Home, Sweet Home

Getting back on track

The only spot not covered in boxes

The only spot not covered in boxes

We have finally moved back into our house after an extended renovation and I couldn't be happier. Unpacking was a mix of fun and drudgery - fun because there were things I hadn't seen for ages and it was like buying or receiving them all afresh!  Drudgery because, you know, we carry too much stuff. I tried to apply the 'handling each item and seeing what it gives me' thing, but I was more keen to stuff everything away asap and get on with our lives.  Still, I did discard a couple of things, which I'm proud of, and I will continue to cull once we're settled.

And today, I started making again!  It feels like ages and it was such a breeze to get everything ready, made and cleaned up. Just as well, I have a lot to catch up on!  We are booked in to do the Gathered market in August and The Vegan Affair in September.  I will start booking into other markets as they pop up.

In other news, I understand there is an auction to be held next Sunday offering some wonderful items designed by the likes of Jacques Adnet, Andre Arbus and Gilbert Poillerat. Sigh.  Aside from the fact that there is no way I would be able to get my hands on any of the goods on offer because a. the auction is in Rouen, France and b. I don't have a million euros; the auction makes me feel sad. The auction comprises light fittings and furniture from the Palais des Consuls in Rouen, which was built in the mid 50s following the wartime destruction of the previous building.

The Palais des Consuls  was designed by four architects (P Chirol, R Flavigny, F Herr and R Pruvost) and was sumptuously decorated internally by some of France's finest.  The light fittings are incredible, beautiful ironwork, vast bas-relief plaques.  And they're all being taken out and either sold off or rehoused who knows where.  Of course it's Rouen's business, but really, could the local government not live with the spectacular fittings in the more public areas and just renovate the offices?  Such a loss for Rouen, I say.   Here's a pic of the Palais, and an example of some tiny little torcheres you can snap up at the auction:

Source: France 3 Normandie Gorgeous!

Source: France 3 Normandie
Gorgeous!

Source: auctioneers guery-encheres.com Swoon! But you can see why they would want to rip all this rubbish out.

Source: auctioneers guery-encheres.com
Swoon! But you can see why they would want to rip all this rubbish out.

Also, speaking of loss, the Glasgow School of Art!  Ugh, what were the chances? Two devastating fires in 4 years? We had the good fortune of visiting the school some years ago before the fires and, well, I can't really add anything, but Glasgow, the world in fact, has lost a monumental work of art.

French Bronze 1930s - 1950s

A Small Collection

We have recently purchased some fittings for our home and we wanted to use vintage fittings to soften the newness of everything else. Adding vintage details seems to make a room more lived in, avoiding a showroom effect.

It was fun hunting down various bits and pieces, though of course everything we found which was, in our minds, perfect, cost more than the house itself. But we found that we didn't have to compromise too much in finding some lovely things which suited our budget and our taste in French 1940s interiors.

Choosing a warmer palette than usual, we chose a couple of bronze light fittings, which are warmly golden with the patina of age.

Four arm bronze and alabaster ceiling light by Petitot. 1930s. Glamour.

Four arm bronze and alabaster ceiling light by Petitot. 1930s. Glamour.

Maison Petitot started in the Paris in the 1870s, but it is probably best known for its art deco light fittings from the 20s and 30s. Specialising in bronze and other metal fittings, it teamed up with a number of fancy glass manufacturers like Sabino and Mullers Freres for the shades.   I love this fixture because of the heavy stylised drapery.

Maison Leleu. 1940s-1950s. Looking sad without shades.

Maison Leleu. 1940s-1950s. Looking sad without shades.

We also needed a couple of sconces and we found these bronze and glass (I wonder if the glass is actually lucite because they never feel cold like glass, and also, lucite was a modern and chic material to use at the time) sconces from Maison Leleu (I should say attributed to as they aren't signed).  I wondered whether to clean these up a bit by polishing them but it turns out that they have been lacquered (whether at the time of manufacture or since, I don't know) and to clean them risked damaging them. It's fine, of course, I'll take the patina.

Bronze key plate. Vadim Androusov. 1940s-1950s. Love.

Bronze key plate. Vadim Androusov. 1940s-1950s. Love.

My final purchase was a small key plate by the Russian/French sculptor, Vadim Androusov. Androusov was known for his terracotta, stone or wood figures from the 1920s but later created bronze fixtures for grand cabinet makers like Andre Arbus and Jean Pascaud. While I am waiting for the people from xlotto to send me a giant cheque, I am not in a position to purchase any such furniture, so when I saw this little key plate, I was more than happy to buy it! It's a small thing, I know, but it's a lovely piece of sculpture in its own right and resonates 1940s-1950s French interior design.

Bookshop find

During a recent holiday up north, we visited a wonderful bookshop in Kingscliff.  It was old school so far as bookshops go, so there was much to find there.   I came away with a couple of design books from the 1940s including this modest little number "Design in Everyday Things", published by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1941. 


The book was an accompaniment to a series of educational lectures broadcasted on the ABC radio.   It has a number of thought-provoking essays on design, but it is the illustrations, advertisements and photographs which interested me.  

Being a big fan of moderne, streamline, art deco architecture, I zeroed in on these images in particular.


 


The first is an illustration in an advertisement for International Correspondence Schools (Australasia) Pty Ltd.  The photo is unidentified and uncredited.

The second breaks my heart.  It is identified as Wyldefel Gardens, a block of flats in Potts Point, Sydney.  In 1941, they were being demolished to make way for a new Naval Dock.  Imagine the views!