30 April 2008

teaser (new l.a. retail crush)

maison21 is working on a new post about his favorite new los angeles antique store, habité l.a., but until he has the post ready, here's a few photos from habité l.a.'s over-the-top booth at last week's los angeles antiques show. isn't the boiserie amazing? wait 'til you see the treasures at their new store...

29 April 2008

faux leather flooring (reader input needed!)

maison21 is thinking of using this faux leather rubber flooring, from robin reigi, in a client's entry. rugs, even of the outdoor variety, are out of the question due to a uncooperative family member with four legs and tail, but the current black and white ceramic tile has gotta go! m21 needs something with a bit of sound absorbing quality, and a softer feel, so stone or wood are out as well...

the picture doesn't look so bad, and sample is on the way, but maison21 has no experience with the product, so he thought he'd turn it over to his intelligent and resourceful readers for their valuable input. anybody got anything for me?

thanks in advance!

28 April 2008

a great idea (from an unexpected source)

maison21 finally made it to the post office this last week to mail the pretty coral stone box won by studio annetta- sorry it took so long, suzy! his tardiness in mailing was based upon the fact that he dreads visiting the post office- going there is akin to going to the dmv (department of motor vehicles for those in far off-lands). long lines, rude employees and typically inept bureaucratic procedures. my recent visit went something like this:
you need to fill out the GREEN customs form, not the white.

but the sign says tracking is only available with the white customs form, and i'd like tracking on this package.

if you need tracking then you need to send it global express mail, not global priority mail. we don't offer tracking with global priority mail- not with the green form OR the white form.

ok, let's send it global express, then.

i can't do that sir, it's in a global priority box.

ok, then let's put it in a global express box.

we don't have any global express boxes that will fit your global priority box. you would have to repack your item in order to send it global express mail.

so i'd have go home, repack the damn thing and come back to wait in line for another half hour?

i'm afraid so, sir, if you want to send it global express mail.

but i don't want to send it global express mail! i just want tracking! the sign says "if you wish your package to be tracked, please fill out the white customs form" it says NOTHING about express or priority or whatever!

regardless of what the sign says, we only offer tracking with global express, sir.

fine- just mail it as is! no tracking!

then i'll need you to step out of line while you fill out the green form. next customer in line, please!
maison21's head was about to explode after that exchange, and that's why he was so shocked to discover on the same visit this nifty FREE recycling program for small electronics, offered by the united states postal service! how can a bureaucracy be that inept, yet come up with such a good idea? little plastic postage-paid envelopes for you to mail back your old broken or outdated cellphones, ipods and other small electronics for recycling. completely easy and completely free- what a great solution to those old cellphones squirreled away because you didn't know what the heck to do with them! maison21 can't be the only one with a junk drawer full of outdated technology, can he? currently the program is offered only in l.a., washington d.c., chicago and san diego, but will hopefully soon be expanded nationwide.

a great idea from an expected source- who knew?

ps- while he might dread encounters with the employees at the post office, maison21 LOVES his mail carrier, and several of the employees at his post office go out of their way to be friendly and helpful, so certainly not all (or even most) usps employees suck. just some of them...

25 April 2008

p.s. i love you (new retail crush)

