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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, March 31, 2011

Furniture Style Series - Sheraton Style Settees

This 6th installment (I'm starting to wind down on this subject) is about Sheraton Style Settees.  They are beautifully classic and hard to find - certainly at good prices.  The only ones I've found are make by high-end manufacturers such as Hickory Chair and  Southwood.  They work best in classic settings but the proportions provide lots of options.  One of these was sold to a buyer in the Buckhead area of Atlanta (very la ti da) and integrated with a more hard-edged neutral setting.

Wikipedia offers the following definition:
Sheraton is a late 18th century neoclassical English furniture style, in vogue ca 1785 - 1820, that was coined by 19th century collectors and dealers to credit furniture designer Thomas Sheraton, born in Stockton-on-TeesEngland in 1751 ...
The Sheraton style was inspired by the Louis XVI style and features round tapered legs, fluting and most notably contrasting veneer inlays. Sheraton style furniture takes lightweight rectilinear forms, using satinwoodmahogany and tulipwood, sycamore and rosewood for inlaid decorations, though painted finishes and brass fittings are also to be found. Swags, husks, flutings, festoons, and rams' heads are amongst the common motifs applied to pieces of this style.
Hickory House Sheraton Settee (sold)

Southwood Settee in Silk (sold)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Furniture Style Series - Bench Style Settee

Silk Settee (SOLD)

Black Velvet Damask Settee (SOLD)

My fifth installment in this series highlights settees that are ideal for for seating at a dining table.  They are higher in the seat (usually at least 19-20" from floor to top of seat) and look great at the side of a rectangular table.  The seat cushions are tighter and generally not separate - creating a firmer base.  I love mixing seating around the dining room table and this option works so well!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Furniture Style Series - French Country Settees

French Country Settee in Toile (SOLD)

French Country Settee in Bold Blue Checks (SOLD)
When I started this series about settees and love seats, I didn't think I had so many styles to talk about and illustrate.  But, the variation is enormous and I can't resist any of them - despite the storage and shipping challenges they present.  In this (my 4th) installment, I am simply going to highlight the French Country style - one which is hard to get at REALLY good prices - they are just that wonderful.  The pieces show a lot of wood which can be painted or left as is.  I do not paint the woodwork unless it has already been painted and needs refreshing or the finish is a problem that cannot be corrected by cleaning (remember, I recommend Goof Off goof off and staining pencils you can buy at Ace or Home Depot).  I like simple fabrics - checks and toiles are particularly good on these stylish pieces.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Furniture Styles Series - Settees Saved From the Dumpster

This is another installation in the series about furniture styles with a focus on love seats and settees (installment #3).  I am calling this one - saved from the dumpster (a theme I had mentioned early in my blogging history).   This focus also allows me to be a little more introspective about what I am doing and what I am hoping to achieve with my little business and, specifically, these blogs.  Clearly, I am unabashedly and unashamedly hawking my wonderful wares, but I think it is much more than that.  I would like to influence people to see these grand pieces from the past as real options for home decor.  They are all around us and easy to find.  EVERYONE can do what I do and enjoy it for themselves.  So ... here are some that really and truly would have gone to the dumpster if I had not intervened - all sold.

China Blue - Inverted Back Settee

Sofia's Grand Dame Settee

Vera Wang Toile Settee

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Furniture Style Series - Camelback Settees

Modified Camelback - Queen Anne Legs 

Custom Settee in Cream Linen (in shop)
My Favorite Camelback Settee
This is the second part of the series on settees and loveseats.  Finding the definitions murky, I have decided to make the distinctions necessary.  For me loveseats are more like fully upholstered wide chairs that often complement (unfortunately often MATCH - which I think it too matchy-matchy), a specific sofa.  This review is about settees with great back curves - usually described as camelbacks.  They can be skirted but most often are not and have varying leg styles - from Queen Anne, to Chippendale, to Claw and Ball.  The arms are gently rolled.  I love their elegant looks and, with the right fabric, they truly can go anywhere!  All settees shown are sold.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Furniture Style Series -Settees with French Flair

Julie's Oversized French Style Settee

Tufted Vintage Painted Settee

Settee in Italian Damask
During this next week, I will be featuring various styles of settees.  I always think of settees as more structurally interesting and often smaller than loveseats and certainly smaller than sofas.  I have found, however, that the various histories I reviewed seem to intermingle the three types of furniture.  For my purposes (and all the "settees" I have sold over the years), I am choosing to be more specific about what is or is not a settee.  Perfect examples are French style settees - showing more curve and often more woodwork than most.  They work well in any setting - I love putting these more curvaceous and traditional gems with straight lined furniture in a more contemporary setting.  Examples shown are all sold. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Serenity of Black and White

Hickory House in Clayton Ebony
I love the combination of black and white in any decor!  It is both cool and hot and looks great with so many other colors.  I find that people love it but are afraid of it - they often have not tried this color combination in their homes.

