Gayle’s View: A Sentimental Journey

A quote for the week:

“Have nothing in your houses you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
—-William Morris

When I first read that quotation over 25 years ago, it gave me much pause for thought. I understand the useful part–that is obvious. But it took me years of study, exposure, and self-knowledge for me to be truly sure of what I believed was beautiful. I have come to love old things–handmade furniture with original, alligatored paint–the crustier the better.

A scrub top table can make my heart beat faster. Women’s work inspires me–homespun textiles, tatted lace, embroidery, cross stitch samplers, and quilts and the stories they tell.

My favorite quilt quote:
“So they are all in that quilt, my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, my loves and hates. I tremble sometimes when I remember what that quilt knows about me.”

(An excerpt written in a letter by a long-ago woman who spent 25 years stitching on one quilt.)

At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, I declare that being surrounded by these objects helps to give me the patience and stamina to get through life’s hurdles–I think of the people and their long ago hardships and sacrifices.

I would hope that each every human heart could come to realize what they love. It makes life so deliciously exciting. It might be decorating with nature’s bounty, bird’s nests, pretty rocks, seashells–or it might be valuable china or lava lamps. I try to be accepting of each person’s idea of beauty…I do not want to be guilty of “taste arrogance”. (Years ago, I once scoffed at paint-by-numbers, tramp art, and anything orange….what did I know?)

It is a learning experience walking through the STARS stores–one man’s junk is another’s treasure. Who knew so many of us would come to want rusty garden stuff….yet years ago, the famous clothing designer, Betsy Johnson had a rusty iron bed pictured in House Beautiful in her New York home.

I collect original oil painted winter scenes to set about in December and January. Last year I added a quite charming paint-by-number farmhouse covered in snow. It fit right in….

Signing off, Gayle

Gayle’s View: A Week at a Glance

What goes on in a week?

A complimentary copy of the March/April issue of Oregon Home arrived at STARS because our stores are mentioned inside, along with photos of items from STARS. In a lengthy layout titled Design Matters), there are pages of photos covering the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s,’60s and ’80s furniture and accessories. It also mentions many other stores in the Portland area which carry these types of items. We have been seeing a progressively heightened interest in mid-century furniture in the last few years. We have several dealers in our stores who specialize in this era. Pictured above is a view from our …more STARS store.

When film production companies come to town, and if they need props, they invariably come to the STARS malls. Many of us are movie buffs here so it’s exciting for us to hear all the inside scoop. And late last Friday afternoon, the prop
people came and bought a bunch of stuff. We found out the movie is called UNTRACEABLE and will star Colin Hanks (son of Tom) and gorgeous Diane Lane. We’ll keep you posted.


The Palmer/Wirfs Expo Antique Show was last weekend, and I attended the early buying on Friday, as I always do. It’s right up there in my favorite things to do. I sold out of a booth there with a group of friends for years, and I always said I’d rather be there than on a cruise! For me, it’s much more than a treasure trove of a marketplace–it’s also a social event–visits with so many fascinating good friends and talented, artistic dealers.
To each his own and this is what I LOVE….SIGNING OFF, Gayle

Gayle’s View: A Fundraiser Dinner


Photo at left–a corner of Otto-Heeb dining area with mercury glass and fruit oil paintings.

To all who enter here:

I am going to be writing about my take on collecting, decorating, entertaining, and gardening. If you are passionate about any of the above, you will understand that these are lifestyle choices. And it seems fitting that I should start by relating to you a description of a recent dinner party I attended.

February 17- 7:00 pm – a fund raising dinner for Our House* hosted by my STARS partners Darwin Otto and Brent Heeb.

The dinner for twelve was at their 3-story townhouse (I will tell you more about that another time). But picture a white background, built-in bookshelves, plantation- shuttered windows, wood floors, and then, in your mind, fill it with collections galore and antique furniture.

The dazzled guests were invited to tour their entire home and while doing so were treated to canapes and beverages of their choice on old silver trays. These were handed out by Darwin, Brent, and Darwin’s daughter,Darin, wearing white bib aprons with their names stamped on in black letters.

Each room offered multiple collections–Fiestaware, roadside pottery, mercury glass, old leather bound books, miniature cupboards, portraits, tiny cowboy boots, and in the upper hallway, Darwin’s varied and fearfully wonderful collection of old brooms and brushes–artfully arranged. All different sizes and shapes–some worn down to the nubs.

In the living room, two tables for six were set with Oregon plates made by Meier & Frank on the centennial birthday of Oregon’s statehood. There were mismatched pressed wine glasses, old sterling, white star-shaped candles placed in early cafe-au-lait bowls and white tapers. Each guest had a personal menu with a small silver-framed initial by their place setting. The effect was magical–as was the evening.

The first course was cream of broccoli soup with star-shaped croutons served in white Fire-King bowls. The salad course was served with chilled forks. The dessert was a sight to behold–poached pears covered in a rich wine sauce. We were all appreciative of the details and the solicitous service. Goodie bags (a la
the Oscars) were presented to each guest at the end of the meal. When we left, we were lulled into a delicious sense of being surrounded by beauty and inspired with ideas for our own home design and entertaining.

*Last year 70 dinners were hosted by talented volunteers to raise funds for Our House, which supports patients living with HIV/AIDS. For more information, go to

Welcome to our new Blog!

We have added this new blogging page. Watch this page for the latest news about what is happening at the Stars Antique Malls.