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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, October 31, 2011

Celebrating Pumpkin Season - Orange in Home Decors

The color orange is a great home decor color and surprisingly versatile.  Just google "orange in home decorating" or a similar phrase and you get a lot of interesting ideas and images.  In honor of pumpkin season/Halloween, I did just that and came up with a wonderful description of the emotional benefits of living in a space that includes orange and lovely images.

The color orange is associated with joy, tropical fruits, and energy.  It represents bliss and can infuse great healing into your life.  The color orange is an attention getting, beautiful color. It stars in all seasons; orange tulips in spring, orange marigolds and zinnias in summer, gorgeous autumn foliage, and even in winter the sunsets are often splashed with vivid streaks of orange.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Saga Continues - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Project(s)

Previously, I have written about my interest in acquiring and trying Annie Sloan Chalk Paints link.  Some of my refurbishing projects have problems with the woodwork (deep scratches, blotchy finish) that exceed my ability to fix with a good cleaning and touch-up pencils.  For these, I have been finding spray paints that are durable and nicely complement the fabrics chosen for the piece.  The spray has been professionally applied at my upholsterers shop.  I do like, however, the look of a nice flat "French" finish - sometimes with contrasting accents.  Annie Sloan chalk paints seem the ideal solution - here are some examples of completed projects from a website:
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Projects - Color Me French
Last week, I set out with two friends to visit the only active "shoplist" for the paints in the Georgia area - in Senoia - about 50 miles southeast of Atlanta.  We actually happened to be going there because one of the friends lives nearby.

Downtown Senoia, Georgia
We found the shop on main street with a sweet corner called Color Me French link to shop and were duly impressed with the knowledge of the proprietor; the items displayed beautifully done in various shades of chalk paint; and, the description of the process - I think I can do this!!  Ready to buy, we found that most of the country distributors are waiting for one of the required products, wax (clear and dark) to arrive from the UK and the shipment is late.     So, no purchase was made and my experiment has not yet started.  In the meanwhile, as is typical of me, I have acquired at least five pieces to do and MUST stop myself from buying more.  Some of my "pending projects" are shown below.  Obviously, there will be more on this subject!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pattern Play - Bold Stripes and Plaids

I LOVE getting various decorating magazines and really rely on them for inspiration and even validation.  The November issue of Coastal Living (link didn't work - browse for their website), included a feature called "Pattern Play" showing the use of bold patterns and plaids by designer Libby Cameron in doing a Maine home.  What struck me immediately is the first page which shows a   fabrics I have in my inventory - EXACTLY - one I had been a little afraid to use because of its boldness.  I purchased my fabric - two versions of it - at a liquidation sale held at the design studies of recently retired, international designer Daniel Carithers.  He had used the fabric for a client project - the article said that the fabric was a "Sister Parish" design - talk about decorating royalty!
Magazine Article - Photo of Fabric
The article has encouraged me to take another look at a number of rather bold and bright fabrics in my inventory and to take the plunge using them more frequently.  I hope this works!

The Same Fabric as above - in my Inventory
Designer Cameron, who spent some time at Sister Parish's firm - Parish-Hadley - says "color and pattern are my strong suite" and she proves it in the way she brings lively colors throughout the house.  Saturated colors - blended with neutral backgrounds - keeps the space cheery and bright all year round!  

I'll have to become bolder myself!

More Bright and Crisp Fabrics in my Inventory

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fireplaces and Fireplace Chairs - Thanks to BHG

The most recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens shows some amazing before and after photos of fireplaces.  link to BHG article As the weather gets warmer, the thought of a cozy fireplace becomes magical.  We have two fireplaces in our home - one in the family room and a double one in the master bedroom - both gas-powered.  In the 11 plus years we have lived in this house, we have lit those fireplaces less than half a dozen times.  We seem to have some ventilation or structural problem that causes the smoke alarm to go off each time we  have lit one and we just give up.  For the upcoming winter holidays, we are expecting family visitors from WAY up north (Virginia and Illinois) so I have begged my husband to look into the problem so we can actually sit in front of these lovely spots and sip our apple cider in comfort.

