Too Pretty to be Single: Beaver Falls Tile All Alone

I don’t know anything about antique tile. Well, I know only what Nicole Curtis has taught me on her show.

So here’s what Nicole Curtis has taught me so far:

  • Old tile is thicker
  • If you can save old tile, do it.

So I was out and about today – it’s been a great weekend for treasure-hunting – and came across this inconspicuous green tile. She was sitting all alone among figurines, ashtrays and other bric-a-brac. I almost didn’t see her, but I did.

First thing you do when you find something old and made of glass, ceramic or porcelain: turn it over. So I did. The lighting in Savers wasn’t that great because when I checked the underside, I didn’t see any identifying marks. I could see that the glaze was crackling, which told it me it was old. (It’s awfully hard to fake that.) She was only 99 cents, so home with me she went.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls green checkered tile

In the better light of this beautiful day, I was able to make out the word “Beaver” (tee-hee) under the barely-scraped-off price sticker, so I did a search.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique tile bottom

Turns out “Falls” was also under the sticker poop, and that’s who made this tile: Beaver Falls. They were in business 1886-1927 and made some of the most beautiful cameo and relief tile in its day. I found some incredible examples, and even more here.

Beaver Falls tile is often highlighted/found on fireplace surrounds as well as stoves and walls (and I’ve seen something similar to the portrait below used in a fireplace mantle too) in homes built in that time. You know, the tile that Nicole Curtis finds many times in the homes she so lovingly restores, the tile that can’t be duplicated, where replacements can’t ever be found should any tiles become damaged… In other words, this tile is the bomb diggity. Unfortunately, because tile can only really be identified on the underside, we may not know when we’re looking at Beaver Falls when it’s in place, and considering the tile artists of the day were moving between and forming new tile companies somewhat frequently, it would take a real pro to discern one from the other without the benefit of the underside/I.D. Whereas mine is a 4 1/4″ squared tile, Beaver Falls also made the smaller subway tiles that we also see in those older homes with the original fireplace tile work, and many other sizes and orientations.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique 3-tile set floral swag

I wasn’t able to find anything that looked exactly like mine, so here she is!

Pretty, Purple Princess Chandelier

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a chandelier with potential so I could redo it for a pretty, pretty princess. Enter Goldie here. I picked her up at a garage sale over the weekend and immediately started cleaning her up.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier – Before

She wasn’t in horrible shape, she really just needed a warm, soapy water wipe-down. I loved her shape and I loved all of the bling. The crystals (plastic, by the way) all came off and got cleaned, and so did the light cup/fake candle combo. The glass dome got hand washed and set aside while the frame got detailed and painted.Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 04 before collage.jpg

The fun part, of course, is the painting, so I got busy on this beautiful day, and painted all day, starting with the underside. In the sunlight, it almost looks white, but it’s actually a flat lavender color from Valspar.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 02 during and after collage.jpg

The end result is a little big magical. I can only imagine the fabulous room this beauty will end up in. I’m a little bit jealous already. On to the next one!

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 03 after.jpg

New, Old Antique Headboard Idea ALERT – Welcome to my newest obsession!

Am I late in realizing how AWESOME an antique fireplace mantel would look as a headboard? I mean, has this been a thing for awhile and I somehow missed it?

Tonight I was kind of watching HGTV’s You Live in What? (3/3/13 original air date), a show that profiles unusual, usually repurposed, homes. On this particular episode, they featured a church, an old city incinerator and a silo in Southern Georgia. Nothing terribly exciting UNTIL they showed the master bed in the silo home. The bed was made from an old fireplace mantel and chair rail. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before! I’m not crazy with the red/rubbed/chair rail/distressed look they have on theirs, but I could DEFINITELY get into an old, untouched finish version. I love that there are two shelves on this one, I love the pillars holding the top one in place, and I love the mirror.

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At first glance, antique mantels don’t go cheap ($500-$10,000, so the only chance I have at actually having one of my very own is to give them a serious look when I come across them in my garage/estate/barn/thrift sales. I’m hoping I can get away with spending no more than $200. When I come across one, I’ll report back.

Reusing an antique fireplace mantel is not an original idea. Check out these other examples:

White mantle with 3-panel antique mirror above

Another one with pillars and mirror (I think I need that style, for real).

