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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!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Before and After - My Own Parade

The thrill I get from transforming old and/or dated upholstered furniture that has good bones and potential (and often saves it from the trash heap) is the reason I do what I do - it certainly isn't a great way to earn a lot of money! I also hope that I can inspire others to do the same. Instead of buying new (often/usually inferior quality) furniture, invest your time in finding and refurbishing heirloom quality pieces - just make sure the quality of construction is there. That includes primarily woodwork and frames that are in good shape and well-constructed foundations in seating platforms (hand-tied 8-way coil springs are the best).

In the name of giving away all of my secrets, here are some recent "before and after" photos with original source information. It's not magic but it does take time and effort - maybe there is a little magic involved!

This great chair (sold) came from one of my favorite estate sale sellers - Vicki - and was reupholstered in a great ikat gold/yellow print. 
This chair was one of two bought from someone on Craigslist - this one was not even listed. I asked if she had any more and here it was and well-constructed too! The fabric is a heavy woven cotton-combination and the woodwork was refinished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in off-white. I only redid the legs because the original finish was badly chipped. 
This set of club chairs (with matching ottomans on casters) was being sold at a garage sale for a song - they were manufactured by Century Furniture (great construction). I had them reupholstered in a cream damask and they are now sold.
This chaise lounge (hidden amongst a lot of junk) came from the same garage sale as the chairs above and was better constructed than the average chaise with the hand-tied coil springs in the foundation.  It is already living in Florida! 
I love the nice lines on this Italian-made French style chair. The woodwork was in perfect condition and I had a small piece of wonderful cream-on-cream crewel (very high end - costly) available. The chair was bought at an estate sale. 
This chair  which may in fact be a real antique but I had no way of verifying was listed on craigslist and I bought it as well as the striped blue chair above. It was upholstered in a gold damask - slightly formal - and has sold. It is on its way to Asheville, NC. 
There were two of these chairs covered in different fabrics in different rooms at an estate sale. The prices were over a $100 apart which I pointed out to the seller. He sold them to me for the lower of the two prices. The woodwork was in rough condition but I might have redone it anyway since I wanted a painted finish. 
This set of slipper chairs was purchased at another one of Vicki's estate sales - the bones were great but the old fabric was very poorly applied. This new fabric is a pale taupe and cream combination woven - very neutral in appearance.
This lovely vintage settee was purchased at a neighborhood garage sale - the kind that you walk from home to home checking out the goods. The original fabric was actually a mohair (very costly) velvet but just not in great shape. The new fabric is another velvet - this time in pale green.
This little settee was purchased during one of my monthly visits to Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta. It had painted legs but the finish was not in great shape. I refinished in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in graphite (grey-black) and matched it with a great linen fabric. It is living comfortably in Virginia.
I loved this style of small settee which would be wonderful at the end of a bed or in a narrow hallway. It was in very good condition when bought at an estate sale - just needing a fresher fabric. 
This set of settees (bought from a Craigslist add) has been one of this year's favorite transformations. Initially, I was doing the set with this treatment and fabric for an intended buyer in California. She got cold feet and changed her mind but both sold the first week listed. I could have sold a dozen of these. 
These chairs were purchased from the same home as the settees above and have been refinished in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (chateau grey with old white combo) and new Chelsea Linen Fabric.
Well, that was fun for me - I hope you enjoyed the parade and feel inspired to try some of these ideas!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Colors of the Season - by Calico Corners

I do not shop at Calico Corners Fabrics as much as I used to since they no longer carry the big bolts that often go on sale - at times dramatically. They were for many years the source of some of my better deals. No more, however. I do stop in to "ooh" and "aahh" and get a sense of looks and trends - but not to buy. I also follow their website and just saw a posting called "Colors of the Seasons" featuring some of my favorite color combinations of blues and greens - link to website.

I have several newer pieces in my inventory in these lovely colors which have great names like "parrot", "macaw", "glacier", and "sky blue".

I cannot argue with their color choices - clearly I like them a lot!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Decorating Styles - French Country

Lovely Country French Setting link to Better Homes and Gardens.

