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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!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Decorating with Orange - Loving my Orange Chair

Lovely Dorothy Chairs (as pair)  - ONLY one still looking for a new home!
I have had this very lovely orange chair - called my Dorothy Chair - for sale for a while and it just begs to be bought and used to brighten up a decor!  It had a companion which was snapped up immediately by a buyer to use in her teenage daughter's new bedroom.  The chair's companion, however, has languished and I am trying to figure out why.   It also reminds me that it is SO HARD to figure out what decorating color and style trends people are actually following and which ones get a lot of press but little actual adherence.  Loving orange may be one of those - it has certainly made me think twice about adding more orange products to my line.  I remember how excited I was to hear that a shade of orange (tangerine tango) was THE HOT color of 2012 - I reported it here .... link to earlier blog.

Just today, I read a feature by one of my favorite designer bloggers, Tobi Fairley, about one of her bedroom designs which was featured in the latest issue of Traditional Home.  The use of various shades of orange and coral were a highlight of the space.

Hampton Show House Design by Tobi Fairley - link to website
I also googled "orange in decorating" and found tons of links with high praise for orange and ideas of how to use it in various color group settings.  The photos alone were awe-inspiring.
Love the orange and pink combo hear - see source below
Ditto - see source below 
 A nice shade of coral warms this corner - see source below
WOW - look at that sofa - warms the entire space - see source below
Very serene look - muted orange with my favorite blue - see source below 
Touches of orange add spice to this room - see source below 
Great vibrations with these chairs - see source below
Warm shade goes well with granite - see source below
Accessorizing!!!! - see source below
With minty green - see source below 
Outdoor living - see source below (Orange for the Rest of Us)

link to article - Orange for the Rest of Us
link to article - Decorating with Rich Tones
link to article - Decorating with Orange

Some advice that makes sense - source - excerpts highlighted!
Orange is a great color with which to enliven your home decor. When you introduce orange to your room's decor, you bring in the energy of potential and fulfilment.
Shades ranging from pastels like apricot, to earth-tones like burnt orange, give you plenty of options with out having to resort to Halloween colors. Orange looks lovely when paired with violet, like California golden poppies and lupins growing side by side. Burnt orange goes well with sage and khaki green too.
Burnt orange on a wall in a dark and oddly shaped room can make it feel less gloomy and cramped, and more womb-like and cozy.
In Feng Shui, orange and red represent the fire element, and belong in the fame and reputation zone of your home ... as accent pieces, or as frames for displayed diplomas, certificates, and awards, or as scarves and mats at the bases of trophies. In the kitchen, a stack of nine very pretty oranges is auspicious, and brings prosperity.
Orange makes a lovely drape in sheer organza or cotton, because it softens the tones of harsh glaring daylight. It is also perfect for a room with a gloomy blueish quality, transforming the ambient light to a warm glow, and helping to put you in a good mood.
In a room with sand toned decor, orange accent pieces make lovely focal points. An orange blown glass vase, orange translucent lamp shade, or an orange and brown throw pillow, can set off a room's sand toned decor.
Many Persian and Turkish carpet motifs have orange accents. These can be repeated in tapestries and pictures hung on the wall to complete the orange decor theme.
Well, I don't know if I've convinced anyone but I sure feel better about orange!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Leaning Mirror Purchase - Trying out this Decorating Trend

Pottery Barn Leaning Mirror - about $600
My husband and I are, we are told, within a month of finishing our lower level (aka basement) "mini" renovation project.  The drywall is up and undergoing taping and finishing today; the new stairway oak treads are in; the bathroom floor tiles are waiting for grout, etc. etc.   I have, as usual, gotten ahead of the project and started actively looking for furniture and decorations for the space since much of what we had down there before was a mis-mash of furniture and accessories relegated from other areas of the house - comfortable and functional but not great!

I do want to put in a plug for the Salvation Army.  They have a "pick-up" program that is well organized and works beautifully to pick up donations that are too large to haul to the nearest Goodwill donation center.  They schedule areas of pickup; communicate a day in advance to verify pickup dates and times (within a three hour window); and, leave behind a printed donation sheet for tax records.  They were courteous and professional and I was happy to donate a still serviceable Southwood sofa and coordinated chair and ottoman.

