Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find interesting ideas and inspiring images. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated! Check out my facebook page and website - wydevendesigns.com and check my Houzz site here -
houzz interior design ideas

About Me

My Photo
My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In Honor of Earth Day - Waste Not/Want Not

In honor of earth day, I'd like to demonstrate (again) the magical transformation of old, dated, sometimes "ready for the dumpster" upholstered furniture into beautiful better-than-new pieces for any style of home. Outdated furniture contributes significantly to the massive amount of landfill requirements in this country alone.
Between 1960 and 2008 the population of the United States has grown 69%. The number of households has increased 94% in the same time due to each household being statistically smaller. The amount of upholstered furniture we are throwing away into landfills has increased six times from the 1960 figures to those of 2008. Though the numbers have increased each decade the real jump occurred in the 1980’s and has climbed since then. link to article
Not only does the refurbishing and continued use of furniture make environmental sense, it also ensures that you get a much better product than those readily available today.

Here, through photos, are some examples from my current inventory! Enjoy!

I purchased this set of chairs at an estate sale in Buckhead (Atlanta). One of the legs had been repaired and, therefore, I decided to go with full-lenght skirts. 
This was one of three Goodwill Industries chairs I bought that day.
This settee also came from Goodwill Industries - it has GREAT bones!
This wonderful gilded chair was purchased at Scott's Antique Markets in March. It came from an estate and the original gilding was in great condition - needing only buffing and polishing (and a very slight brass finish rub-on). 
I bought this great styled (70's) chair during a recent trip to New Orleans. The woodwork was refinished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre and the piece upholstered in cream linen with brown linen accents and back.
This chair was purchased through a Craigslist ad in the area. It has great lines and bones and the fabric just enhances it so well!
This great set was purchased through a Craigslist ad from a young couple who had been given the chair and ottoman for their first apartment. The finish is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Old White - distressed) and the fabric is a wonderful linen-blend toile that I've used before. 
Another Goodwill Industries purchase - this one has down composition and great lines! 
This wonderful set had been upholstered in leather and is very solidly made. I refinished the woodwork in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Cream) and selected a chocolate brown linen fabric. 
This chair is a Goodwill Industries purchase. It has wonderful lines and great turned legs. The fabric is a heavy pale mint matelasse.
This great set was purchased through a Craigslist ad from a young couple near mid-town Atlanta. It is manufactured by Charles Stewart - a very high-end North Carolina manufacturer and exceptionally well made.
This chair was purchased an estate sale in my general neighborhood. It was custom made and now has a new chalk paint finish and blue and white cotton ticking fabric.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shopping the Markets in Southern Spain

Near market entrance in Southern Spain
My husband, Tim, and I just returned from a wonderful two-week trip to Spain - a country we had just barely skimmed over 25 years ago when we briefly visited Barcelona. This trip was split into two parts - the first part in a time-share in the Andalusia (southern Spain) area and the second part in an apartment in central Madrid. Both parts were exceptional and I am in the midst of sorting and editing over 2500 photos in order to create two travel journals - this may take a while.
Tim is a good shopping companion

One of the great things about visiting southern Spain (Malaga Area) are the HUGE outdoor markets held in different cities/towns every day of the week. We spent several sunny, warm hours at a market not far from the city of Malaga (Arroyo de la Miel). I did most of my souvenir/gift shopping at this market and wished I had a reasonable way to buy and ship more items.

I found a number of items that were particularly well priced and a willingness to "haggle", particularly if you were buying more than one item from a seller. Not surprisingly, I ended up with "twos" of many things.

Here are some photos of this day at the market. I am sure I will come up with more "Spain" postings and probably more "shopping" postings as well!  This is a lovely area!
Nice rugs and textiles
Floral stands - these were prices at 2.5 to 3.0 euros - not bad!
The ceramics were beautifully done - very tempting but I didn't want the burden of hauling these.
Look at the great price on these oranges! 
I bought one of these necklaces - it may go my sister for her recent birthday! 
I loved these little purses and bought one for each of my granddaughters . 
I REALLY loved these textiles and the price was pretty good. I had no way of getting them home however.
Shopping - it was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yellow is the Color of Sunshine - Spring is Near

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens website
Last Sunday, my husband and I traveled about an hour north of the Atlanta area to visit Gibbs Gardens and the first event of their season - acres and acres of daffodils. It was a beautiful day and a great outing. We became annual ticket-holders last year and are going to try to make all of their big events!

