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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, January 31, 2013

Using Stripes Reflect Bold Outlook

Multiple uses of stripes in this setting including wallpaper and fabric - source posting on my pinterest board.
I love striped fabrics and my eye seems to be naturally drawn to spaces where stripes are used. I have about half a dozen upholstered pieces/sets in my Wydeven Design inventory link to website that feature striped fabrics because, again, I am drawn to them. This posting discusses how and where to use stripes in home decorating.

I googled "Decorating with Stripes" and found many articles and words of advice about using stripes in the home. First of all, from several sources, I learned:
Stripes in home decor are extremely popular with people who have a bold outlook towards life. source
This article goes on to describe some general rules about using stripes:
Why Stripes, and Where?You could use stripes on your walls, on your upholstery, on your window drapes, on the floor rugs, and even in the numerous decoration pieces that adorn any normal living room. What Kind of Stripes For Decor?One way to classify the stripes are the direction. There are the vertical ones, and there are the horizontal ones. You can even use slanting lines in your stripes.The next option is size - there are thin and thick stripes. In case of smaller rooms thick stripes look better as they add to the volume of the room, and vice versa.
Then there are the options in colors. You could use bold or light colors. Contrast colors do well in certain places, but for first timers it is best to stick to the same color family as the stripes themselves are less glaring. 
Vary Your OptionsWhen looking for a pattern, try to mix and match.  source
Love the vertical stripe on this wingback chair - source - my pinterest board - see above. 
This is a great example of how well strips coordinate with patterns - source - my pinterest board - see above. 
Upholstered pieces with same color rug stripe - very fresh looking - source - my pinterest board see above.
 Here are a few more articles about decorating with stripes that I found interesting - Fun With Stripes and Keys to Decorating Your Home with Stripes.

Here are some of my current inventory of striped upholstery pieces.  As I've said, I love stripes!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Estate Sale Weekend

Weekend sales in January have been OK but not great for the most part.  I didn't even go out on my usual Friday morning run because there were dire weather reports in the Atlanta area - a lot of talk of icy rain and sleet that causes major accidents in the area. Southerners definitely do not know how to drive in this stuff. As it turned out, it was a nonevent - overcast and a little rain at best. I do think sales were probably cancelled as a result of the weather forecast.

My friend Ouida and I did go out for Saturday sales and found several - one of which was pretty spectacular. The sale was at a huge house in Buckhead - not far from the governor's mansion. Buckhead is THE in-town neighborhood that is the priciest and fanciest in the Atlanta area. We love Buckhead sales just for the opportunity to see some of these homes.

Here were some of the items at the sale that I considered buying.  The chaise was my overall favorite but the price of $1400 was at least 90% higher than I would have paid.  I did leave a bid on the French chair but didn't get it.
I didn't really need any of these items but loved the oversized deer - a very serene looking holiday centerpiece.
We did actually buy a few things at this sale. Ouida bought one of two spectacular white silk sofas and wished she had the space for both. She is redoing her living room and this is the first piece she has bought to start the process. It was a custom-made piece in perfect condition.

Ouida's sofa (one of two) 
I bought these two slipper chairs for $70 - a pretty good deal.
I've been carrying my new emerald green bag for most of the month just to prove to myself how versatile it is and loved finding an emerald green accent table.

I am definitely gearing up for early spring when sales start popping all over.  This, however, was not a bad day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Selling and Buying on One King's Lane

One King's Lane is an online "store" link to site that features many great items and some pretty good prices.  It is professionally designed and managed and has been in place since 2009. One of the sales options is "Vintage and Market Finds" which is set up as an invitation-only sales site.
Vintage & Market Finds
A vibrant marketplace, arranged by category, featuring vintage, antique, and one-of-a-kind pieces from hand-selected sellers across the country. Hundreds of items added every day!
 Some time ago, I was asked to submit products to be sold here. Because of their photo requirements (must be against mostly white background) and cost structure (they take 35% of the total sale), it took me some time to find the right pieces to sell and submit them for approval.  Today, my first set of chairs are available on the site - link to my chairs on vintage and market finds.