last sunday, maison21 and his friends took an early morning stroll down palm canyon drive in palm springs (ok, it was around 11:00 am, but for m21, that's early! especially on a sunday). and boy, is he ever glad he was dragged out of the house for that early bird walk! otherwise he never would have wandered into the wonderland that is house 849, his newest palm springs retail crush!
m21 had driven past the house 849 building scores of times while zipping from one consignment shop to the next, and he had always studiously ignored it. he saw the large scale stainless steel sculptures out front and assumed it was one of those resort town art galleries- you know stores that fancy themselves "galleries", and sell over-priced "art" to over-privileged tourists with more cash than taste. well, this just goes to show that you can't judge a book by it's cover, or a store by the sculpture out front, because the minute he crossed the threshold into house 849 and saw the ginormous cascading crystal chandelier hung over a table piled with buffalo horn obelisks, well, maison21 knew this was a store for him!
his initial shock and awe grew, rather than faded, as maison21 explored the mammoth store- it is truly a modern day version of ali baba's cave- treasure stacked upon treasure, as far as the eye can see! literally, room after room, all bursting with pretty things.
the owners have amassed a stockpile of antique, vintage and brand new pieces in a variety of styles- styles so diverse that there should be no way they can meld together, but somehow house 849 has made it all work...
look at the above picture with the pair of super glammy 1970's lucite lamps on top of a dark wood antique italian commode. then check out the 4 foot porcelain greyhounds peeking behind it, who flank a giant concrete grecian statue. all this in front of silver-leaf chinoiserie wallpaper screen, which in turn is in front of a wall of antique paintings. this mish-mash of over-abundance shouldn't look good at all, but it does...maison21 fell for these black lacquer klismos chairs- and the black lacquer deco console behind the chair and the cast aluminum grape vine candelabras on the console, and on and on... this polished steel mirror with a horn frame is spectacular...
a pair of chic parchment chests- maison21 doesn't know if they are vintage pieces, or newly made reproductions, and he doesn't care. he just wants them...

m21's favorite items were probably these vintage phyllis morris-esque gilt and carved stools, which house 849 has updated by covering them with antelope hide- from gaudy to fabulous with one simple animal hide! (of course, it helps if you don't think of bambi while looking at them- cruella de maison21 wants a pair anyway. sorry, bambi). oh yeah- loving the lacquered goatskin console the stool is perched under, too!
this giant porcelain tiger is part of a pair- maison21 LOVES them (the pair- flanking an entry? perfect!). he also thinks they would be ideal for his good friend anonymous' home! we know how anonymous loves an animal figurine! should maison21 place them on hold for you, anon?last photo- this is just one room in the store, of which there are many- 8 rooms? 10 rooms?- all overflowing with finds. much too much muchness! really, house 849 is rather overwhelming, but then, maison21 lives to be overwhelmed by fabulousness, and can't wait for a return visit on his next trip to the desert!

23 April 2008

2 strong candidates, and a contest almost too close to call...

oh, did you think maison21 was referring to the democratic primary? silly you- maison21 picked his choice in that race a long, long time ago!

maison21 is talking about a much more difficult decision, and one with far greater impact on his daily life than which politician to send to the white house (at least in the short term). the tough choice maison21 is facing is this: which pair of lamps, purchased during his last trip to palm springs, should he place on his dining room credenza?
talk about a tough choice! stylistically, these lamps are equals in maison21's eyes- both are modern and chic, but there are essential differences between the two candidates: the lucite pair (attributed to dorothy thorpe and hereafter known as clear and classy) would be a radical departure from lamps m21 has had on his credenza in the past, and he is quite seduced by their sexy lines and flashy good looks. the brass pair on the other hand (henceforth to be known as bold and brassy), is very similar to lamps m21 has had on his credenza in the past. still, they are a bold and confident transitional design, and while maybe not as sexy as clear and classy, they are solid and upright, yet still make a fab design statement.

in the end, though, the decision was pretty easy- bold and brassy beat clear and classy hands down. why? maison21 simply voted with his pocketbook and made a decision he KNEW would be to his economic benefit. you see, maison21 had shades left over from his last pair of lamps and knew that they would fit bold and brassy pretty darn well, so bold and brassy could hit the ground running from day one! whereas with clear and classy, he'd have to have custom shades fitted, which in turn would involve a long waiting period before he saw results, and since the process is also filled with trial and error, it could prove to be very expensive waiting period too- a risk maison21 just couldn't take in these challenging economic times...
so- after viewing the results, do you think maison21 made the right choice? or is this a disastrous error in judgement- kind of like john kerry the pair of white urns planted with devil's tongue, that his bold and brassy lamps will be replacing?

* the above editorial is not an endorsement of any political figure or party. maison21 simply endorses good design choices.

