Category Archives: antiques

And after 1986 what else could be new…*

*Lyrics from Modern Woman by Billy Joel. I know this song from Ruthless People, one of the funniest movies of my childhood (and to be honest, it still holds up today – if you haven’t watched it, or even haven’t seen it in a while, DO, you won’t regret it). Anyway, I had a note to myself that this song should be used for the blog, and I couldn’t think of a better moment to use it than now. Plus, I’m in a total nostalgia place these days, so a bit of youthful indulgence in 80s song fare can’t be bad, right? Besides, the video I found is pretty amusing. Completely the opposite of modern in every way. 

BEFORE: The chairs were upholstered in some sort of silk-ish chantung fabric in a 70s chartreuse. In other words, disgusting.

So, do you recall that a short time ago I said that I had to let go of fixing up my mom’s condo? I had been slowly purchasing her things that I thought she would like, and that I liked, so that she could have her dream home. But, a few weeks ago I discovered that the two tufted, swivel barrel chairs that I bought (pounced on, I think is a more accurate term) for her from craigslist were not holding up so well. A combination of an unsupervised child and a pair of apathetic adults led to one of the chairs being cut into, with scissors, ON PURPOSE, for experimental amusement. Needless to say I was not amused.

read on…

After everything…*

*Lyrics from Heavy Feet by Local Natives. I listened to their newest album, Hummingbird, on repeat for three days straight, and then I took a break so I wouldn’t ruin it for myself. You all know I love them. This song is why. Plus, read on, and you’ll see why these words resonated for this post.

Our eclectic vibe, inspired in part by a gift from my sister.

You see, a few Christmases ago, my younger sister gave me a print of a Kandinsky painting she spied that reminded her of my love for blurry dots. I actually and sincerely love that side-effect of having poor distance vision, that blurring of all the edges and background that happens in movies, the way that light turns into semi-transparent glowing orbs that sparkle and move when you blink. It’s really just poor vision, but I find it beautiful (and one of the reasons I don’t want Lasik). It took us years – quite literally two actual years – to muster up the effort to go and have it professionally framed. It was an odd size, and also a really high quality print – no cheap frame would do. But, once we did have it framed, we decided it would be the major inspiration point for our color scheme and vibe at The Pied.

Custom framed with a coupon at Michael's, this bit of art is the center of our design direction.

read on…

Since you’ve been gone, I can breathe for the first time…*

*Lyrics from Kelly Clarkson‘s 2004 song Since U Been Gone (yes, she spelled it like that). This song has been looping in my head ever since we landed yesterday from a brief trip to Utah for a family holiday. The air quality was extremely poor (read this article if you like), and it was my first time at altitude. Add that to my recently discovered exercise induced asthma (and the warm weather scent that fills our pied-à-terre air), and you could say that breathing easily is a luxury I won’t soon take for granted.

Original kitchen bits on the left, our addition on the right. IKEA was our friend in here, except for the vintage/antique table we're using as our eat-in spot.

Sausages. I’m not really a huge fan. But it’s all I can smell from out my new window since the new restaurant opened up on the ground level. (Lucky for me, it’s winter, and thusly the windows are mostly shut. Mostly.) Now, there are worse, far, far worse smells that I could have been inundated with. (This IS New York City we’re talking about here.) Worse scents that could rise up and hit me in the face, fill my nostrils and linger there like an unwanted houseguest, or a particularly chatty colleague. No, instead, I am faced with sausages.

A friend on facebook recently wrote about her discomfort at the fishmonger’s counter of her local market. The subsequent ‘clobbering’ (I believe that’s how she put it) and decapitating of three fish made her, as a buddhist, very (and painfully) aware of the fact that not only was a life about to be over, that it was also being taken, by force. Pretty heavy stuff. That’s sort of what that sausage smell does to me. Reminds me of my place in the world, of my own ambivalence about eating animals, of the highs and lows that come with living in a world with so many inhabitants, of so many various ways of living. Makes me think simultaneously of pigs and fat, of warm, delicious sauces, and of blood, and makes me feel hungry and mildly off-put at the same time.