The fields of yellow just glowed in the sun and yellow is the color that most reminds me of spring and sunshine. We've have a harder-than-usual winter here in the South and spring is beckoning! Yellow is also my personal go-to color for decorating - at least 75% of my house has either some or a lot of yellow. Even on gloomy days, the rooms retain a certain amount of sunshine!

I just added a great little settee and chair (very nice Mitchell Gold products) reupholstered in a wonderful large pattern daffodil yellow and white and thought I'd use this posting to highlight it and other yellow favorites from my recent collections.
Here is the Mitchell Gold set - love this fabric!
The buffalo plaid has to be my all-time favorite bright yellow fabric - I had enough to do three pieces! 
Nice pieces from last year! I have some of the yellow and blue toile left over and am doing a bergere chair and ottoman right now - should be available soon!
Nice pieces as well - the two fabric on the lower-right chairs is actually brighter than it shows here!
Clearly, I need to keep the sunshine going with yellows and pale golds - more to come soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Shopping on Magazine Street in New Orleans

Magazine Street in New Orleans
My husband and I just returned from a four-day trip to New Orleans - a "pre-Mardi Gras" extravaganza! We stayed in the French Quarter (shout-out to Travelzoo link to website for some great rates on the French Quarter Wyndam - link ).

While in New Orleans,we took the cable car to the Garden District and walked to Magazine Street to check out the shops. This is the premier shopping street in the area - link.
Sidewalk near magazine street - beautiful trees!
Magazine Street was named for a “magazin,” a warehouse that was built in the late 1700s to house products awaiting export. Today this vibrant street features eclectic architecture—from the large columned Greek Revival style of the mid-19th century to the colorful Victorian cottages trimmed in quirky gingerbread millwork
Typical homes in the area - many decked out for Mardi Gras.
Very pricey (but interesting) shop!

My goal was to find (and perhaps purchase) some great, well-priced "refurnishable" upholstered furniture to take home. We covered many blocks of great shops although most were either slightly overpriced for me (or a LOT overpriced).

Here are some images of the area and the shops!

We had a great time visiting Magazine Street and came back with the car two days later to pick up our treasure!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Beautiful Friday for Sales

Since my husband retired at the end of last year, he often becomes my companion for "estate sale shopping", particularly on Fridays. I am increasingly finding that most good sales start either Thursday or Friday and not too often on Saturday. Thus, Friday has become my primary day to buy refurnish-able upholstered furniture. He describes his role as "carry and haul assistant" - which I will not dispute!

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the Atlanta area with clear blue skies and temperatures into the low and mid 60's. We, like much of the country, have had a very rough winter and this was a nice change.

We traveled to a number of locations to check out the listed sales.
This was our first sale - handled by Ann & Dell, a selling team that has been doing this for years and years. The prices were pretty good and I bought the chair for $50. It does need everything and I was able to talk them down from $75.
I left three bids at this sale and have not yet heard if I got any of them. The first chair was actually pretty well priced at $250 - if is a beauty. I, however, am such a cheapskate that I just couldn't do it. I bid $160 which is very high for me.
This was the first of two "Vicki" sales - one of my favorites although this particular sale did not have much to offer. The Victorian love seat was tempting but had pieces of wood missing.
This was the other Vicki sale - lots of upholstered furniture although most of it was oversized and not me. The prices were very high and Vicki told me that the sellers wouldn't entertain low-ball bids so I passed. 
Best sale of the day also handled by a known estate sale organization. I was able to negotiate a very nice price for two Ralph Laurent (YES) love seats - all down, a rose-ted slim wingback which I hope to sell as is, and a set of square ottomans. Not too bad!  I even was able to get a dress, silk blouse and cashmere sweater thrown in - what a deal!
SO, this was a great day and now I need to find enough fabric to cover the two love seats - about 30 yards will be required which is far more than I usually am able to buy at one time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Great Sources for Refurbish-able Furniture

As a continuation of my tenth anniversary postings, I thought I'd summarize the sources of my great refurbish-able upholstered furniture.

Regardless of source, it is important to remember the quality criterion to ensure that the high cost of refurbishing is worth the expense.

