Monday, January 3, 2011

More ANTIQUE Shopping Tips w/ Personal RANTS about What I SEE

 Let's continue our tour through Sleepy Poet Antique mall in Charlotte, NC with me....just walking about and giving you some tips and pointers , and of course random rants....about what I see. Let me do a small personal rant about what designers, or people,  like to do with perfectly nice furniture to mess it up for future generations. Case in point above. Someone took a perfectly nice 1950-60's dining room set and painted it a lime green and white. Now I know that this look is in  the magazines, that it is considered very ' hip ' by many people. the problem, down through the years, when it is no longer ' hip ', then you are left with some goofy looking furniture . That happened starting in the 1960's when so many people ( including my mom ), painted oak and hardwoods sage green, avocado green, yellow, lime, orange ...lots of fruit colors. Then in the last 20 years, many people do the faux white finish , shabby-chic. That phase of decorating will pass too. Then your grandkids and great-grandkids are left with a bunch of painted white or painted lime green wood. I am not a 1960-70's furniture lover, I know some awful furniture for the general public was produced if you want to destroy or change furniture from that time frame...that would be better than doing it to pre-1960's furniture. Wood is so beautiful , simply stained a natural color. It truly makes your surroundings calmer and more conducive for your artwork to display without competing with colored furniture.
I say, " Save natural wood furniture !!"
Rant over, for now..let's keep moving...I really liked this display of the old mannequin and her cap and earmuffs.
 This dealer, below, is moving to Manhattan, per her sign. In her booth is many 1940-50's Rococo inspired furniture that she or someone she bought it from...
 From what I have seen at antique shows, and shops, this is a big no-no, if it had been left the original finish, whether that be natural wood color or the original faux beige, it would be worth twice as much or more of whatever it would be priced.

Look what I saw, a little 1950-60's cardboard snow village house. Only 4.00. I did not get it as I have enough. I did buy a large church in Charleston a few weeks back though to go with my village.My youngest son was very pleased with that.

I liked these two religious prints, housed in homemade horseshoe glitter encrusted frames. Do not know if this was prison art ( men in penitentiaries made a lot of folk-art when they were confined 1930-60's ), and it is collectible now. Lots was religious ( Christian typically, lots specifically Catholic ), or if these were made from a person who was religious for their home back in the 1940-50's time frame. I was amused that someone was hedging all their bets by displaying religious images AND the ' lucky ' horseshoe frame to give them extra protection .
You don't need luck if you have God on your side.
They were not expensive, I grabbed them up.
 A nice picture frame below that someone repainted with too garish a gold color. Please try to use antique gold and painting it on instead of spraying the frame, is advisable.
I believe the outer molding of this frame is original finish, while the decorative gesso has been touched up with too bright a gold.
It appears someone touched up the center decorative gesso and the surround is the original gold finish, or re-painted in the last 10-15 years. NO SPRAY PAINTING antique picture frames. It destroys their value. ( and by the way, Ms. Smarty-pants here has done that a few times in the past and learned that lesson the hard way ). Either touch them up with antique gold paint by hand , or leave them as is.
Aha! Case in point to show the difference in painted or left with original antique finish picture frames. All are 1920-30's frames. to the left , original finish, to the right painted white and for the future, value declines exponentially.
Again, I do know it is a personal choice...just trying to help all the furniture I can for future generations here.
Let me show you a new  decorator painting, they sell these in stores like Pier One, target, Bed bath and Beyond, etc. They are machine painted on canvas...

 You can see that , by no roughness to the canvas at the front, and the sides here, a STRAIGHT line across, and original painting would have little uneven lines, and stray brush strokes. If you turn there , unframed paintings and examine the edges, you can see this. Perfectly straight all around. That means it is machine produced.
 Now by the way, these are fine, alot of people like these in their homes, and the price was 40.00, so fair. Young people, particularly like these, and they use them to decorate their new homes and apartments. Hopefully, they will be able to buy original paintings, produced by actual people...for a bit more in price, down the road.
Remember, the backs of anything ( art ) new is usually a bright white, or may have a fake-looking tan or brown paint wash.
 This little PRINT almost fooled me,as it is printed on textured canvas, but the sides , when you flip it, are a straight line across and no raised paint on front. I could not get a good enough picture of the sides, always came out totally white, thanks to my pesky flash.

