Monday, May 31, 2010

Bottom feeding at a Forced Auction

We've been seeing the ads in the New York Times for a few days: "Forced to Auction - Prominent Attorney - Divorce". We've never been to an auction like this and decided to check it out.

It was a different format than we are used to. The preview was at 1pm and the sale at 2pm. There was a line to get in and registration was required.

They didn't plan to auction everything that they were displaying. One had to express interest (without any obligation) and the item would go in to the auction itself. There were lots of carpets and prints, most of which seemed new. Many items would make good additions if you are in the market for them.

We didn't stay for the auction, but suspect it would be a good bottom fishing exercise. It's Memorial Day after all and who's in town! There was a 15% buyers premium added and NYC sales tax.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The versatile screen

Screens can be used in so many ways. They can be art on a wall. They might be a headboard. They can hide an ugly something in a room. They can divide a large space into distinct zones.
Homes and Gardens, UK

This Japanese inspired screen adds color and interest to this living room, and fill an otherwise empty corner with a piece of art!
Traditional Hone - Designer: Eva Quateman

This Chinese screen was separated in to four sections and is a terrific way to have art fill the wall behind this sofa.
Veranda - Designer: Vincente Wolf

In Vincente Wolf's New York apartment he used this 19th century teak screen as a way to divide the room to form this 'office'.

 New York Spaces - Siskin Valls Interior Design

This leather and silk screen hides a home theater in this New York apartment.

These two examples from the recent New Orleans auction would each be very interesting additions to a room decor. The screen on the left is 20th century Chinese. It's black lacquer with animals and objects carved from different hard stones. It sold for $1,722. 
On the right are a pair of art deco style grill doors. They sold for $922.50. It's easy enough to have a metal worker hinge them together to make a screen, and what a great way to add interest without obstructing the view in front of a large window. We bought four grills similar to this and plan to do just that (cost $250).
This example from the recent Stair Galleries Exposition auction is Chinese painted four panel screen made from paper. Probably more delicate than many, but it would make a wonderful wall decoration or put in a corner that doesn't get much use. I think the coloring is very chic!

Finally, these Chinese Jumu wood doors that were offered at New Orleans Auctions (unsold) would be a good option for recreating the look in Vincente Wolf's apartment. I could easily see a desk sitting in front of these panels separating your office from the living room behind.

Let your imagination wander on how to use a screen in your home decor scheme. Break it apart, put it on the wall, or let is sit in the corner as a lovely (and big) work of art. Have fun with it!

Do you have an example of how you use a screen in your home? Send it in and I'll publish it. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Upcoming Auctions May/June

Summer does not mean a slow down in the auction schedule. All the auction houses that are usually featured in this blog have sales on the calendar.

  • New York: American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture sale will be May 26 at 4pm. This is a higher end sale with a very nice selection of American art. Would be worth taking a look for some familiar names. I have always liked Childe Hassam as a as a representative of American Impressionism.

Bonhams NY - Childe Hassam (1859 - 1935) Lot 16 $400k - $600k

Christie's New York

Christie's has a number of sales in June in NY ranging from Antiquities to 20th Century decorative arts. I highlight just a couple here that caught my attention. Check their web site for other sales.
  • June 17th Important 20th Century Decorative Art and Design. Preview from June 12. You can drool over the gorgeous representatives of design from Tiffany Studios to Giacometti. This chest of drawers would be a wonderful focal point in a living room or bedroom. 

Christie's NY - Lot 89 Macassar Ebony Chest $5k - $7k

  • June 24 and 25 Interiors Sales. This is usually a terrific sale for decorating. The catalogue is not yet on line. 
Clarke Auction, Larchmont NY
  • June 7th Estate Antiques Auction with previews beginning June 5th.This is usually a very affordable selection. This sofa is a great example of Empire style. 

