Tuesday, July 12, 2022

A COLLECTORS HOUSE

A month ago I received an email from a potential client. She asked if I would be interested in looking at her home and helping her redecorate with her collections. I sent her the usual info and we scheduled a meeting.

When I walked into her home I gasped; this was no ordinary redecorating project, this gal had incredible stuff! My first response was, "What do you need me for?!!" Usually a customer wants me to pick paint colors, fabric, tile, bedding, etc. but this was a completely different project. 

After an hour walk-thru and long discussion of what she loved, didn't love, wanted to achieve, and lifestyle routine. I left full of ideas but one crucial element I knew I needed first was my friend and decorating cohort, Shon Ledbetter. Shon would get this. 

Shon and I have worked together on a hundred different vignettes and displays since we first met as dealers at Top Hat Mercantile when it opened in the West Bottoms of KC in 2014. The two of us had booths next to each other and always designed and installed the main entrance displays every month. He has also been my help for the last 2.5 years at Glenwood Antique Mall every first Wednesday night during dealer work night. He has been my legs, arms, strength, has the truck, has tools, has the passion for old things and can complete my sentences. He has become my best friend which is hard to find after 50!!

Shon would get this house and was happy to come on board. He also met with the client while I was in New York and the two hit it right off immediately as she is fun, laid back, not fussy, and more than anything had loads of great stuff for us to work with and also.... trusting. She allowed us to come and go into her empty house for 4 days while she was out of town.

Day one was spent removing items from the walls, rearranging a bit and planning what needed to be done. From then on Shon and I basically dived in and began talking all the while about what we were going to do, making notes of things we needed and moving, moving, moving through her house, basement and garage getting it done. (Shon wins at climbing and shlepping from her basement stairs maybe 100 times!) 

Captions below each picture will explain a bit more:

Images of the home the first time we walked through.

The bicycle was already installed. We hung her 8' flag and pennant collection.

The brown sectional needed to stay so I sewed 3 large pillows from her camp blanket collection and added more textiles.

We displayed more blankets from her bannister, hung that colorful wind chime and moved the blue work bench behind the sofa with an industrial light and native baskets. I also hung extra antlers over each doorway.

The large deer was there and Shon added the two others. The heat vent determined what was added to the top of the bookshelf. I gave her plenty of room to add more stuff!

Because of her great vintage book collection, I kept all blue and green books here as well as her turquoise pottery. There is still room to keep adding, because I know she will!

We added an old fireplace screen she had (and firewood). The Indian picture was made by me for her approval. I told her collecting some yard long photos would be good here because of the shallow space above the mantle. There was no power for the lamp so I suggested one of those battery lightbulbs to make that amber shade pop. The male mannequin was dressed exactly like that and hidden in her laundry room!

Our client has an amazing collection of oil paintings, drawings and amateur art. So much so it was screaming for their own 'artist's corner'. Shon removed a wall mounted TV and other furniture. I began hanging everything she had and displaying some art on easels. 

The dining room was large and dark with a low ceiling. She wanted the windows kept open with no coverings. Her massive flag collection was screaming to be a centerpiece bouquet.

Take note: I did nothing here! This wonderful natural curiosities cabinet was 95% as I found it. It was stuffed with every natural element you can imagine (sea shells, bird's nests, beehive, eggs, feathers, bones, driftwood, turtle shells, etc.) but hidden against a dark wall. We moved it to the corner for better viewing.

I call this the 'classroom corner' with flags, dictionary, working fans, jar of pencils, etc. The schoolhouse light was in her collection but no power is in this ceiling... I hung it anyway!

Everyone's favorite:
I wasn't thrilled with the 'Old Man & the Sea' needlepoint at first but it certainly set the tone for this wall of seaside treasures. Shon brought in the birdbath from the back porch, I found the smaller items in her basement stash: old miniature liquor bottles, mother of pearl pocket knives, mini globe, hobnail lamp, and an assortment or cogs & gears. Her son caught the mounted fish. Ammo boxes below hold heavy rusted chains.

The master bedroom: We talked her into removing her heavy, new headboard and end table. She had wood planks from old football bleachers that Shon cut and assembled into a new headboard; vintage industrial lamps were added for reading. Her Pendleton blanket will soon get new shams to coordinate.

One of my favorite displays:  I took all the red books from the living room bookcase and displayed them here along with her red blankets, red buddhas and red Swedish Dale horses. I kind of love this!

Our client had a great collection of framed nudes that worked perfectly against the dark dresser. She ultimately wants an older dresser here (and lamp!) I also suggested some trays to put under her figurines.

We painstakingly marked the boards to be cut exactly so the numbers would be jagged.

This amazing cabinet is obviously her favorite (from Prize in KC). not much to add to this!! Live birds are in a birdcage to the left but we are begging her to switch it out to one of her vintage birdcages (yes, she has two large ones!).

We did not finish all she would like to have done, but hopefully she will hire us back to complete the rest... Stay tuned!

This is what we love to do. Email me for design consultations!
curiousdeb@curioussofa.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

SUMMER 2022

July 1 is almost here which means Summer is in full throttle. 