It remains to be seen how well this sales venue works but it is nice to see my products shown on this well designed on-line sales site and to gain that additional exposure.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chaise Lounges or Chaise Longues - I Love Them

Graceful Chaise Lounge - source
One of my favorite chair styles is the chaise lounge (although my research suggests I may be spelling it incorrectly).
Chaise lounges" is actually an Americanization of the French phrase "chaise longue" (pronounced shayz long), meaning, appropriately, "long chair." source
The chaise lounge has a long history - most experts seem to agree that the versions we see today originated in the 16th century.
The chaise lounge enjoys a long history spanning many cultures. It has been a symbol of luxury and comfort from the days of Cleopatra to today. And it was a favorite in both French rococo and early 20th century design for its structural beauty and ornament delights. source
My favorite style of chaise lounges are the ones with exposed legs and french-inspired curves. The cushions are often down or down blend and the woodwork can be natural or painted.  These types of chaises are hard to find at a reasonable price since they are so appealing and fit into so many eclectic style options,
Sources - my pinterest board - link
Another version often seen is the one-armed chaise lounge which works best placed next to or close to a wall since it can be accessed from only one direction. I am not as fond of this style but it can work in many settings.

Sources - my pinterest board - link
I have a chaise lounge in my bedroom sitting area that is my overall favorite place in the house to read (and nap).  It is probably the most worn piece of furniture in my home. I looked over the chaise lounges I have refurbished and sold over the past several years (my current photo file only goes back to 2010) and found some wonderful pieces that I remember so well. I noticed that I do less than 4-5 chaise lounges per year - they do take up a lot of storage space and, because of the size, are more costly to ship than regular chairs.

I have my own criteria for the chaise lounges I buy to refurbish and find there are a lot of really ugly chaises out there:

1.  Piece must be compact proportionately - not oversized or sloppy looking.
2.  Piece must be well-constructed and structurally sound.
3.  Piece must have a well-tailored (or tailorable) design.
4.  In the case of exposed woodwork, it must be elegant and in good shape.

Here are some of my prior year beauties!
My favorite in this group is the blue check French style - the woodwork was in great condition and the size just right.   
this was a good year for unusual chaise lounges - I particularly liked the top one which was vintage and had interesting wooden details. There are two one-armed examples in this group. 
The top chaise lounge was the most interesting of this group (just sold).  I refinished the woodwork using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Cream. 
I am nostalgic for these lovely pieces and hope to find more interesting examples to refurbish soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Home Design Trends - Greige

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the latest decorating trends (including colors) by getting most of the available home decorating magazines and faithfully following quite a few blogs and pinterest boards. However, the trends toward "greige" in home decor snuck up on me.
Greige (color) Walls and Woodwork - source
First, I thought I was seeing a spelling error - should that say "grey"? Then I noticed that the term was more and more commonly used to describe "greyish" neutral spaces and fabrics. Today, I finally succumbed and actually spent some time researching the term and the images to get a better understanding of what I have been missing.

Evidently, sometime in 2011 (as far as I could tell), the term started showing up in two ways:

1)  To define an undyed or unbleached (untreated) fabric like linen as in "Most people assume that greige refers to a color, but it's actually a fabric. Greige is an unfinished woven or knitted fabric that hasn't been bleached or dyed. It can be used for upholstery, window treatments, clothes ..." - source

2) To define a color which is a combination of grey and beige although some "experts" have a much broader color spectrum associated with the word "greige".  "Over the last few years a new neutral was born – Greige, a mixing of grey and beige tones that deliver a gorgeous neutral hue. Since it is a neutral it can be paired with pops of saturated colors or complimented with varying metallic and shades of grey." source

Greige (color) walls and trim - source 
Greige Decor - source
SO, it appears to be used in both ways - a look defined by a certain set of grey/beige colors and use of fabrics that are undyed and unbleached which probably leaves them, as seen above, with a grey/beige color.  I am not sure how revolutionary all this is but people do seem to be engaged in a lot of "greige" dialogue to demonstrate they are on top of their decorating trend game.
It is so hard to explain this color... greige.  It just makes me feel so relaxed and so wonderful...  If only I could recreate this - not to much purple, not too much brown, not too much grey..  just the right amount of everything would be perfect and it would be perfect in every light.  Oh and don't forget that tiny bit of texture too.... source
Actually, I don't care why this image is called a "greige" image - whether it is the color or fabrics but I do love it - source
Well, I guess that takes some of the mystery out of "greige" - it does seem like much ado about nothing!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Sustaining Power of Blue and White Porcelain

My blue and white sunroom - see ceramic planter to back and side.
It is hard to pick up a decorating magazine and not see some rooms featuring blue and white porcelain and not just in blue rooms - it is so ubiquitous that it may actually be treated as a neutral accent.