Clarke Auction - Empire Scroll Arm Sofa $800 - $1,200

Copake Auction, Copake NY
  • June 26th 5pm Copake will have an Unreserved Catalogue Estate Sale with previews beginning June 24 up until the time of the sale. As always you can expect a selection of Americana including quilts, weather vanes, and country furniture. We got some real bargains at the May sale.
Doyle New York
Doyle NY - Lot 379 French Art Deco Mirror $1.5k - $2k

  • June 23 Doyle @Home Auction with preview from June 19 - 22. This is usually a very good sale for decorating your home. On-line catalogue is not yet available. 
Sotheby's New York
Sotheby's has a number of sales in NY in June. One in particular caught my eye for Auction Decorating.
  • June 16 Important 20th Century Design with previews from June 12 - 15. There are very high end examples of great design, including Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Josef Hoffmann, and Tiffany Studios. 
Stair Galleries, Hudson NY
  • June 26 the sale will be of the Collection of Douglas Cramer and Hubert Bush with preview beginning June 11th (check the specific schedule). The preview photos look like the two had great taste, and includes a lot of garden decoration as well as furniture. 

Stair Galleries Preview of June 26th Auction

Wright 20th Century, Chicago IL
  • June 8 Important Design. Wright 20th C has a steady offering of great 20th century design. The prices reflect the quality. A well selected investment piece like this cabinet would be a great design element in a room.
Wright 20th C Lot 666 - Paolo Buffa Cabinet c. 1940 Italian $10k - $15k

Have some fun visiting an auction this month, either on-line and/or in person. Find one near you and explore.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Essential Etageres

Etageres are a wonderful alternative to bookshelves for displaying photos and objects of all sorts. 'Etageres' is a French word that has made it in to English meaning 'a stand with a series of open shelves for small objects...'

Elaine Griffin decorated our library and she placed a pair of etageres on either side of the sofa, framing it and giving us a place to display, as well as to put the equipment for the TV and sound system. I think it gives it a lighter feel than bookcases in this instance.
Elle Decor - Designer: Michael S. Smith

The decorator, Michael S. Smith, in this example could have installed bookcases, but instead opted for custum made etageres for books and object display.

At auction etageres come up regularly. They might be modern or traditional.

These are two good examples from the recent sale at New Orleans Auction. The one on the left is Regency style mahogony and was estimated at $700 - $1,000. It's a wonderful size for putting in a corner and thus the display could be oriented in two directions.

The etagere on the right is steel and glass 20th century. It's estimate was $400 - $700 and they had more than one in the auction if you wanted a pair. This is more modern in style and I could see two or three even serving as a sort of room divider in a loft type apartment.

These wrought iron etageres at the recent Stair Galleries auction would probably be best in a garden or porch, but I think they would be very interesting in an informal room of any sort. They were estimated at $700 - $900 for the pair. They are very fun and decorative!

Decoration and photos add character to a room, and what better way to display them than on one or two etageres!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Small Dining Solutions at Auction

For apartment dwellers space is usually a challenge. A dining area is often some sort of compromise between choosing a dedicated area or room, or a space that serves double duty. In modern spaces, there is often one family room that is lounging and dining room all in one.

So small tables are often called for, and at auction you will find a regular selection of lovely 'breakfast' or 'pembroke' tables that can easily be moved around a space and positioned when needed for dining.

Many breakfast tables are round or oval, which are wonderful for conversation.

Elle Decor - Designer: Jeffrey Billhuber

This seating around this round table is eclectic and relaxed. 
Elle Decor - Designer: Victoria Borus

This is a lovely small table in the dining room or Aerin Lauder's East Hampton home. It looks like it sit four easily and she can probably add two more chairs to seat six. The blue walls are great too!

House Beautiful - Designer: Miles Redd

This table in a library is a great example of a multipurpose room, which makes so much sense in the modern age. How many formal dining rooms sit empty for so many months of the year. 

Stair Auction May 21st Lot 375A

I love this Biedermeier walnut and black lacquer table. It's estimate range is $500 - $700. This would make a lovely small dining table. The legs make it tough to sit more than 4, but it could serve double duty in an entrance hall or living area. 

These two tables are good examples of 'pembroke' style. They are often used behind sofas, but in this case they make good dining tables in small places particularly because of their drop leaves. I could see them in the library photo above. The Regency mahogany table on the left is from the upcoming New Orleans Auction May 21 - 23 (Lot 876 - est. $1,000 - $1,500). The mahogany table on the right is from the June 14th Clarke Auction. The pedestal leg makes it even easier to fit more chairs around the table and could easily sit six (estimate $200 - $300).