Looking at the transformed fireplaces highlighted in the BHG article made me notice and think of the kind of chairs that look so great in front of a fireplace - a pair of wingbacks.  Here are some that would work particularly well!
Hickory House Wingback Chairs in Mushroom Taupe
Polo Fields Compact Wingback Chairs 
Duralee Ikat Wingback chairs with Custom Finish

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Learn with Me - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

On a recent Saturday morning estate and garage sale outing,  I met Lisa Powelson of Encore Decor Atlanta link to her site - she had placed a Craigs List add that included that magic word "fabrics".   Lisa does her own upholstery and wood refinishing and spoke highly of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (costly but wonderful)!  I started doing on-line research of this product and found that a LOT of blogs seem to be dedicated to using this product and the wonderful results.   The Annie Sloan website describes their history:
Annie Sloan developed her now famous Chalk Paint to answer the need she had for a paint which would have many uses from acting like limewash to looking like old painted furniture and that had a good range of colour that could be extended by the user. This paint is very easy to work with and allows people to be creative as one doesn't get involved with the technicalities of preparation and it also allows you to change your mind without hassle. http://www.anniesloan.com/acatalog/paints.html
 I spent some time studying what people were saying about this product and getting over the sticker shock.  It seems to be only available through approved stocklists (only two in the state of Georgia) and the cost appears to be tightly controlled (e.g., $35.00 for about a quart of the paint plus shipping).  Even eBay prices are close to this mark.  The paint also appears to have no competition which is unusual and interesting.  I am fascinated enough to try this and will record how it goes.  I have a chair and ottoman ready to go (French country style - should work well); have decided on starting with two colors - off-white and Paris grey (love the name); and, will be joining two friends for lunch this week in Senoia, Georgia, which just happens to be the location of one of the two state locations for purchasing Annie Sloan chalk paint.  In the meanwhile, I will continue to study the on-line demonstrations of what is being referred to - somewhat patronizingly, I think - as a "girl's paint"!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Marketing Alert - Limited Time Reductions on eBay!

I will use today's blog to mention that it is that time of year that I donate some of my chairs/pieces to charity.  It is both an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution and to clear inventory.  In advance of the donation, I always do a dramatic drop of price to give long-term (and new) customers an opportunity to buy the pieces before they go out the door.  This sale is only shown on eBay although I will honor the price through my website listings website
There are some great deals here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Designer Inspiration - Color Blocking by Elaine Griffin

Elaine Griffin Room Showing Principles of Color Blocking
In a recent issue of Better Homes and Garden Magazine, New York designer Elaine Griffin website discusses "color blocking" to achieve a fresh, clean look in the home.   She sees this as one of the season's biggest trend and defines it as using different solid colors together in a space.  I looked up "color blocking" and found several definitions - most having to do with using paint to achieve a multi-colored palette but I also found, as Elaine discusses in this article, the use of "punches of color" in furniture and accessories to achieve the look against a more neutral background.  Elaine proclaims:  "In a room that's a sea of beige, there's nothing to excite the eye ... every room needs a bit of contrasting color for visual success."  I found the following insightful comments when searching for definitions/examples of color blocking.
Color blocking is fun and sure way to refresh your home and bring more energy and color to it. So how does it work? Pretty much the same as with your wardrobe. You study the color wheel and pick the colors that go well together. They contrast in a nice jazzy way with each other without going gray or looking too garish.

If you don’t want to paint your walls eight shades of fuchsia and lime green, you can use your furnishings to do the color blocking work for you.  In the bedroom, for instance, upholstered headboards could add the initial boost of color and contrast to the neutral wall, and you could follow that up with prints or smaller squares of color.  You could also find accessories, like throws, pillows, vases, etc., that come in color blocked patterns.  You simply add these to your room to achieve a crisp, colorful effect.
Here are some of my pieces of refurbished furniture, upholstered in strong solid colors, that could be incorporated into a color blocking decorating scheme.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Before and After - Furniture with French Flair

After - French Style Cane-Sided Chairs in Toile (sold)
My very favorite style of furniture is French or French country - I love the wonderful shapes and curves.  But I am not alone and that fact makes the pieces more expensive and harder to find.  During the 60's - 80's in this country, many manufacturers created pieces called "French Provincial".  Often, this style was done in a pecan or off-white and most were well constructed.  It is not that difficult to find American-made furniture of this era with some great potential for refurbishing and sometimes at a great price.  In this discussion, I am featuring some pieces of this era with a before and after view.  Fabrics that have a "French flair" help make the transformation - toile and soft prints work particularly well.
Before - Cane-sided French Style Chairs