I have a lot of blue and white porcelain in my house although I do have a mostly blue and white decor.  It is, however, prevalent throughout my house including two open cabinets that house the "extras".  I have about 15 planters and at least that many vases throughout my home.
More example of blue and white ceramics in my home.
I conducted some (minimal) research about the history and sustaining popularity of blue and white porcelain - there are books and websites and magazine articles about the subject and they are easy to find.
Blue and white porcelain, also commonly known as blue and white china, is a form of pottery that features a white background over which a blue design has been applied. Its history can be traced back to 14th-century China, where it was crafted using hand painting and translucent glazing techniques. In the 17th century, blue and white porcelain became popular in Europe, and large-scale efforts were made to reproduce Chinese pieces.
The range of porcelain items which fit this description is very broad. Some of the most common forms of this type of pottery, however, are plates, bowls, cups, and vases. Common designs featured on blue and white porcelain pieces include floral motifs, mythical creatures such as dragons, scenes from stories, and Chinese characters.  source
I have been collecting blue and white porcelain for over 20 years.  I have found it very easy and reasonable to collect - it is hard not to see find blue and white porcelain pieces at many estate and garage sales.  I have also found that it is not necessary to spent a lot of money - most pieces are in the less than $10 range and unless you are a serious collector and know what you are buying, spending much more than that is not necessary although some of the higher-end estate sales may try to collect much more money for the same products. As always, it is buyer beware.

There are some bloggers whose posts that regularly feature blue and white porcelain and themes and gorgeous photography.  Two I have found are linked here - Chateaudelille and Verandah House.  Pinterest boards are often set up to celebrate the lovely pieces including my own pinterest board.  All of these images are from my pinterest board - link to my decorating - blues pinterest board.

Custom sink inspired by blue and white porcelain

Fabric and art inspired by blue and white porcelain

My corner cabinets in the dining room and two other open front cabinets also store my blue and white porcelain - source - my pinterest board - see above
This has been a fun and easy posting.  If you love it, it is easy to collect blue and white porcelain and it can be used in so many settings!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Buying Fabrics through eBay

One of the primary challenges in my quest to find and refurbish heirloom-quality upholstered furniture is buying great fabrics at low prices. I buy from a number of sources: store close-outs, designer sales, estate and garage sales, discount fabric stores and eBay. This posting is about buying fabrics on-line and gives away another of my secrets - my primary eBay source.
Fabrics already purchased in 2013 - I see a theme emerging!  The source for these pieces is Designer Fabrics - check them out here.
Predicting which fabrics will work (and sell) for my pieces is even harder to do with on-line fabrics because you are not able to feel the fabric and accurately see the color. I have been buying fabrics from this particular vendor, Designer Fabrics, for about five years. Over that time, I have loved some, found others to be OK and disliked a few. Designer Fabrics is the biggest on-line retailer that I've found that offers large sized pieces (as well as small) at reasonable prices. Ray is the owner and he is located not all that far from my house in Canton, Georgia. He provides discounted consolidated shipping so I always buy at least a few bolts to get the discount or he lets me wait until I've accumulated several purchases since all his sales are 7 day auctions. He also provides a 7% discount for purchases using United States Postal Service (USPS) money orders - a discount I also take advantage of.
Here are some pieces reupholstered using the online fabrics purchased from Designer Fabrics - from my 2011 collection.
One of the reasons I like Designer Fabrics (besides price) is the detailed description that he provides with all of his fabrics along with multiple both-side photos.  Normally, composition of the fabric and weight are provided which tells you a lot about the usefulness of a piece for upholstering. I like a weight of at least 1 to 1.5 pounds per yard - less is usually too thin/flimsy for upholstered pieces.

