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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!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Buying Day Lilies at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, GA

Tim at the entrance to gardens
On Sunday, my husband, Tim, and I got out of the house early to travel to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, GA link to website and visit the gardens there before the day became too hot. We have four season memberships to these great gardens and had not yet visited the summer gardens.

Upon entry, we noticed that they were selling day lilies from their garden and were instantly interested. Many years ago, we had bought several "bucket loads" of newly separated day lilies from a nearby neighborhood seller. He had basically turned his entire back yard into a habitat for day lilies and had huge, beautiful blooms that are just not available in nurseries. The colors and sizes were phenomenal. We planted them at our last home and enjoyed them immensely. Our big mistake was not taking some cuttings along to our new house. This particular seller went out of business long ago and our current day lily stock is prolific but fairly pedestrian. SO ... these lilies looked pretty good to us.

We bought a dozen and had a very hard time trying to decide which ones to go with - too many great choices. We have now carted them home and will be trying to find that perfect spot (sunny and observable). Who knows, we may be back for more!

Cart with dozen plants

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Vacation Apartment Renting - London Experience

In front of our Warwick Road apartment rental in London
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to the United Kingdom - half spent in London/Windsor and half in Pencaitland, Scotland (near Edinburgh). For the London portion, we rented an apartment through HomeAway and were VERY happy with our choice. We find that renting apartments on our trips is not only more reasonable (about 2/3 or less of what if would have cost for a much smaller hotel room) and also places us in great neighborhoods and more local venues.  This one was only a few blocks from the Earl's Court tube (metro) station which offers quick access to all the go-to places in London.

We first became acquainted with the option of renting an apartment (in lieu of booking hotel space) in 2004 in Venice, Italy. We had been very disappointed in our initial booking and changed hotels after the first night. We were standing in line for a restaurant chatting with some regular visitors to Venice who told us they rented the same great apartment overlooking the Grand Canal every year and it saved them a great deal of money. They were spending what we were for a far superior lodging arrangement. That started the process of looking for apartment space wherever our travels would take us over the next 10 years.

Thus far, we have rented apartments in the following cities/locations:

  • London (Earl's Court) - see link to HomeAway listing link
  • Lisbon
  • Madrid 
  • Manhattan Beach, CA (twice)
  • Paris
  • Amsterdam
  • Athens
All of these have been good to exceptional.  We've used AirB&B, HomeAway, and VRBO - all provide a good service and lots of listings. Many renters list on more than one site.

Here are some lessons learned:
  • Closely read the reviews of the space to look for comments about location, condition, or other factors important to you such as access to public transportation or noise/activity levels in the area 
  • Ask questions about critical elements to get the definite answers from owners/managers such as smoking policy, ability to park a car if you bring one, whether there is an elevator (many are 3/4 story walkups) and security issues if on ground floor
  • Verify full price for stay - some include listing and cleaning fees and some do not
  • When booked, provide arrival information and find out exactly how you get access to apartment and if there will be someone there to greet you and provide information about the the place and surrounding areas - also find out how you check out
Well, we plan to do this again soon! We loved the Earls' Court neighborhood and found delightful pubs and stores in the area - very local. We felt we were really living in London for the week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2014 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Projects - an Update!

This great set of chairs was redone in a clean (not distressed) cream color with clear wax. The color was chosen to offset the rich brown color (sold).
I have been using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) for over two years and it continues to be my go-to paint whenever woodwork needs redoing. link to company site.  I have acquired a number of colors but have been using mostly Old White, Old Ochre, Cream and CoCo this year.

I closely follow the work of others - an ever expanding group from all indications - and try to keep a good set of ideas and images on my pinterest page - link.

This posting highlights projects completed in 2014. I will summarize my lessons learned over the years below.

This set of four vintage chairs was purchased in tony Buckhead (city of Atlanta) and needed everything. The woodwork was redone in CoCo to match the taupe and cream woven fabric selected to redo the pieces (professionally reupholstered by my go-to shop - Sun's Upholstery of Norcross, GA).  
I choose the fabric, a traditional green and dark cream toile, before choosing the chalk paint color. The Old Ochre color matches the background so well that is was an obvious choice. I also had to do the rusk seat platform since it had previously been painted. If it had been left natural, I would not have covered it (sold). 
These chairs had such nice woodwork that I wanted to enhance. I choose the Duck Egg Blue to set off the cream fabric - I loved how these turned out (sold). 
This great shaped chair was purchased in New Orleans on a January visit to the city. Once I chose the pale neutral and chocolate linen fabrics, the choice of Old Ochre was easy to make (sold). 
This vintage chair has great lines but the woodwork was awful. I choose the cheery fabric which made the choice of  Old White perfect for the piece. I did distress it (perhaps a little too heavily - I may go back and reduce the level of distressing on this piece).
These pieces all had woodwork and was no longer in good condition so I had to find a good color to coordinate with the fabrics selected. Three ended up with CoCo and one with Old White. The two wingbacks are still available.
So, with over two years and LOTS of projects under my belt, here are my primary lessons learned:

