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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!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Vintage Shopping in Charleston Area

Crossing the Arthur Ravenel Bridge from Charleston to Mount Pleasant, SC -  link to info about bridge
My husband and I just returned from a long Thanksgiving Day weekend in the Charleston, SC, area. We actually stayed in Mount Pleasant, just across the fabulous Ravenel Bridge and opposite Charleston on Patriot's Point. It was ideal for viewing the sunsets!

View of Charleston Harbor from Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant
This was another combined business/pleasure trip and our trusty new Honda minivan was a joy to drive. From my advance homework, I had initially assumed that Charleston area itself would be the best source of vintage stores (consignment, antique, thrift, resale, estate). We actually found that the Mount Pleasant area was a treasure throve of such establishments and they were well organized; carried a variety of nice merchandise; and, had lots of visitors/shoppers. Therefore, although we did try some of the Charleston stores/venues, we found ourselves searching the shops on our side of the Cooper River.

Here are some of the highlights!

This was our first stop! A nice store with some lovely pieces! link to website
Enjoyed this shop and returned a second time - on Coleman Boulevard! 
This was our go-to store and did end up making a purchase here - see four chairs on top!

We thoroughly enjoyed our shopping trip and have four lovely chairs (to refurbish and reupholster) to show for it. We plan to return and try this again!
Purchase from Antiques Market - great price and great condition! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Tale of On-Line Design Collaboration!

Recently, I concluded an online collaboration with a customer in New Jersey who was interested in buying a set of four dining chairs that I had refurbished using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) and a taupe and cream patterned fabric (expertly applied by my go-to upholsterers - the fabulous Lee's of Sun's Upholstery in Norcross, GA).  I thought a posting about the experience might calm others about on-line collaborations and buying furniture on-line - at least from me!

My potential buyer was worried about purchasing this set of chairs - that she would not be able to find a  table that would work with unique look. She asked if I would be willing to find and refurnish a round table to complement the set and ship them together.  We communicated back and forth about her interests including:

  • Style and size of round table 
  • Cost point
  • Timeline for completion
  • Shipping costs
I did several things concurrently:
  • Used craigslist descriptions and photos to share ideas about possible tables to be bought and refurbished
  • Obtained shipping quote (and general timeline) from my go-to shipper - (Cascadiacascadiaexpress@hotmail.com) 
  • Checked with my ASCP paint store link to Chalk It Up - Norcross to get advice on finishing a dining table that would require a little more wear and tear than my usual chairs and small table/decorative item projects
Craigslist table.
My customer had some initial requirements for a table that were modified with time. She had preferred a table with four legs and not a central base. During this period, I found none that were attractive (or stable) - the round model was definitely the norm with four chairs. I shared several potential pieces before finding the right one on craigslist and proceeded to make the purchase - fortunately the price was right and it was still available. 

The table was solid and in good shape so painting was all it needed. I refinished it using ASCP CoCo but only used the dark was on the base. My conversation with the ASCP experts informed me that the clear wax was a better seal for the top - I did four coats to create a hard finish that should last and last. 
Photo of completed table with chairs - before shipping
Before finishing the set, my customer did add a set of French style chairs - redone in a hard lacquer finish with linen fabric - to her purchase so all traveled together to her home in New Jersey.

Here are photos provided by the customer of the pieces in her home - she is excited and I am very happy to see how well they work in her space.  This was fun!
I love seeing photos of my pieces in my customer's homes - very satisfying! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Before and After - Magical Transformations!

Now and again, I review my photos and check out my own before and after stars. Today, I am featuring some recent magical transformations. I hope to inspire others to consider using existing furniture, of all types, and pursuing transformations themselves. It is a "green" way to decorate and very rewarding.

Here are some more stars from my own collection! ENJOY!!
I bought this sweet chair at an estate sale - all it needed was some a great fabric!
This great vintage piece had been in my neighbor's family for generations. One day, she offered it to me and I took it. I refurbished the woodwork with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (CoCo with dark wax to highlight the curves) and had it upholstered in a linen-look heavy tweed.  
This graceful chair came from an estate sale. I refurbished the woodwork with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Country Grey) and had it reupholstered in a cream linen-look woven fabric.  
These chairs were on a Craigslist sale. They were reupholstered in a woven and embroidered-look cream fabric with teal details (love this fabric)!
This chair was purchased at an estate sale. The legs were refinished (chalk paint again) and I had enough fabric left-over from another set to redo in this wonderful ikat!
This chair was purchased in a consignment shop in Destin, Florida, during a recent trip. The brand is exceptional! All it needed was a seafoam blue woven fabric to look great again.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Estate Sale Shopping with My Hubby

First sale on Friday - Tuxedo Road Estate
Since my husband retired in January, he has become a faithful companion on my weekly estate sale adventures (when we are in town and not otherwise engaged). Increasingly, Thursdays and Fridays are the big days to go to these events - sometimes even Wednesdays. My favorite neighborhoods for these sales in the greater Atlanta metro area are Buckhead (parts of the City of Atlanta and further north), Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Vinings. These are generally northern, affluent neighborhoods and have many grand estates that have the potential for yielding some great pieces for me to pick up - if the price is right. For Friday's estate sale adventure, we stayed mostly in the "greater Buckhead" area.

