Gayle’s View: Otto-Messier at Stars Antiques

If you are a longtime customer of Stars Antiques, you will be familiar with the spaces of Otto-Messier. Greg Otto and his wife Doris Messier have been dealers at Stars since we opened our first store in 1990. Greg is the “little brother” of my partner Darwin. They loaded up their truck and trailer on the snowiest day in December to drive to do a show in Sun Valley. They have been selling at this show for many years, and I always like to talk to them when they arrive back here. They have great stories about the movie stars, celebrities, musicians, or political people who have come through the show.

During the years after Demi Moore divorced Bruce Willis and lived near Sun Valley, Doris said Demi used “retail therapy” and would spend thousands at each show. There have been sightings of Brooke Shields, Barbra Streisand, Arnold Schwarznegger and wife Maria Shriver, Tom Hanks and wife Rita, and many others. Doris said the nicest customer of all was Bruce Springsteen.

When Doris and Greg return from the show, they unload their vehicles in an extremely organized and efficient way. It takes them the good part of two days to put their spaces back together. When they are finished, it always looks absolutely terrific. I had to take a photo of the latest upholstered pieces in their booth.

Doris and Greg each have a wealth of talent (he is a master woodworker, an accredited repairer and she is an accomplished seamstress in addition to having carpentry skills). They are experts in the fields in which they buy and sell. However, hard work is a huge part of their success also.

Occasionally, this pair does design work for some very lucky people. I am one of them–they installed copper countertops in my little cottage. They have done custom bookshelves, copper counters, french doors, and other custom work for Darwin and Brent. Doris has fashioned exquisite bridal gowns for some of Portland’s finest.

You will also find Otto-Messier at the three Palmer-Wirfs shows in Portland three times a year.

We know that they enhance our Stars & Splendid store in the nicest way possible…

and I love the stories about the “stars”.

Signing off….

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: The Spirit of Christmas

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more.”–Dr. Seuss

I have always appreciated a thoughtful, lovely gift bestowed upon me at Christmas time… after all, it is part of the fun. However, the older I get, the most endearing things about my holiday season are the various the gatherings I attend with friends and families.

Last evening the ladies in my Book Club and I attended a dinner put on for us by my business partners at Stars, Darwin and Brent. The dinner for eight was a fund-raiser with the price of the meal going to Our House, a non-profit local organization that provides various services for people with advanced HIV/AIDS. I had suggested the Our House dinner (as our Christmas gift to each other) because I knew these particular women would be dazzled by the cuisine, the setting, and the personalities of these two fellows.

We felt the spirit of Christmas from the moment we entered the three-story townhouse. The stairwell wall up to the living room was lined with Darwin’s collection of various early framed mirrors–each mirror had a 1930’s bottle-brush wreath attached to it.

We walked into the living room to see a long scrub- topped table set for eight. Each place setting had a menu and a framed card with our name upon it.

★ Wine- White Mexican Sangria
★ Mexican Corn & Bean Salad
★ Oaxaca Vegetable Soup with Tortilla
★ New World Enchiladas

★ Old Mexico Pomegranet Panna Cotta with Mexican Wedding cakes

The room was decorated with every bookshelf and niche and cupboard filled with scores and scores of all different sizes of bottle-brush jeweled trees that Brent has collected over the years.

We were offered the beverage of our choice as Brent and Darwin’s daughter, Darin, played bartender. We ladies are all passionate about home-decorating, and there was much to see while we enjoyed our drinks.

One wall in the living room is an ever-changing display of various collections. Right now there is white matte pottery filling the shelves with Christmas decorations tucked in.

The ladies were charmed by a seating area in the colorful kitchen by gleaming copper countertops, mis-matched cupboard knobs (all from Anthropologie ), a round marble top table with chipped pink peeling paint on the curved iron legs, flanked by two upholstered wing chairs.

We went with our drinks up the next flight of stairs and oohed and ahhhed over the unframed oil paintings of 1930’s ladies which lined the stairwell wall. At the top of the stairs, covering two walls, is Darwin’s unbelievably large collections of old brooms of all sizes and types hanging as if they were art.