** look for the runner-ups on ebay soon! they may not work for m21, but they might work for

22 April 2008

p.s. i love you (more pretty finds)

here's a few more of maison21's scores from his recent trip to palm springs:thanks to recent posts by 3 of his must-read fellow bloggers: habitually chic, mrs. blandings and patricia gray, maison21 has rediscovered his love of yellow, so he's doing the living room of one of his current projects with framed hand-painted yellow silk chinoiserie wall panel accents (on dove-gray walls) and lots of yellow and white furniture and accessories (the electric yellow chairs from his last post are for the same room). the project is still taking shape and far from finished, but we will definitely post pictures when we're done (early summer 08, we hope- if the design gods are with us).

the above chic items above were found at m21's most favoritist vintage furniture resource ever in palm springs, the 111 antique mall (to find out all about it, read maison21's post here). we also scored some killer lucite lamps and a murano chandelier while at the 111, but they aren't ready for their blog debut just yet...

and though maison21 feels like a cheating spouse (or one of those texas polygamists), he's found another store in ps that he loves as much as the 111 (though it couldn't be more different), so stay tuned for a post on his new palm springs retail crush soon!

20 April 2008

p.s. i love you (briefly)

maison21 just returned from a whirlwind visit to palm springs- in less then 30 hours he managed to squeeze in a hell of a lot of power shopping for few of his clients (as well as himself), punctuated by several delightful meals with good friends. below is a photo of mona and her buddy sam (being fed), sharing one of those delightful meals with their new best friend, lil lucy. mona has been terrified of toddlers and small children most of her life, but has recently discovered that they ain't so bad, especially at meal times!amongst m21's purchases was this fab pair of vintage modern lounge chairs, scored for one of his client's homes. loving the original bright yellow fabric, and the chic 1950's italian feel of the styling...maison21 needs to go to bed now, as he is wiped out, but he'll be updating you with more of his palm springs finds later in the week.


19 April 2008

pretty & classique

image for the weekend- the cover from "the best in european decoration", a 1963 compilation of interior design features from l'oeil magazine, part of maison21's vintage decorating book collection (pardon the cropped scan- the book is coffee table sized and maison21's antique scanner is not).

aside from the odd lighting of the photo, isn't the room classic and pretty? love the modern art/antique furniture juxtaposition. true style is timeless, no? and it sure makes the ceilings here at the m21 atelier seem low...

16 April 2008

i wish it was bigger...

now before you jump to conclusions, maison21 is referring to a home accessory- namely this fruit bowl from harry allen's reality series (via design public):

maison21 recently needed somethin' large and pretty and gloriously GOLD to bring life to a ginormous expanse of empty table top, and immediately thought of the above mixed fruit bowl from harry allen (we've all seen his creepy, yet still somehow endearingly cute piggy bank), but the scale of the mixed fruit bowl is just too small (10.5" at widest). second choice of his banana bowl from the same "reality" series, was better, but still a little too skimpy for m21's large gilt accessory needs, at 13" at widest point. (again, via design public):

happily, maison21 stumbled upon this fabulous gilded giant clam shell at the plantation home accessories website, and at 21" long, it's just right...

keeping to the bigger is better theme of this post, maison21 recommends that you spend a little time on the plantation home accessories site, as their vast selection is far larger than one would think, judging by the size of their retail locations (at least the one maison21 frequents on la brea, here in l.a.).

is anyone else feeling the "gold gots it goin' on" vibe? maison21 just can't get enough of all that glitters...

15 April 2008

los angeles antiques show, april 23rd - 27th

just want to alert all of you out there in local blogland (should maison21 happen to have any local readers- and i'm talking to you, anon, as my only known l.a. reader) to the los angeles antiques show, april 23rd-27th. the displays and merchandise that the dealers bring to this show can be fantastic, and as an added bonus, there are several lectures for us decorating fanatics that sound particularly promising, including talks on john dickinson, michael taylor and samuel marx (maison21 would love to attend all 3 of those if he can find the time, as the subjects are all in his pantheon of design gods).

will maison21 see you there?

(photo, is not of a piece to be displayed at show, rather it is maison21's favorite piece in the getty museum's fabulous decorative arts collection- an over the top boulle cabinet, circa 1680. god bless you, louis xiv!).