  • Clean the woodwork and remove piping or other obstacles to getting as close to the fabric as possible.
  • Do the first coat with the piece turned upside down so that you can adequately paint the hard to see and get to places.
  • If some brown or red continues to show through the paint after one or two coats, it means that some of the original stain is coming through (and will continue to come through with more coats). Use a clear shellac finish to seal the areas and resume painting.
  • Let each coat dry fully to the touch before adding additional coats - I have used up to four coats on some pieces but two are usually adequate.
  • Let the final coat dry overnight before applying clear wax. Buff once it has dried.
  • Before using dark wax (with some exceptions) use a clear wax coat first. This gives you the ability to moderate the amount of dark wax remaining on the piece. The only times I do not do this is when I am using graphite (dark grey) and want it to look as black as possible or another shade like CoCo for the same reason.
That's it - enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shopping in Historic Franklin, TN

Two weeks ago, my husband and I handled a furniture delivery to two clients near Nashville, TN. We spent the night in nearby Brentwood (Nashville itself was inundated with country music fans there for a huge set of outdoor concerts in the downtown area). While visiting (and avoiding those same crowds), we traveled to the town of Franklin, TN - south of the city.
Fourteen miles and 100 years from Nashville, Downtown Franklin, Tennessee is an oasis of Southern hospitality housed in a 16-block National Register district of antique shops, gift and book stores, art galleries, boutiques, lovingly restored homes and more. It boasts an award-winning Main Street, brick sidewalks, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of “Best of“ accolades–including Garden & Gun magazine’s 2014 “Best Southern Town.” link to website
We were charmed by the city! Its historic area and main street were vibrant with pedestrian traffic and quite a few shoppers for a downtown area. We were impressed and plan to go back when we have a little more energy and time.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Relocation of Local Chalk Paint Store!

I have been using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) for over two years and loving it! It is my go-to product for refinishing woodwork on my refurbished upholstery pieces. ALSO, it is the part of the labor process that I do myself - the actual upholstery work is done by my go-to shop Sun's Upholstery of Norcross. I love the ease of application and the soft finish.

My local shop, Chalk It Up link to website has moved their Norcross, GA, store (just down the street and around the corner in Historic Norcross) and Lynn, the owner, has opened up a second location in Buford, GA. Yesterday was my first visit to the store to return one of the special brushes my husband had bought me for my March birthday. I had been lusting for the pricey round brushes that are directly sold under the ASCP label - they are reputed to be the best, fastest, easiest to use! He bought me two sizes and I've been using the smaller one ever since. I am finding, however, that I don't really need the larger one and was returning it and buying a can of the clear wax. Lynn was traveling in Europe (I LOVE to travel and just returned from the UK myself) so I wasn't able to swap my latest chalk paint stories and compliment her on the nice new shop. I thought, however, I would share photos in this blog and send her a link! Nice job, Lynn!!!

Storefront of new shop - 127 South Peachtree Street in Historic  Norcross. The placard by the door indicates that this is the 1925 site of the Ford Automotive Agency.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mad Men Decor with an Edge!

Exterior of Contemporary House in North Atlanta.
On Friday, my husband accompanied me on the morning estate sales and we found some very interesting ones!  The one that stood out most was in a contemporary style house (probably built in 60's or 70's) - a style that is not particularly prevalent or popular here in the South. As we walked in, we were informed there were four floors and the layout was scattered. The sellers also suggested that this would be the perfect house for Don Draper (Jon Hamm) of Mad Men fame. I, of course, would not mind AT ALL running into Jon Hamm in any setting. That did not, however, happen!

The house had some very vintage pieces and decor fully intact - like nothing had changed since it was built.
These bright yellow cabinets were in pristine condition - just needed a stylish couple mixing a martini and putting out the cheese and crackers. 
Shag carpet ... and it's popular again.

I did put a bid on a set of Erwin Lambeth loveseats/settees in great but (of course) dated condition - link to website. I was not familiar with the brand and looked it up immediately.

A lot of rich history here:
Settees purchased

The story of Tomlinson / Erwin - Lambeth began over one hundred years ago with two different companies only eight miles apart. Both companies were family owned and operated and began within months of each other. The Tomlinson family started the Tomlinson Chair Company in High Point, North Carolina in 1901.
Also in 1901, the Lambeth family started The Standard Chair Company in Thomasville, North Carolina. In 1947, a new plant was built to create furniture specifically for the design trade.
The sellers wanted $795 for the pair but that is way beyond my cost point so I bid $200 for the two. On Saturday, I got a call indicating they were mine and I had to beg my sweet husband to return with our van to load the two - a tricky proposition I will not go into here.

Initially, I planned to redo the woodwork but it is in very nice condition so I choose to keep the original. I have two fabrics I plan to use - one is a clean neutral and the other a woven fabric which includes a hint of the wood color. They were dropped off this morning and I cannot wait to see how these turn out!

Another great day of estate saling!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Normandy Revisited

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day - the Normandy Invasion which turned the tide of WWII. Two years ago, we visited this site as part of a one-week stay in this lovely area of France. Here is the posting from that trip!

link to posting - Normandy