I smiled when I saw this flimsy, sheer, 1960-70's short it made me immediately remember that my grandmother always gave my mom one of these, all colors...always flirty and short...for her anniversaries or Christmas.  My mother was always embarrassed and did not like them. My mom had drawers full of these, and you know what she did with them ? For some reason, she gave them to me and my sister when we went to college. I thought they were very fun, my sister never liked them...but I would not recommend any mom give their daughters negligees when they go to college !!!!
Negligee plus mom rant.
Moving on...
Below is a chalkware ( plaster ) Art Nouveau statue or bust that is in terrible condition. I have bought many of these, they are copies of the bronze statues, and usually have the signature of the artist , molded into the base at the sides. They are not signed by the artist, simply the manufacturer is showing they are really a copy of that artist work. I am showing you this one, because it would be crazy to buy one in this condition. They are made of plaster, breaks when you glance at it, and cannot be repaired , some areas can be painted over...but not repaired. I would say pass on one of these, late 1800's-early 1900's statues unless they are less damaged. Oh ! Some people also spray paint these over , all one color, that decreases their value tremendously. I recall paying around 45.-95.00 for one of these in good condition ( minor chips and breaks ). They will never be in very good or perfection condition, due to the fragile nature of chalkware. If you want one  in perfect or excellent condition, then go find one of the original bronze statues these were copied from and pay 450.-600.  or so.
eBay probably has some, just type in Art Nouveau busts or Art Nouveau original statues. Ask the dealer if they are repro or originals, and check the seller's feedback before you buy.
Or go hunting in antique malls like me.
 Lots of shabby chic booths in this great antique mall. I will not say one word about the two benches on the table below, painted white.
I couldn't say one word anyway, it would be more like 10 or 20 words.

 Now lookee here folks. Down below, I found a beautiful original 1920-30's art deco bedroom set that has it's ORIGINAL finish with carved  accents. No new white paint on this,no painted over pink or lavender either. I have seen this set before in plain wood finish with the carved accents ( the flowers, swags, fruit in the front and center areas ) painted colors. These accents are called barbola when they are made of plaster to mimic the carved-wood look here. Barbola is mainly on mirrors, and home accents pieces, not so much on furniture as it is easily broken and chipped. I am telling you that as often this French style of furniture, is called a bedroom set with barbola. That is very popular , people who decorate with the Victorian style particularity love anything that has barbola accents.

This is a great find for someone. Dresser,  two beds and nightstand. I forgot to look at the price as I had the cutest young girl, about 11 years old, blond hair.... watching me take these pictures. She was shopping with her mom, and when I smiled at her and passed them, her mom hugged her and spoke to her, she absentmindedly stroked her daughter's hair. 
I kept walking, wondering if the mother understands how precious that moment was between the two.
To be able to physically hug or hold your children is one of the biggest gifts God affords us.

This is too long, I have more pictures, mainly art to show in my last installment of this trip,
many blessings,


  1. I so agree with you about painted furniture. My daughter-in-law loves it and has painted a number of wood pieces. I have a beautiful mahogany secretary that was in my father's family. It had been left in a damp basement and looked terrible. I know my daughter-in-law would have painted it. But I splurged and had it refinished and it is GORGEOUS. Such beautiful wood. Same with an old upright piano I bought for $100 - beautiful wood under all that black varnish. Thanks for sharing all of your great professional tips!

  2. Hi Gina,
    I really enjoyed the educational tour. That lime green kitchen set.....yeuch! Much better as you say, if left as just plain stained wood. Very interesting to learn about the way to discover if something is machine printed by the clarity of the edge, wouldn't have thought about that! Do you ever come across any old paste jewellery?
    Hope your Christmas went ok, thought of you and your family a lot.

  3. You have been very busy tweaking and adding to your blog, Gina.

    The Ron Tranmer poem is heart-rendingly beautiful. My own heart goes out to you all.

    Your four "love-bugs" looked so happy together on the day you'd snapped their picture. What a priceless memory. Thanks for sharing.

    The latest installment of your recent trip to the Sleepy Poets Antique Mall, has been as much fun as the first and I'm almost starting to anticipate what's going to trigger your "rants!" Let's see what happens with the final installment ;)

    You bring so much of yourself to each post, Gina! Thank you!


    Des xo

  4. I agree with you generally about retaining the original wood finishes. We made an exception to that with an old mirror found in a trash heap that we painted white to hang over the fireplace mantel (also had been trashed and WASN'T solid wood). Once again, an informative tour and a pleasure to benefit from your opinions and observations :)

  5. I haven't had much opportunity to own antique furniture but now, if I do, I'll be sure to respect the original wood finish. My mom's kitchen was 1960's lime green when we moved in, and it made a permanent impression on me as a child.

  6. I like the unique picture frames. I too remember those gowns. Thanks for the tour of the antique mall. I need to visit one of our locals here. I'll take pics to show you.

  7. Wowwww what a great shopping tour pictures !! that......happy new week darling........and a good and healthy 2011 !!

  8. Gina,

    I love these posts, I have learned so much! There is a local antique mall in the county and soon enough I'm planning on going and using some of your tips to try and find a new piece of art!

  9. Dear Gina, wishing you and family much blessings and happiness each and every day of 2011, and may it brings much love into your lives.
    hugs my dear
    maria cecilia

  10. It's been fun going back here with you through your posts.

    The mannequin with the pretentious expression, wearing the goofy ear muffs and hat, made me smile.

    Your advice has been helpful.

    blessings Gina,


I love comments , please leave one if you like. I try to respond to comments,but if I'm running behind, please know that I read each one before they are published. Thanks much, Gina