Monday, January 6, 2014

Decorating with the Old Masters

Recently while on a trip to NYC to see the Vermeers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I had an idea. Really more than I admired the artwork on the wonderful painting, I loved the glimpses into old timey interiors. As an antique dealer I am always struggling to understand how these objects were used by their original owners back in the day. And also how to use them set up in a house. What went with what? What did they use that for? Where did they keep it? You get the idea. But right in front of me on these gorgeous paintings was just what I was looking for. Evidence of use.
Look at this corner of one of Vermeer's contemporaries. Love the twig broom, the 2 stools, the staved keeler, a linen scrap and a redware jug handy to fill the keeler. Look at the clay pipe in the man's hand. And the barrel he is sitting on. I sell these things all the time. And here is how they were used. (Love the pants too!).
 Again, a great interior. Look at the oriental rug on the table, and the nice Cromwell chair.
And in this close up we see a stoneware jug with pewter lid, a delft charger, a knife, some fabric and a wineglass. Add some fruit and you have a lovely table setting.
Here's a corner of a bedroom, with again another early chair. The table is draped in fabric, and set up with a standing mirror, a candlestick, some jewelry coming out of a box. Again, things you see at almost any antiques show.
Here's a corner of a Vermeer. Oriental rug over a table, open jewelry box with pearls dangling out, brass charger and pitcher, early chair in the back. So easy, so real looking.
A riotous party, look at the great early jug. This time linen covers the rug on the table.
Here is a kitchen detail. Love the hanging garlic, the veggies, the staved keeler, the fabric, the basket of eggs, and a hanging brass scale I think. I don't think the housewife liked the fish the young man bought.
This lady looks like she's on the phone! But I think she's fixing her hair, looking at the mirror next to the window. I believe mirrors were often hung near windows to catch the light, not in the middle of the wall. But look above the window, her shutters would let down from the ceiling. What a great idea! Like the boxed bed in the background?
Well, there are my decorating ideas from the Old Masters. Good luck with them. I will follow up with a few of my favorite things from the museum.
The best bellarmine jug ever! If it goes missing you can just look in my house.
A pocket sundial for Cy.
A roemmer engraved with a map of Germany. At 10" tall they must have liked to drink. Wonder how this delicate glass survived so long?
An American room from the Hudson Valley area of NY. Again, carpet on the table. And I love the big fat cushions on the chairs. The skimpy ones we put on our chairs today I think are just wrong. Who would do that when that was all you had to sit on? If you could afford a cushion, why not a fat one?
Again, early stoneware on the mantel with some wine glasses. The delft monteith on the table was used for washing wine glasses, they could each sit in one of the scallops.  And a delft wine jug I think it was.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Visit to Japan - Random Part 2

Here are more random things from our walks with the baby. Up the hill from Jesse's is this street with all kinds of small stores, many with specialty food. You know, pickled veggies, and dried and pickled fish and fresh fish, and herbs and teas and honey and pots and pans and shoes rice crackers and so on. Each small store specialized in one of these.
More of that street.
One shop specialized in tea pots. Pretty iris.
A barber shop with lots of plants.

We finally found a restaurant that would hold a stroller. The restaurants are small and crowded as you might imagine. It's also key to find one that has a picture menu, for you non Japanese speaking tourists. This place specialized in huge fried shrimp, as Cy has here. I had the griller mackerel, which came as you might expect, with rice, pickled veggies, and miso soup, with a cup of tea to follow.
A dog groomer.
I like the way they tied down the mulch here.
I love these balls of dried cypress, I think.
This place specializes in fish and sake. Lets go!
Love the door pull.
OK I must confess we sat here almost every morning. We'd buy breakfast at the bakery (think really good croissants) or the little diner (think fish and rice) and finish up here for a good cup of coffee and....
the view. A constantly changing group of people coming out of the train station. I could spend hours looking at the unusual choices in women's clothing, and just people watching.

Visit to Japan - Shopping

Gosh, I wish I had taken more pictures of the famous Ginza shopping street. Just imagine a street in a big city with every possible high end retailer from any where in the world, you know, jewelers, and clothes and food, electronics, you name it, if its expensive its here,  and oh yes, closed to traffic. Oh, and tables and chairs and umbrellas in the middle of the street.
Anyhow, here is a sight from the basement of one of the big department stores. In the basement as a rule they have fancy foods. Here are 2 cantaloups on sale for $315.  Yikes!
They had sake tastings, and here is my favorite.
Here is one of my favorite stores, on a side street. A tea store from France.
Inside they have over 200 varieties in these antique tin decanters. I bought a decaf Earl Grey with lavender. Delicious, if hugely expensive. But hey, we're on vacation!
Next day we went to an area called Harajuku to find gifts for my teenage granddaughter. Imagine a whole street of stores for teenagers clothes. Here is the latest version of nice girl style.
Love the skirt.
Satomi modeling the latest.
Oh, finally a dog store. All the dogs I saw in Japan were small, corgies, bichons, etc. And do they enjoy dressing up their dogs, wow.
Would your dog wear this?
My feelings exactly!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Japan Visit-Random Part 1

Seen near the airport. Boy, now I know I am in Japan. Yes, I stopped and shopped, wouldn't you? This post is just a bunch of random stuff we saw and did in Japan. We spent quite a bit of time babysitting, and as some of you parents/grandparents know, the best way, or in our case the only way to quiet a sleepy but resistant baby is to go for a walk. So we did. A lot.
A random street scene near Jesse and Satomi's apartment. They live in a nice apartment in a nice neighborhood only 30 minutes by train from Jesse's work.
A nice lady selling these little jellied sweets they have there.
The approach to the train station. We walked through here everyday, it was between our hotel and Jesse's apartment.
Our hotel, Cy out front. I figured out 1 way they have such a low unemployment rate. There was always several people on hand to press the up elevator button for you and show you the umbrellas available for patrons or to take or return the room key to you. And see the construction guys? There were 2 at each end of the trench to tell passersby to be careful and to move the barriers if an emergency vehicle needed through. I wish I had taken a picture of our room. It has the most amazing pale pink satin chaise lounge, with silky tasseled pillows.They do quite a few weddings at the hotel and we got to see several brides and grooms and guests all dressed up in fancy kimono.
Here's one way to do construction in crowded cities. They piled up the dirt from the excavation in big canvas bags. And I like the traffic barriers, light plastic rods that fit over the cones. Easy to move.
One day we met Satomi for lunch in a Korean style restaurant in a big department store. Can you see the perfect sleeping baby in the background?

There's a grill in the middle of your table and you grill delicate slices of beef on them and dip them in this delicious sauce.
Strange socks!
Grandpa Cy at work. Recycling by the curb. See the blue net on the left? You use these to throw over your stack of trash bags to keep them all neat and so not to block the sidewalks.
Too cute!
One room condo for sale. It is either 5 million or 500 thousand, I don't know which.
Car repair shop.
This is really cool. See the delivery motorcycle outside the restaurant on the old lady shopping street?
I had to be quick to catch this. The guy comes out of the restaurant and puts a tray of food in open china plates and bowls on the rack, and slaps down the canvas cover and takes off, all in a second. The canvas cover keeps everything upright and in place and arrives at your house nice and hot. After you eat you leave the tray and dishes outside your door and they pick it up later.
Yay, an old building. I only saw 1 or 2 old buildings the whole time we were in Japan. That's it for today's walk, see you soon.