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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!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinterest Dreaming - My Pieces in Great Settings

Here is one of my visions about how this piece can be incorporated into a very eclectic setting! Source - my pinterest boards..
I am a huge fan of pinterest and use the application for a number of reasons including organizing my own stuff (e.g., vacation plans, shop listings, recipes). One thing I like to do with pinterest is to save images of different decorated rooms/settings that impress and inspire me - usually by major color scheme and use them for guidance in fabric and finish selection.
Another black and white color scheme with a pop of yellow - source - my pinterest board.
Since I am in the business of finding and refurbishing heirloom-quality upholstered furniture for resale (mostly online), it is important to get the transformation right. That means finishes but especially fabrics. It is very costly to have pieces professionally reupholstered so making the right choice is absolutely critical - redo's are just not feasible.

It is fun and interesting to create photo collages to try to imagine how my pieces (all for sale on Etsy and eBay) can be incorporated into these settings!  The original sources for these photos can all be found on my pinterest boards.

Classic blue and white - these compact slipper chairs would work in so many settings. 
This chaise is a champagne color and would work well in neutral settings as well as very colorful settings - it just blends and is very comfortable! 
I love this smart Woodmark (brand) chairs - very lively!
I cannot get enough bergere chairs - large and small - and wish I could do just French and French inspired furniture - just not enough available at good prices.
Well that was fun - how do you use pinterest?  AND, if you have haven't started, I suggest you do - its easy and can be a good organizational (and dreaming) tool!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Sales -- When it Rains it Pours

It is raining (again) today in our area and that gives me an opportunity to review my last week/weekend activities searching out sales and other venues to buy refurbish-able (new word) upholstered furniture. All this rain has made this one of the loveliest springs I can remember and springs are always nice in the  South!

We had some gorgeous days last week that kept me leaving the house to be out and about doing my favorite form of treasure hunting. I do a regular scan of Craig's list and ended up on two trips to Snellville (east of the city) and one to Kennesaw (north and west of the city) buying up three van loads of furniture:

  • Chair and ottoman with unique asian style wood base - desperately in need of new upholstery.
  • Bergere chair and ottoman - nice pecan/walnut woodwork - oversized.
  • Leather chair and ottoman - well made - will lose its leather.
  • Pair of Sherrill Tall Wing Back Chairs - solid but really needing sprucing up.
That should have been enough but the sales on Friday (and to a lesser extent Saturday) were wonderful. Here are some highlights.

Site of large garage sale in Brookhaven right across from the golf course.  Bought five pieces here - a French style chair, a pair of down-cushioned club chairs and two stylish painted wood-frame chairs. 
This first sale on Friday was great and this is where my spring distraction comes in. I didn't take any photos of the pieces I bought here and have already dropped them off at my upholsterer. I try to photograph all my "before" pieces and that task was just totally forgotten.

This very nice sale had some pieces I wanted but was just not willing to pay their price - I particularly loved that great pink settee!
This was actually may favorite sale. The people running it had done a wonderful job of organizing and labeling (you'd be surprised how often this is not done) and the items were interesting. The upholstered pieces, however, were in too good shape for me - didn't need reupholstering at all!
One of my favorites - Vicki - was having a sale this weekend. I bought four of the top left chairs and am redoing in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - my husband was shocked (disgusted) in how nasty they were - had been stored in the garage for some time. I predict they will make a dramatic "before" and "after" showing. I also bought two slipcovered slipper chairs that have good bones and will be nice redone.  I should have bought the chaise lounge but no longer had room!
So, all in all, a good week/weekend. Now to transform these pieces and try to recoup some of my costs. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Selling on One Kings Lane - An Update

Most recent sale on One Kings Lane - French Style Bench. I like the clean look of their photographs.
Recently, I reported that I had been approached by One Kings Lane "Vintage and Market Finds" Team inviting me to sell some of my refurbished upholstered furniture through their site. Here is a link to my current sale in this section.They actively search out other sales and websites and seek potential vendors for their sales. I described in my earlier post that there were two issues that I needed to deal with in order to take advantage of this offer.

1.  Their "take" is 35%, so my sales prices would have to be higher than those offered on eBay and Etsy in order for me to make the same amount. Etsy is the lowest priced in this group.

2.  The sales team wants photographs against a very clean, preferably white background so that their photoshop folks can easily post the photographs based on their standards.

I struggled with the latter until I found that I could use either my garage cream background (placing a cream colored sheet or sheets on the floor to equalize the two areas) or my lower level fabric room which has goldish walls and carpeting that are similar in color.  I have successfully used both to photograph over a dozen items and submit them to the site for sale. I must admit, I like how the site makes my pieces look and have downloaded their photos to include in my other sale sites.

So, what is my experience to date?

I have listed about 10 items on the site - some twice. I have had three sales - two to the same individual. The sales run only for five days which seems to spur a lot of activity.

This set of chairs was my first sale. I took the photos in my garage against a plain background and placed a sheet on the floor. The One Kings Lane photoshop team created the crisp version by eliminating the background.
One thing that is very nice for me is that all my sales on this site are subject to "white glove" delivery service that is paid for by the buyer and totally arranged by the site. They send me the bill of lading and the shipping company notifies me when they can pick up - super easy!

