Wednesday, June 8, 2016

OH WHAT A NIGHT! SAN FRANCISCO'S BEST INTERIOR DESIGNERS STRUT THEIR STUFF!


I know you think I'm talking about this year's San Francisco Showcase House, which WAS quite a night!

But I'm not. It's just that I've been thinking about becoming a professional DJ on the side. I figure retirement parties and wakes can be my target demographic. And what record could be better for a wake or "celebration of life" song than, "Oh What a Night!" by (and I'm sure not one of you under 40 will know them---but think Jersey Boys) Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons! You tell me if you can't stop from jumping up from your wheelchair and wildly boogaloo'ing to this toe-tapping ditty:





The sad part is that when this came out I had no idea what they were singing about. I know it was "late December back in '63" so I figured it was Christmas night. But I thought it was odd he never mentioned Santa, Elves or Mistletoe. In fact, it sounded like he was breathlessly screaming, "What a lady! What a night! Thunder was striking!" So I figured he was talking about Mother Mary and that he was singing as the "persona" of the Holy Ghost. I was considering converting to Catholicism at the time.

The Holy Ghost on fire (I don't know why)

But if Frankie was serving up "Holy Ghost" realness, I believe the song would have been even better suited for Halloween and could have become an even bigger hit. I'm shocked at how much money the horror genre makes. 

This isn't me (or at least I don't think so) but it shows how stunned I am at the money horror films make.

I don't know who that kid is but I bet she made a bundle in whatever she was in. Just look at all those slasher films with Jamie Lee Curtis! Cha-Ching! But we'll never know because when I called Frankie, he didn't return my call for an interview. His assistant to his assistant said, "Mr.Valli doesn't speak with members of the media." I said,"Wow, thanks!" I'd never been called "media" before so that was pretty cool. :)

Frankie Valli before I called him
Frankie Valli after he blew me off. Nice caps btw

Given that Frankie was, uh, unavailable, let's talk about the latest Showcase extravaganza!

OK, so here I am arriving at the house and cleverly hiding my busted shoulder which I just had surgery on. Ouchee!! But this isn't a forum to promote me or the fact that I was practically a pro athlete, not to mention very stoic when it comes to excruciating pain….whoops…sorry...back to the showcase.

 Note how I'm cleverly (but unsuccessfully) hiding my sling for my busted shoulder. I'm practically a martyr! Hehe-geez I can be revolting sometimes. I prefer to think of myself as self-absorbed.

First, the Showcase House was definitely NO Jersey Boys and thank God for that. The Showcase designers were way more talented, interesting, NorCal locals and put on a better show. Not to pick favorites, but I loved Antonio Martins' Living Room:

Antonio Martins' Living Room.  Photo from The Salon Styliste

Where DID he get those gorgeous Empire Curule Benches!!!! Oh yeah, from me. But, his rooms never disappoint and this year was no exception. Look how deftly he combines modern and transitional with antiques. It's what great design is all about. Mixing not matching.

Room by Antonio Martins, Photo from The Salon Styliste
Room by Antonio Martins, Photo by David Duncan Livingston, T&C Magazine 
Here's Antonio looking great and me looking like Death Eating a Biscuit
And here is the Queen of C. Mariani (well one of the queens but certainly the most fun and uber-smart): Our Gallery Manager, Riana

Another one of my favorite designers this year and another perennial standout is my good friend Heather Hilliard and her amazing team of Fleur and Phebe-they're so talented and so much fun to work with!). This year, Heather didn't disappoint either as you can see from her Garden Room:

Room by Heather Hillard, Photo by Patricia Chang,  SF Curbed

Room by Heather Hillard, Photo by Patricia Chang, SF Curbed

Room by Heather Hillard, Photo by Michele Lee Wilson, T&C Magazine

Room by Heather Hillard, Photo by Patricia Chang, SF Curbed

Who else did I think scored big that night? Stephan Jones did for sure. I worked with Stephan when he was in Chicago and let me tell you, Chicago's loss is San Francisco's gain! Take a look:

Room by Stephan Jones, Photo by Patricia Chang, SF Curbed

I was also really impressed with Tineke Triggs' room--a great example of using neutrals for that calming, serene and timeless look.

Room by Tineke Triggs, Photo by Patricia Chang, SF Curbed

Room by Tineke Triggs, Photo by Patricia Chang, SF Curbed

Room by Tineke Triggs, Photo by Patricia Chang, SF Curbed

Well, my friends, until next year's Showcase, adios, arigato and vaya con dios (whatever that means). ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

IT'S SHOW(CASE) TIME!