Over the years, I've had some wonderful black and white pieces.  They usually take a little longer to sell but I have received wonderful accolades by the buyers once they've taken the plunge and actually put the pieces in their homes.

Vintage Ethan Allen in Garden District

Another great thing about black and white is that it gives you an opportunity to "refurbish" woodwork that just isn't so great looking anymore.  It is easy to use spray paints in glossy to flat to totally redo the legs and make them pop!

Here's a tribute to a great color combination!

Art Deco in Italian Tapestry

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Before and After - Here's The Proof

After - Wingback in Fern
I hesitate to show some of the "before" pictures of my refurbished furniture but the total transformation of the pieces (and why I love doing this) is really best seen that way.  Some are "dumpster" quality before - others just tired looking.  I do not buy unless the bones are very good - usually requiring hand-tied 8-coil springs in foundation and woodwork that is already wonderful or can be redone to be wonderful.  As I've said before, the price of redoing a piece when you consider using great fabrics and master upholsterers (most costly element) is just not worth it if the quality of the piece is poor.

 NEVER buy Rooms to Go, Ikea or any other inferior piece to redo - these are fine for short-term furniture solutions but do not stand the test of time!

After - Woodmark in Courtship


After - Woodmark in Dorothy Orange

After - Vintage French in Silk Plaid


Sunday, March 20, 2011

In Praise of Baker Fine Furniture

In America today, there is probably not a name that is better regarded for absolutely top-notch furniture manufacturing than Baker - it is the symbol of excellent craftsmanship (and is priced accordingly).

A brief history:
In 1890, Hiram DeLano, Henry Cook and Siebe Baker started Cook, Baker & Company, which did not originally start out as a furniture company. However, by 1893, the company began producing furniture and was part of a major furniture revolution in the Grand Rapids, Michigan metropolitan area.  As of 2010, Baker & Co. is owned by the Kohler Company.

  Baker Furniture Link

Finding vintage and newer Baker pieces is difficult and prices are high.   Over the years, I have been able to find some exceptional pieces (actually, they all are) and been privileged to give them new life and a new home!

Baker Chaise (SOLD)

Baker Vintage Club Chairs (SOLD)
Baker Love Seat

Friday, March 18, 2011

I love Calico Corners - One more Salute!

Club Chairs in Courtship 

Skirted Wingbacks in Natural Blue

Woodmark Chairs in Dorothy Orange
I have previously praised the fine quality of Calico Corners  - they have provided me with a lot of great fabrics important to my refurbishing process. The two stores in the Atlanta area that I frequent provide great customer service and are just a fun place to hang out.  I salute the Buckhead store (manager - Sheryee) and the Dunwoody store (manager - Dorothy)!  
link to Calico Corners  All fabrics are currently on sale.  Here are a few more items reupholstered in Calico Corners fabrics - don't they look great!

Chaise Lounge (SOLD)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Online Design Collaboration - Another Example

TSC Pickup - Early this Morning
TSC Shipping link is over here picking up 16 pieces - an all-time record.  Amongst the pieces is a living room group put together for Connie J. for her new Florida home - a wonderful on-line collaboration!  Initially, she bought the fabulous Baker Milling Road Chaise featured on my blog site.  I showed her several fabrics that would work with the piece and she selected both fabrics and "un-refurbished pieces" to go with the chaise.

photo of fabrics
The pieces turned out great and I can't wait to get her reaction when they are delivered.  The process worked remarkably well!

