Tag Archives: Iliana Moore

Iliana in the News!

This month Brian Coleman, author of Classic Cottages: Simple, Romantic Homes writes about Iliana’s latest project, an historic property atop New York’s Catskill Mountains. The article appears in October’s Old-House Journal Magazine.

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Madison-Bouckville: What We Bought

Iliana and I arrived on the field with different goals: she was shopping for specific projects, with defined needs. I was poking around, looking for the unusual (and cheap). We both lucked out.

Soon after we arrived, I saw this beautiful Aesthetic picture frame with cattails in relief on the vertical sides. These frames were made in the 1870s and 1880s. Frames like this, which have ornament running all around the corners – not interrupted by a miter cut – are more desirable. My find is a good size (about 22″ by 12″ wide) and in great condition. I will give it a light cleaning back in the studio, but not too much – this surface is fragile. Not bad for $60!

Aesthetic frame with cattails in relief, made circa 1880.

Aesthetic frame with cattails in relief, made circa 1880.

Country bench with worn green paint and tenoned legs.

Country bench with worn green paint and tenoned legs.

Iliana is designing a general store in the Catskills, so she needs tables, chairs and display furniture. She found several old painted country benches with legs joined to the top by tenons rather than nails. She will use these on top of tables and counters to form additional display shelves in the store.

Choosing from a large selection of affordable, sturdy 19th c. country chairs.

Choosing from a large selection of affordable, sturdy 19th c. country chairs.

For seating indoors, Iliana chose a variety of 19th century chairs with caned seats and various backs – turned spindle, stick-and-ball, carved, etc. She also found painted metal tables with wood tops and chairs to match, suitable for use outside (these were already with the trucker by the time I caught up…Iliana wastes no time at an antique fair).

Iliana closes on an Empire chest.

Iliana closes on an Empire chest.

Iliana bought this Empire chest for a client. She liked that it was lighter in color than many Empire pieces we see (the result of a recent refinish, and the use of bird’s eye maple as well as mahogany).

Three panel folding screen frame with old crackled blue paint.

Three panel folding screen frame with old crackled blue paint.

Last but not least, I spotted this painted oak screen frame. The frame, which is in great condition, was probably made around 1890. It has a nice, deeply crackled pale blue painted surface. I think it will work well with some French wallpaper I have back in the studio. I was very happy with the price ($40). Thanks Brian!

So we all came away with something, and I stuck with my budget for once. Even Milly got an ice cream on our way out of town. I’m looking forward to next year’s show!

Next post: back in the studio

Madison-Bouckville: The Ones That Got Away

Well, you can’t buy everything (although this never seemed quite right to me). Here are some things that caught our eye but remained on the field.

Great old cabinet with original surface and wild shaped apron.

Great old cabinet with original surface and wild shaped apron.

This old cabinet caught my eye with a vengeance. The surface is the original red paint with no later restoration – just the way we like it for country furniture. The minor damage  (one missing knob, scattered spots) were no deterrent. Look at the shape of the skirt and the boards on the left and right of the top – this is Country Empire if I ever saw it. I’m kicking myself for leaving it behind, but my budget was tight so it will find a place with another collector.

Massive wood bowl sitting on a painted wood settee.

Massive wood bowl sitting on a painted wood settee.

Another temptation: the painted decoration on this settee looked good from across the aisle so I took a close look. I found that there were two levels of decoration. The earliest was rather elaborate scrollwork, foliage and heraldic animals executed in thin lines of pyrography (wood-burning). The black paint was added later, then painted over with the bright enamels that roughly follow the first design. The original pyrography probably was done when the settee was made, in the mid-nineteenth century. The enamels were added to “improve” the settee around 1900. I was tempted to take the settee to my studio and remove the bright colors and black to expose the pyrography. Wiser heads (Iliana) prevailed, however, so it stayed behind and my list of uncompleted projects did not increase by one. It is a long list.

I liked the bowl as well – I always like large old bowls for the kitchen. But this one was just too big to make sense for us.

Two examples of the many sets of stenciled chairs I saw on the field.