The 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase is coming up - it'll be open to the public starting April 30th, but you can buy tickets to attend the opening night party the Friday before. I always have a great time at the party - running into old friends and seeing the incredible work the designers come up with!

And, because I feel like reminiscing...here are some photos from last year:

Always great catch up with the fabulous Marian Wheeler

With Kevin Peters and Chase Roberson of TWG

Living Room by Phillip Silver, Photo by Matthew Millman
Featuring C. Mariani tazzas and commodes

Living Room by Phillip Silver, Photo by Matthew Millman Featuring C. Mariani tazzas and commodes

Living Room by Phillip Silver, Photo by Matthew Millman
Featuring C. Mariani tazzas and commode

With some of the ladies of Heather Hilliard Designs (Heather, Erin and Phebe)
With our C. Mariani Gallery Manager, Riana Lum

Our C. Mariani commode and rock crystal lamp in Heather's "Her Dressing Room"
Photo by Michele Lee Wilson

Friday, April 15, 2016

#BUZZONINSTAGRAM

Okay, so I got an Instagram not too long ago! Keep up with me @buzzonantiques and let me know if you have any suggestions on who to follow :)


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING: MY SECRET WEAPONS AGAINST SILVER TARNISH, DULL FLOORS AND MORE!


A Remarkable 17th Century Solid Sterling Silver (96.1% pure) Spanish Chandelier 

First, I want to thank Riana, our brilliant Gallery Manager at C. Mariani WHO I LOVE TO DEATH for drafting this post "in my voice" because I'm a lazy bum and am busy reading articles on Brad and Angelina. 

A 19th Century London Silver Chafing Dish with Cover

A 19th Century English Silvered Loving Cup Samovar

Riana is so sweet, funny and smart--we couldn't be more different! But I'm training her to be as unstable and bitter as I am so she can write this blog for me. So, before you start reading this, I want to disclaim any endorsement of The Sound of Music or that insipid song, "These are a Few of My Favorite Things"--those were TOTALLY Riana's choices but I thought they were so innocent and sweetly pathetic that I left them in. But I really detest them both. Just FYI.

This is how dumb "The Sound of Mucus" is: I wrote a blog a couple of years ago about how Scarlett O'Hara had Mammy make her dress from her sweet, dead mother's old drapes. A wonderfully morbid homage to her mom, right? OK fine, that dress wasn't figure-flattering but at least the curtains were velvet. In "The Sound of Muzak," that nitwit nanny/part time nun Maria makes the kids clothes out of curtains too but they're cheap POLYESTER and JPU (just plain ugly)!!!! She was probably thinking  she could just throw them in the washer and save on dry-cleaning. But she was wrong. The only place those rags should be thrown is in the nearest garbage can. Sorry--I got sidetracked.

Interestingly, at least to me, is that I actually kind of know Julie Andrews. I swear! When I was in college in the 70's…(that's the 1970's just in case you're wondering), my best friend was her houseboy. Not kidding. We had so many fun nights back then, driving around Beverly Hills drunk in her Rolls Royce, wearing "shades" at 11 pm and screaming at unsuspecting tourists trying to figure out who the hell we were. We also played catch (I'm not making this up) with her Oscar! We sort of broke into her walk-in safe (my friend knew the combination) and the statue was wrapped in a purple silk velvet pouch--which was lucky because he grabbed it, reared back, told me to "go long" (which I thought was something sexual--what did I know? I was a virgin and so was he) and he threw the Oscar in a Hail Mary pass for me to catch. Of course, I was as uncoordinated then as I am now, so I fumbled the damn thing and heard it hit the cement floor with a thud. Note to Julie: if you're reading this, don't sue me, sue your lousy houseboy. He really stunk at his job. 

Ok, so back to Riana writing this blog post. Although she's way cuter than me, much less butch and practically as adorable, she's from Mars and I'm from Venus; so we write and think very differently. That explains why she chose to start this blog post this way (my smarmy comments are in pink): 

When it comes to "My Favorite Things, Maria (nee Julie Andrews), really got it right in The Sound of Music. I mean, who doesn't love raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? Note to Riana: I DON'T! Moisture on roses make them rot. And I'm fundamentally against any whiskers that aren't plucked, lasered or shaved off daily. And don't get me started on crisp apple strudel. Every gourmand knows that strudel is best eaten al dente. And that pastry is the main reason so many Viennese are morbidly obese. I can only assume that they refuse to go on the Paleo diet and that strudel is just sugary empty processed carbs that go right to your hips. 