13 April 2008

online design resource: ebay (love it or hate it)

maison21 would like to take a moment to remind everyone of one of his favorite online design resources: the venerable ebay. while not a huge fan of ebay, the corporation, maison21 does love the variety of vintage goods available on ebay, the website, and yes, while he may not like many of their corporate policies, maison21 does enjoy indulging his passion for vintage furniture by selling on ebay, as well. biting the hand that feeds him? you betcha, but paying lots of money for the privilege, too.

recently, mason21 spotted this fabulous vintage baker furniture asian modern credenza and scored it for one of his design clients- for a small fraction of what it would have cost from a resale store. even once shipped, it will be a third the price of similar purchased locally.

now maison21 and his client can take the money they saved by purchasing the credenza on ebay, and spend it elsewhere- like on a glamorous, long and low, white leather m21 custom-designed chesterfield sofa!
now a hint or two for purchasing vintage furniture on ebay:
  1. check the reputation of the seller- if they have feedback that seems suspicious, steer clear. nobody's perfect, so a negative or two is natural (m21 has a couple himself, due to his slower-than-molasses shipping times), but several negatives with the same complaint such as "not as described", "packed poorly" or "never received", are red flags that you'll want to avoid.
  2. read the seller's description of condition carefully- if seller says "refer to photo" and doesn't list any flaws, tread cautiously. worse, if they state that it is the buyer's responsibility to ask condition questions, just stay away.
  3. on the flip side, don't obsess about minor condition issues- a small chip or stain shouldn't be a deal breaker if you love the piece. once it's in a room full of other furniture, you'll never notice minor flaws, anyway. big condition issues, especially those that are structural, are best to be avoided though.
  4. realize that you will have to deal with arranging freight shipping yourself- it can be a little daunting for the first timer, but most companies make it easy with online quotation forms. maison21 has had good luck with plycon- they also do blanket wrap, which is sufficient for most sturdy furniture items (not recommended for fine antiques or delicate items).
  5. don't ship your item via greyhound- it's cheap, but you'll regret not spending the money on a real shipper when your fabulous find arrives damaged.
  6. last, and most important- make sure you have the ability to visualize the size of the piece you are interested in. this is the most common mistake people make when buying online, and it can be a error both costly and heartbreaking. maison21 has made this mistake himself- a glam french 1940's mirror purchased locally for m21's tiny, tiny powder room turned into a 6 foot tall monster, suitable for a 1740's french chateau. luckily, m21 owns a pick-up so he was able to get his monster home, but if he was stuck shipping it, he wouldn't have been a happy camper.
  7. if you can't visualize the size of the piece in your room, draw it out to scale on a floor plan, or find a similar sized piece locally to help judge the scale. you can also literally "draw" out the dimensions of the piece in the exact spot you plan to use it by laying out the dimensions on the floor and/or wall with painter's tape- no surprises when the real thing arrives! while pieces can "read" larger or smaller than their actual size in person and that often can't be predicted from a photo, at least you will know whether or not the size will actually physically fit in your space.
so go take a spin around the antique furniture category on ebay- you'll be amazed at all the pretty things to be found! and if you've already bought a piece of furniture on ebay that you love, share a photo with us, and maison21 will devote a future post to his readers' ebay scores!

12 April 2008

underfoot and under my skin

maison21 can't stop obsessing about these pieced cowhide rugs from kyle bunting. they are, in a word, amazing.

07 April 2008

and the winner is...

better late than never right? maison21 finally printed out the names of everyone who entered his sweepstakes yesterday, cut them into folded strips and tossed them into his favorite vintage murano bowl. he tried to get richard, who never met a piece of paper he didn't want to attack, to draw the winner by knocking a piece out of the bowl, but richard would have none of it (so fickle, the felines...), so maison21 shut his eyes and randomly selected...

suzy, of studio annetta in hong kong! congrats suzy, your free 'lil piece o'pretty is on it's way to you! (but don't expect it TOO soon, as with everything else, maison21 will undoubtably run a little late on getting it in the mail...)
maison21 would like to thank everyone who entered his contest- he very much enjoyed looking at everyone's inspirational photos! in fact he had so much fun with this contest, he plans to have another one soon! but first, he needs to get suzy's coral stone box in the mail before he can start planning his next giveaway...

once again, thanks for all the lovely photos, and congrats to suzy annetta! (and be sure to visit back for our next free pretty sweepstakes spectacular!