to strip a piece ( with a lot of elbow grease involved ) but it’s quite another to ‘refinish’ the piece.   There are so many types of finishes to choose from that it can be daunting.  But I can almost guarantee you, unless you’re a pro you may regret ever trying to refinish a piece yourself.  This is where you definitely need to consult a refinisher.  And even then, there are good and bad refinishers.  I know of one who simply sprays a lacquer finish on pieces.  So many times, more often than not, I see this done to furniture. The look is dull, flat and plastic.  I hate this finish, unless its a super high gloss clear coat on an art deco piece or something very modern.   And be careful about putting a high gloss clear coat on an antique.  The look is simply awful.  The antique looks too new, and looks like it should be in the showroom of an Ethan Allen or some other new furniture vendor.  Dont do it!!  It will devalue and ruin the piece for ever.

My advice, go ahead a strip the piece if you want, but let a professional apply the final finish unless you are truly confident you know what you’re doing.

For more information on stripping furniture click on the link
Subscribe Now!Sign up and stay up to date with the latest from Antique Warehouse.

Be the first to know about new arrivals, promotions and other antiques news!

Subscribe Now!Sign up and stay up to date with the latest from Antique Warehouse.

Be the first to know about new arrivals, promotions and other antiques news!