Some are adding an upholstery panel to the bottom, which is a little more formal than I think would work for me.

OMG I need this!

This one might actually work for a king-sized bed.

So I have a new mission: an old mantel WILL be mine. Wait and see…

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Even Damaged Slag Lamps Are Beautiful!

So there I was, cruising my favorite local thrift store and there it was. This beautifully imperfect slag lamp, in two pieces – just sitting there looking sad!
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Having never bought or even thought about buying one of these hard-to-find treasures, I had no idea about, well anything related to it. I texted an artist friend of mine who can do just about anything, including make stained glass, and asked her if she could help me fix it up. “Is it slag?” she asked. Slag wasn’t a term I’d had any exposure to. “Huh?” was my answer. Needless to say, she bowed out quickly, which left me to internet research.

The lamps and their bases are typically made from pot metal, Pot metal—also known as monkey metal, white metal, or die-cast zinc—is a colloquial term that refers to alloys of low-melting point metals that manufacturers use to make fast, inexpensive castings. (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_metal)

The slag glass is kind of a tan color when it’s not illuminated but when the light is on it turns to a pretty golden yellow. It’s missing one of the slag panels and another panel is glued together pretty clumsily. AND the metal needs to be repaired in one place. Luckily, the base is still in near-perfect condition (a scratch or two) and the finial was in tact.

Despite its imperfections, this beauty has still earned a place in my living room and it is so freaking gorgeous. My husband even turns it on from time to time to greet me when I come home from work.

I saw two of these exact lamps for sale on eBay last week for $600 or $900. What the what? Wanna’ know what I paid for this one? 🙂

$1 Vintage Light Fixtures Need New Life

Vintage Porcelain Sconce Before A Cleaning

Vintage Porcelain Sconce Before A Cleaning

Heavy cast antique sconce with outlet

Heavy cast antique sconce with outlet

There was an amazing yard sale over the weekend in Ellicott City, Maryland. The online ad boasted tons of antiques and motivated sellers. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to that sale FIRST. By the time I got there at 11:00 a.m. there were just a few items left and these two light fixtures were the best things remaining. (I also got a cedar-lined trunk for $3, but that’s a different story.) When I asked the property owner about their origins, he said he and his wife had found them in the basement of the home they were remodeling, so we assumed that they were original to his house. They weren’t much to look at, the porcelain one had at least four coats of paints brushed up on it throughout the years and was pretty dingy. But it cleaned up well!
I’m not sure if I’m going to use them in my home, sell them or repurpose them. My husband’s uncle bends neon, so there might be a fun project there somewhere. Stay tuned. 🙂
Vintage Porcelain Wall Sconce After a Cleaning

Vintage Porcelain Wall Sconce After a Cleaning

Trawling for Treasures in Coral Gables

One recent Saturday in Coral Gables found me at a garage sale close to the University of Miami campus. The sale was being run by two sisters in their 80s, and one of their daughters. The women were Southern and had all of the charm you would expect. From what I gathered, their husbands had passed, as they were selling men’s clothes along with their colorful clothing, various furniture and other fabulous items. I bought a few things and returned the next day to check it out again. On the second day, I grabbed up some fabulous designer clothes (one of the sisters was quite the entertainer in her day) and various items. As I was leaving, one of the sisters directed me to a couple of wood balusters. “My husband and I bought these over 50 years ago when they were tearing down an old mansion in Charlotte,” she explained. “We planned to make them into lamps and he even sanded them down to get them ready…” she trailed off.
The home she was talking about was the Edward Dilworth Latta mansion which was demolished in 1965. These heart pine balusters are bulky, heavy and pretty fabulous in their simplicity. She was worried that no one would take them and strongly suggested I fulfill their plan to make them into lamps. I couldn’t guarantee I would, naturally, but I’m a sucker for provenance and after agreeing on a price I brought them home. I reached out to an architectural salvage company in Charlotte later that week but they were not interested. So the question becomes, “What do I do with them now?”

Edward Dilworth Latta Mansion Balusters

Edward Dilworth Latta Mansion Balusters

Edward Dilworth Latta Mansion

Edward Dilworth Latta Mansion