The TV room upstairs has a white slip-covered sofa and walls covered in shelves on each side of the room. One wall was filled with the colorful display of “roadside pottery” collected from all parts of the country. The opposite wall was jammed with many collections too numerous to mention.

We sat down to dinner and enjoyed our meal. After dinner, we were presented with a goodie bag–really a vintage large paper cup filled with candy, ornaments, and, of course STARS soap. We all agreed that we couldn’t have had a better time anywhere else. So we thanked our genial hosts and went on our way with a warm feeling in our hearts….

Signing off…

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: No Time!

No time to blog this week…..busy getting ready for the Stars Antiques Expo Sale this weekend!!! For details go to our website and click on SALES…

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century decor….

Sharing photos from “the boys”…..

My Stars Antiques partners, Darwin and Brent, came back from their vacation with photos of their newly redecorated Palm Springs condo.

When I saw the photos, I said to Brent, “I need to put these in my blog”. I knew that the fellows had been buying up 1950’s and ’60s furniture and accessories for some time now. They have bought things from Stars of course, but also from various junking excursions from all over the northwest. On this last trip to Palm Springs, they spent much time putting the look all together in their condo.

Their living room is a mixture of reproduction retro furniture–the cubby hole is from IKEA, the chairs. coffee table, and lamp are new. The rest is vintage.

The dining area features a colorful collage on the back wall, a sunburst clock, a Danish Modern dining set, an avocado green sofa, and tall glass bottles with stoppers behind the sofa.

The hutch (below right) is filled with a collection of vintage Frankoma pottery (which has never been my favorite, but I have to admit it looks terrific all together) which the muted tangerine walls set off nicely. The pair of standing lamps atop the hutch have mica-like shades accented with wood shavings.

A real find is this never-been-used outdoor set purchased in Washington for $50 for all four pieces. It makes for a wonderful period setting on their outdoor patio overlooking the pool.

The last Mad Men episode (a series set in the early ’60s) had scenes from a Palm Springs home. I could picture the series being filmed in Dar and Brent’s condo. I could also picture “Old Blue Eyes” himself lounging in the living room, martini in hand. If you are a Mid-Century Modern fan, be sure to check out the Portland based periodical Atomic Ranch.

I had this type of furniture in my early marriage days, but, trust me, it never looked this good! I sign off thinking about the saying, “Everything old is new again”.

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: NYC Trip

on New York City…

“It’s a town you come to for a short time.”—Ernest Hemingway

I’m back now from our “girls” trip to the City of New York. We soaked it all in–all the touristy things, the restaurants, the theatre, the shops, the famous streets–the double decker bus tour, Central Park, Times Square–enough stimulation to keep us going for a month. We had the time of our lives.

It was a sight to see all the activity on Wall Street in light of the stock market situation–TV trucks from all over the world in the financial district. We had good intentions to go down to Rockefeller Square one morning to stand outside the Today show…but we just couldn’t get our act together that early in the morning, so this is the next best thing.

NBC has a huge store at the base of “the Rock”–memorabilia from all the shows could be bought there. The downtown chain store, (and MY favorite chain store) Anthropologie, was also nearby. I love all the store display pieces and this store’s were particularly wonderful. My favorite old piece there was a large European phone booth–lined with mismatched vintage wallpaper that was practically peeling off the walls–price $12,000. There was a ladder with a door attached at the top leading to nowhere–an old metal industrial piece with many cubby holes–all filled with their choices of cabinet hardware. Twine-tied bundles of newspaper stacked up at various levels also served as display pieces. I’m sorry I don’t have photos of that.

Another of my favorite stores is MacKenzie-Childs on 57th Avenue. I first saw the creations of MacKenzie-Childs (a husband and wife duo) in Victoria magazine years ago. Their trademark is painted furniture and accessories–lots of black and white checks and bright colors. Extremely creative and whimsical…the company has been sold now to another venue but it is a charming store. I especially loved the elevator–papered in a bright yellow wallpaper and faux-painted from floor to ceiling with scrolls and checks and diamonds. We all decided it had an “Alice in Wonderland” feel.