I just sold these striped club chairs on One Kings Lane - waiting for pickup.

Other items listed on One Kings Lane - none sold on that site but the yellow wing backs and bench are no longer available. I will be re listing the others unless they sell before they are scheduled.
 So, what do I think?

This is one more on-line selling venue and I would guess they might be open to being contacted if someone is interested in using them - they contacted me so I did not have that experience. Because of their portion of the sale, the prices are higher than other venues but the site does seem to attract quite a following. It also has a very professional appearance and appears to be well-run. Lastly, I can only address the selling side of their transactions since I have not been on the buying side - I cannot afford their great offerings for reasons that I now fully understand!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day - Reuse, Refurbish, Repurpose!

In honor of Earth Day 2013, I thought I would resurrect a theme that I started with in my early blogging days - Saved From a Dumpster - the idea that refurbishing old but structurally intact upholstered pieces is good for the environment because the other place these pieces are likely to end up is in some dumpster and ultimately into landfill.
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 source
It has been almost ten years since I have started to seek high quality but outdated upholstered pieces to refurbish. During that period, I have refurbished and sold over 1000 pieces - many of which would likely have been placed in dumpsters and headed for landfill. This is something that everyone can do and it even makes sense economically. Most older pieces are better made than today's readily available furniture. Most were made in America and reflect high standards of manufacturing that are more difficult (and expensive) to find today. So, in honor of Earth Day - here are some more recent "saved from the dumpster pieces"!
Most of these items are sold - eBay or Etsy 
Most of these items are available - eBay or Etsy

I hope these images are inspirational and encourage others to reuse, refurbish and repurpose!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Visiting the Greek Island of Crete

The island is divided into four major regions - we visited three out of four and stayed in the Heraklio (also known as Iraklion) area. 
My husband and I just returned from a two-week trip to Greece spending the first week in Athens (see last posting). The second week was spent in Crete in a timeshare exchange. Actually, it was getting this timeshare that created the whole Greece vacation plan in the first place. This is a brief description of the great trip!

Crete is the most southern (hottest) and largest of the Greek islands and while it may not be as famous as some of the other islands, it clearly is a great tourist destination. It seemed to us that the whole island is positioned to welcome a hoard of tourists. Fortunately for us, it was not the tourist season and we had no problems getting around and even driving to and parking in the older sections of various cities.  On the downside, many restaurants and some attractions were closed.
The resort is called Village Heights Golf Resort (golf course is actually down the road a bit). It was perched at the crest of a good sized hill with wonderful views of the village of Hersonosis and sea below. There were some Americans staying at the resort but most of the visitors this time of year seemed to be from the U.K.
We rented a little Renault and drove all over the island (seen here after one of the island's infamous wind-storms driving in sand from the Sahara). The major road (the National Highway) connects sites on the north side of the island. Traveling the lesser roads was more challenging. Most were in pretty good condition but signage was almost nonexistent. We got lost several times and had to ask for directions. Because of the size of the island and the mountainous terrain, it took a lot longer to get to places than we had anticipated.
The Venetians controlled Grete from 1206-1648.  It was a valuable addition to their maritime empire and gave them access to the Eastern Mediterranean. One remnant of their ruin are the Venetian Harbors located strategically along the north coast of Crete - places where the ships could stop including a series of "Venetian Harbors".
The Venetian Fortress is reported to be the largest fortress build by the Venetians. 
The Minoan civilization spanned from 3000 BC - 1450 BC - it is considered to be the oldest in Europe. The palaces that can be seen today were built after a 1700 BC earthquake - a period known as the "New Palaces" era. The ruin at Knosses is the most famous (near the city of Iraklion).  The palaces were actually palace-cities with multiple roads, structures, storage and living areas. The palace at Knosses was significantly "restored" by an Englishman who discovered the site in the early 1900's. Much of his restoration was based on inadequate knowledge of Minoan history. 
The ruins at Gournia (Lassithi Region) have not been restored and are a more authentic view of Minoan life. Views of the coast are breathtaking.
Our visit to the city of Iraklion (capital of Crete) started with a series of rain storms. The city's famed Architectural Museum was disappointing because it is under renovation and only a small area was open to the public.  A charming Historical Museum was worth the trip and a great venue in the rain. There are several Venetian structures in the city including an old church and, of course, the Venetian Harbor. 
Finding the Monastery proved to be a challenge because the exit from the National Highway was closed and we were detoured. We discovered beautiful valleys and hillside towns before finding our way (over three hours later) back to the Monastery location. It is famous for its role in Crete's attempt to throw off Turkish rule in 1866 when several hundred people held the Turks at bay for 2 days before killing themselves and their attackers in a huge explosion. A bullet from that skirmish is still visible in the tree above.
We visited a number of villages and cities along the coast - charming locations!
We made frequent stops along the coastal highway to take photos - the views were wonderful!