The first stop was on Tuxedo Road, right in the heart of Buckhead near the Governor's Mansion. There were many items for sale in the expansive home - something for every taste and price-point.  Included were some upholstered pieces, my usual main interest, with prices "close to" what I would be willing to pay but most were quite a bit higher.

I found several items that I thought my daughter would like and took some photos and sent them in her direction. She said "YES" to some and "NO" to others and I bought two metal pumpkins (decorative) and a horse-barn with quite a few horses of different types and sizes for my granddaughter.

The next sale was a little further north and held by one of my favorite estate sale sellers, Vicki. She knows what I am looking for (and willing to pay) and generally steers me quickly in the right direction. Before getting to that point however, we had to climb a very high curvy driveway - good exercise!

There were a couple of items that were reasonably priced including a nicely shaped wingback (photographed above).  Had there been two of these chairs, I would have snatched them up. A single one just didn't get me there. No purchases at this sale but good exercise!

The next sale was on Farmington Drive -  near the area of the city called Vinings. It was a big disappointment! Advertised as a "Designer's Dream" it was held mostly out doors and poorly organized. The items were in bad to very bad shape and still had very high prices (drapes for $1000 per  set??). This was a quick in and out.

Last Friday sale - House on Woodward Way.
The last sale of this Friday morning was being held by a friend of Vicki's in a house that was deceptively grand and beautiful from the outside - again in the heart of Buckhead. Once you got inside, however, it looked like it hadn't been maintained for at least 25 years and probably longer. The decor was not just dated but parts of the house looked in bad repair. It smelled and seemed ill-lit and drafty.  There were a few items (French style) that were nice and I left some bids but didn't expect to hear about them (and haven't).

SO, other than the purchases for my daughter (which she loves), I didn't buy anything but did enjoy the crisp, bright morning hunt with my trusty sidekick!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Selling on Craigslist - Do's and Do Not's

Actual craigslist photo and an example of a good photo. The condition of the pieces is very clear and the setting is uncluttered and the lighting is good!
My daughter is having a garage sale over the weekend and asked me for some craigslist tips for her listing. It reminded me of the do's and don't I have adopted over the years for my own listings (and even more for judging sellers).  I have written about this in the past but thought a refresher might be useful.

Craigslist is an amazing medium for buying and selling almost anything and it is FREE so what's the big deal about fine-tuning the listing itself? After all, there is no-one judging your submission, no word limits to manage and no template to follow. In my judgement, however, it is even more important to do this right in order to secure sales and responses. There is so much activity that only well written and illustrated ads can even be really seen in the clutter.

Here are some do's and don't
  • Be brief and concise but provide critical details about your location and your items for sale (e.g., age, condition, materials).
  • ALWAYS provide some photos of items for sale taken in a clutter-free, well-lit environment (I have gotten to the point of only clicking on ads that have photos - using the thumb-nail versions to quickly go through many ads).
  • Include an electronic way to communicate either using your own email address or (preferably) enabling individuals with questions to communicate through craigslist itself - I only very rarely respond/ask questions if I am required to make a phone call - it is too inconvenient!
  • Include price - do not use a "bidding" or "best offer" process with no mention of your asked for price.
  • Provide enough information about your location to inform potential buyers of how far they will be traveling - but don't give full address in ad. 
  • Clearly describe condition of item being sold so that there are no surprises when person comes out to look at it (e.g., broken/repaired, in need of reupholstering, 
Here are some don't:
  • Do not provide photographs that are too small or poorly-lit or show too many items in the same photograph - photograph each primary item separately (it's free)!
  • Do not combine items in the same ad (the exception of this would be a garage or estate sale or where pieces are sold together such as dining table and chairs and sometimes a living room set). 
  • Do not use "stock" photos - photos copied from a catalog for example with note that this item is exactly the same.
    Example of poor photo - too many items in photo - not well positioned 
    Example of poor photo - neither a good photo of item for sale or neat and clean and free of clutter

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Visit to the Swan House in Atlanta - Upholstered Furniture Stars!

Swan House in Atlanta
On Friday, I had an opportunity to visit the Atlanta History Center's Swan House link located in the tony area called "Buckhead" and not far from the Governor's Mansion.  The house was built in 1924 by Edward and Emily Inman, the heir to a cotton fortune. The architect was Philip Trammel Schutze who adapted Italian and English classical styles to a 20th century home. The Schutze collection of fine furniture, silver, porcelain and paintings is housed in the lower level of the house. The house was also a film location in the Hunger Games - a more recent claim to fame!