French country styles and patterns have emerged from southern France where they originated in small villages, and now these scenic designs are popular worldwide. The key parts of this design include easy accessories, rustic furniture, and patterns that are quintessentially of the Provence region. source.
I have often said that I would love to "do" (buy, refurbish, sell, live-in) only French Country if I had a choice. It is by far my favorite style of decorating and most of the things I really love in a home work well within its broad parameters. If I could have a second home on a lake or in the mountains or anywhere but in the Palm Spring Desert of Southern California where I would do art deco/mid-century style), it would definitely be a Country French home.

What is Country French or French Country? Much has been written and illustrated about this style - not all of it consistent.

Here are a few definitions and/or examples:

A well-designed French country home inspires comfort and relaxation. Upholstered chairs and couches in different colors and patterns invite people to make themselves at home. The style is a natural for entertaining, with its emphasis on connecting the indoors to the outdoors and interesting conversation pieces. source.
I like this one because it evokes a sense of belonging and furnishing a home for others to enjoy. The next one even brings in a glass of wine - what's not to like about Country French!

 French Country style evokes rolling hills planted with vineyards, abundant flowers and distinctive stone homes with narrow windows and thick walls. The style is oriented toward comfort, tradition and simplicity. If it's fancy, it probably isn't French Country. A house decorated in this style should welcome visitors, inviting them to put their feet up and enjoy a glass of wine. source.
 The Country French style has elements of soft upholstered pieces, muted as well as vibrant color palettes, handsome wooden pieces - many in "faux" finishes/paints, and fresh country details. I do think pictures do the best job of illustrating the style.

Lovely muted colors - source - Better Homes and Gardens
Antique furniture and toiles - source - Better Homes and Gardens 
I set up a pinterest board (link to my French Country board) with images I found readily on the internet as well as "repinned" from other boards - very easy to find.  
Just some of the pieces in my current inventory that work well with French Country style .
Using chalk paint on almost any piece of furniture makes it a good candidate for a French Country look! 
The toile covered bench may be the most quintessential Country French piece possible!
What do you think of this style - are you incorporating it into your home and in what ways - let me know!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Visit to Lakewood Antiques Market in Cumming

Office at entrance of Lakewood Antiques Market 
For some time now, I have been planning a visit to the Lakewood Antiques Market in Cumming - about 30 miles north of the Atlanta metropolitan area - link to website.

Lakewood 400 Antiques Market, always the 3rd weekend monthly, is located in affluent North Altanta adjacent to Georgia 400, at Exit 13 on Georgia 9.  

This upscale Market features 500 spaces in a 75,000 foot climate controlled building  plus outside veranda and countyard dealers.

With my regular Scott's Antique Markets cohort, I visited the market yesterday. Since we travel to Scott's just about every month, a comparison between the two was inevitable - more on that later.

Cumming is often associated with Lake Lanier - a lovely area with meadering lake frontage all created by the corps of engineers - not many lakes in Georgia are natural. It is also the home of my daughter's in-laws who have a lovely home in a very nice subdivision called the Polo Fields.

Here is a pictorial walk-through with comments!
Entrance - food court and rest rooms
I saw this shop at the beginning of our walk-through and at the end - it is well staged and offers attractive items for sale - mostly faux greens!
This shop, close to entrance, offered newer and vintage ribbons by the yard. It was reminiscent  of a neighborhood shop that I frequented when I was very young in Kimberly, Wisconsin - one of those old fashioned general stores with dusty shelves, plank floors and friendly proprietors. I loved sewing clothes for my dolls and would buy 1/2 or less yards for embellishments. 
We liked this made-to-order farm table - loved the legs~
I've seen these driftwood trees elsewhere and am always charmed by them! 
Lots of shops with vintage signage. 
Just resting ....
Some nicely refinished vintage pieces - these looked familiar and I think this same vendor is also at Scott's Antique Markets. 

Not sure about this "item" for sale but it was nicely draped for general viewing.
i LOVE fabrics and found this shop with some great linen and other fabrics. The shop-owner was not present and her neighbor said $16 per yard although she might be more negotiable. A little high for me but not a bad price for the pieces I saw - high end materials.

We saw a lot of vintage "Georgia" pieces and signage such as this one - this market definitely had a rural southern feel to it.

Several shops like this one look pretty permanent and have a lot of very specific merchandise for sale. 
One of our finds were these "garden girls" beautifully rendered by this local artist - link to site here.  My friend, who is associated with Atlanta's Southeast Garden Show, tried to convince her that she should display at the show. She uses natural materials to create her fine work - we were so impressed! 