  • Look for pieces with high-end USA labels - e.g., Hickory Chair, Henredon, Southwood, Baker, Kargas, Sam Moore. Most of these (not all) are still made in the USA. Many great older labels are out-of-business and/or have been bought out and integrated into larger companies. Also, many companies used to make better USA-produced furniture but are no longer as well-made (Thomasville comes to mind). 
  • Absent labels, look for signs of good foundation construction. One of the best signs is the presence of hand-tied eight-way coil springs which look like large round coils and operate independently to stabilize the foundation. 
  • Look for woodwork that is sturdy and does not have evidence of breakage or water/insect damage.
I love looking for and finding these great pieces and am not easily discouraged. For example, I probably buy less than 40% of the craigslist items that I actually go out and look at. Even after asking a lot of questions, it is still necessary to see and feel the product to make sure that it is worth redoing.  

Here are my primary sources!  As I've said over and over - anyone, can do this. It is not only environmentally responsible but can be fun and rewarding!
This is probably my least favorite source. Prices tend to be high and I so much want to be the one to find the pieces and not buy them from someone else (at a higher price than they paid, naturally) who found them first. I only buy at my cheapskate price point and most things I see come no-where near that point. 
Craigslist is a great source but requires due diligence (you have to look a lot to be the first one to spot a good deal), getting a lot of questions answered upfront before heading out to see the pieces, and, time/mileage to get out to all the locations. Again, finding the right piece at the right price point for me is critical. 
Estate sales are fun but the prices are usually pretty high. They are generally run by professionals who know the prices they should be getting and are trying to get something for themselves on top. Not a lot of deals to be had but I still manage to get some - often on low-ball bids.
Garage sales are generally the best places for deals - people just want to get rid of their excess stuff! 
I have gotten some pretty good deals at the local Goodwill Stores particularly on Senior Citizen Tuesdays (25% off ).
So, here are my sources!  Do you have any to add?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Before and After - It'a A GREEN Business

Every now and then, I reflect on the reason I love doing what I do - the AMAZING transformation of old, tired (sometimes saved from a dumpster) upholstered pieces into wonderful and even trendy "better than new" furniture. It is so gratifying to see these pieces change by the professional application of new fabrics and the occastional touch of paint. As I think about ten years in business, this is really what it is all about and why it continues to excite me!

Here are some recent transformations and all of my not-so-secret sources!

I bought this piece at an estate sale in Buckhead (heart of "tony" Atlanta neighborhood). It cost me $50 and was in pretty sad condition. The fabric was bought on-line (eBay) from one of my go-to fabric houses - a woven blue and white check. 
I bought four of these chairs for $25 each from a Craigslist ad. They had been part of a collection of eight in a large estate. Two of the wooden legs were in great shape and left as-is and two were chalk painted in graphite. The fabric, a deep rose-red cotton velvet was bought at a local fabric warehouse - Fabric World in Stone Mountain. I add my Ikea accent pillows ($7.99 each for feather/down combo) to most of my pieces.
This graceful Henredon chair with limed oak finish came from a moving/estate sale (one of my favorite sellers - Vicki) in Brookhaven. It was in reasonably good condition and only needed new fabric to make it pop. This is a another Fabric World fabric purchase.
This chair came from the same "Vicki" sale as the one above. It was  star in this wonderful house. The newly applied fabric was purchased at a garage sale last year held by two women who are in the business of making custom bedding and drapes. I bought about 20 yards at the sale for a great price - less than $50 total.
This set of chairs was purchased at an estate moving sale in the Chastain Park area of the city. The house was ultra-modern - an unusual shape for the area. This was the second time I had seen these chairs at a sale in this house but this time they were within my price point - $100 for the pair. The striped linen/chenille fabric came from Fabric World - the Stone Mountain fabric warehouse. 
These vintage chairs were purchased at a Buckhead  moving sale - right on the main drag  (Paces Ferry Road near the Governor's Mansion). I paid $150 for the pair. The most interesting thing about this sale is that it was being held by Jeff and David,  two customers of mine from several years ago. They bought over a dozen items from me at the time - it was great catching up! The cotton velvet fabric came from Fabric World.
Here is the other set of Carter chairs done in an eBay fabric (cream chenille in tone on tone texture). This is the set that has the redone (chalk paint) legs.
Well, this set of "before and after" stories tell some of the tale of my work and passion.  It is nice that such a green business can be so much fun and rewarding!