Antiquing, is not what it used to be!

I love nothing better than to stroll around on a lazy afternoon while traveling to find a remote antiques shop and browse for treasure.  Somehow a find is always better when you are in a faraway place.  The story is better.  Or maybe it is that I am living on an island of "antiques".   I use that term loosely, believe me.  Since moving here, years ago, I've seen antiques being peddled in many ways.  Their journey from faraway places (or maybe just over the state line) landing them in an antique mall downtown.  Or in an estate sale, yard sale, junk shop or thrift store.  I have heard many opinions on the antiques.  What time frame constitutes an antique as opposed to vintage?  Different opinions.  How do you know that new shipment is really valuable?  Not just a container full of regularly shipped old stuff or replicas? 

I guess you know when you know.  It's like buying jewelry or furs.  Trust but verify.  Trust a reputable dealer.  Confirm that reputation with your own eyes.  Educate yourself if it really matters.  I see too many pieces circa "wrong" or "bad guess" or just "not even".  "Replica" should be labeled.  It is marked the same as an antique very often. 

I buy what interests me.  I'm fascinated people were able to do as much as what they can do now.  That's what I love about an antique.  I would say I gravitate more to vintage.  I know just enough to be dangerous as the saying goes!  I am not a true lover of antiques, but when I love an old creation, I really love it!

I'm sadden that more people do not value vintage and mix it into their decor.  I suppose they don't realize that most modern furniture has been around for a really long time! 

So to see the best, I'm headed to Randall Tysinger and Karen Luisana in NC.  They never disappoint!   My only problem is enough cash to buy the treasures!

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We LOVE this circa 1830 Italian faux painted centre table with concaved pedestal available from http://www.randalltysinger.com for a mere $36,000.00.  The detail on the piece is breathtaking.  

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The Monday Motivation

Monday motivation is for early morning people.  I never considered myself a morning person, but with the clients I have now, Mondays ROCK!  I wake up and hit the ground running. 

#No_filtered A.I. Sunrise

#No_filtered A.I. Sunrise

Those I work closely with know I begin texting by 7 am.  There was a time when correspondence outside of “the business day” was considered rude and unprofessional.  But with today’s modern technology and smart phones designed to keep us focused on their screen, not much is sacred anymore.  Including my morning quiet time.  However, at the end of the day , it’s OK.  I understand the contractors' schedules and plus; their mind is churning as well.  I LOVE this process.  I LOVE to see what can be accomplished. 

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Monday is always a day in which I believe anything can be done by the end of the week.  By Friday, I am often frustrated and tired when deadlines and goals are not completed.  Not completed for any number of reasons; but most commonly resulting from logistical and shipping issues.  Just getting a quote for a product in this line of business is excruciating. 

So many are shocked at rising costs.  Prices have not sat stagnant as the economy did.  Now that business is growing, there is a rush to make up for lost time and revenue.  In the world of Amazon and Wayfair (which will soon be one), clients see a discount online and think prices are always cheaper there.  I’m sure that is true in some cases.  However, I rarely see the same quality for the same price.  Occasionally a client gives in to the allure of the less expensive product and independently places their order.  Nine times out of ten when the order arrives in poor condition (assuming it arrives at all) we receive a phone call or email requesting our assistance in remedying the issue.  This is an issue I want to avoid, therefore I am chasing quotes everywhere to make sure I get the best price for my client.  Then within the blink of an eye the Friday deadline appears and another week has gone by. 

Monday begins again… there is the processing of the paper work…computers were supposed to make all that easier.  Email is a black hole.   Of course, the warehouse is the worst of the black holes.  Then we have the driver who backs up to an empty container and drives across country with my custom nightstands left in another container at the mill.  Then there is the warehouse that loses the paperwork because of the driver.  Then there is a dispatcher that doesn’t relay instructions and it is delivered to the wrong place…try to get your money back for that one.  Next comes the driver that literally pushes the chairs out of the back of the trailer.  By the time weeks in warehouses and transit have passed my Monday has started over many times.  Let’s not even put customs into the picture for fear they will put a singular curse on me and my orders!  That equates to months, literally. 

All day, every day.

Yet I still maintain that motivation because when it is finally complete, the end result is worth every bit of it.  I have learned this.  It is worth the stress and the agony of warehouse gorillas, whack drivers and aloof dispatchers.  Although, maybe not worth the freight charge, many times well over 15% up to 28%...more for white glove.  Oh, and don’t forget the freight fees and surcharges that cannot ever be explained...

I think it is Monday again and there is much to be done.

Modern Simplicity: Lucite

Simplicity is defined as freedom from complexity, intricacy, or the absence of pretentiousness or ornament.  We know simple when we see it, when we touch it, when we use it. 

It goes without saying Lucite is an excellent example of modern simplicity in the form of furniture.  Without overpowering a space a high quality Lucite piece fabricated from the best acrylic illuminates a room with modern simplistic style.    
 

At Robyn Branch Design we LOVE Miami designer, Serge De Troyer’s collection of Italian acrylic.  Serge states, “… a luminous icon made of ice these stylish, elegant and functional acrylic furniture pieces embodies the best in both design and craft.  Each is handmade out of extra thick high quality Italian acrylic and can be customized to specifications.”

Tile Tread

Ceramic tile has had a solid presence throughout history.  Many civilizations utilized this product dating back to prehistoric times.  One of the simplest and oldest art forms, tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, porcelain, stone, metal, or even glass.

Uniquely stunning creations from tiles are found all around us.  While it is common to obsess over the style, pattern, or perfect coloring to coordinate with our home there is one important detail that is often overlooked when considering tile as flooring or bath surface; how safe is it to move around on? 

At Robyn Branch Design when choosing tile, the non-slip factor is never forgotten. Robyn stresses that, “Texture is the key.  Porcelains have to have texture.  Stones, like travertine, have texture naturally.”  In the case of a shower stall floor from our St. Kitts project, coral stone from the Dominican Republic was cut into smaller pieces for safety.  Even though commonly a porous material the smaller cuts help with traction in order to reduce slippage.  The coral stone was the perfect contrast to the beautiful resin rock countertop and slick, sleek porcelanosa wall tiles from our go to tile experts, Belmarmi.     

I’ll never forget the opening night of one of the best restaurants in our little town.  The proprietors worked for many months renovating the historic home into a quaint bistro that won award after award over the years.  On opening night as guests arrived for a tasting the space sparkled with ambiance.  However, when one of the diners slipped on the new tiled floors, and then another guest slipped, quickly followed by the staff basically skating on the floor, they clearly had an issue on their hands.  It was a simple detail overlooked that had the potential for lawsuit after lawsuit.  Needless to say, the tile flooring was quickly readdressed.

 

Rock Stars... Real or impostor?

Agate, Quartz, or porcelain that looks like stone or petrified wood...real or an impostor?  All are beautiful!  

Products come in all price points!

This is gorgeous agate                                             This is natural quartz

This is a hex porcelain that looks like natural stone.   Next to it is a porcelain that looks like wooden planks.  The digital world has opened a beautiful design option!