We just doubled our size in the Hudson Supermarket and, while I
never really have enough room, this is so much better than before.
Maybe in another few weeks, I’ll be complaining and expanding
again. But, for now, I feel the luxury of space all around me.
The huge garage door (above), a gift from a friend, is the perfect backdrop
for my forever-favorite colors of grey, blue-grey and white-grey.
And a good place to hang some of my post-plumbing sconces and soap dishes.
The sun has set and, since I am finally free to look in the direction of my window
without squinting, I can see that going home is not on the agenda just yet. I spot
a sign (below…leaning on the trunk) and remember that I was so tempted to
change the name of my business, which relies so heavily on the redundancies
of farms and factories, to “Hauled Away” after finding this quirky thing mixed in
among some heaps in an old workshop.
Below, a shocking blast of color for someone like me. But I couldn’t resist the
make-do shelving (made from mid-century signs) found in an old family-owned
lumber yard in Massachusetts, a Farmhall tractor grill, a ship’s flag box (Ardith III)
and a soapbox car tool box (Wheels). I am pleased with this grouping and, while I
require the soft, pale, faded and peaceful shades at home, it is fun to see a primary
riot in my booth sometimes.
But, green! All of a sudden it is all over my booth. My long-standing indifference
to this color that (so they say) is perfectly lovely, stems from my first car. I was 19
and it was a 1960s clunker, which caused Ken’s brothers to fall all over themselves
laughing. “Look! It’s a Nash Rambler! She’s driving a Nash Rambler! Whataya call
that color? Puke?” Ok, so big deal, I was driving a Nash Rambler! Although I’m
not so sure that “driving” is the appropriate term for the starting, bucking and
stalling that actually took place on that very first day, and for many days
thereafter, as I learned to drive stick shift. I got over the derision regarding my
Rambler’s lack of cool pretty quickly. But the remarks about its color kind of
stuck. The table (below), however, is fit for a king, color not withstanding.
Architectural renderings (below), some one’s dream come true. It is hard for me to
pull my eyes away from them, they are so charming. I wish I could walk inside this
pretty 1930s-looking house to see what the rooms look like and the furnishings that
the lucky owners chose. I want to watch “Mr. Blanding’s Dream House” or “Christmas
in Connecticut.” These kinds of houses make me feel such nostalgia.
The mirrors (below) once were an old pair of double doors. The gentleman’s
dressing room cupboard to the left of the mirrors has a hidden compartment for
stashing valuables and secrets. The wonderful folky daybed, with its deep, cozy down
cushion, is freshly dressed in a vintage French postal bag cover. Just add a purring
cat and a good book, please.
The toothy detail (below) and the old orange paint peeking from beneath the
charcoal color are just part of what makes me love this daybed so much.
An amoire full of shelves (below) is topped with a few of the polite gaggle
of geese that grace my booth without honking or leaving droppings. They
really make me smile. The base of the bench was an old galvanized
commercial refrigeration shelf. Topped with down and four-season wool,
there’s not even a hint of its icy past.
The trunk (below) is covered with tan and brown striped linen and lined
with paper in blue and cream. It made its way around the world in those
long-ago days when the Grand Tour was not so unusual.
A cupcake stand piled with lavender bags and a drying basket full of Swedish
pillow covers keep the industrial worktable from being too manly. A gray chair
(above) and navy blue ones (below)…..Phew! I’m back in my element.
Oh, no! More green! But, I couldn’t pass by the drop leaf with its beautiful,
but, sadly, unseen legs. And, the bench…green, over red, over lots of other colors…
nobody says no to a sturdy bench, do they?
The worktable (below) is one of my all-time favorites. The funky leg set up!
The curved drawers (why only two in such a long table? and why the
curves?)! The honey-colored wood! I really want to bring it back home.
I just love an early sofa. They are way more comfortable in these modern times
with deep down cushions. So good looking, too, with the French hand-rolled edges and
hand-covered button tufts. All thanks to fabulous Jerry, the upholsterer to whom I owe
all praise and allegiance.