Earlier View of window area (ceiling is now sheetrocked) - leaning mirror would be on left of this set of windows.
One item I have been checking out on Craigslist is a leaning mirror to enhance the visual size of the space.  I have been seeing leaning mirrors in decorating magazines and Pottery Barn and Ballard ads for some time and liked the way they were being used.  We have a window alcove that has only two of the three windows it previously had - the third window had been removed to build-out our 2004 home addition - this is the area I targeted for a leaning mirror - see above.

I checked out a usual web source for advice on using leaning mirrors and found helpful suggestions source :
Place a leaning mirror in a room that will benefit from its qualities. Place a dramatic leaning mirror in your living room or dining room to create the illusion of a fuller room when people are present. Use the mirror to balance a room that has limited window space.
Select a location that is structurally sound. Choose a solid wall that does not experience significant shifting or tremors. For example, if the walls adjacent to your front door vibrate slightly when the door closes, do not place the mirror against one of those walls.
Select a location that is not in a high-traffic pathway. You do not want people brushing against the mirror or carrying food near it on a regular basis. Find an otherwise overlooked wall in a high-traffic room against which you can lean your mirror.
Select a mirror that is framed tastefully. Unframed mirrors look cheap and unfinished. Many leaning mirrors have understated mirrored frames so that they look finished without introducing another dramatic element. The mirror and frame together should feel like one object, not an object in a frame.
Use the mirror to create drama and add glamour. Place the mirror so that it reflects a portion of an luminous light fixture or other decorative feature. The key is to balance the amount of light and shine in the space. If you have a large mirror in a room, you should have no more than one other significantly shiny or sparkly feature, like a detailed light fixture.
 Do not hide the mirror behind a big piece of furniture. You can keep other items close to the mirror, even overlapping it slightly within the lines of sight in the room. Do not obscure its qualities by including too many other elements in the room. If you have the splendid design sense to include such a dramatic piece in your home, do it justice and let it take center stage.
My theory, of course, is that you have to buy the items you are looking for when you actually see them.  I found a mirror with the dimensions (44X78) and simple good looks on Craigslist Sunday morning and we had the mirror by Sunday afternoon.  The owner was moving and she had purchased it new for $300 at American Signature Furniture and was selling for $150 ($100 if you could pay and pickup immediately) so a quick trip and $100 later, it was mine.  If will be at least a month before we get to verify that it works but it certainly should and I can't wait to place it in our new space!

Pottery Barn mirror  - about $400
Ballard mirror - about $700
My mirror (not in my space) - $100

Friday, June 22, 2012

Buy Fewer Things but Better Things - Part III

This is the third installation of a series that was inspired by an article in the May issue of House Beautiful -  link to prior blog and link to prior blog

Each blog set the stage as follows - it is such a good piece of advice!

One article that caught my attention and one I believe in is in the May issue of House Beautiful link and part of its "101 Tips from the Experts" series.  It is called "Have Fewer Things but Better Things" and discusses the decorating philosophy of Suzanne Rheinstein. 
Her advice, particularly for young people starting out is:  Have fewer things, but better things.  It's not 10-minute decorating.  If you buy one good thing a year, you'll have five really good things.  Of course, you'll have to take the time to learn about quality and to appreciate it.  But it's worth doing ...
I may not always have followed the "get fewer but better things" mantra but I have learned over the years to look for value in my furniture purchases.  I also happen to believe that with the exception of a few categories of things (mattresses come to mind), you do not need to buy new.  You may, in fact, be buying lesser quality just to meet the price-point and missing out on some wonderful gently used or refurbished pieces that are the very top-of-the-line.  I would guess that at least 90% of EVERYTHING I have in house furnishings was acquired used.  I do not even like going into new furniture stores - too predictable and poor quality - at least most are today!

