Saturday, September 29, 2012

Midnight delivery of Massive Antique Wedding Armoire

Antique Brittany Heirloom Dowry Armoire

Wow~it was truly the most incredible piece of furniture I had
ever seen!! And it was in our Boston shop!! How did it get there?
I am gonna show you behind the scenes of how we did it.
But first, have you ever heard of Brittany style furniture?
I hadn't~but I quickly learned a lot when this stunner came up for
auction.  It has an unmistakeable style~heavily carved in 
Chestnut wood~all done by hand.  
The Brittany area is in the Northern part of France
 and was once a separate Celtic state.  Their main source 
of daily life and trade revolved around maritime activities
 and with that the pieces hallmarks are Ships Wheels,
circular motifs, gallery rails with spindles, and figural carvings.
 You can see the ships wheels motif repeated on the doors and the sides
of the cabinet with row after row of gallery railings.  Upon closer inspection 
this piece revealed itself to be an heirloom dowry cabinet that was carved
for the bride to store her silver and linens.  The doors show the betrothed
couple on each side facing each other~how romantic! 
 Finely carved cameo~
 There are flowers, dragons, love birds and a heart 
that is carved at the center of the pediment! 
The center of the cabinet above the doors has a curved
ledge framed in gallery railing~a reminder of the church
 where the couple would soon be wed.  
Totally amazing~the amount of details, all carved by hand!
 Colin and I drove into Boston late last night to meet our Picker Paul 
as he headed to our store from the auction with the enormous cabinet.
Paul's truck pulled up and it was a flurry of activity! Colin brought in the
top part of the cabinet~the pediment first.
He needed to find a place to lay it down and then head 
back outside to help carry the massive piece inside.
 Paul is one strong guy!! He handled one end of the cabinet while Colin and
Paul's helper manned the bottom end.  I tried to snap away with the iPhone
but honestly was ready to toss the phone to the street if the cabinet was to
lurch towards the ground.  I was so nervous~but had to get these pics!
The two guys hunched under the end of the cabinet went
up the stairs carefully~one little misstep and this could 
end up in disaster!! 
 Ahhh~its in the shop safe and sound!! 
Paul has much experience on moving furniture, 
and he advised and counseled Colin as they tackled this brute.
Its tagged for sale and will be here for my weekend crowd!
While this style is not for everyone, it is a stunner,
and I doubt I will ever again see a cabinet like this in my lifetime.
 So I snapped a self portrait at midnight with my rare beauty 
before it heads to a new home~ Maison Decor Boston presents
an Antique Brittany Betrothal Amoire beyond compare!
Of course that wasn't all that was in the midnight truck delivery!
So many cool things are in our store right now, I find
it hard to believe this is even our  shop!!!
I will be working in the shop Sunday, so if you 
can make it in, I would love to see you!

See our furniture listings here

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Annie Sloan's First Chalk Paint Tutorial Video

Photo courtesy of Janet Metzger,  The Empty Nest.
I have had the great pleasure of taking Annie Sloan's USA Tour 
class instruction this past April~as well as getting to hang out
with Annie afterwards for a dinner in her honor.
Its when I decided I had to open a shop to sell
her fabulous paint!  I offer workshop instruction now
in my shops in the Boston Mass area~
Would you like to "meet" Annie and watch
her in action painting and waxing?
Here is Annie Sloan's first video tutorial on Chalk Paint.
and I am thrilled to bring it you here~
its about as close as you are gonna
get to this brilliant lady~until her next 
USA tour, that is~enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mantiques in the Shop~and a Mora!

 I heard that men buy more than women~
I wasn't sure I believed it...but it might be true.
We do get a lot of guys coming into the shop 
and with that in mind I hunted down some "smalls"
for the guys~"smalls" are the small items you will find
in an antique shop or auction house.
You can see a vintage fan in original green in the background,
an old metal clock with an ornate case
a pair of Irish setter bookends
and some leather wrapped opera glasses.
 I loved this pair of dogs~one of the dogs 
has a crack in his tail that I didn't 
spot right away, even so they are a nice addition to the shop.  
A Stag and Sterling Silver (not plate) Carver set~
I love the look of the bone handles 
with the elegant sterling caps and bands.
What's more manly than this antique oak desk?
When oak gets really old it gets darker~
this desk has great legs and a bow front desk and
is in excellent condition.
To add to our manly selection we found this 
early 19th century simple Chinese table in original finish.
This is where the word Patina is used correctly!
Its simple yet elegant~