Which brings me to my point: our kitchen! read on…

And it was all yellow…*

*Lyrics from Coldplay‘s first single, Yellow, off their first album, Parachutes. Don’t you miss old Coldplay? Don’t get me wrong, I still love Chris Martin’s voice, and they’re clearly talented, but, well, maybe I shouldn’t like the same band that my 9 year-old niece thinks is great (‘OMG, I LOVE them!’). Maybe I’ll just remember when…

BEFORE: Mustard velvet upholstery, while in excellent shape, wasn't our bag, baby. Plus, there was a squeaky spring in the seat that was mildly annoying.

Speaking of ‘remembering when,’ remember when I moved into my pied-à-terre and I was all ‘we’re going to do this fast because we must’? Yeah, well, turns out, not so fast. Some things went really quickly – e.g., choosing and applying paint colors, buying a sofa and mattress, getting some cabinetry for the kitchen – while other things moved much slower – e.g., accessorizing, figuring out where to put things, getting a table for the TV, hanging art. All along, however, there was the dream to reupholster a little vintage chair I had originally purchased for my tiny mom (the chair felt a little lower than today’s chairs, and she’s shrimpy short) and move it to the apartment. We have limited floor space, and limited doorway and hallway space (see: the bed debacle), and this petite chair that wasn’t going to work for my mom seemed perfect. All we had to do was choose a fabric.

Chirp, chirp, chirp. Choosing a fabric. One would think it would be easy. As it turns out, not easy at all. It took months. And months. As a matter of fact, when the upholsterer finally came to pick up the chair (they pick up!) and get started on it, the whole process only took about a week. He had a slot open up in his schedule, and just powered through it. So, we were the hold-up on this one. No one else to blame but ourselves.

read on…

The light is long, but it’s not long before it’s gone…

*Lyrics from A Simple Answer off Grizzly Bear‘s latest offering, Shields. I’m a fan of their music, and it grows on me the more I listen to it. Feels new and old at once, and familiar and fresh together. And emotional (and we all know I love emotional). And I always think of London when I hear them – posters promoting their then latest album, Veckatimest, were plastered all over the tube stations when I visited England for the first time ever. So, yeah, I’m a fan. Hope you are, too.

BEFORE: About 12" across, this little tray seemed perfect as a layering piece for the wall.

Have you every wanted to polish something silver-ish, but weren’t sure how, or even if it’d work? As a fan of finding thrift, antique-ish pieces to use as accessories (and even furniture, gasp!), I’m always coming across things that look like they could be silver, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t (the sale tag usually clues me in to that fact). Recently, I spotted a sweet little silver tray that I thought could be used as a mirror-esque item to hang on the wall in the pied-à-terre. (We all know the power of bouncing light around in tiny spaces.) For about $12, I thought, good shape, good size, reflective, textural, I’ll take it! (Jeff said, that’s old, and I hate old anything. I said, too bad, trust me, it’ll be great!)

So, I brought home the little gem, figuring that its character, intricate pattern, and patina would only act as another transitional item that might help visually blend our new things with the entirely old and crumbly existing architecture of the apartment. Only I had no idea how to clean it. So I decided to take a chance on a silver polishing product called NEVR-DULL (yes, that’s right, nevr). Found it at the hardware store that’s directly across from the flat. How convenient is that?

read on…

It’s only echos in the Valley love…*

*Lyrics from Feist’s How Come You Never Go There from her latest awesome album, Metals. I recommend a blind purchase on this one, especially if you’re a Feist fan. Which I am. Naturally.

I also spotted this little silver bread basket that I thought might be a nice addition to my office mantle.

We have the best neighbors. Seriously: generous, kind, fun, smart, and just a pleasure to live near. So when we were chit-chatting with them the other day about heading out to help my mom do some grocery shopping and to get some curtain rods they sprang into action offering the exact right color, size and number of rods we were after. Sweet! (The rods were earmarked for giveaway, so we knew we weren’t taking the shirts from their backs, so to speak.) And, since you all know our time together as marrieds is precious, being able to tackle a chore like hanging curtains right away when we got to mom’s place was a huge time saver. (Of course we still ended up spending hours going here and there, fully and completely exhausting my poor mama. But still.) And what a huge difference did the curtains (and rods) make! Makes me want to sew up some curtains tut suite for my own abode.

Curtain rods from generous Erin & Nellie. Curtains from sale department of ZGallerie.

read on…

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