A recent example of an estate sale top-of-the-line purchase was a Hekman piece of furniture that in now in my formal living room.  I did pay $800 for the Hekman in perfect condition - I would estimate that the piece would be $3000-4000 if bought directly from the company.  Now $800 is not a drop-in-the-bucket but it is a very decent price for something of this quality and you can easily spend that on a much inferior piece of this size and functionality.
Hekman piece in my living room  displaying my beloved Lladro collection (photos of this room are hazy since the natural lighting is inadequate for natural photographs and flash makes it too harsh)!
I did check out the company and found some fascinating pieces of American Furniture Manufacturing trivia on the company website - link to website:
It began in 1893 when Edsko Hekman ventured from the Netherlands to Grand Rapids, Michigan hoping to find his life’s work as a furniture maker.
The Panic of 1893 would lead him in a new direction, returning him to his first profession as a baker. Selling cookies door-to-door, Edsko eventually went on to found the Hekman Biscuit Company, which was later to become the Keebler Company.
Edsko’s enchantment with furniture, crafted in the old-world traditions, would later blossom in his three sons John, Jelle and Henry. They would fulfill their father’s dream and open the doors of the Hekman Furniture Company in 1922.
In 1970 the company became a division of Beatrice Foods until 1983 when Hekman was purchased by the Howard Miller Clock Company of Zeeland, Michigan. In 1993, Hekman acquired Woodmark Furniture, an upholstery company founded by Elliot Wood whose discriminating standards were a perfect match to Hekman’s long tradition of excellence. The company now enjoyed a position of strength in its ability to offer its customer superior casegoods and the finest in upholstery.
The careful selection of ingredients, the patient hands-on techniques and the exacting presentation... the shared passions of the baker Edsko and his furniture-making sons, remain the hallmarks of the Hekman Furniture Company today.
Now, almost a century old, Hekman is widely recognized as one of America’s premier furniture suppliers.
I wish my photographs had come out crisper but I have tried to capture some of the workmanship details of this fine piece - simply stunning!

Of course, it takes patience and know-how to shop for great furniture this way.  Checking out yard and estate sales, craigslist and eBay as well as local consignment shops all are methods you can use. You won't always find a sideboard when you are looking for a sideboard but you might find a great dresser that you could use as well and would replace those inferior pieces you need to get rid of anyway.  It's like a huge treasure hunt and the rewards are very satisfying!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wallpaper Selection - Not What I Expected to be Doing

I am continuing the basement renovation saga with this blog.  It is going fast (could be mostly completed in another three weeks) so we have to start making decisions quickly.  One decision I did not anticipate making was a selection of wallpaper for the bathroom.

Basement Bathroom 
When we bought this house in 2000, wallpaper was very popular and the Atlanta area had a number of large stores mostly devoted to making in-store selections.  My husband wallpapered all five and a half bathrooms in the house as well as most of the kitchen.  I loved this look for about five years and started noticing the decline of wallpaper in decorating magazines and home shows.  I also noticed that the stored in the area were closing and today, I do not believe there is a single store still available devoted to wallpaper selections.  So, I looked forward to the day that I could rip out that (now) old wallpaper and paint the walls (never did care for the heavy faux finishes).  We redid our son's bathroom some time ago and eliminated the paper in that room but all the others remain intact.

The basement renovation was an opportunity to remove the wallpaper to give the walls a clean paint surface.  I was planning to paint it the same color as the surrounding area - warm taupe-gold.  And then, something happened!  I started noticing some of the GREAT wallpapers being used in show houses and decorating magazines.  It seemed like a whole, clean new look and much more interesting than plain paint.

I visited our local Sherwin-Williams store's wallpaper corner section and took note of some of the interesting papers that are available.  I waited until we selected the counter top (granite) and flooring (marble-looking white with hints of charcoal and pale gold) and cabinet color (charcoal) before returning to the store to look for options to present to my husband.

Yesterday, I brought home four books with about 18-20 choices - ranging from mostly taupe-gold patterns to bolder patterns with some charcoal black.  I did not want a hard black so many of the otherwise wonderful black and white images didn't work.

Some of the predominantly taupe/gold options - I liked them all! 
I liked this pale gold with grey highlights a log (stick shows color paint being used in adjacent space).
Final choice - swirls of charcoal with some taupe-gold accents.  The granite is not solid black, it has some greys and whites as accents.   