This lovely Regency mahogany breakfast table went unsold at the Doyle auction May 19th. The estimate was $700 - $1,000 so they must not have gotten the bids to reach a reserve minimum. This would comfortably sit four to six and squeeze in to a living area, or even a large kitchen if you are blessed with one.

Most of us are looking for more space in our home, so a nice small dining table in a double duty room is a perfect solution. Auctions are a great place to find them!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Give them something to talk about!

I like conversation pieces. It's fun having someone over to your home and have them comment, admire, or quiz you over some decoration. They may not always like it, but it adds interest or even a smile.

I set about looking for those conversation pieces at a few upcoming auctions: Stair, Doyle NY and New Orleans. Auctions are great places for finding the unusual. I often find something that makes me stop, and I wonder if I can find a way to incorporate it in to my already full home!
Doyle NY Lot 210

This pair of console tables in the Doyle New York auction being held May 19th are 19th century Italian rococo. They stand 33.5" tall and are estimated at $2,000 to $3,000. They would look great on either side of anything, or even as bed side tables!

Doyle NY Lot 551

I think that this pair of candelabra are fabulous. They would add drama to any dinner. They are described as Empire gilt,  circa 1810. They stand 18.75" tall and are estimated at $2,500 - $3,500.

Doyle NY Lot 195

Columns add architectural detail to a room and fit anywhere! Squeeze this one in to a corner of your living or dining area for added interest. This one stands 43.5" tall and is 17th/18th century Continental Baroque painted and gilt wood. It's estimate is $300 - $500.

Stair Galleries Lot 373A

The Stair Galleries auction May 21st features this French faience three piece stove. It stands 7ft 6.5" tall, and could almost be used the same way as the column, if it doesn't work as a stove. Just put it in a corner as apiece of art. If it does work as a stove, what a great substitute for a fireplace as a focal point in your room. It's estimate is $2,500 - $3,500.

New Orleans Auction Lot 468

New Orleans Auction  has a three day auction coming up May 21, 22 and 23. This paperweight stopped me in my virtual tracks. Why would you want a dead sparrow paperweight. But then again, why not? What a terrific way to get a giggle when you sit down at your desk. They actually have more than one of these in the sale! This one is French bronze and estimated at $75 - $125. Might be worth a shot.

So have some fun and give your friends something to talk about when they come to visit!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Busy Weekend Auction Decorating!

We are up in Columbia County, NY this weekend and it has been a great weekend for auction decorating! We went to a preview at Stair Galleries in Hudson NY for their May 21st Exposition auction of English and Continental Furniture and Decoration, which included items from Bill Blass' home. We also went to the auction itself at Copake Auction last night, and what a fun experience!

First a quick preview of the Stair offering. They have beautiful stuff and well presented. It gave me some ideas.

I love the red painted mirror in this shot. What a wonderful way to add color to a room. The Scandinavian stove in the corner is fun as well. Not sure what I would do with it, but if it works it would be a great substitute for a wood burning stove - so practical but usually not great looking in a room.

This whole scene has great balance with pairs of mirrors, chairs and candelabra on a lovely desk. Pairs of anything are so decorative and can be used in so many ways. It also gives a sense of order, which the Palladians would say creates a sense of calm.

Now on to Copake. For those who have read my blog before I always refer to Copake as a real country auction. Well, we decided to attend the auction last night and it didn't disappoint. We were on the hunt for inexpensive mirrors for our new cottage. I had looked at the on-line catalogue first to see if there was anything that might be candidates and thought four or five might work depending on the in person inspection. 

We arrived at about 4:15pm before the 5:00 auction start - just enough time to register since this was our first time, and to make a quick tour of the offerings. We bought the catalogue there for $4, but it can be downloaded as well.

Copake can mostly be counted on for a solid selection of low priced Americana. They almost always have quilts, weather vanes, and country furniture. This auction also had a lot of Asian artifacts from an Estate. We were on the hunt for mirrors and saw three that we liked after inspection, and we also saw a pretty big rug. It was the size that first attracted us and the relatively good condition. We figure we can find a place for it somewhere.