Before - French Provincial Settee

Before - French Provincial Loveseat

After - French Style Settee (sold)

After - French Style Loveseat

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Seasonal Decorating Ideas - Go Cozy for Fall

Photo from Better Homes and Garden Magazine
Better Homes and Gardens newest website/magazine highlights the decorating trends for fall with some great ideas and wonderful photos.
Fall-inspired decor encompasses both color and texture. The poppy red and burnt orange accents in this living room enhance the space’s neutral oeuvre, which shows itself in grass cloth-covered walls, linen-covered furniture, and a wicker rocking chair.

Let the hues of fall inspire your decor. The bright reds, golden yellows, and vibrant oranges can be mixed and matched with evergreen colors, such as blues, greens, or neutrals, to create a cozy and comfortable look that carries panache year-round.
There is also an article by Deborah Witrupp, entitled "Decorating with Orange" - with some very useful tips that make this a go-to color.  The article and photos are inspiring and very fresh. In a nutshell, here are a few of her recommendations:

  • ·     Combine with natural colors and textures such as grass-cloth covered walls and linen covered furniture.
  • ·     Offer a cool counterpoint such as a large-scale blue or green rug.
  • ·     Use warm off-white walls as a clean backdrop.
  • ·     Use only a sprinkle of orange in a room with lots of textures.
  • ·     Use analogous color palette of warm hues (e.g., solid yellow, yellow-on-white) to balance a bold orange.
  • ·     Use neutral room colors to allow the brighter colors to take center stage.
  • ·      Use black and white or brown as a neutral counterpoint to rich orange.
You would think that with all of these great ideas of how to use orange in a variety ways, that my sweet Dorothy Chair in polka dot orange would be a winner for one more person (sold its partner some time ago)!

Orange Polka-dot Dorothy Chair

Monday, October 10, 2011

Update on "You Choose Fabric" Adventures - Inspiration and Ideas!

Several weeks ago, I launched a strategy on eBay called "You Choose Fabric".  The idea came about because of the number of times someone asks me if I can redo an "after" piece (e.g., already refurbished) in another fabric or if I have more "before" pieces like this one to do in a fabric that would work better with their decor.  I just got two more inquiries overnight and thought I would highlight my efforts to date on this strategy.

I have ten items currently listed as "before" pieces - some of which I picked up over the weekend.  I also show fabrics that might work and encourage potential buyers to ask for more samples.  Although the buyer can provide their own fabric (and some have), the best overall value is one in which we use a fabric from my existing inventory.   By providing details about their interest and often photos taken in their space which may include rugs and other pieces of furniture, the potential buyer can help identify which fabrics might work and I can forward photos (and samples as well if necessary).

Example of Fabric Palate Presented to Potential Buyers
I am hoping that this campaign inspired my readers/lookers to see the potential in high-quality (but dated and often pretty dismal looking) pieces of furniture.  I have written other blogs about the things to check for (e.g., hand-tied 8-way coils in foundation, intact wood and finishes) and the costs of refurbishing.   These pieces can be fabulous and ALL my refurbished goods start out looking somewhat likes these - it takes a good eye and discerning investigation to buy the right pieces and end up with such wonderful furniture!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Furniture Styles Series - Chaises - When to Use!