Plus brown paper packages wrapped up in string are so much fun to get! Really Riana? When I get a paper package wrapped in string, I call the bomb squad.

And here's the best part, Riana put a clip of The Happy Nun (Wasn't Maria a nun? I just Googled her but typed in nut instead of nun and it said "Yes, she was"). Anyhow, Riana put in this clip of the Nutty Nun singing her "Favorite Things" song. ARRRGGGHHHH! CAVEAT: Listening to this song may cause spontaneous bleeding of the ears. 


OK, so Riana doesn't exactly speak in my voice. But her idea did inspire me to make a short list of some of my favorite things that I use on sterling silver and sterling plate (if you don't know the difference, you don't own any silver so just skip the rest of this blog):

These are quick, easy and do a great job! They come in a tin with multiple cloths ready to use. There are smaller canisters (below) but I buy the super sized version, not only because it costs less per cloth but you'll have enough for the rest of your life. That's comforting, right? :)


2. Hagerty Silversmith's Polish - buy the 12 fl. oz. size!


OK, this is my second favorite choice for silver cleaning. It's really good but kinda messy and smelly. But it works and we're all messy and smelly at times, so it's perfectly acceptable.

My next choice (yes, I've tried every silver cleaner on earth) is Hagerty gloves. These are treated with polishing chemicals so you can just put them on and rub! They're Fun AND Easy but there are side effects ranging from diarrhea, nausea, bloating, gas, "hot dog fingers," and permanent insanity. But I think they're worth the risk if you want your silver to shine. The hot dog fingers only last about a day which is longer than the gloves last because you can't reuse them. BUT, they make great sock puppets for the kids (especially those who already have fat fingers and are permanently insane). It's a narrow market but they make great stocking stuffers for those who don't care about their children's health.


By the way, I don't recommend the aerosol version of Hagerty's--it puts lots of corrosive chemical cleaners not only on your silver, but also on your dog, bare legs (wear skinny jeans cause this stuff burns), floors and fine antiques.

I also don't like their Silver Dip (in fact I don't recommend any Silver Dips, including Tarnx). They remind me of flea dips for dogs and those are very dangerous.  I had a friend who had the cutest Pomeranian. But his groomer left it in the dip too long. Don't ask. :( Boo-hoo-hoo. Let me just say it was a lovely funeral, closed casket of course. The dip left the poor pooch with no hair she resembled a wrinkled Mexican Chihuahua (the good news is that beauty's only skin deep):


Plus silver dips are messy, smell like rotten eggs, make you high (and not in a good way) and they're scientifically designed to tip over and spill on you, your furniture, any Persian rug within 3 blocks and everything else you treasure. I don't know how they engineered that into the dip bottles but I've knocked over every single one I've ever bought. And that can be expensive: I had to renovate my acid-washed kitchen because of it and even had to throw out my only "muscle-T shirt" that I bought at Baby Gap and they don't make them anymore. But then I don't have muscles anymore. So I guess it's time to let go of my anger about this. Huh: I feel better already!!! :)

3. Cape Cod Horse Hair Polishing Brush - this is great for those hard to reach areas. You use it with the liquid polishes. It's not treated with anything. So you can also use it at bedtime on your teeth (talk about whitening!) and save a huge pile of money on those expensive electric toothbrushes.


With all these different types of silver polishes, you should wipe the silver clean with a dry soft cloth like an old t-shirt (try Baby Gap) or...
These are really perfect for silver cleaning and they're even washable! 



Speaking of cleaning, I want to talk about wood floors for a sec-I have no idea why. THE BEST and only thing you need for cleaning and polishing hardwood floors is a good strong housekeeper with great knees and good references. But since it's so hard to find good help these days, just buy Bona Hardwood Floor Care System. It's fantastic.


You can thank me later when everything looks shiny and new! Ok, maybe not the dog…or your hands. :(

Having said all this, I want to thank Riana for giving this ghost writing post a shot. She really is a key player on our C. Mariani team and I'd hang myself from one of our 18th or 19th c. Louis XV Chandeliers if she ever left. Any of these would work (and they're all available):

A Massive 18th Century 21-Light Genovese Parcel Gilt and Crystal Chandelier

An 18th Century Resplendent Giltwood 16-Light Florentine Palazzo Chandelier

A First Quarter 19th Century Italian Empire Crystal and Gilt 12-Light Chandelier

A Towering 19th Century Tuscan Giltwood Palazzo Chandelier

You really should stop in and say hello to Riana because in 10 years she's going to be the CEO here. I really believe that. She's a gem! Mwah Riana! :)