 We also have a rare 19th century Chinese Apothecary Chest 
with wonderful brass hardware.  It has drawers with chinese words
 carved into the elmwood showing what the medicine man 
kept in each drawer, like goat horn etc...
People like to put these in their house as one of those special pieces~
not for medicinal purposes!!  Its a nice compact size and I expect it to sell quickly~its already got a lot of interest in just a couple days.
 After the map chest sold we quickly found a replacement~this industrial
set of Hamilton flat files.  We set it up in the shop yesterday and already
have serious interest.  Our shop is located in an art gallery area, and this piece is
perfect for artists to store their work in a protected flat space.  These drawers are called high capacity as there are 10 drawers per stackable unit (you are looking at two), instead of the more common 5 drawers per unit.
 Of course this vintage decoupage table that
was painted by Betsy Speert
is in the Boston shop as well!  I think it bridges
the gap between the masculine and the feminine,
and can totally see this piece in a fancy Beacon Hill abode.
 Of course I will always be adding pieces to the shop with the girls in mind~
most of my pillows are under $50, but not this beauty! Its a Belgian tapestry~Cats in a Basket and is done in shades of sage green, cream, rust and pink.
 Coming soon to the Boston store will be this 1798 Mora~
it just got off the container from Sweden 
and I am arranging transport
as we speak!! Its classic white and gold and 
will be gracing our store soon.
Its tall and stately and oh so gorgeous!!!
Curious to know what our number one seller is?
Its our stunning Angel Wings!
Everyone wants them when they see them hung on our
wall~we can't keep them in stock!
A big shipment is on its way next week~
and I expect them to fly out the door 
as quickly as I can hang them.
Thats the latest roundup from Maison Decor Boston.
Running this shop is full of learning and trying to figure
stuff out...what to buy for the shop~
how to communicate what you have inside that will get
people to walk through your doors.
Justin and I  will be working on how to let people 
know what's inside our little shop~
I think most of our foot traffic figure its just a funky paint shop,
but we are so much whether its gotta be 
better window display and or getting some signage,
that is what we will be working on this week.

linking to 

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gilt mirrors and Blog Buddies

