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About Me

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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!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Decorating with Blues - A Personal Tale

A marketing email I received today from Calico Corners called "Shades of Blue" introduces their new Robert Allen fabric collection featuring blues.  It reminded me, again, of how blue just continues to be a great color and very versatile in home decorating of whatever style; traditional, contemporary or eclectic.  It also happens to be my personal favorite.

My Blue Chairs
About eight years ago, I purchased a deep blue toile from Calico Corners (yes the same) which had been discounted by over 75%.  The woman in the shop told me that deep blues were just not in style anymore and that was the reason the fabric was discounted so much.  I bought what remained on the bolt and proceeded to use it on a set of club chairs and ottoman.  I had intended to offer it for sale on my website.  At the same time, however, we were adding a large sunroom to our home which would be next to my blue and yellow kitchen.  As we got nearer completion, I decided to keep the set and use it this room - a decision I am happy with each time I luxuriate in this lovely space.

I have set up my website by colors and the largest section is for the color blue - I love the crispness of the color and find that it can be incorporated into just about every kind of setting.  And clearly,  it really never does go out of style.

In "googling" the phrase "blue decorating ideas", I got 2.5M photo images within a minute.

House Beautiful (one of my favorite decorating magazines - I can spend hours ....) has a new book/compilation:

Blue Rooms, Fabrics, Books, and Makeovers
Check out all of our blue stories: blue homes, blue furniture, blue fabrics, and a look back at 70 years of blue decor in the magazine
By The Editors of House Beautiful

I don't think I'll give up on blue anytime soon and will continue to own and sell great blue pieces!

Contemporary Style Blue Velvet Wingback

French Country Style Wingback

Chatham Hill (blue and white) Club Chairs

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Decorating Styles - Example of Eclectic Design

I am about to ship out a number of pieces - some bought from my site and one custom matched - to a customer in Virginia.  I think they are a good example of "Eclectic" design:

  • Straight clean lines evident in the square ottoman and stylish settee
  • Use of wood-tones other than "brown" - use a rich satin metallic-like finish on the wood for several pieces
  • Inclusion of "Traditional" Martha Washington chairs although with a more contemporary large pattern fabric
  • Use of jewel-tone colors (look at that great ikat-type fabric by Duralee)
I can't wait to see these great pieces in her home and love how this group came together.

Settee and Square Ottoman with Extra Pillows

Martha Washington Chairs 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Decorating Styles - What is my style - More Quizzes

This could be addictive.  There are so many quizzes available on the internet and each takes a slightly different approach.  I am, however, starting to see a definite pattern.

One quiz (stylishhome.com) asked a variety of questions and determined I was "Old World Extravagance" like Greta Garbo and Winston Churchill.  Having visited Churchills' birthplace, Blenheim Palace, in England last year, I couldn't agree more.  I would love to live in this palace!

My visit to Blenheim Palace (no inside photos allowed)
The other quiz was sponsored by Kaboose and called "Quiz:  What's Your Decorating Style".  This one showed images of houses, interiors, art, etc. and asked you to choose your favorite.  The conclusion - right on point - predominantly traditional but with a good mixture of other styles:

If you’re looking for something classic, you’re looking for something traditional. Traditional décor is very planned and orderly. The furniture matches down to the last detail and is usually upholstered. The feel of the room should be understated, which can be pulled off using mid-range classic patterns and colors for everything from lamp shades to window drapes.

30% - Contemporary
30% - Country French
40% - Traditional

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Decorating Styles - What is my style - Quiz #1

I previously discussed decorating styles and suggested that there are three primary styles:  traditional, contemporary and eclectic.  A basic question is:  "What is my style?"  In order to answer this question for myself and to offer some ideas to others, I researched various "quizzes" on-line to see what they had to reveal.

This blog is about the quiz found on the Better Homes and Gardens website - a magazine that I subscribe to because it has very useful decorating ideas (and great recipes)!  I registered on-line to complete the quiz but it was fairly straight-forward.

The quiz asked me to make choices amongst items as diverse as favorite flowers (red tulips - of course - my Dutch heritage), favorite vacations (PARIS), favorite clothes/clothes icons, etc.   It was a quick quiz and provided immediate feedback:

RESULT:  Polished Casual 

You love to mix and match your favorites from several styles, so Polished Casual is the best way to describe your look. Crisp, fresh, and always comfortable, this approach anchors itself in neutral, subtle hues and furniture that isn't fussy but isn't slouchy either. Pair your clean-lined sofa with a dark leather wing chair or a weathered metal table—anything goes, but simplicity is key.

Well, another category but I think the description is pretty much on point - my living and dining rooms are perhaps overly traditional but the other rooms are very much in-between and more simplistic.  
Polished Casual? - My living room

Polished Casual - My sunroom

Friday, July 22, 2011

Decorating Styles - A Primer

I asked my loyal followers to suggest some new topics for this blog and one of my most loyal (OK, my sister), suggested that I do a series about decorating styles - what are they; how do I know which style I prefer; and, how do I decorate using my preferred style.  Of course, my emphasis will be on the upholstered pieces aspect of style - with some references to complementary hard pieces (e.g. tables, cabinets) and other elements of decor.  I wish I had the space to stage my refurbished masterpieces in a larger setting to show how well they integrate with various styles of decor.

After (exhausting) research, I noted that there are three major styles of decorating:

a) Traditional
b) Contemporary
c) Eclectic

Briefly, they are defined as follows (this is a compilation of several sites including decor.com - one of the most prolific websites on the subject):

Traditional:  Traditional design is a mix of beautiful, timeless and well-defined elements.  The style creates rich sumptuous living space using layers of luxurious furniture accessories. Color palettes can be pastels or bold, regal jewel tones such as burgundy and golds.  The furniture has more of the soft curved lines such as Queen Anne style and are in warm wood tones.  Traditional decorating often emphasis symmetry and classic lines.