Now that we decided that we were going to bid, we put dibs on our chairs. Those in the know obviously get there early and do that. You can see that almost all the seats were taken by 4:30!

As always our strategy was to set a limit on each bid, and we decided my husband was in charge of the bidding (and we would go higher if I punched him in the leg during the process!).

The rug was lot 4, and we had to wait for the mirrors and a lavabo for another 3 hours! Luckily they have a food vendor if you get starved. Three bids were a success! I know that's not our recent experience, but Copake is a bargain hunters dream!

The rug was $120 (plus 15% buyers premium and sales tax)! The mirrors were each $195 (before buyers premium). They are both 19th century Federal, and I've seen similar in antique shops for much more. We paid for our winning and took them home right away.

We didn't take look to hang them and here they are. The rug is wrapped up for future use. We're very pleased, and it was fun going to the auction itself at Copake. It's probably more fun when we're successful getting what we want! We'll be back.

Friday, May 14, 2010

'Furnishing' Outdoor Rooms at Auction (2)

It's been cold here in New York this last week, and this only gets me thinking about the warm weather returning that much more.

Auctions are great places to find unique and beautiful furniture and decoration to create your outdoor room in your porch, garden patio, or terrace. The auctions this time of year usually have a good selection of urns, metal furniture, and statues of all sorts perfect for decorating your outdoor room.
House Beautiful: Designer: Ty Larkins

This lovely garden terrace is punctuated by classical pieces such as the fountain in the foreground and the other in the rear.

At the recent Stair Galleries auction they had a good selection of garden ornaments. 

This statue would provide instant classic to any outdoor room. It's 5 feet tall and is appropriately named 'Summer'. It sold for $750.

These oak jardinieres would create wonderful borders for a patio space planted with flowers and greenery. They are 5 feet long and sold for $1,900. 
New Orleans Auction - Lot 650

The upcoming New Orleans Auction has some very nice garden ornaments. This putto would serve as both statue and fountain! The flutes are both fitted for water. This is cast zinc and is 32" tall, ca 1900. The estimate is $300 - $500. 

House Beautiful

This photo from House Beautiful has two wonderful elements. The clock face is a focal point over a wonderful iron table. Decorating an outdoor room like an indoor room with the same planning around furniture and wall decoration is what makes it an 'outdoor room', and not just an outdoor place to sit. 
New Orleans Lot 442

This Empire style iron table has very decorative heads and feet and a beautifully inlaid marble top. This would be a perfect outdoor room focal point along a wall. Top it with candles or flowers. The estimate on this is $400 - $700. 

House Beautiful - Designer: Fern Santini

This indoor 'outdoor' room uses a grate as a decorative focal point. One sees these at auctions fairly regularly (in fact we bought a set of four a few months ago).
Copake Auction - Lot 409

This example from the upcoming Copake Auction sale this weekend are estimate at $50 - $100 for the pair. 

This is the season to update your patio or terrace and think about decorating it as you would your family room. Auctions will provide lots of opportunity to add unique pieces.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bargains at Copake Auction

Copake Auction in Copake, NY has an Unreserved One Owner Estate Auction coming up May 15th. Here is a link to the on-line catalogue. The items have multiple photos when you click on one which helps in viewing the condition. BUT, there's nothing like going in person to the preview and/or auction itself.

Lots of enticing bargains.

If you're decorating for a modern look this sofa has an estimate of $150 to $250 (Lot 12)!

This 19th century 'dough mixing' table is a very nice piece of painted furniture that would look great in a country shabby chic look or even a spare modern white room. This is Lot 37 and estimated at $250 - $450.

There's always room for another mirror in any home and this 19th century Federal mirror is quite cute and the size that fits almost anywhere. This is estimated at $100 - $150 (Lot 51).

Copake always seems to have a good selection of quilts and weather vanes. I have always wanted a weather vane, but have not been ready to take the plunge because I don't yet feel knowledgeable enough to pay what they go for.They are wonderful sculptures in any setting.

I like this chicken weather vane (Lot 57), with an estimate range of $2,500 - $3,500. I think I'm holding out for a horse!

The auction preview is from May 13 to the time of the sale on May 15th. The auction starts at 5pm.
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