I love mirrors. 
Its the one thing I am always on the lookout
for to add to my store inventory~or to upgrade the ones I 
have in my home.  I just got 6 vintage mirrors in all different 
shapes and sizes and all were gold~some gilt and some painted gold.
This is a huge mirror with an insert that fits inside
an elaborate frame to create one big beautiful effect.
One of my pickers, Rebecca, sent me a phone pic
seeing if I was interested~
This was what she sent me~
hello?? I was in love!
Sadly it has damage to the outer gilt frame 
but I still had to have it...its decayed elegance.
However I still think its wonderful and am not sure I can 
bring myself to part with might just have to come home
and live with me permanently.
Then I won't have to explain to people why it is worth the money,
despite the damage...some people just don't get it...
its glorious in every way just the way it is.
The insert mirror part (see the inside frame in the corner)
is all clouded up and looks silver and crinkly...
This one is in perfect condition~
a true gilded mirror with a delicate ornate frame.
We can't keep mirrors in stock in Boston~
this one and the one reflected in the mirror sold last Sunday.
Every Sunday we get wiped out~!
So if you are looking, I'd advise coming in on a Saturday
to get first pickings, as usually our new inventory
has been added by then for our busiest day of the week~Sunday!
Having the store has kind of taken my blog to a different place
and I miss the days when I could happily decorate a space
in my home and then blog about it and see what people thought.
In the two years I have blogged I have made real friendships,
and that has been a very fulfilling part of blogging.
One of my best friends owns this chair below~
do you recognize it?
 I visited her house last week and sat in
 her study and got to really check out 
all the stuff she has been writing about on her blog lately. 
 Like this slipcovered chair that she made.  
She's a big deal decorator, now retired, 
and we connected online and now she's my friend.  
She's a real friend too. 
 We talk daily and she does nice things to help me.  
She gave me a huge cabinet to put in my store to hold all my Annie Sloan paint~it makes the store look official I think.  She has started picking for me too!! How cool is that? A decorator I admired, whose work I only saw in magazines was now involved in my life and helping me on my journey!!
We bounce ideas off of each other~we share frustrations and ideas.
 Its just all so wonderful~
 Designer Betsy Speert~my friend.
 I snapped her at her you all
 can see what Betsy looks like when she is blogging..
deep in thought....whipping up her hilarious posts 
that are also full of decorating genius.
I am so glad she is in my life!
 I have another blog buddy too....
Because she lives far away from me
 I have never met her in person
but we talk on the phone and share personal stuff...
She has great taste and style and is a wonderful writer.
I love reading her stories on her blog, and I often find myself
wishing she would write a book called The Adventures of Nita.
Yes~its my friend Nita of Mod Vintage Life!
Nita is a graphic designer who has suffered losing her job
from the depressed economy...
but Nita did what she had to do and 
got jobs at Target and Pier One...
she just found out her hours are being 
cut back at Pier ONe because they hired holiday help.
So they take the hours away from the loyal employees like Nita.
That stinks!! Making ends meet on her Pier One income was 
tough enough...but now she will make even less.
She has the four dogs to feed and pay vet bills, then
her water heater crapped out and she needed a new one, 
and unexpected emergencies like that
 can be a huge financial burdens.
So I begged her last night to please put up a DONATE button 
on her blog sidebar.  I thought it just might be enough
to help her get through this period...if her blog friends 
gave her $5 or $10 each, it would really add up!! 
Random acts of kindness can truly make a difference
in one persons struggle. 
So she felt weird but agreed to try it
and posted the button last night. 
She is gonna probably kill me when she sees this post.
But I am her friend I want to help her as Betsy helps me~
but how can you do it when you live so far away?
This is the perfect idea I think~
The other thing Nita is going to do for me is to revamp
my blog.  She is a talented graphic designer and will 
be giving Maison Decor a whole new look!!
I hired her to be the graphic designer for Maison Decor!
I want my blog to be able to let all my Annie Sloan clients
find what they need, and still let me blog about the things 
I have always loved blogging about...
not just work related stuff.
So if your blog needs a new look, 
consider Nita~but you may have to get in line...
cause Betsy's gonna have Nita help her 
after she's done with me!
To visit Nita  click here.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to change the color on a piece after its been waxed

Before I tell you how to change the color on 
your furniture that has a Chalk Paint finish I just wanted to 
say that Justin and I hosted the first Boston workshop last night.
It started an hour after we closed shop and ran til 9PM.
It was a long day but a great one.
For locals interested you can find 
our workshop schedule posted at
It was great having our first guy student take the class~
Mike and his wife had been in our shop perusing paint colors earlier in the week
and he was the one that was going to learn the techniques to return home to paint
a large cabinet they had.  Three other ladies, Stephanie, Patty and Lizzie
joined us as well. It was my first time having a class at night and I enjoyed it.
And a quick peek at a handsome oak library desk we just got into Boston~
We styled it with a vintage 48 star flag and some old fans.
Ok, now how to do the presto chango~
*Note: The flag has now been taken off the window stage
 where I draped it over the desk shelf 
and will be displayed properly.
Thank you to those who wrote me about this.
A french desk I recently finished had Old Ochre and Versailles,
Dark wax and Gilding details. 
This pretty desk sold to a woman who wanted it to be a different color~
everywhere there was green was now going to be Paris Gray.
She did not want any gilding either.
What do you do when you have changed your mind or 
you get a request to change the color of piece of furniture
that has a Chalk Paint and recently waxed finish?
Let me show you~
 Apply mineral spirits with a soft cloth and rub over the 
entire piece or the area that you are changing the color out. 
 This will remove the wax~and in this case
 I had both clear and dark waxes.
 Get a nice amount on your cloth and rub~you will see the wax 
dissolve and get picked up in your cloth.
It is also used to remove the gilded areas.
 Above you can see the removed wax 
and the part that is still the original finish.
 All the hardware and along the edges and the legs had 
gilding wax that needed to be removed.
After you take it all off you let it dry for a half hour 
or so and then you are ready to paint.
Note: I edited this post to show reflect that I removed the 
wax because it was still soft and in the curing stages~
if your waxed piece has been buffed and cured you
can paint directly over the waxed surface.
 So~on with the Paris Grey Chalk Paint~!
Its as simple as that~time consuming to repaint, 
but the wax removal part is not difficult.
This is just one more reason why I think Chalk Paint is so versatile~
you can change your mind and easily change a color.
I promise!

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