The thing that looks like a bike (below, left) is a saddle maker’s work station.
The worker sat on the seat and pedaled, making a saw blade go up and down
through the platform where leather was cut into pieces for horse tack. It
is wonderfully sculptural but I’m sure it could not have been so much fun
as a tool.
In my window is part of my collection of white jugs with blue writing. The rest
are strewn around my space. I don’t know why I am selling them at this time.
I like having big groups of things on offer and, as I was walking through the house
on the day we were bringing down the last load for the bigger space, I said “bring
those jugs!” While I can’t say I’ve noticed they are gone from a house that is so full,
seeing the photos of them makes me want them back.
Here are close-ups from some of the jugs. Aren’t they beautiful?
This is making it harder. I may have to rush down to Hudson to reclaim what
is mine before some white-with-blue jug-loving customer shows up.
If only I had had a collection of green jugs lying around on the day I said
“bring those jugs!”, I could be relaxing right now, safe in the knowledge that
all is white in my world.
On Saturday Ken and I had the extreme pleasure of attending Hudson’s Winter Walk.
We started the night in the same way we start everything we do in Hudson, with
something delicious from chef extraordinaire Chris Hebert, whose cafe is right in the
back of the Hudson Supermarket where we have our antique show space. Next, with
the idea of walking off some of our desert, seeing the sights and, for me, the chance
to get some photos, we headed out into the street just in time for the most charming
Music was everywhere.
We wondered how those musicians performing outside could make their fingers
work on this 30 degree night.
You know what else was everywhere? Dogs!
Hudson is a dog-loving town and there were almost as many bowls of water on
the sidewalks outside of shops as there were tasty people treats inside.
Move over Amsterdam! We’ve got the windows!
The hula-hooper, belly dancers, balloon-twisting clown and ballerina worked it
without a break and drew admiring crowds all night.
But, what happened here? The bad monkey wrecks the joint and then just sits there
contemplating a piece of broken crystal while in the background, a bird, obviously
an accomplice, flies around doing who knows what on the carpet. I just love this
totally unexpected Christmas crisis window.
Our first stop was at 3Fourty Seven. As soon as you see The Chandelier, you know that
these people are not afraid to say who they are. Housed in a big old garage, this place has
Bold! written all over it.
They just opened, but with their ecclectic mix of modern, factory, textiles and oddball
artwork that just works, I know they will be enjoying a long, successful run.
They are a super-friendly group of architects, set designers and style-makers. Check
them out at 347 Warren Street. 518-291-4780.
Next, we headed into Hudson Home. Again, we were met by friendly smiles and given a
tour of the beautiful shop with its stylish, comfortable-looking furnishings, plush bedding
and unusual accouterments.
And, again, dogs! I wasn’t kidding when I said Hudson is a dog town. A dramatic orange
room sports a few dozen photos of white-framed white dogs and the theme of orange
and dogs is carried out on the table of Christmas decorations and in the two
Chi Chi Chi Chia-looking poodles in the front window.
Be sure to ask about the unusual modern fireplace and the checkerboard rug.
It is no surprise that Hudson Home just had a nice blurb in Vogue. 356 Warren Street.
And then there’s Kosa! The home of organic, recycled, green, indie clothing and jewelry.
Even when time is not on our side, my friends and I stop here. I go straight to the
legwarmers, fingerless gloves, spats and skirts all made from vintage sweaters by
My friends, all artists, like the indie clothing and would love the coat being modelled
by the accommodating customer below. I hope she bought it because it looked pretty
great on her. 502 Warren Street. 528-828-6620. www.kosa-co.net.
Hudson and Mark Wasserback. Mark Wasserback and Hudson. These names are
synonymous. Mark’s Antiques has been around for as long as I can remember and,
luckily, some things just never change. The inventory is crazy, edgy and heaped to
the rafters in any old higgledy-piggledy way. But don’t be fooled. This stuff is
fast-moving and it’s not the kind of place where you should say “I’ll think about it”
and then wander off to lunch.