The house has beautiful furnishings and I concentrated on the fine upholstered pieces - many of which are not dissimilar to those I have loved, acquired and sold over the past ten years. Here are some of those notable pieces and the lovely settings.
Library - Cypress Paneling 
Morning Room
Morning Room 
Furniture in Schutze Collection - Love that Chaise!

I loved this visit - sponsored by a good friend and her son's soon-to-be fiancee. The Swan House and the Atlanta History Center are a "must visit" for anyone first visiting the area and provide great insights into Atlanta history and genteel southern living.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fabric Trends - A Visit to ADAC

I have written two times this last week about my recent visit to ADAC - Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. The occasion was an invitation-only event called "Inside Design" co-sponsored by The Hearst Design Group (Elle Decor, Veranda, and House Beautiful) and ADAC. I attended two showroom presentations given by fabric houses Schumacher link and Pierre Frey link. The sessions were very insightful.

Pierre Frey at ADAC
Schumacher is celebrating its 125th year anniversary and has a celebrated history including two White House projects (1902 and 1962). The Schumacher presentation gave us a good look at a recent collection based on 18th century documents in their collection.

Patterns (often rendered extra large and in vibrant colors) included:
  • toiles
  • tree of life
  • flame stitch
  • leopard
  • trellis
The Pierre Frey presentation was conducted by Pierre Frey (junior) himself. The family-owned firm is coming out with its first book and he was making the rounds to highlight this launch as well as demonstrate the variability of their fabric line. It is definitely not restricted to a French look - formal or country.  He indicated that over 70% of their fabrics are still made in France.

Both presentations reminded me of why I love fabrics and particularly well designed patterned fabrics. I will keep using patterns on some of my pieces and hope that they will appeal to the "fashion forward" and "bolder" decorator/homeowners looking for something vibrant to add to the mix. These presentations definitely demonstrated that the trend continues to be timeless!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Checking out Chairs at ADAC - Trend Watching

Chairs Display at ADAC
Several days ago link I discussed a day session at ADAC in mid-town Atlanta sponsored by the Hearst Design Group and ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center).  In addition to sitting through several informative sessions sponsored by several of the over 60 showroom patrons at the Center, I wandered around to perform my own trend observation.

Here are some ideas I walked away with that inspire my own work:
  • Structural pieces (wood exposure, interesting angles and lines) are as important as ever. 
  • Solid fabrics, sometimes but not always neutrals, are key to flexibility in decorating.
  • Heirloom/reproduction pieces are key to not being overly matchy-matchy or too predictable creating more interesting spaces.
  • Lots of painted woodwork and/or exposed lighter wood surfaces are shown in most showrooms - not too many with dark traditional wood finishes (or at least a mix of the two).
  • Traditional shapes and styles like wing back, bergere/French, and regency are still (and may always be) hot!
  • Oversized pieces are "out" and moderate-sized (even compact) can be just as comfortable and even "masculine". 
  • Restrained but elegant woodwork (whether painted or not) are incorporated in designs - not heavy or expensive woodwork unless somehow diminished (e.g. by painting, leaving natural).
So, this review was good for my personal decorating sensibilities (styles, shapes) but also challenging in regard to my interest in highlighting upholstered furniture with great patterned fabrics - so I will address fabrics in a separate posting!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Inside Design at ADAC - Elle Decor Trends

I received an invitation to attend the Inside Design session hosted by The Hearst Design Group (think of Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Veranda - all of which I subscribe to) and the Atlanta Design Center (ADAC).  I invited a friend to join and we spent last Thursday enjoying several sessions and having an opportunity to visit some of the over 60 showrooms at ADAC link to website.

 I tried to pay particular attention to the trends in fabrics (and to a lesser extent) and upholstered piece designs. The keynote speaker was Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief of Elle Decor.  The magazine is celebrating its 25th year. Michael discussed trends that are "over and done" and ones that are either back or timeliness.

These are some of the trends he mentioned that are "gone":

  • small prints and patterns (think French)
  • too much color
  • stark interiors
  • over stylized settings - too constrained and controlled
  • TV screen rooms
  • karate chop accent pillows (not a natural "pillow state")
  • misson and neo-gothic designs
These are timeliness and/or back:
books - Elle Decor
  • arts and crafts decors
  • red color schemes (particularly red and white)
  • blue color schemes
  • olive green color schemes
  • subtle pattern play
  • use of books in decorating

We found the presentation interesting but a little internally inconsistent. While saying small, French prints are out, several photographs shown did include those as being "timeless". While saying too much color is out, illustrations wild with color were shown.  SO ... while this discussion provided some insights, I'm not sure I learned a great deal.  I was, however, heartened to hear about the popularity of "reds" which I love but have tried not to overuse lately. I may have to ramp up my red pieces.

More postings about this event will be added over the next few days!