Back from Christmas Break

Did you miss me over the holidays? Right now, Christmas and New Year’s seem like a blur. We had family in town for New Year’s–my lil’ sis Patti, her husband and their friends. We did a little partying in the hood, then took off for Tybee on New Year’s Day.
Me and my lil’ sis Patti

Once we got back to Atlanta, it was time to get ready for Scott’s Antique Market, and a jaunt with two of my favorite antique experts–junk buddy Beth from KnickKnackPaddywack Antiques in Raleigh, and uber-designer Eddie Ross. I had a list of items I was hunting for at Scott’s this month, all of it stuff for my project-in-progress, our downstairs guest bedroom. Up until the past year, this had been the lair of Boomerang Boy. I’d decorated it in early hunting lodge motif–with a stuffed deer head, high-backed antique oak bed, and dozens of rustic lake and river-scapes. But now that BB has de-camped for Charlotte, NC, that guest room was looking a little tired. Not to mention the fact that the bed was a double–hardly comfy for the couples who stay with us–and the fact that the bed rails, sadly, were being held up by concrete blocks. Classy, huh? I started the project in the fall, having the walls painted a dreamy pale aqua, and the ceiling painted the same color, cut in half with white. I’ve picked out a creamy linen for drapes, and a cream and aqua check silk for a bedskirt, and an aqua, green and coral linen floral for a comforter cover and pillow shams, but it’s all being made right now. My designer friend Clay and I found a gorgeous antique Italian bench at an estate sale in Buckhead back in October, and the mottled green paint and orangey-coral velvet upholstery were the perfect match for the fabrics I’d picked out. In the meantime, I was trying to wrap my head around paying huge bucks for a custom upholstered rafia headboard that would have been a copy of a Mrs. Howard headboard I spotted last year in HOUSE BEAUTIFUL.

Mrs. Howard’s Pricey Bed

Mrs. Howard’s bed retails for $4,125, and the copy I was studying would have been around $1,800. But I just couldn’t make my hand write that check. Not to mention Mr. Mary Kay would have spit nails if he’d seen said check. Instead, I hunted around, until I found a pretty substitute at Ballard’s Backroom here in Atlanta. It’s the low-profile Louis bed, and it usually sells for $799. I found it just before Christmas on a day when everything in the store was 20 percent off. But my bed was missing the side-rails, so it had been marked down. A stock clerk managed to find a set of rails, but one of the middle support legs was in a different finish, and one of the bed slats was cracked, so the store manager knocked another 25 percent off, and I ended up paying about $350, which made me much happier.
Louis low-profile Bed

Now all I needed was–nightstands, lamps, a dresser, a rug and art. Nightstands were a bit of a problem. I like big, non-rickety nightstands that can hold a reading lamp, books, magazines, a glass of water, ect. And with these modern pillow-top mattresses, I needed something at least 32 inches tall. I also wanted something big and chunky to fill the wall above the headboard, which sits between two narrow windows. I had a starburst mirror in mind, but these can also be pretty pricey–especially if you’re looking for one with some size to it. And I wanted to start looking for art to fill the blank wall opposite the bed. Fortunately, junk buddy Beth came into town Wednesday night so that we could get an early start for set-up day at Scott’s. Beth is my Raleigh friend, and the owner of KnickKnackPaddywhack Antiques. We make a perfect junking team because we both love to travel to Europe, love theatre and love antiques. But Beth buys and sells the really good English and French stuff, while I, mostly buy, good junky stuff. Usually Beth would be shopping at the antique fairs in England this time of year, but wisely, this time around she decided to scoot down to Atlanta to shop with me. Wouldn’t you know it, Thursday morning, we walked in the building and the first dealer we saw had a pair of killer tole lamps that Beth fell for. And a few feet down that same row I found a mirror. It’s big, it’s sunburst, and it apparently fell off a truck at some point. It formerly had a row of mirrored tiles surrounding the mirror, but they were all missing. Which is why I got it for $50. I found a dealer who could restore it, but when I thought about what that might cost, I think I’ve persuaded myself that I actually like it in its current shabby state.
Fifty-Buck Starburst Mirror from Scott’s

Thursday night, the weather people were forecasting snow and nasty weather, but that didn’t stop me from attending a blogger dinner with Eddie Ross, sponsored by the nice folks at Larson-Juhl Frames. The dinner was at the hip n’ happenin’ JCT Kitchen, in Atlanta’s Westside Design District. I met lots of other local bloggers, like Jennifer Boles of Peak of Chic, Rhoda of Southern Hospitality, and the hilarious Tami of Talking With Tami. Eddie and Jaithan were as cute and charming as always, and full of news about plans for upcoming projects. By the way, if you’re in the design district–where Forsyth Fabrics, Lewis & Shearon Fabrics, Ballard’s, and Lamp Art are all located, you totally should check out JCT. Awesome southern food. By the time dinner was over, the snow was really coming down. But a little snow never slowed down this junk posse. All the local schools were cancelled, but Beth and I hit the road for Scott’s anyway. We strolled the aisles, ate our customary Greek food, and then, I spotted ’em. A pair of substantial nightstands. They are three-drawer chests, probably from the ’50s or ’60s, repro French Provincial, which the dealers had painted just the right shade of gray-green., with a wax finish and new hardware. Beth liked ’em too, and urged me to buy them. But I had to stroll around for another hour before I went back, did a little bargaining, and sealed the deal. They were not as inexpensive as I’d hoped, but these are sturdy, all-hardwood, and the perfect size, color and condition, and the price was fair, if not a steal.

The Ballard’s Bed with Scott’s Nightstands

By the time we finished shopping that day, we’d filled up my car, plus Beth’s, not to mention all the stuff Beth bought the previous day. Saturday morning, Mr. Mary Kay packed up Beth’s car and then loaded up our cartop carrier with all the stuff that wouldn’t fit inside her car. Beth headed up 85, home to Raleigh, and I headed up 85, to Larson-Juhl’s offices, where Eddie and Jaithan hosted a really lovely tea and framing demonstration.

Eddie Ross and His Blogging Posse

All the tables were filled with gorgeous flower arrangements made by Eddie. The framing demonstration was really interesting and informative, with Eddie using prints, Wedgewood plates, and moulding and mat samples to illustrate all the choices available when framing. At Eddie’s suggestion, I came away with a scheme to shadow-box frame the souvenir spoons my mother collected in Europe on her honeymoon. And then today, Sunday, I just had to head back to Scott’s one last time. I’d seen Brooke at Velvet and Linen’s blogpost about Love Train Antiques, but had never shopped there before. Love Train is in a separate building in the parking lot at the South Expo. The dealers have tons of European antiques and cool vintage industrial salvage stuff. I scored seven antique French architectural illustrations for the bargain price of five bucks apiece!

French Architectural Prints

Now, I guess I’d better get back to working on my new book so I can afford all that framing I’m dreaming up, not to mention curtains and duvet covers.

5 thoughts on “Back from Christmas Break”

  1. Mary Kay, so good to see you again! What a fun shopping trip you had to Scott's. I love that place & just may have to get back over there myself. I didn't realize it, but I have been to Love Train, just didn't remember it was called that. I love the bedroom you are putting together. What fun to find those special pieces & the artwork.

  2. I have read every one of your books, I am a devoted fan. I think "Savannah Blues" was my first. You are such a great story teller that I am seriously sad when I come to the last page!!! Your books are always on my list of "must read" at the beach. Happy to know you have a blog. I am linking it now:) Sounds like Atlanta was a ton of fun. Can't wait to see how your room turns out!

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