Here is a partial description of one of the fabrics that I purchased (above).
Weight is just under 2 lbs per yard.
Valued at $48 per yard and not available at the retail level.
Pattern in the vertical direction for easy use as drapery or upholstery.
This piece would look magnificent on any window.
100% heavy weight canvas cotton.
Designer Fabrics also has a 14 day return policy which I have used sparingly but it is available. Not all of the fabrics are reasonable enough for me to purchase and, like everything else in life, his prices have gone up over the years. After all, it is a business!

Over the years, I have also used other eBay sources. Several years ago, a woman whose family had a business in the furniture capital of America - High Point, NC - sold italian woven fabrics for about a four months period. I got some GREAT deals and developed a good communication pattern with her including advice and comments about completed pieces.  She quit, however, indicating that she just wasn't selling for enough money to make it worth her while.  Hers were consistently the best fabrics I have bought on-line. I wish I had bought everything she was selling during her brief stint - but who knew it would end so soon.

Some of the great Italian woven fabrics I bought back in 2010 - wish I had more.
So, buying online via eBay does work and give you fabric choices that include some very reasonable pieces. Buying and selling online, as I know, does require faith and perseverance - and as much research and homework as you can do.  I do recommend Designers Fabrics - tell me if you have found any sellers on eBay (or elsewhere) that you would recommend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Use of Personal Art in Home - Photo Canvasses

My photographs on canvasses - water theme.  Lighting in this area is limited so this photo is not as bright as I would like although it does seem I could hang a little straighter/better.
In the fall of 2012, we finished renovating our terrace level (aka basement) and we have been enjoying it ever since - link to renovation story. One of the decisions I had made was to maximize use of "personal art" in this space. Throughout my house, I have very nice pieces bought from varying venues including art galleries and art auctions (and, of course, estate and garage sales). I wanted to incorporate pieces that were more personal in two categories - my own photography work and art work created by friends and people I actually know.

In this posting, I am showing my photographs rendered on canvas that I used near the "foyer" area of this space and providing some tips and techniques of how to make this personal art option work for you.
Foyer area of renovated space.  I did end up placing a lamp on table and choose to place it in front of picture with least detail - not ideal but as workable as I can get it.
I made several decision before starting my search through 1000's of saved photo images to find four photos that would work together.
  • Finished canvas size was determined by availability from photo canvas vendors as well as the amount of space that I wanted to cover. I made my decision when I was able to pick up an online 50+% off deal for photo canvasses that included 20X24 - just big enough to work together for the space available and at a good price (about $50 per image - reduced from almost $130).
  • Image selection and composition was strongly influenced by my interest in using black and white images to create a more cohesive look. Since none of my photos had been taken in black and white, I had to find ones that could be converted to black and white and retain their interest and power.  I looked for strong value contrasts (lights and darks) and experimented with quite a few before selecting a theme and then the final four.
Once I found my photos I saved them and cropped to correct (20X24) size. This is a critical step because if you don't make adjustments to get to correct size, it will be done once you download to vendor site and corrections (image placement) are harder to make at that time.  It also forecasts how the image would look on canvas.

The other element to consider at this time is photo resolution - you need to make sure the image selected is sufficiently large to create a good image. I always take large resolution photos - at least I have for prior three years. Earlier images tended to be too small for a crisp 20X24 size.

I liked how this set turned out and how it looks on the wall.  For anyone who takes lots of photos, this is a nice personal art solution for the home.  This posting is linked here - Romantic Home