Calico Corners California Chair

Drexel Heritage Chairs
Oversized Ottoman

Ralph Lauren Loveseat

Fabulous Baker Chaise Lounge

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Buying Accent Pillow Inserts

I go through a lot of accent pillow inserts each year - including them on almost all pieces of furniture.   As with all aspects of my refurbishing process (to be able to provide a good price/value to clients), I look for the best deals.  I am currently using two primary sources:

  1. Ikea stores sell 20" square 90% feather - 10% down inserts as well as comparable sized lumbar pillows for $6.99.  This is by far the BEST price I have found anywhere and the construction is top-notch - my upholsterer loves them because they have tight broad seams and do not shed feathers as many do.  Unfortunately, they are not available online - Link to Ikea.
  2. Goodwill stores (and sometimes garage sales) often sell gently used accent pillows with perfectly clean inserts for prices ranging from $2.19 to 5.79.  Before buying, I always unzip the cover and thoroughly check the insert.  As I've mentioned in my earlier Goodwill blog, Tuesdays are senior discount (25% off) days so that is when I scout 2-3 stores. This week's haul was 1 - 18",  2 - 20", and 2 - 24" inserts!!  
IF anyone has another source that provides these kinds of deals (or better), please share!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's in a Name - Furniture Naming Conventions

I just read an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Kim Cook of the Associated Press about furniture naming which reminded me of the  naming conventions I have used for over 700 pieces.  The article talked about "personalizing" the pieces as a marketing strategy.  Ikea, because of its huge inventory, has excelled in giving clever names to otherwise not remarkable items and giving them a panache that makes them more remarkable.  Calico Corners has names associated with most of their pieces - the Jennifer or the Lynn Chair!  Naming furniture makes it more personal - almost a member of the family - and the names I've used bring immediately to mind the piece itself with considerable affection!

I have used several conventions to name my furniture:

  • Atlanta locations where purchased - Ryefield Chaise, Mt. Paran French Chairs, St. Marlo Tufted Back Chair, Habersham Slipper Chair
  • People who have sold me pieces - Caroline's Chaise, Nina's Club Chairs, Cheryl's Classic Wingback
  • Furniture manufacturers worth noting - Hickory Chair Compact Club Chair, Southwood Settee, Sherrill Club Chairs
  • Fabrics worth noting - Waverly Kismet on Hickory Craft Wingback, Figi Brunschwig and Fils on Club Chair, Robert Allen Chair and Ottoman
Caroline's Chaise
Robert Allen Chair and Ottoman
Fiji Brunschwig and Fils on Club Chair

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Restore, Reuse, Refurbish - Green Decorating

One of the reasons I love what I do is the devotion to finding well constructed heirloom-quality upholstered pieces and bringing them back to life - for generations to come.
Settee (about 70 years old - SOLD)
A key to "green decorating" and "green design" efforts are devoted to using sustainable design principles defined by Wikipedia as follows:
Low-impact materials: choose non-toxic, sustainably produced or recycled materials which require little energy to process
Energy efficiency: use manufacturing processes and produce products which require less energy
Quality and durability: longer-lasting and better-functioning products will have to be replaced less frequently, reducing the impacts of producing replacements
Design for reuse and recycling: "Products, processes, and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial 'afterlife'.
I feel triumphant every time I provide a restored piece (of superior quality furniture) to clients who are participating in this effort by buying these pieces in lieu of newly manufactured goods - THANK YOU!

Displayed on this page are some of the pieces that are well over 50 years old and will continue on NOW for many more!

Painted Victorian (over 100 years old - SOLD)

K Street Chairs (over 60 years old)

Oak Post Chair (at least 70 years old)

Friday, March 11, 2011

American Furniture Manufacturing – A Fine Tradition - North Carolina (second installment)

I have noted before that the primary reason I can actually pursue the business of refurbishing and selling fine upholstered furniture is because of the rich American manufacturing tradition.  Much of that tradition has been and continues to be focused in North Carolina.  Here are some additional companies and examples of their great products:

Frederick Edward of Morganton, NC - acquired by Drexel Heritage in 2002

Frederick Edward Wingback Chair (SOLD)
Drexel Heritage (now includes Henredon and Maitland Smith) of Morganton, NC link

Drexel Heritage Chairs 
Sherrill Furniture of Hickory, NC since 1944 link

Sherrill Chairs (SOLD)
Hickory Hill of Hickory, NC (no longer in business)

Hickory Hill Love Seat (SOLD)
Highland House of Hickory, NC since the 1960's link

Highland House Wingback