On Old Beds


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antique bedsFinally…about that bed! In an earlier post The Romance of Metal here I revealed my fascination with antique metal. In particular, Coup d’Etat here in San Francisco had found a set of c 1750 metal dress form cages that set my heart aflutter. So when I found this metal bed with a polonaise style canopy top reaching up 114 inches and large wood wheels, when searching for old metal parts on Ebay, I bought it immediately.

Trouvais antique bed hardwareIt was close enough to pick up, all parts dutifully transfered to me. The hardware was fascinating. I had already started to collect 17th and 18th c iron (in background) several years ago. Where I could, I’ve replaced the original bolts with new and held these aside for study and safe keeping. antique bed

When I got it home I removed the layers of c. 1980 custom sewn fabric to find another layer of 19th c French fabric, and then a bottom layer of narrow, hand loomed rough jute or linen textile sewn to the iron oval top piece with an import stamp. My attempts to decipher it have failed so far! If anyone has any clues…please thrown them my way!

hand dyed linens

In December I dyed some of my linen/cotton Carolyn Quartermaine Script fabric for the top of the bed. I wanted to move it from perfectly ironed and white to a slightly parchment like rumpled, in a coolish neutral. Not too dark to obscure the script, but flexible enough for my antique textile mood swings!

antique grainsack

For my Valentine’s day red mood:  a trio of 19th century linen fabrics from Karin Jansky of La Pouyette. You can see some of her stock here. Above is a French linen ticking stripe mattress cover, a long length of grey and red striped Belgian linen, and an enormous German grainsack with beautiful print on both sides.  To give you an idea of exactly how big the grainsack is…I stuffed it with a twin mattress feather bed that I had been trying to find a use for since my daughter tired of it on her bed years ago. I kept stuffing and stuffing and…all in!

19th c ticking edge detailLove the this tiny light blue edge detail on the ticking mattress.

Trouvais 18th c block print birdsThis gorgeous 18th century block printed linen is so frail and patched, and it’s vulnerability makes it even more beautiful. From Morgaine Le Fay here and here. I am looking for the perfect piece of worn antique French chambray to back it. 
antique textiles

The quilted linen toile is an 18th century piece called Chariot of the Dawn. Love the imagery of roses tossed before Apollo as he draws his chariot across the morning sky. Full of mythological figures. Every time I tried to buy a piece of this it would be sold. Luckily I now have this large piece which could be framed with additional fabric for a coverlet, or made into an enormous pillow…sans scissors! This was from Diane Thalmann here

antique textilesMy first Chariot of the Dawn piece, also 18th century and quilted, from Sallie Ead here and here, is a large, perfectly matched pelmet that I’m showing as a dust ruffle.

Trouvais Antique Polonaise bedI have additional bolts of 18th and 19th century linen and sheets from both Karin and Wendy Lewis of The Textile Trunk so I have too many ideas bouncing around my head for this bed! To be continued! My resolution in 2013 is to buy only what I need or love.  Between that and sharing all my favorite sources with you, it slows down my “finds”…which is just fine by me.



On Collecting


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flea market styleI keep meaning to write a post about this bed I found last summer…and I’m working on it. I just follow my heart sometimes on collecting…and find a place and use for the item eventually. Along the way I meet so many interesting and amazing people. Great blogging friends, wonderful textile dealers that love the hunt and bring back amazing pieces. Antique dealers like Atelier de Campagne that scour England, France and Belgium for that next best thing. People on Ebay or Etsy that sell the most amazing finds from their own collections or early Flea Market jaunts!. It’s always worth keeping your ears open for that “something in the back room”.

Antique Paris porcelain

My one piece of 18th c French porcelain. Slow Buds the Pink Dawn like a Rose here


Until Spring



Trouvais textiles Spitalfields bodice

Yes…it’s the dead of winter…even out here on a bright, almost balmy Northern California. The outlines of my garden are stark and bare…waiting for magic. So…in the interlude I thought I’d drag out a few more of my favorite antique textile finds. My 18th century silks are almost invariably floral. Unlike the carefree bolts of linen, scraps of toile and ticking…the silks are prima donnas that need shielding from the sun, careful handeling, circumspect care. If I have to fuss and worry about them, they better be flamboyant.

antique textiles

Here’s an early 18th century Spitalfield silk, made into an 18th century cotton lined bodice, reworked in the late 19th century as part of what must have been an incredible gown in the Belle Epoch, the Gilded Age…that lovely time before World War I crashed down on all the fun.

antique textiles

Another 18th c English silk, possibly Spitalfield as well. Museum examples of Spitalfield’s silk at Victoria & Albert Museum here, or the MET here.
Trouvais...antique textilesSubtle background pattern adds dimension, and a bit of sheen under the candle light.
antique silksI’ve shown you the blue early 18th “Bizarre” silk from Carolyn Forbes here before…one of my VERY favorite pieces. The lovely ivory florals were from Sallie Ead here.