The picture frame below from Mackenzie-Childs was an ingenious collage of broken china, old buttons, charms, tassels, artificial flowers, etc. It reminded me in a way of the old “memory jars” that come into Stars every now and then, made many years ago by people who saved bits of pieces of items and plastered them onto an old vase, crock, or glass jar.

We had all been great followers and fans of the HBO series Sex and the City and elected to take a special tour of the city where many of the scenes were shot. This turned out not only to be great fun, but also informative and we went to places we did not know about. We made three stops on the 3-hour tour–our favorite was a location on Bleeker Street in east Village where we were treated to cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, a famous bakery where Carrie and Amanda ate cupcakes.

On our last day, we walked through Central Park–a peaceful and perfect way to counteract all the stimulation and frenetic excitement we had been experiencing.

So good to be back home and all of us feeling lucky that we live where we do.

I sign off with an autumn quote:

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree.”—Emily Bronte

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: I Love A Bell Jar

“I never met a bell jar I didn’t like.”—G. Tweed

The French developed the glass cloche, or bell jar formed of a solid piece of glass shaped like a dome. The original purpose was to protect an early garden plant from bleak cold and frost.

Most bell jars found now in shops are newer reproductions. Old ones are scarce and costly. In these days, most of these are used inside a home to showcase something “precious” or set off an indoor plant. Personally, I seem to think I can never have too many (I can get that way), and over the years I have collected various sizes and shapes. I like the way they look in my little Sellwood cottage as I have sort of an “indoor garden/botanical” look going on.

The October issue of Country Living magazine has showcased a marvelous home (starting on page 124) decorated in an interior style the owner call Vintage Industrial Modern Country. We have all seen this look in the various shelter magazines–it combines science memorabilia, laboratory glassware, vintage office and industrial furniture, some botanical accessories, and (oh me!) wonderful bell jars. It can be an expensive look to put together or a reasonable one–depending on where you shop. Pottery Barn has created a reproduction look, and old metal furniture can be costly in upscale shops–especially in metropolitan cities.

We have a variety of bell jars in our Stars malls–right now in the Splendid store dealers #99, 36, and 55 carry them. Our dealers have also been buying up old office furniture–tables desks, file cabinets, metal bins, wire bins, old lockers, laboratory glass, and old wire display pieces. I don’t really have this total look in my cottage, but I did spring for a gray metal rolling 2-tiered shelf on wheels for the bathroom–perfect for holding folded white towels.

I am also obsessed with magazines and pretty recent ones can always be found at Stars for at least a fourth of the price on the stands.

I’m going to be sharing with you things that interest me in the magazines every now and then… More than anything I like to talk about a decorating look that makes my heart beat a little faster….

I sign off thinking about what Halloween thing I can put under a glass bell jar…

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Stars Antiques 18th Annual Sidewalk Sale

Scenes from our 18th Stars Sidewalk Sale…..

If you have come to our Stars Malls lately, maybe you have noticed that we are making a real attempt to draw your attention to our stores on the outside. I wrote a while back about our new planters in front of the Stars & Splendid store. Brent decided that balloons were a festive touch, and he ordered a supply of balloons and helium. These are blown up nearly every day and fastened to our A-boards on the sidewalk. (It is scary to blow them up–they are large and sometimes pop in your face) I have to admit they do look good. If you are here at 6:00pm (or 5:00 pm on Sundays), we will give you the balloons (We can’t bring them in overnight as their motion sets off our alarm system.)

Terri Wright, one of our dealers, called us to say she had seen some great moving carts at the Goodwill and that we might want them for the stores. We got them and Darwin spiffed them up and refinished the wooden bases. Now each store does a display on one and rolls it in front of the entrance each morning. The employees are very competitive between stores and occasionally we give a “prize” for an outstanding display.