Contemporary:  Essentials for contemporary furniture are clean lines, geometric shapes and lack fussy extras.  They usually have exposed legs - without trim, tassels or skirts.  Many people believe contemporary to be all sleek and neutral but it can have funky colors and shapes.

Eclectic:  A graceful mixture of the two primary styles is called eclectic.  It is a planned mixture of the best of both styles and has elements of both (not a haphazard unplanned mixture of both).

The next series of blogs will deal with other subjects - including "how do I know which style I am".

The following are examples of each style of furniture - recognizing that placing them into an actual setting might change the overall design.  For example, placing a traditional chair into a setting with more sleek contemporary pieces will render it an eclectic decorating space:

Camelback Settee - Contemporary in its clean lines and lack of fussiness

Pair of Art Deco Chairs - Contemporary in their clean lines 

Traditional Wingback Chair - Jewel Tone Fabric and Queen Anne Legs

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wing Back Chairs - Lots of "Befores"

I had a productive weekend and beyond looking for well constructed, interesting pieces of upholstered furniture to reupholster and refurbish.  Starting with a sale held by one of my favorite estate sale sellers, Vicki, I bought two great chairs - one a TALL wingback I believe to be a Hickory Chair (one of the best North Carolina manufacturers).  The chair is no longer labeled but I've had two of these type chairs in the past that were definitely HC.  This one will be great redone - I am trying to decide whether I should do it in a neutral cream-linen type fabric or a heavier large graphic in gold and cream that would look wonderful on the lovely curves.

Tall Wing Back Chair - Before 

Vicki's Sale

In addition to this chair, I bought a vintage chair with lots of wood and great curves - this one will also look well redone.  While visiting with Vicki, I found she is going to be doing a big sale in my own neighborhood.  One of my neighbors who has a BEAUTIFUL home is moving to a much smaller condo in the city and is selling much of her furniture.  I will look but suspect that her items are in much too nice shape (and accordingly pricey) for me to pick up reasonably and refurbish.  It was nice to see Vicki had picked up this sale!

Vintage Chair - Before (Vicki's Sale)
In addition to these great finds, I did my usual visit to the four local Goodwill Industries stores on Tuesday for Senior Discount Day.  I found these lovely wingback chairs for a steal - the manufacturer is American Furniture Manufacturing of Montgomery, Alabama (I had not heard of this company before) and the construction features and styling were definitely up to my standards.  I am naming them my "Montgomery Wingback Chairs".
Montgomery Wingback Chairs - Before (Goodwill Chairs)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Before and After - Hickory Chair and Sherrill

I have previously written about how the quality of both Hickory Chair and Sherrill (great North Carolina furniture manufacturers still in business)!   Whenever I have an opportunity to pick up some nice pieces for a good price, I feel confident of their "refurbishing worthiness" - the construction almost always features hand-tied 8-way coil springs which is the GOLD standard of fine upholstered furniture.  I am on a personal mission to help people identify furniture worth redoing.  It is expensive to re-upholster furniture and just not worth it if the piece is not well constructed and likely to last at least one or more generations (not just years).  The easiest way to tell if something has hand-tied coils is to flip the piece over and look underneath for large round coils.  You should also be able to feel the coils very easily.  A mistake people often make is to lift the cushion and observe that there is a metal foundation to hold up the cushion - this is NOT what I am talking about.  Once you know what to look for, it is easy and takes about one second.

In addition to finding these featured pieces in such good condition, I was also able to use fabrics I recently purchased at Fabric World (see previous blogs for these great finds).  I love how these turned out.

Before - Sherrill Club Chair

After - Sherrill Clubs in Richloom Platinum Toile

After - Hickory Chair Edwardian in Embroidered Linen 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Goodwill Shopping Update - It's Senior Citizen Tuesday

I have really been missing my Tuesdays at the local Goodwill Industries stores (whopping 25% discount for "seniors" over 55).  I got out to three of them today and they were all crowded.  Of course, its' 100+ heat index in Atlanta so people are definitely looking for anyplace inside to spend their time.  Today's haul was pretty good:

  • Two down and feather lumbar pillows (net total cost - a little over $5) and one 20" square
  • Ten books that look interesting - my bedside pile was getting low
  • A well-made and nicely curved skirted loveseat 
  • A nice size loose-pillow Thomasville chair (older version with hand-tied coil springs)
Pillows (before removing existing covers)

Loveseat (obviously a BEFORE view)

Summer reading

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chairs of the Czars - The Hermitage

This is the second (and last) installment of this series - other art galleries and palaces including those in Moscow did not allow photography.  The Hermitage is located in St. Petersburg along the river - it is actually a set of palaces joined together - the most famous and largest is the Winter Palace built by Catherine the Great in the mid 1700's.  The collection is one of the largest in the world and the rooms are beautifully maintained.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chairs of the Czars - Catherine Palace

I just returned from a GREAT trip to Russia which includes stops in both St. Petersburg and Moscow.  Near St. Petersburg, we visited the Catherine Palace (named for second wife of Peter the Great).  The palace is very ornate and beautifully preserved.  It is located in Czar's Village (now known as Pushkin Village).

 I took photos of some of the chairs - hoping for inspiration.  I find the chairs to be a little ornate (too much gold gilding) but beautiful!  Needless to say, I was not given the opportunity to try them out!