Thursday, July 8, 2010

10,000 Square Feet of Old, New and Unique

Here I am again! Five years later. Rummaging through 10,000 square feet of English, Continental and American furniture, paintings, decorative accessories, architectural elements, and garden accessories.

Not as a customer. Nor an antiques dealer. Nope. A lowly part-time salesgirl. Double minimum wage. One of the hired hands. But I adore it. In a hate it kinda way. It is not air conditioned. The owner thinks we are moving experts versed in the art of hurling heavy oak seven foot tall French armoires and double pedestal mahogany English dining room tables into the tightest of spaces. All the while balancing lamps and export china ... and tending the ringing phone, the day trippers 'just looking', providing a measuring tape and extra care when First Lady 41 arrives, logging in new merchandise. Whew. Our Tennessee southern belle proprietor gets her money's worth!

But creating the displays is sublime. A joy. Rearranging the eclectic mix of old and new and sometimes weird ... porcelain figures, model sailing ships, stunning lamps with hand painted shades, vintage resort signage, the most handsome decorative pillows I have ever seen to create an ambiance found in a most comfortable, gracious well-appointed home ... is my forte. My talent.

You see ... "junking" and the subsequent decorating are in my blood. Wound tightly into the braid of my DNA. From Grandmother Rose to my darling Mom, to my cousins, their daughters and even my brother! Fabulous taste runs the spectrum from sumptuous English cottage to the sophisticated urbane interior of a Manhattan co-op. This love, my appreciation and ability to design pleasing spaces, courses naturally through my veins. Generations of a penchant for creating stunning homes with the most welcoming ambiance amidst period antiques, great art and personal treasures gathered from a life well lived ... or on a shoe string.

On a recent trip across the pond I packed a torch (read: flashlight) for an early morning jaunt -wee hours and jetlag be damned - to the busy stalls and live action of the Portobello Road marketplace. Just to see. To experience the excitement of trading fine art and antique treasures unearthed at estate sales or discovered hidden in a remote family castle to raise a bit of cash for the landed gentry. In China last summer I frequented street fairs and scoured boothes for that have-to-have-it momento, an ivory etched snuff bottle replete with dusty sppon hidden in the cap.

Ooops! Time is getting away from me. I need to get myself down to the barn near the coast for another day of tourists and decorators and renters. So if you find yourself in Kennebunkport, Maine pop on in for a visit. I promise you will not be disappointed. Cheers!

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