Monday, July 28, 2008

So you think you want a shop?

Having a shop of one's own is the dream of many; however, few understand that it is a constant accessory on your wrist. And, in the case of a shop like mine where antique/vintage make up most of the inventory, it is an everchanging set-up. It may mean 6 or 7 hours at auction sorting through piles or waiting for pieces that you want. Maybe one of these weeks, I will take the camera along and show you a night at an auction! Anyway, when you do buy a larger piece,this is the chaos that comes from moving things to get that Friday night auction purchase in and setting it up. I am not complaining~I love my shop in its organic state...that means things are selling...change is good!

Sometimes at auction, you see something that you just have to have...this is the story of my Art Deco mantel...hidden behind a pile of 70s pine furniture, I see a carved corner...I see a blue mirror...what is that? OMG! It is a funky deco mantel...OK...I have to have to it...and so I prepare to wait...waiting is a dangerous thing to do at an auction. You know that you can't eat just one...well, at auction, it is: bet you won't buy nothing while you 5 tables and a coat rack later, my mantel comes up. The auctioneer knows me...and teases..."So I hear $3000?"

But when last call comes, it is mine! My husband has to trek up to the auction house Saturday to pick it up because my van is now filled with the evening's purchases and the tables and the coat rack!
On the back of the mantel in faded writing is "Crystal Palace." That was all I needed to start the research. I found a Crystal Palace in Philadelphia, and I am fairly certain this was probably in that theatre.

This is from a web site that came up in my google search...The venue at 334 South has had a few since the turn of the 20th century. It was Crystal Palace and New Palace Theatre in the 1940s. In the ’50s, actors Anne and Logan Ramsey turned it into Theatre of the Living Arts, a repertory house whose reputation was furthered in the ’60s by director Andre Gregory. It became a movie theater; Ray Murray started projecting films there in 1972 and managed the place until he and his partners took over in 1981 and re-christened it the TLA. In 1987, Electric Factory Concerts got the property and Murray’s TLA Entertainment leased them the name for free as long as it stayed a theater. (

Now I also found out that the place was renovated last year which could account for this piece ending up at auction. Here are some close shots of the detail on the piece...

It is fun though to have one of those pieces that can attract someone's attention when he or she walks in the door...I slowly had to fill in around the piece with merchandise...I do not have one of those shops where you can zip in and out. I try to have treasures have to look...of course, that requires a certain perspective...after all, in this business it is all about the hunt! If you love things on shelves or in display cabinets, you will not like my shop. If you love the sensual...the visual...the escape, then you will enjoy your time here!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful~ that mantle would make me want to redecorate my eniter house~ it is stunning. I love your shop!~S

Anonymous said...

OMyGoodness, I just love the mantle. It's amazing.


Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

Susan, I love that mantel! No wonder you had to have it!

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...

Hi Susan,

That is just a beautiful mantel! I love the striking blue!

Pei Li

Cottage Flair said...

What a score! So glad to hear you won it. And fun to find out it's history. I love auctions! They are so much fun. My friend and I used to go to one every week but they don't have it anymore. I really miss it.

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

I'm drooling all over my keyboard! OMG that is soooooo fabulous! What a great find. The detail and color is just amazing!

Brown Bee Studio said...

Susan, that mantle is INSANE! No wonder you waited for it....too gorgeous to let go! =0]
Thank you for your're so sweet to me...xoxo

Carolyn Kocman said...

i guess you didn't read my blog yet, miss smarty need to get over there. as for yours...well, i already told you how cool that mantle is! and i must say that i totally admire your energy...wish you would bottle some and mail it to me!

Patricia said...

Well, that was certainly worth your wait, so beautiful. I love that you were able to find some history about it. Auctions every week sounds like so much fun.


kath@retromantic antiques said...

What an amazing find. I wish I could find things like this at our auctions! It is beautiful!

Good shopping. kath

gail said...

Wow Susan, I do love that mantle. I always enjoy visiting you on show and tell mondays. I love that you researched the history of the mantle and it really adds to its character. Your shop looks beautiful.... (())gail

Unknown said...

Hi Susan!

I say this every week,but it really is so much fun to visit you. Love what you have to share! You know it's funny when I read Crystal Palace. There is a Crystal Palace in Astoria ,New York City and that is where my prom was held when I graduated. Brought back some good memories. I can easily spend all my money in your shop! It's lovely!
Janets Creative Pillows

Inka Smith said...

I too, love that mantel!!! Wow the thrill of the hunt and you have a family that helps too. I have never had that.
My prayers are still for your dear friend and your families.

Eileen & Karen said...

Your manel is to die for! I am so glad you won the auction! I know what you mean about's hard to pass things up! Too much fun!
Forget Me Not Dreams

Susie said...

Hi Susan! Just exquisite! So so beautiful. How will you ever sell it? Oh right, now I remember, cha ching, cha ching! Wonderful show and tell as usual. Loved the history.
The Polka Dot Rose

Unknown said...

Every shop has a "calling card", I think it is safe to say we have seen yours. That mantle is irreplaceable (sp? that's what my hands said, lol). Love your blog,
Theresa @ Cottage Violets

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

Susan ~
That is such a fun story ~ I love to go to auctions ~ they are time consuming but you can find some neat treasures like a mantle !!
I love the story that you found about the theatre too ~ How cool is that !

Susan - InHerOwnWords said...

Your mantle is BEAUTIFUL what a great story!