Here's the "about" section statement from her website - wonderful things!

As a small child, I really enjoyed hiking the hills and mountains of West Virginia with my grandmother. We loved collecting leaves and flowers and carefully pressing them in to old books. After a few weeks, our treasures would emerge and I began making special little characters and artwork from them. Now, I find myself walking through fields of Georgia and pulling off the road with clippers and a phone book in my hand. In memory of the great time with my grandmother and a little prodding from my friends, I have decided to create the “Garden Girls” — Nature’s Magic with a little bling! My original artwork is scanned and printed with the highest quality materials and 80 year archival inks to ensure that you may enjoy it for a lifetime. Each piece is hand embellished with Austrian crystals. 
A big Annie Sloan Chalk Paint display caught my attention. There was no color chart (a must have to sell these products) and there was no one in the shop that could answer questions and take $$$ - I would think a major flaw to selling at a market like this one! 

The vendor/seller in this booth told us she loved bright yellow and had been using regular paint to refurbish wooden pieces with a little distressing. We liked her idea and thought she did a very nice job. Her prices were very reasonable as well.
The only piece of upholstered furniture that I saw that I would have liked to consider buying was this lovely older wingback chair (with down seat cushion that has seen better days). As with several other booths, there was no one in the shop and the piece was not even labeled.
Here was a winner. I am doing a mini-redo of my master bedroom and installing hardwood floors. I am trying to talk my husband into using these kind of rugs to add a little modern punch!  This seller is a local person who buys from same source as Pottery Barn and sells for less. She said she was negotiable at these prices. I may come back next month when the floors are finished.
Well, this was an interesting visit. Overall, we did not like the event/market as well as Scott's Antique Market. It seems more local and "flea market" in flavor and the clientele also seemed much more local. We were less than impressed with the fact that several booths were unstaffed and no-one was even able to indicate when the seller would be present. I am sure we will be back but certainly not as frequently and with much less anticipation than our monthly visits to Scott's!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Visit to Ikea - Pure Inspiration!

Colorful display near entrance to Ikea - love this lively combination!
I take a trip to our Atlanta-area Ikea store whenever my upholsterers tell me I need more feather pillow inserts for my furniture - I usually add one or two to each piece refurbished and the Ikea pillows (20X20 and lumbar) at $6.99 each are the BEST deal anywhere. They are well-made (no feather loss) and a nice 95/5 feather and down combination - easily sold for $15-20 elsewhere. I buy twenty at a time which is about what fits into one of their carts.

I thought this was  serene setting.
I had a little extra time recently so I took the longer path to my pillow location visiting other display areas. I am continuously impressed (amazed) with their design and retail savvy. Their displays are colorful and informative. The pieces are well labeled and it is easy to get price and other details. The prices are VERY reasonable and there were even items "on sale" - such as a really nice standing floor mirror at $79 (formerly $129). I wished I needed it.

One of the things that Ikea displays well is how to maximize the use of smaller spaces. The store  have a series of displays for different square footage areas demonstrating how to use well-sized and sometimes multiple purpose pieces to achieve a well balanced room. I recently posted recommendations for decorating small spaces link to posting and the retailer clearly understands the principles involved such as emphasizing the vertical, using colors wisely, and choosing furniture with narrow arms.

Another colorful setting that would work in smaller space.

Too bad the view here can't be included in the purchase!
Love this light fixture - looks very high end and unique. 
Ikea's kitchen design business seems to be growing. I know of people who worked with Ikea products and design assistance and were VERY happy with the outcome. I see Ikea kitchens in show houses (2012 Southern Living House in Senoia, Georgia) and magazines. 
Small space designs are well placed throughout the store.
 I am looking for a reasonable rug(s) and seriously considering sisal/seagrass or a similar look. 
Checking out - I bought my 20 pillow inserts and, for the first time at Ikea, purchased a bolt (27 yards) of their cotton fabric - heavy and good color saturation. I plan to use on a tall settee and matching chair - should be wonderful done horizontally!
Well, this was a fun visit and I continue to appreciate the well-priced pieces available to frugal shoppers. I would not, however, recommend their upholstered pieces other than for very short-term use (e.g. temporary apartment, seldom used vacation home, college dorm). They are not that well made and definitely not worth redoing which is my standard for fine upholstered pieces. They do provide a low cost alternative to home furnishings when it makes sense.