I began the summer season by flying to Rhinebeck, NY (via Albany) to attend the wedding of Duke & Natalie Kisch, the oldest son of my best, dearest, most steadfast friend Billie Tuter-Kisch since 5th grade!! There are not many relationships in my life that have lasted that long without being related. Billie and I have seen each other through a lot; I guess mostly I have watched her. After high school she worked at JC Penney while I was picking up my first camera and found my nitch was shooting models. I shot some pics of Billie and to make a very long story short, they ended up in the hands of a modeling agency in Paris... and off she went.

Circa 1978

June 17, 2022

I watched from the midwest sidelines as my friend adorned the cover of every top French fashion magazine her first year there. And despite her old age of 22, her modeling career took off traveling from Paris to all parts of the world working with some of the most famous fashion photographers on the map. Eventually she moved to New York, married photographer John Kisch and years later they set up home a few hours away in Rhinebeck, NY then along came two beautiful boys. I have visited her in Paris, New York, Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck many, many times and all the while learning about each city, her life, her work and her new friends but this trip will stand out among one of the best.

Billie and Duke

For the last 32 years Billie has been a real estate agent representing Sothebys. To say there are some jaw dropping properties in upstate New York is putting it mildly. This trip was the first time I rented a car as Billie's dance card was jammed pack every day with wedding guests, events, and errands so she graciously booked me into the Mirbeau Inn & Day Spa while her own home was a revolving door with friends from London, Austin, San Francisco, Virginia and beyond. As I drove back and forth each day, attending dinners and helping her with errands it was amazing to be in the center of such an elegant, yet "country" town. I have jokingly said upon my return, "There wasn't a drive-thru anything anywhere!" (Am I spoiled or what?) Instead the town has many winding roads of small businesses, cafes, shops, quaint artisans and craftsmen all doing their thing and being supported by the locals. There may be a few who were actually born and raised in the popular Hudson Valley (her boys for one) but the majority of her clients are there to get away from the big city... and breathe. There is so much history there that I could not do it justice by writing about it but I will share some great homes that might give you an idea.

Historic homes of Rhinebeck, NY


The wedding was lovely and the weather, ALL WEEKEND was even better.

John, Billie, Duke, Natalie and Ace Kisch

A hilltop wedding ceremony




Rehearsal dinner and River & Post
 
 



Looking back, I should have stayed an extra week as Billie and I didn't have much girl time but it was still an amazing week sharing this important event with her. 

I hadn't been on an airplane in almost 4 years. There is nothing fun about airplanes, crowds, cancelled flights (yep, that happened), catching Covid (that happened too) and arriving back home thoroughly exhausted. I slept 36 hours straight when I returned!! That was a first.


While I was gone a couple good friends checked on my booth at the mall and fluffed and arranged as needed. Sadly, because of Covid I had to keep asking for help which is the hardest thing for me to do.
June 1 my summer reveal happened with a mixture of bright white and blue, forgoing the splash of red I usually add and I was happy with that this time. I scored this amazing primitive jelly cabinet which helped anchor the entire space. Tables and chairs have come and gone and much of the artwork as well but there is still one month left of outdoor goodness before I start preparing for fall (yes! FALL! and I am excited for that!!).

















Tuesday, March 01, 2022

SPRING 2022

     Happy Spring!

     I had a plan. I have a plan every season and this year I decided to display my Spring merchandise on Feb 15. As with most of my plans, only about 80% came to fruition but it is a Spring aesthetic none the less. It all started with Ralph. 

    I saw an image of a Ralph Lauren’s showroom from a year or two ago and I was off and running with a Curious Sofa vision for Spring. This was the image I saved last fall:


He had layers of soft plaids, seersucker suits, pastel checks and various props displayed that had a softer color palette than one usually sees for Spring. But soon I found out hunting for those pale textiles and clothing were difficult with 6” of snow on the ground. Later my Spring direction solidified with a couple of paintings I found online that were centuries old and done with a similar but more attainable color palette (used in my Facebook banner and available as a Tiny Print now). This one: 



Once I have the colors chosen for any season I am taking on, I’m good to go. Months were spent searching for happier furniture, not too sweet textiles and garden inspired items that just spoke to me. Fixing, cleaning, sewing, and framing followed. After two weeks of minor booth remodeling and installation (with much help from my dear friend Shon), the space is done… for now. Outdoor furniture is to come, a collection of shirts and lightweight jackets; more art, lighting and anything else that I find on my daily hunt. 

Changing the banner on my Facebook page happens every season and is a glimpse into the color palette and style direction I am going for.

An overall look of 85% of the space. The side corners were taken down and beefed up for security. 
I also ordered some great wood wallpaper to add to the underside.



A collection of vintage floral prints were collected over the last few months.

Any accessory that said Spring to me was also found. 




Hunting for vintage floral ticking fabric seemed to be appropriate for the season.


For the first time I gathered many faux plants and flowers to embellish the space. Choosing silk over plastic and softer, neutral shades over bright colors makes them a bit more forgiving.

I found some wonderful pastel floral sheets to make pillows from.


The print above is another one of my projects; a professional print adhered to a stretch canvas.


I just had to have these. A fun pair of galoshes can not only be worn but a fun prop for the front porch or garden shed.






















This work bench was the last addition and much needed piece to complete the display.

A bit unexpected, but this retro flame stitch chair had all the colors I was hoping to use for Spring.

Another last minute find was this sweet striped loveseat.




A bit brighter than I would have liked but for Spring it is a great centerpiece.


SHOP Curious Sofa inside the Glenwood Antique Mall in Overland Park, KS or shop online at curioussofa.com