Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Designers Have Spoken!

I recently had the privilege of going to the American Red Cross Designers' Show House in West Palm Beach. Set in Northwood, an historic neighborhood of the city, the house was a former fire station built in 1938 in an Art Deco style know as Art or Streamline Moderne. You can see in its lines the similarities to Miami's MIMO (Miami Modern) architecture, a kind of Deco-Nautical-Modern exclusive to that city.

Renovated in 2006 into a residence, it is 4,500 square feet of nothing but stunning. Large foyer, leading to a living room on the right, a dining room on the left, with a bar / conversation room behind. Kitchen, breakfast room, guest bedroom with office rounded out the downstairs. The patio and pool areas were just breathtaking. I love the use of the huge chandeliers and sexy furniture ranging from Hans Wegner wishbone style chairs to beefy armchairs with faux tortoise lucite arms.

It pained me that I couldn't take photos. Some things were just so incredibly gorgeous that no description I could offer would do them justice. But here's the best part. Many of the things showcased are already in the Sophisticated Vintage repetoire. So since I can't share photos of the house itself, I'll share some Sophisticated Vintage photos, starting with our former brick and mortar shop and followed by finds in our Etsy shop, sophisticatedflorida. Here's what the Designers were showing:

A vignette from Sophisticated Vintage, the brick and mortar version, circa 2014. Note the zebra rug and faux fur throw!

Classic blue and white chinoiserie ginger jar. The designers were showing these patterns with orange. Both the jar and the following bowl are available in the Etsy shop.

I admit to a preference for blue and white with yellow

Metallics, metallics, metallics. In furnishings, accessories and art. I could have spent all day photographing. As it was, I was so inspired by all the metallics that I ran out to my favorite haunts to see what I could find. These two were part of my finds. They sold in record time!

Organic materials, in shell boxes like these, more of my great finds, accented with brass. The dog was another score from my hunt for metallics. One of a pair, in the Etsy shop.
Mirrored furniture and accessories are still on point but what's fresh is the trend toward antiqued finishes rather than shiny. Yes, we've got that covered too.

I love the muted surface of these ribbed mercury glass candlesticks, and I couldn't resist getting in a little more metallic in this vintage tole candle snuffer. Yep, in the Etsy shop

Texture is a big part of the story, from nubby linens and faux fur to worn columns and rough hewn wood. Faux antler accessories in silvers were prolific. Lucite remains strong; I was particularly taken with a grouping of lucite frames with gold backs and tole flowers. I'm going to try and create my own version of these.

I'm a fan of obelisks and was excited to see a group of them at the Show House. Here's one offered in the Etsy shop
I'm always a fan of the unexpected. I don't mean by this the plunking down of something so out of character or doing something that's jarringly out of place. I mean, rather, introducing an element that one wouldn't expect to see paired with other things in the setting but which works. Works so well, in fact, that your initial response is "Why haven't those been paired together before?". In the modern dining room, a Murano glass chandelier. Of course. What else would you put there. In the living room full of square contemporary furniture, a wing chair with embellished Queen Anne legs; the chair covered in rough linen and the legs painted gold. Not only does it work, it's delightful. And did I mention nailhead trim? Everywhere!

Big bold graphic wall paper and art.Marble in the bathrooms? Certainly, let's take it right on up the wall. Doesn't that look lovely. There's middle eastern influence everywhere - with filigree, Moorish arches, peacocks, deep indigo and purple with rich amber gold. Love. And yellow. Oh my yes yellow. Huge ginger jars. Accents everywhere.

And we've got it too, I'm proud to say. This yellow lamp almost knocked me over, it was so rich and iconically mid century.

But if your taste is a little more traditional, we can certainly do a more classic take on a yellow ginger jar lamp. Both lamps available in the Etsy shop.

It was an affirming, inspiring and informative visit, one that will frame my thinking when I'm out on the road. Keep up with my latest finds in the Etsy shop and on Instagram  The hunt is on!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I've been thinking a lot lately about style and what it means. No, that's not quite right. What I've been thinking about really is blending the lines or maybe defining them. When does a cutlery box go from being "country" to "modern"? Do we see things by genre and then pigeon hole them there? Or do we pause to look at the simple lines and take the opportunity to redefine it?

stripped to the wood, traces of red paint, straightforward. with a croquet ball of the one striped variety and a polka dot bowl. here's another shot

clean cut out handle

This has been my self-appointed task this past year as I've looked at all the pieces that make up my style - I swoon just as deeply at a worn painted sign as I do at a lucite obelisk. And I'm perfectly happy to be right there. But I keep returning to the pieces that marry the lines, looking at my most prized possession and asking what it was about them that made the cut through multiple bouts of downsizing. And the answer I keep coming back to is that something about them can bridge the gap between styles.

French faience turquoise plate, chalkware rabbit and mochaware pitcher
So look past the rabbit for a minute (uh, like that's going to happen) and look at the 19th century mochaware pitcher. If we slapped that pattern on a throw pillow there's be ladies at Home Goods fighting over it, guaranteed. It's not dated, it's not "old", it's as fresh as can be because. . .well, therein lies the question, and the basis for my modern style.