This was a wonderful trip - we had no preconceived notions about Crete and were just charmed by everything we saw.  I was so excited about this "find", that we've already booked a trip to Malaga, Spain (another timeshare exchange) and will spend time in Madrid for next year. Wish we had more money and time!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Travels to Ancient Athens

This was the largest temple in mainland Greece - started in 500 BC and completed 700 years later. 
My husband and I just returned from a two-week trip to Greece spending most of a week in the city of Athens (and onto Crete - another posting to come). We had last been in Athens in 1985 - quite a while ago. We stayed in an apartment rented through AirB&B away from the tourist areas and enjoyed hanging out in a residential location with true Athenians. We were VERY pleased to find that most Greeks do speak English - at least a little - because we did not make much progress with understanding phrases and translating Greek signage.

I could say so much about this visit but thought I would concentrate on reviewing what we saw based on the DK Eyewitness Travel series book "Top 10 Athens".  We visited many of the sites recommended although we didn't make it to all of the museums - the weather was just too pleasant to spend much time indoors.

The number one attraction in Athens is the Acropolis Area which is right in the center of the city and includes a number of venues including this ancient theatre. 
At the very top of the hill is the Temple dedicated to the goddess, Athena.  We also visited the nearby New Acropolis Museum which is wonderful and we would recommend that you visit it before going up the hill. It provides a great foundation for seeing the actual structures and ruins.
The Agora Area is also on the top ten list. This temple is on top of a hill in the area and affords a great view of the site itself as well as areas of the city center. 
This on-site museum and church features well-preserved frescoes and statuary.  It is also a nice cool place to hang out.
In the first century AD, the Romans moved the marketplace from the Agora area to this smaller location. This was the commercial center of the city through the mid 1900's.
This ancient area featured two major roads - one to a temple and one to a brothel.  We loved the well designed museum on this site.
This hill can be seen from throughout the city. It can be reached by climbing (which we did a lot of - very tiring) but close to the top, there is a quick train that can take you to the top. The views of the city are spectacular and there is a very nice restaurant on the other side of the church.

I have about 1500 photos so I could go on and on and on - this is a lovely city and well worth a visit. We enjoyed outside eating in both the city center and in our apartment's residential area.

Here are a few of our own top ten attractions - enjoy!

We were so impressed with the city and all it had to offer, we may just have to return it to our bucket list for a future visit - that list is getting awfully crowded!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Estate Sales

I love this time of year in the South - particularly when the skies are blue and the azaleas are in full bloom. We have had a lot of rain this year, and the greens are particularly blinding and the flowers lush - including in my own back yard.
Love the colors in my own back yard - we have azaleas of different colors and sizes that bloom successively for about a month - such a spectacular show!
As much as I love traveling (am already researching vacations for next year to Europe), I did miss my normal weekend garage and estate sales. So, it was great to have a lovely spring day on Saturday to get out with my normal Saturday sale buddy, Ouida, to see what we could find. We headed to our favorite area - Buckhead (heart of the city) - and ran into several worthwhile sales.
Our first stop. This gorgeous English-style tutor (we were told it was 80 years old) is located on a high hill with significant acreage.
A lot of great items for sale - this barely represents the variety. 
The next sale was being held by one of my favorite sellers - Vicki. This was a Friday/Saturday sale and she announced that "a chaise you would love just walked out the door" as I entered. Her sale had been successful and there wasn't much left over on Saturday. The wisdom of attending Friday/Saturday sales on the second day is hard to judge. Sometimes, prices that started too high are staring to come down and sometimes most of the stuff is gone.
This next sale was in a beautiful, huge house with a lovely pool setting in back. It was being held by another of my go-to sellers - The Vintage Girls. I actually put a bid on a pair of wonderful wingback chairs which I did get but failed to photograph.
Love the styling on this chair and the fabric is a slightly textured silk in great condition. I'll see how well it does as a "estate collection - as is" sale. It actually looks pretty good in the spot I parked it in my dining room.
It was great to catch up with Ouida after our big trip to Greece and to get back out to the sales. A good day all around!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Before and After - My Own Parade

I have just returned from an exhausting (but fascinating) trip to Greece and will be posting photos and reviews of venues visited soon. Greece is an amazing country!

I have been remiss in posting lately so I thought I would do a quick review of recent "before and after" transformations. The stunning outcomes speak for themselves. As long as you start with "used furniture" with good bones and have an expert upholsterer do the heavy lifting (I recommend the Lees of Norcross, Georgia, highly for this work - they do ALL of my upholstery work), most of the upholstered pieces are far better than what is generally available today and at great prices compared to what it would cost to buy this quality today.

Just look at these!

Available on eBay and Etsy - This is a great looking and versatile chair!
Available on eBay and Etsy - Very comfortable and wonderful neutral tones!
Available on eBay and Etsy - Stylish and a GREAT fabric! 
Available on eBay and Etsy - one of two - great details and bones!
Available on eBay and Etsy - One of Two!
Available on One Kings Lane - to be listed soon!
Available on eBay and Etsy - I love this color combination!
Now I am ready to get back into the swing of things. What do you think of these?