Our sidewalks during the sale looked as if we were giving a party–vendors were outside with their sale signs posted, and were “wheeling and dealing” their wares. The balloons were flying in the wind,and displays were out along with the wheelbarrows that we planted with flowers a few weeks ago. We plan to replant them in October with hardier stock.

The sale went well–lots of eager customers attended and purchased, happy with the discounts…. and the weather cooperated beautifully.

May I sign off telling you that my sale purchase was a small cream-colored table with a glass-covered inset on the top filled with shells–price after discount $30. Can you guess where it is going to go? (see my September 2 blog)……

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Summer Reflections

End of summer reflections…

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.”—Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1906-2001

For many years now, I have taken time the last two weeks in August to unwind, relax, ruminate, and ready myself to face the seasons ahead. Autumn always seems like a beginning to me–even more than New Year’s Day, and probably goes back to school starting in September. And for many years, I have spent this time at the Oregon coast at our condo in the little village of Neskowin.

One of my ongoing issues (and all of you I’m sure have this issue also) is that there is never enough time to accomplish all the things I need to do and want to do. Anne Morrow Lindbergh knew this and wrote about it in her beautiful and sensitive book, Gift from the Sea. We all are faced with making choices and prioritizing.

I resolve to set aside a time for myself every day to just be me. I resolve to be grateful that I have a busy, active life. I resolve to take each day–even each moment as it comes….to problem solve instead of worrying. My aim is to come away from this time rested and centered. Mind you, nothing has changed in my life, but hopefully my attitude is improved.

Enough about philosophizing….

I want to share some of our condo decor collection with you. Our condo has a beach, ocean, nautical,seashell theme. I have purchased many objects from Stars–I have kept the color palette mainly to neutrals–beige, caramel, tan, dark brown, creamy white, ecru. I mix textures–homespun materials, crocheted afghans, nubby linens, and most of the off white furniture (from Stars of course) has chippy or alligatored surfaces. Putting together this look has been a “labour of love”, and accomplished on a reasonable budget. The shell-encrusted items have been inexpensive–most under $20. I find that shopping carefully for old or gently used items rather than new makes my dollars go further.

Actually the things I treasure the most are the found shells and rocks we have all found while beachcombing over these past 20 years. I have shelves with heart shaped rocks, agates, whole sand dollars, broken shells a small grandson gave me proudly, glass floats picked up after the storms, and polished bits of driftwood. I also have a treasure trove of lovely memories to call up to my mind whenever I want.

And I sign off ready to face the real world…..

Stars Antiques

A Word from Brent: Collecting Good Friends

Today from Stars Antiques–it’s Brent’s View!

Gayle is enjoying the Oregon coast this week so I am the substitute blogger of the moment.

My view finder is focused on collecting and the joy of starting up a new one. I love the hunt and when it comes to starting up a new collection nothing pleases me more than finding a whole trove of treasures that can be my new collection. The better the price the more of a collection I can have. I really want instant gratification when I buy, so I need to have at least three to five items in hand for my new collection.

I live with my collections, so I want them to be visually pleasing and easy to use in my home decor. Groups of similar items are one of the easiest decorating ideas around. For me it’s the motto, “more is always better” (Gayle would have a more clever quote but I am just not as smart as she is)

Years ago I started collecting white matte finish pottery when it was so dirt cheap you could have quite a collection in no time. I didn’t care if it had a chip or crack in it. Just turn it to the back. I just wanted to amass a large visual display of this lovely pottery. And I did. Hundreds of pieces. But now if I add to this collection it has to be something quite amazing or the price is too good to pass up.

I rotate my collections. I just couldn’t live with them all at the same time. I know there are people that do that and more power to them but I would go “crazy”.

The white pottery collection has been in the storage space for a while and it was time to bring it out. And you know, I fell in love with it all over again. Just like old friends, each piece of pottery spoke to me as I put it on the shelves. They reminded me of where I had purchased them and how long they had been with me. Yes, I still have that piece with the big chip on the rim and the one that has the crack down the back. I wouldn’t think of giving them up, good friends are hard to find.

–Brent, the collecting fool
Stars Antiques