In my travels this week I found a great old dress form. I'm going to plunk her down on a black and white cowhide rug and see what happens. Stay tuned.

New discoveries always to be made in the Etsy shop SophisticatedFlorida

Monday, December 28, 2015

To everything turn, turn, turn. . .

The approach of 2016 has me feeling pensive, mulling over bits of things that have struck me as interesting lately. A recent newspaper article talking about couture fashion houses courting Joan Didion and Joni Mitchell as models. A TV news segment discussing the explosion of the "shared economy" segment of the marketplace, the most rapidly growing retail commerce segment - seller to buyer direct transactions via platforms like Etsy and HomeAway and Uber. Perhaps a more appropriate post title would have been "The times they are a'changing".

And while I'm not much for new year's resolutions, 2016 feels like the right time to focus on fine tuning. I think the process has already begun on the home front; last month I found myself suddenly inclined to change out lamps and rearrange furniture and move decorative objects around into new arrangements. Sharper. Intentional. Purposeful. Meaningful.

While 2015 has been spent building up my Etsy shop, the energy in 2016 will be more on building a stronger collection, focusing on really good things. If I do have a resolution for 2016 it will be to walk away from things more often, giving myself permission to focus less on quantity and more on quality, so that what I offer on Etsy will be curated with an eye honed for the best item and value.

And I've been reminded recently of how much I miss out on when I make assumptions. The friend I thought would only shop at Bloomingdales recently asked if she can go consignment store shopping with me sometime. The shop I've passed 100 times and never went into because it looked high priced, has now become a regular on my circuit of hunting and gathering, once I overcame my own assumptions (or call them prejudices) and stopped in one day.

So here's to looking at the world a little differently. Happy 2016.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Simply, happy holidays

Whether your holidays are
 or rustic,
 or a little different different,
 celebrate the season
 with love.

 We're ready for holiday shopping in the Etsy shop sophisticatedflorida

Wishing you and yours a peaceful and joyous holiday season -

Saturday, November 14, 2015

all you need is love

My plans for today's post were something along the lines of having the holidays you wish for. How inadequate that seems today after yesterday's events in Paris. So today I choose to invoke love to stand by.

modern eskimo couple
NOLA artist thomas mann double heart earrings
folk art carved pit heart
piero fornasetti trinket dish, brancusi "the kiss" pendant
all we are saying. . .

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Vive la France! (with a side of chop suey!)

This week I added a new section to my Etsy shop - French objet. I've always been able to find one or two French things in my travels, but lately it seems that they are finding me, and I feel quite grateful that they are. We all have our favorite spots to look for little treasures, and I've developed a circuit of places to pop in on a regular basis. They've kept my shop stocked with (if I do say so myself) wonderful things, but this week's finds were nothing short of amazing.

I think you'll agree that these black and white canisters (huge at 8 1/2" tall!) are just terrific! Five of them altogether, four with the same type style and one, Vermicelle (not pictured) in a different type style.

And then there were these, not your typical French livestock signs, but rather ones advertising Premier Mules and Donkeys!

And I must admit, I'm partial to these French trophy vases, given for polo and speedboat racing

Fortunately, when I was near to fainting from finding all these divine things, a little humor injected itself in the form of silver chopsticks and leather fortune cookies (listing coming this week)!

From the sublime to the - well, not so sublime, but hardly ridiculous! Who doesn't need a little fun in their life? And with sunshine and tropical blue skies, and temperatures creeping down ever so slightly, fun is what it's all about here in Florida. Off to Miami's South Beach Antiques Market tomorrow - you never know what you might find there!

Join me on my journeys and keep up with my finds in the Etsy shop (never too early to think holiday tables and gifts!) - marilyn

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Autumn finds - fresh from New England

As Dorothy says, "There's no place like home", and after a long road trip, no sentiment could be truer. The New England road trip was lovely (even if there were days that it was cooler in Florida than in Vermont), and with a stop to visit friends in Chestertown, Maryland, home of the original Sophisticated Vintage, and the opportunity to breeze through the Brimfield Antiques Market - well, who could ask for more?

I've been unpacking and photographing like mad this week and as of this afternoon it looks like I've made some headway: I can almost see the dining room sideboard and table, both of which were obscured by my finds just a few days ago. I never know what I'll find on these road trips, and the pleasure is doubled when I'm just as delighted unpacking something as I was with it when finding it.

Here's a little peek at what's been added to the Etsy shop this week - there's more there now and more to in the works, so be sure to check back. I'm particularly working on wonderful table ware for Autumn so that's yet to come. Hope you enjoy "finding" these as much as I did!

Fabulous vintage Asian horse statue fragments in a whitewashed terra cotta finish

Mid century lucite obelisk with inset stamps, shown with a stack of French books and antique spectacles
Miniature butcher block on round feet, shown with a crock of lobster cocktail picks and "The Book of the Lobster" - great recipes!
1930s leather doctor's bag - just right as a purse or for overnight getaways!
Shabby silverplated cake stand
A mid century wicker hat, French coat & hat rack, and two French trophies - for racing and polo!
If you're crying "I want more!!!!" - head on over to the Etsy shop - Sophisticated Florida - it's chock full!!

I love Fall!! - marilyn