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Upholstery Fabrics - Crewel

I just had an opportunity to use some hand-embroidered crewel fabric that I had picked up last year at an estate sale - a  small bolt of multi-colored fabric of unknown vintage. I had waited a long time to use it because I wanted to be sure that I found the right piece(s) for this great and hard to find (and afford) fabric. A set of Jacobean style armchairs bought later in the year were just the ticket - I just listed them and they are simply beautiful.
Chairs upholstered in hand-embroidered crewel fabric.  I think the pattern is called "Tree of Life" based on my research.
I spent some time looking for more information about this great fabric (and verifying how costly it is) and found this interesting information - link to website.
Crewel is a special kind of embroidery done with a pointed hook and used for drapery and upholstery. Rows of chain stitch done with a pointed hook form solid patterns usually rotating from the center and creating an embossed effect to add richness to the textile. Crewel is done on the thick material popularly used for furnishing and usually carries flowing floral and creeper designs. 
All embroidery is done by hand in either single or double ply wool. Designs are available in assortment of colors ranging from a single color to multicolour embroidery. The price is related with the amount of embroidery done on the material.
The technique is at least a thousand years old. It was used in the Bayeux Tapestry, in Jacobean embroidery and in the Quaker tapestry.The origin of the word crewel is unknown but is thought to come from an ancient word describing the curl in the staple, the single hair of the wool.
Here is an example of a single color embroidered crewel.  This fabric had a much looser weave and was very heavily textured.  The background linen was very thick and heavy.  These Wydeven Design chairs sold in 2011.
There are so many variations and styles of crewel and I found dozens just by googling "crewel fabric images" on the web. The prices also vary greatly. I have found some below $100 a yard while others are closer to $1000. This is one fabric that also sells well as vintage material and is highly prized for its provenance.
I hope to find and use more of this wonderful type fabric in future refurbishing projects.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Transformative Travel - Looking Forward and Back

Some highlights from 2012 trip to Holland - very hard to choose out of over 2000 photos taken. I was born in Holland and am always so proud to be Dutch - particularly when visiting this exquisite country.
I LOVE to travel and fortunately my husband does as well. One of our current life strategies (given our age and income - neither going down or up respectively) is to travel as much as we can - while we can. I was inspired to write this blog when traveling to Chicago over the recent holidays to visit with my sister and her husband. On our AirTran flight, the in-flight magazine GO featured several articles about the transformative nature of travel. These articles captured so well how I feel about traveling - that it actually changes who you are and your life perspective.  I am including some highlights of our 2012 trips amongst the ideas described in the magazine.

Some notable quotes:
Travel triggers a concept called psychological distance. Something about the experience of leaving your place jars things loose, shocks you into a new perspective that floods the brain with ideas.  Jad Abumrad, Co-Host of RadioLab.
 Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you.  Anthony Bourdain, from his memoir, The Nasty Bits. 
This region in the south of Portugal is picture-perfect and shows the strong influence of the Moors in Portuguese history. We were amazed by everything we saw - it was all new to us.
More notable quotes:
Travel makes me feel less like an American and more like a world citizen, like a part of an ancient flow of human nature.  Helen Fisher, Anthropologist
When you're on vacation, you're more in the prefrontal cortex. That's because many of the cues around you have changed. This results in more neurological plasticity, more opportunities for learning and thinking differently.  Charles Duhigg, NYTimes Writer and Author
Even this trip close to home was a real eye opener.  I didn't have much of an idea of the culture of the Florida Keys and the beautiful, massive island coastlines.  
We were so impressed (and surprised) by the beauty and vibrancy of the Lisbon area of Portugal and its surroundings that we have tried to talk everyone we know into taking a trip there - a gem of an area.
More notable quotes:
The way I generated my intellectual life was not through school, or books, or work, or parents. It was through travel. My recommendation for life-changing travel is to spend some time traveling alone.  ... it guarantees you will meet people you would not otherwise meet.  Parag Khanna, Author of Hybrid Reality
Travel changes us. From a social science perspective, I think of travel as having three components. The first is where we are anticipating an upcoming trip. ... Then there's the obvious part: the vacation itself. ... third component, when we come back ... The actual experience might be four days or a week, the anticipation could be months and the memory could last for years or forever. Dan Ariely, Behavioral Economist
Even though we had been to this area at least 10 times before, we visited three totally different areas and learned a lot about some of the original settlers of the area - a new experience.
I found this article spoke to me and said so much about my love of travel that I just had to share it. Our favorite, most life-changing, trip was to Normandy, France and I posted several blogs on the subject - check one here.

We are anxiously looking forward (ah that anticipation factor) to trips in 2013 to Crete and Athens, Greece, China (river cruise), Hilton Head (with family), Southern California and Palm Springs (to see son) and who knows what we will still add.  I do love to travel!