Two examples of the many sets of stenciled chairs I saw on the field.

There were several good sets of stenciled chairs on the field on Saturday. Generally mid to late 19th century, good looking and sturdy, and averaging about $150 per chair. A practical solution for someone furnishing their home, and not a bad addition to a dealer’s inventory. I saw a pair of really good windsor chairs with red paint and little yellow dash-and-cross designs on the backs, but by the time I called Iliana and went back to check them out they were gone. In like 45 seconds! You have to move fast, even in 90 degree heat.

Adirondack style table with bark covering on the top.

Adirondack style table with bark covering on the top.

Iliana spotted this Adirondack style bark table. We liked it for its size – a good sofa or window table – and for the surface. The legs are sections of branches with the original bark, which is common for Adirondack furniture. The top was unusual: a generous board covered with bark that had been flattened and glued on. This treatment continued on the edges and ends. Some areas were loose, and there was a slightly over-shiny varnish added, but these could have been corrected easily in the studio. Iliana wasn’t buying “on spec”, though, so it stayed where it was.

Bamboo etagere with maple shelves, and an Old Hickory rocker.

Bamboo etagere with maple shelves, and an Old Hickory rocker.

Speaking of bark, there were some nice examples of Old Hickory furniture scattered around the field. Some had old paint, while others (like the rocker shown) were unpainted. Most needed light repair but generally the prices were reasonable. It was hard to find good Old Hickory a few years ago so I always give a second look when I see it – particularly the early pieces or the less common shapes like settees.

I also saw lots of bamboo furniture. These pieces are almost cliché, so you want to find the ones with interesting variations. I like the squiggly bands on the bamboo in this example. Others I saw had Japanesque brass caps, beehive-turned wood finials, and feet made of the root of the bamboo (it makes a nice knob-like end).

Both the Old Hickory and the bamboo pieces seemed functional and well-priced. Under $200, a little oil soap and wax, and you have a useful piece with character. Iliana and I passed, but no doubt a good home was found by all.

Massive aluminum bass.

Massive aluminum bass.

Finally, I was blinded by the morning sun reflecting off this big aluminum bass. The perfect accompaniment to a National Steel guitar?

Next time: what we bought.

Show Report: Madison-Bouckville

This show, billed as “New York’s Largest” just finished a three-day run in the Utica-Syracuse area.

The entrance was quiet at 8:30.

The entrance was quiet at 8:30.

We arrived Saturday at 8 AM and made a full inspection of the dealers on the fair ground (I didn’t count, but “1000 dealers” sounds about right). Many of the exhibitors were from the New York-Pennsylvania region. On exhibit were a lot of middle level objects from the 19th century, with the occasional standout piece of painted furniture or folk art. There were less paintings than I expected, and not a lot of textiles, although a few very good quilts were available.

Four great pieces from Ponzi's ANtiques. My favorite: the red-painted box with lack spots, from about 1840.

Four great pieces from Ponzi's Antiques of Trumansburg, New York. My favorite: the red-painted box with black spots, from about 1840.

Attendance on Saturday (admission $6 per person) seemed low in the morning, but by noon the aisles were full. Dealers said that Friday, the Early-Bird Buying Session (tickets at $40 per person, $75 for two) had a low gate but good business, with the early buyers taking home a lot of stock and leaving some good money behind. By the time we left on Saturday afternoon, the fair grounds and the surrounding area were packed.

The show provides handlers who will gather your purchases from the different booths and bring them to you when you are ready to leave. This is a great service, especially on a hot day like yesterday.  There is a shipper on the fairground who will arrange to deliver large purchases. Iliana was shopping furniture for clients, so she arranged to have all her finds trucked back home. I found two things, both easily portable, so I carried mine back to the car.

Helpful porters with wagons pulled by tractor will gather your purchases from the various dealers and bring them to you or the shipper's booth.

Helpful porters with wagons pulled by tractor will gather your purchases from the various dealers and bring them to you or the shipper's booth.

Check our upcoming posts for more details about the show.