We are getting measurements to place the order as we speak.  So, the only things left to select in the bathroom are the light fixtures and new glass shower stall.  I call that progress!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Basement Renovation - Part I

Recently, we finished a GREAT outdoor portico and front door renovation -  Check it out!.  As our general contractor, Lee House, neared completion he kiddingly said, "Now what's next - we love working for you!".   I casually mentioned that someday we would want to redo our lower level already finished space which was out-of-date and did not complement the two-story addition he built for us in 2004.  The pool room portion of that 2004 space is adjacent to the earlier basement area finished in 1988 when the house was built.  While this space was functional and included a bathroom and our "media" area, it had poorly-hung ceiling panel and was very cut up.  I described what I thought would be a "mini-renovation" - new flooring, opening the enclosed stairwell, eliminating a closet and other areas unnecessarily enclosed, adding a mini-bar, and doing minimal upgrades in the bathroom.  Well, he said they could start in June and we did!

We are just barely past the demolition stage and it is quite a mess.  The contractor also ran into several surprises when pulling down the ceiling panels and opening up the enclosed space.  Since this area had been finished when the house was built, the stuff that's inside of the basement ceiling like electrical wiring, duct work, and piping were barely secured and drooped down all over the area.  An even bigger surprise (which Lee said he had not seen in over 30 years of contracting work) was the house building scraps (e.g., drywall, tiles, wood) that were neatly stacked and stored inside of the enclosed finished spaces.  Needless to say, remedying these unexpected findings resulted in some (short) delay and more $$$ from us!
Ceiling panels removed revealing all the "stuff" barely secured to the ceiling.  The primary change to this space, besides ceiling and flooring, is to add a mini-bar (right-hand photo on left) and a built-in media center on wall in first photo.
Under stairwell - area being opened up.  Inside of this space was the location of all of the stored building scraps.  We are trying to remove as much of this structure as possible to open up the space.  The angle of the staircase above and the requirements to add structural support with the removal of several columns has required modifications to at least three plans thus far.
Stairwell going down into basement opening up to add a iron and wood railing to the right.  The stairs will be covered with plank flooring matching our main level but transitioning to a darker, wider plank engineered flooring at the bottom.
We have entered the rebuilding phase.  The electrician is here today and the sheet-rock guy is coming on Thursday.  The granite counter top and bathroom flooring have been selected.   The cabinet-builder has shared drawings and the engineered wooden flooring is almost ready to be ordered and installed.

It should be great redone.  Here are some early demolition photos to show the "potential" and the work involved - I have also stopped using the words "mini-renovation"!
Existing bathroom.   We will be keeping the vanity - boosting it up slightly and adding granite.   New floors and ceilings will also be added as well as new wallpaper.  I had planned to eliminate the wallpaper all together but found some really nice ones at our neighborhood Sherwin-Williams store.  There is also a large shower stall in this space (used maybe a dozen times since moving in 12 years ago).  It would be very costly to redo, so we are adding a new shower stall door but leaving the square white tiles in place.  The flooring in the bathroom is being selected to not clash with the white tiles.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Own Before and After Chairs - NOT Refinished

Wood NOT Refinished

Details - fabric and woodwork
As my blog readers know, I have been actively "annie-sloaning" many wooden surfaces on chairs and other upholstered pieces that I am refurbishing for wydevendesigns link to website and loving the results.  Ever since I started using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) link to website about six months ago, I have applied it to several dozen pieces and it has almost been hard to leave existing finishes alone.  Check out my blogs - key word Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.

Often, however, I do find great pieces that have unique, custom finishes that are in really good condition and attractive.  Most, I would guess, are the original finish applied by the furniture manufacturer - some, I am sure, based on customer specifications.  They are also, unlike ASCP, generally a "harder" finish.