I also wanted to mention the giveaway that Kit Golson of Chic Provence is hosting for Rough Linen here. THE LAST DAY. Hurry!

Rough Linen is a wonderful Northern California business…love Tricia Rose’s story and website here (also…love her name!). Until Spring….

Chic Provence

Be It Ever So Humble


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18th c French antiquesLove the look of a beautiful 18th century French silk pillow against the rough, hand loomed linen seat of my humble little chair. A French chanvre/linen with thistle woven in on the seat…my very first purchase from Wendy Lewis of The Textile Trunk.  18th century dresses were routinely lined with hand loomed linen…wonderful mix of textures…the high and low. Trouvais…antique textiles 2

antique textiles

The whole concept of carefully and ritually saved important fabrics…this was at one point handed from an 18th century home to a church to make vestments…and the lessons of color, texture and pattern mixing are what draw me to antique textiles.

Other places to get a eyeful : MET here, LACMA here, V & A here

All fabulous museums with great virtual collections.



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18th c French textiles

antique textiles

antique textiles

Trouvais old roses

Rose madder red always works magic on winter. Above… antique Bourbon rose Madame Issac Perrier from last year’s garden, and an 18th century French striped silk pelmet traced with ribbonwork.

antique silks

Do you think this photo from my Candlelight and Roses post here inspired my interest in the ribbonwork? Raspberry silk moiré in the queen’s bedroom at Kina Slott (Chinese Pavillion) at Drottningholm Palace.

Antique textiles are my favorite way to toss a bit of color on top of neutrals. Sometimes it’s just takes that one rare, original, handmade, one of a kind, not perfect piece to get you out of that straight from the catalogue look. I’ve been pinning my favorite textile dealers on Pinterest here…above piece from Sallie Ead, here and here. Some of the more expensive dealers are great resources for learning, and of course have the rarest, most perfect pieces. As usual, I’m always trying to limit my time on the demon internet, but I have some other great pieces and resources to share with you in the next few days. As you’ll see, even when my garden is shut down, I always try to keep a few roses up my sleeve.  Hope you’re all keeping warm!


Astier and Downspout


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Astier de Villatte

As you know, my kitchen is a very neutral blend of creams and golden limestone. So I have been slowly working to inject more contrast with dark metals and chalky white.

I was seriously thinking of ripping out my beige mosiac backsplash to add these Emery and Cie tiles here…but grabbed my paintbrush and diluted some latex house paint to alter the tones from beige and sage to white and gray.

plate rack

The plate rack was made out of salvaged wood…one quick last thing I had my guys do after they finished my daughter’s room. Used Farrow and Ball’s Downspout on that and a dutch door…a perfect deep, deep dark gray.

Trouvais kitchen metals

Thank you Sharon from My French Country Home Brocante here for the vintage metal plaque find…and I picked up several of these vintage pudding molds in Petaluma before Christmas. The Astier de Villatte saupoudroirs à sucre (sugar shaker) and dinner plates are from Heather and Bobby Lee’s wonderful Astier de Villatte collection at Trove Gallery here

Trouvais kitchen colorA longer view. Having white marble in the master bath is enough excitement for me…I have a tall stack of white washcloths at the ready for every errant spill. So although I love white and gray kitchens, I’m still happy with the relatively easy Jerusalem Gold limestone. I love the look of plate racks, and they are perfect for those few special plates that you don’t trust in your dishwasher. And an excuse to stick your neck out with a bold color.

Astier de VillatteHeather Lee’s photographs of Trove Gallery here are just beautiful…and her Astier photos are the best out there.  Besides the Trove Gallery website her pinterest account shows some other beautiful Astier pieces here. And yes, they ship. I’m saving up for the teapot above. Let them eat cake!

More later…but…literally…I’ve got to run…!