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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!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Before and After - Hickory Chair Wingbacks

I have previously described how well Hickory Chair furniture is made (manufactured in Hickory, NC of course).  The quality of construction and attention to detail remains one of the best in America - comparable to Southwood and Baker.  If you find Hickory Chair upholstered furniture in relatively good shape for a good price, it is a good value and worth spending the money to redo.  I recently found a great looking pair of wingbacks that needed a new life.

Before - Hickory Chair Wingback
The fabric I choose is an Italian soft linen in a cream and ecru damask pattern.  I had bought a number of fabrics on ebay from a High Point company that provided "only to the trade" imported Italian fabrics of impeccable quality and I have used dozens of their fabrics.  I have the exact same fabric in a broad stripe that I can't wait to use on a deserving piece.  Unfortunately, despite my buying spree, the company decided that ebay was not profitable enough for their sales and these nice fabrics are no longer available - I wish I had bought LOTS more when I could.

After - Closeup of Italian Fabric
This lovely set is still for sale but may not be by the end of the day since I seem to have a Washington State client that really wants them.


After - Hickory Chair Wingbacks

Hickory Chair Wingbacks - Leg Detail

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Before and After - High-end Loveseat

I recently had the great fortune of buying a RALPH LAUREN loveseat from a storage unit.  Prior to this occasion, I had avoided purchasing anything from a storage unit - having experienced some pretty sad situations.  The seller had photographed the piece sitting amongst the clutter of the unit (tip here - if you want to sell something, stage it as well as you can and try to avoid those tell-tale storage doors as background).  The piece was everything you would expect from great upholstered furniture (eight-way hand-tied coils in foundation, hardwoods, etc.) including lots of down-composition in cushions and even in the body of the piece.  It was VERY HEAVY (also usually a good sign) and the price was right!
Before - Ralph Lauren Loveseat with Initial Fabric Selection
I had selected a very "Ralph Lauren-ish" blue and cream twill stripe for the piece but before starting it, a client contacted me to put together pieces for her new vacation home.   

She selected not only the piece - clearly a "no-brainer" - but also selected a fabric that complemented other purchases.  The upholsterer did a wonderful job on the piece and it came out so well.   
After - Ralph Lauren Loveseat in Robert Allen Champagne 

I am not likely to find another piece like this anytime soon but the bar for the very best has certainly been raised!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Estate Sale Weekend - Update AND a Literary Note

Christmas Items for Sale (you can find a LOT of these)

Vintage Dolls for Sale

Vintage Fabrics on Sale (a little pricey)
I will be traveling / vacationing for much of the next month so spent the last few days getting a final "fix" with estate sales.  A recent new client gave me information about a site that allows me to register my zip code and automatically get almost daily messages about estate sales in the area - up to 100 miles away - EstateSales.Net.   I attended several yesterday and today.  One sale was amongst the best organized I have recently seen - reminding me of my old friend Annie of Great Finds who moved away - I really miss her sales.  They had taken the time to nicely stage as well as aggregate items for sale.  The only down-side on this sale was their price structure (first day of sale) - way too high for me including some interesting fabrics I might otherwise have purchased.  Many companies, like this one, operate on a commission basis and do want to maximize sale proceeds.  I was sufficiently impressed by them that I passed on the name of the company to a neighbor who is downsizing and looking for an estate sale company to handle the sale of her furnishings.

On a literary note, I am reading a great book about a famous ladies hat maker - working for both Saks 5th Avenue and Henri Bendel during the heyday of women's hats - 30's - late 50's.  Her daughter, Francine du Plessix-Gray, wrote a book called Them which describes a very interesting family of Russian origins who escaped during the pre-world I / Russian Revolution days and eventually ended up in New York City with a lot of their compatriots.  The fashion of and for women's hats is one of the many themes that runs through this book.  I personally love wide-brimmed hats (avoiding the sun) and have several dozen but nothing like these.  The sale I mentioned above had a large collection of hats (most made by Atlanta-based hat makers but some from NYC and Europe).  I was fascinated!

Hat display at Sale

Detail of Hat
Detail of Hat

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ottomans - A Versatile Choice for Seating, Etc.

I have several chairs with ottomans in my home - they really encourage comfort (read laziness) in any setting.   Often, I sell my chairs, particularly skirted club chairs, with an ottoman choice.  If I have enough fabric, I include the option to add one.  

Ottoman have at least three basic functions:
Tufted and Skirted Ottoman

  • Encourages people to put up their feet and take a rest / get more comfortable
  • Works as a table/serving area by perching a tray on top (I have a tray of magazines on one of my ottomans)
  • Operates as an extra chair 
Ottoman come in many shapes and sizes the most popular one is rectangular and reflects the shape of the chair it is sitting in front of.  To take a rectangular skirted ottoman and make it work with an existing skirted chair, it is important (TIP HERE) to measure the skirt length and try to get the skirt length the same as the associated chair - they will look like a set.  Similar heights (from floor to top of seat) are important but differences work as long as the ottoman is not higher than the chair.  
Rectangular Ottoman - Skirted
Other ottoman shapes include French (mimics the shape of a bergere or other French style.
French Ottoman
A popular ottoman style is round (generally range from "26 - 36").  These are particularly useful for coffee tables and the larger ones can seat several people.   The treatment of the top and sides provides many options - the more ornate (e.g., tufting), the more expensive.
Simple Pleated Round Ottoman

The variations among ottomans is great - the extra price I charge ranges from $200 (simple, non-skirted ottoman) to $400 (ornate round, skirted, tufted, etc.)  I do think they add a lot to the "custom" look of a room or space!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Before and After - Custom Pieces

Kathie's After (Robert Allen Champagne Fabric) 

Lisa's After (Golden Wheat Fabric with Tassel Fringe)
I just finished several custom pieces for clients in Georgia and Texas.  The process started with showing them "before" pieces that were available as well as fabric options.   They choose based on photos and descriptions.   The pieces were completed recently and the set is already on its way to Texas.  They really turned out well and were a great value for these clients.  I am always happy when I can work with someone who can visualize along with me - it's an art and a science!

Kathie's Before

Lisa's Before

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tuesday Purchases - Another Fabric World Visit

As all readers of this blog should know by now, Tuesday is Senior Citizen Day at Goodwill Industries stores in the Atlanta area (a whopping 25% off).  I purchased six books and started reading a very interesting one called Mrs. Keppel and her Daughter - a nonfiction account of the "lover" of England's King Edward VII (son of Victoria) who is also the great-great grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles - wow!!  I also bought two chairs and two different ottomans.  A good day at Goodwill.

I also could not resist making another visit to Fabric World in Stone Mountain.  I have now been there four times - their usual sale is $3.00 per yard - they were running a long weekend special for $2.00 - give-away prices.  I bought five pieces and am using one for one of my Goodwill purchases - what a deal!!
Fabric World Sale 

My Purchases - Love their Red Carts - Definitely Do-it-Yourself