Baker Chaise Lounge (sold) 
This is the second installation in this furniture styles series about chaise lounges.  I found this article on the web and couldn't resist it.  It addresses not just the placement issues when contemplating using a chaise lounge for seating but also the psychological and social issues involved.   It suggests careful contemplation of your "intentions" when placing a chaise to lounge/relax not to think/contemplate!  Here it goes (emphasis added):
In order to be in a position to understand when to use a chaise lounge, it would be a great idea to first acquaint ourselves with what such a chaise lounge is, in the first place. As it turns, the chaise lounge is simply a chair whose sitting area is extended to accommodate 'the sitter's' legs. So unlike a usual lounge, where the legs of the person sitting on dangle to the ground, on the chaise lounge, the legs remain on the lounge; making it - in essence - something of a cross between a lounge and a bed.
What the extension of the chaise recline to accommodate the legs does is to make it the ultimate lounge for relaxation. Seeing that the typical chaise lounge will tend to be very highly upholstered, lying on top it (in a situation where your whole body is on top of it) creates a feeling that you are no longer subject to 'gravity.' You are just hanging up there, and it is an extremely exhilarating experience. And because of all this, many people who get to a feel of the 'chaise lounge experience' desire to have such lounges for use in their own houses.
Yet, for all its goodness, the chaise recline is not suitable for use in all kinds of settings. Indeed, there are some situations where the usage of the chaise lounge would be outright inappropriate. But being pragmatists, we will not focus on where the chaise lounge should not be used, but rather where the use of chaise recline would be appropriate. Our calculation here is that you would know that if the use of a chaise lounge in situation A is recommended, then it would obviously not be recommended in situation B, where situation B is the exact opposite of situation A. 
Ideally, the chaise seat should only be used where there is adequate space to comfortably accommodate it. Thanks to the extension for legs it comes with, the typical chaise recline will tend to consume considerably more space than the typical lounge. Therefore although you may desire to have a chaise seat, if your living room is too small, you would be well advised not to take it on. Ideally, pieces of furniture like the chaise lounge are best used in the kinds of houses where the lounge is a hall's size. But if all you have is a 'crib' it would be inappropriate to try to squeeze a chaise recline in there.

The chaise seat is best used in relaxation rooms, as opposed to, for instance, boardrooms. Remember, it -is the type of a lounge you get on when you want to relax, not the type of a lounge you get on when you want to think! Where you want to create an image of opulence, the chaise seat would be ideal for you. Conversely, when you want to create an image of frugality, the chaise recline may not be ideal for you, as it will end up creating the exact opposite of the message you want to convey through your furniture.
Source:How to Decorate With Chaise | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5640432_decorate-chaise.html#ixzz1a5vdZqCE

Chaise Lounge in Botanical Print (sold)

Skirted - Tight Seat Vintage Lounge (sold)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Furniture Style Series - Chaise Lounges - Part I

French Style Chaise - Duchesse Brisee
I have addressed this subject before but find that I have added several new chaise lounges (or loungues - more on that later) to my inventory and thought a new blog would be a good idea.  Also, since I am no longer working full time away from my home, I am starting to spent an hour or more EACH day on my very own chaise lounge to read, nap and have a cup of tea and cannot imagine doing without it. It is by far the most comfortable spot in the house - too comfortable in fact and too enticing!

My very own chaise lounge - way too comfortable!
I looked up the definition, history, and recommended uses of chaise lounges.  Wikipedia offers the following:
A chaise longue is an upholstered couch in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the legs. It is sometimes erroneously written as "chaise lounge", which has persisted so strongly in America that it is no longer considered incorrect. 
·      Duchesse brisee – this chaise loungue is divided in two parts: the chair and a long footstool.  Or two chairs with a stool in between.  The origin of the word is unknown.
·      Recamier – this chaise has two raised ends, and nothing on the long sides.  It is sometimes associated with French Empire and named for Madame Recamier (1777-1849), who posed elegantly elegantly on a couch of this kind.
·      Meridienne – this chaise has a high head-rest, and a lower foot-rest, joined by a sloping piece.  Meridienes are asymmetrical day-beds and were popular in the grand houses of France in the 19th century.  Its name is from its typical use – rest in the middle of the day when the sun is near the meridian.
I particularly like the reference to the "typical use" in the last style - I do find myself drawn to the chaise when the sun is high and I am getting sleepy - even if the style is not typical of the "meridienne", I think I will use the name to refer to mine!

I am in the midst of doing a "standard" chaise lounge in a crisp white textured fabric and looking forward to seeing it - it is going to be very plump with lots of down in the removable cushions.  I love chaise lounges but have to be careful to not "over collect" since they take up a lot of my valuable storage space and are a little more difficult to ship.  Here are some of my favorites from my current inventory!

Vintage Chaise Lounge in Black and Taupe Velvet with Striped Accent

Loose Seat and Back Cushion Chaise Lounge in English Toile