Archive for the ‘Auctions’ Category

Adventures in Salvaging, Part 4: Westwood Gardens Auction

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

When we thought we were about to buy a house in October, I saw an ad in the paper. The local big garden center was auctioning off its surplus plants. I made big plans to go and get a headstart on landscaping. As you can imagine, a house that has been rental apartments for fifty years (or eighty) doesn’t have a lot of landscaping, but it does have at least three huge dying trees that I hope can stay upright until spring. Anyway, we ran into a snag, and I didn’t have a house at the time of the auction. I went anyway, with our neighbor, who is, among other things, a master gardener.

Lacking a house, despite being an auction junkie, I managed not to buy too much — just two huge hydrangeas (Dooley’s, $8 each, currently parked in my mom’s labyrinth garden), four fly swatting chairs ($12.50 each), a pair of hypertufa/concrete birdbath like things with a definite Prairie style to them ($60+20), and a marble-looking planter with figures cast in it ($15). It still filled our truck up because the fly swatting chairs wouldn’t nestle.

Good thing we both had trucks because our neighbor filled up his truck with Japanese maples (some beautiful ones) and the like. (We took just his truck for the day — Don and the Little One came at the end to help load up my stuff when I realized that the chairs wouldn’t nest.)

Our stuff:

fly-swatting-chairs.JPGprairie-fountain-2.JPGprairie-fountain-1.JPG

Of course, now that it looks like we’ll have a house after all, I’m wishing that I would have been able to buy for it. I’m thinking of an Asian-influenced garden (with 1950s flyswatting chairs), and need to, ahem, buy some books about Arts and Crafts gardens so I know what I’m doing. I think we’ll put a gingko in the parkway* — there aren’t any on our street, so that will add some diversity.

My prairie birdbaths have been installed at my parents’ modern house (where, unfortunately, they look very good – the gourds were grown by the Little One and my mom, and arranged by the Little One), but I bet I can make some hypertufa birdbaths in my copious spare time.

The flyswatting chairs have some surface rust, but should be just fine — and, at $12.50, they’re cheaper than the rustier originals we’ve seen at flea markets.

*Do you know where the parkway is? I didn’t, until I moved to Chicago. It is not the driveway. Nor is it the scenic road running along the Blue Ridge. Rather, it is the small bit of dirt between the sidewalk and the street. A useful term, but not in the answer dot com definitions.  (See my glossary for more.)

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Louis Sullivan Wallpaper?

Monday, August 27th, 2007

louis-sullivan-spirals.jpg

Anybody recognize this wallpaper? I found on it on EBay Friday night, but I’ve never heard of Louis Sullivan wallpaper and Google wasn’t any help at all. The seller described it as “a reproduction of a late Victorian wallpaper in the Arts and Crafts style. The original pattern was inspired by the work of 19th century architect Louis Sullivan.”  (Sullivan was born 1856, died 1924.)  It’s cool (I think*), but something I’ve never heard of.

It certainly fits Sullivan’s ornamentation style (hybrid of Art Nouveau/Celtic), which I first learned to recognize from the Carson-Pirie-Scott store doors and then saw all over the city of Chicago, including the Chicago Stock Exchange trading room from 1893-1894 that was salvaged and reconstructed in the 1970s at the Art Institute. (Somehow I missed the whole Carson’s State Street closing last August.)

I emailed the seller to ask who made it, in case she happened to know, but what she knew was:

The manufacturer is a company called The Paperie, but the only company I could find by that name online sells scrapbook materials, not wallpaper. There’s a date of 1976 on a detatchable edge, but I don’t know if that’s the date of design, of production, or something else. No idea if it’s prepasted, but it looks great, no fading or other flaws.

Didn’t win.   (Didn’t bid too much, since I was bidding without Don looking at it and it was a bit outside my usual comfort zone since it wasn’t Bradbury & Bradbury or Burrows & Company or Brillion or Wolff House or anything else I had heard of.)  Oh, and let’s not forget another good reason not to buy wallpaper:  I don’t actually own a house it can go in.)  It sold for $17.51 + $13.49 s/h.

Now, of course, I am wishing I had won it.  So, if you have a source for it, let me know.  Or if you know anything about The Paperie.  Did they make anything else in the way of historic wallpapers?

* A bit worried that, if I had won, Don would think it’s 1970s, rather than 1870s.

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