Here are some pieces that were recently redone - upholstery work is by the great Mr. Lee at Song's Upholstery in Norcross, Georgia.  I did NOT refinish the woodwork on these!
This chair and ottoman (called Vicki's Bergere because I bought them at one of Vicki's estate sales) were in great condition other than the awful fabric.  They were redone in a crisp blue and white stripe and look great (Pending Sale)! 
These are all "after" photos.  This chair looked somewhat like this in its before photo but the fabric was dingy and discolored.  The textured "dark cream" highlights the honey color or the finish.  
I failed to take a good "before" photo of this really nice set of French style bergere chairs with the great, partially gilded wood finish and elaborate carving.  The old chintz fabric was very faded by the sun.  I think this may be an authentic antique - over 75-100 years old but could not confirm.   It's one of the nicest sets like this that I've found.
I left the wood as is and choose a heavy woven upholstery weight fabric with shades of green, red, gold on a cream background.  The reds really pick up the red in the finish and the gold complements the gilding.  I added two raw silk gold accent pillows.  See additional details at beginning of blog -  I think these turned out so well!

This posting is linked here - Restore Interiors and Savy Southern Style

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Great Estate Sale - St. Marlo's Country Club

Yesterday, I found an ad at EstateSales.net (great source) for an estate sale in Duluth - a nearby Gwinnett County suburb (of Atlanta).  One reason I like this site is that most companies running these sales post lots of photographs giving me a very good idea of what will be available.  The only thing that would help even more would be prices but that might bring out too many people when the prices are very reasonable - as they were for this sale.

 St. Marlo's is a very nice neighborhood around a public golf course - the homes are beautiful and grounds breathtaking.  Since it is a gated neighborhood, it was necessary to show a copy of the ad and a driver's license to gain access.

The sale was being conducted by a company I was not familiar with - Life Made Simple Again.  It was well staged and the prices were reasonable - it also had a lot of good, solid upholstered chairs with dated fabrics - my favorite types!

I found a number of items that were tempting but focused on the chairs and walked away with three sets - one set of "Heritage" clubs, one set of Traditional Ethan Allen Wingbacks (extra tall) and one set of rounded front wingback with great legs (but not labeled).
I am a sucker for water scenes although this was a little too subdued - although I have to keep reminding myself that I  have NO SPACE for more pictures!
Future "before and after" chairs for my collection - made by Heritage! 

LOVE blue and whites - I had planned to buy these when I returned for second pickup but they were gone!
Love these hard-to-fnd rounded front wingback chairs with wonderful legs - front and back - bought!
There were two of these being  purchased when I returned for second pickup - with a small chest of drawers - nicely made and well priced (Pennsylvania House) - tables were $150 each!
Favorite purchase of day - traditional Ethan Alan Chairs- extra tall and graceful!  I can't wait to see these with new fabrics!
It's been a while since I ran into such a great sale - so much fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Love Black and White!

I love black and white in decorating (as well as fashion - most of my closet is black and white).  I think it has a clear, crisp look and adds interest to any room.  I am in the midst of a basement "mini-renovation" and am contemplating how much black and white (or grey) to include in the space.  I am not redoing an adjacent space with is already painted and carpeted a taupe gold so that is a color I will have to work with but I am definitely planning to add charcoal cabinetry and painted doors - the choice of furniture and rugs will follow.

I have a pinterest board on this subject - link to decorating in blacks and grays and spent some time looking at my "pins" today - I found some wonderful images and ideas.

I love the chairs in this photos as well as how they look with the other colors in the room - golds and blues - source link to source 
Black and White - the most simple combination there is but one that is probably the most powerful. As much as I am a colour person, I can't go without some simple blacks and whites to compliment the decor setting. Isn't it just a classic? And I find myself completely in love with the white couch with the black accent

Source for above three images
These French style chairs are wonderful and complement the warm colors in the room - I think the woodwork is a dark brown as well (not black) which suggests further options for upholstery.  source
I have a piece of black velvet that I could use - this photo makes it look very doable although I worry about how much dust and dirt it might show.  source
Here is a Suzanne Kasler (one of my favorites) designed space with a velvet sofa - source
Apartment make-over - love the pattern on the back of the chairs source

I will have to make some choices soon for my "new" terrace-level space (aka basement - we don't like that word basement here in the South).  Future postings on this subject to come including some before and after looks.