The photo on the right (above) is of a section of a fabulous 8′ x 5′ table top that Mark
had made from metal printer’s plates.
So many disparate things to see, like the wooden Madonna, above, and the
aluminum light fixture, below.
Below, a divine blue-gray tack cupboard that I really love. Apparently,
and for reasons not understood by either Mark or me, alfalfa was placed in
the top part of the cupboard. Something to do with cleaning the tack. I did
go home…happy!…with the factory board in the photo on the right, below.
Mark’s factory presentation of party snacks induced me to step away from my
no-sugar routine long enough to enjoy one or two cookies. 612 Warren Street.
But, there’s more! At the back of Mark’s store, steps, like a stairway to heaven,
lead to another of Hudson’s long-standing gems: Larry’s Back Room.
Chock full of treasures, some traditional
period pieces, some not traditional at all, you’d need some time to poke around
I spotted a pair of tall silver factory molds that, to me, are just begging to
be wine tasting tables. Larry’s walls are lined with collections, backed with
burlap, interestingly mounted and accurately labelled.
612 Warren Street. 528-248-2643. Lforman1@nycap.rr.com.
At this point, Ken, who had been really patient while I took almost 300 photos and
talked a blue streak, looked like he was getting weary.
So we headed back to the Hudson Supermarket…..
to check up on our space….
straighten the grain sacks…
and the mountain of lavender bags…
and the big pile of pagent wings I brought in to sell…
and to watch the fireworks that call an end to a very happy night.
Thursday is always a good day, not just because we bring new stuff to our space in
the Hudson Supermarket, but because we eat! There is a cafe right in the back of
the store and Chris, the chef, is incredible.
This time, blue and silver run throughout our space.
And, as always, grain sacks.
The metal shelving unit in the window (mixed with reflections of buildings and
cars) has perfect proportions and patina.
Blue is popular right now. Nice for me, since it has always been my favorite
More perfection, at least to my eye, in the finish on this Philadelphia workbench.
Sometimes, a table in natural wood is ok, especially if the legs are so beautiful !
This is the third blue cupboard with glass doors I have had here this month.
People must like glass doors right now as much as they like blue. Great food
and the blues. I can’t think of anything better…
(Hungry? Check it out at Hudson Supermarket or www.hudsonsupermarket.com).
This 10′ work table (below) is among my top ten favorite factory pieces of all time. It once
had straight legs. Someone didn’t like it that way and cut them off. I love the odd
arangement of criss-cross legs and supports and the curved drawer fronts.
Mountains of old string-tied book remnants grace an otherwise-empty spot.
An 1800s French horse stall window hangs (crookedly, I see) over a counry store counter.
As usual, grain sacks and grain sack upholstered furniture take pride of place. The old
rippled glass of the display case is so pretty that anything looks good inside it.
Jennifer Lanne’s paintings make everything look better, too! See more of her paintings at
Is it a cupboard or a big easel ?
So much stuff, so little room.
Walking sideways is always a must.
Visit Bournebrook in Troy, New York or at www.bournebrook.com .
Last week, while Ken and Ned tore apart my space in the Hudson Supermarket
(www.hudsonsupermarket.com), I, who am so easily bored, wished for something
interesting to do while I waited for my turn : to put it all back together again.
I looked around, sighing, till I spied patina. I love patina. Endlessly fascinating,
patina, with its layers, textures and colors, never lets me down. Here are some of the
patina-rich objects which were moving this way and that in my booth….
Above, a rusting farm thing, posing as a sunflower and an appealing tear in a canvas-
covered trunk. I guess this kind of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And since, in this
instance, I am the beholder and I am alone, no one can dispute my claim.
Layers of paint on a diminutive (6″ x 6″) radiator cover and more farm things. Sometimes
I wonder what I would sell if it weren’t for farms and factories.
Above, left, is my favorite thing from July Brimfield, a zinc cupboard (no, not a fridge!)
from a defunct silver manufacturing company in Pittsburgh. The photo (below, left) is a
close up of the round industrial table in the photo (above, right). Hard-packed sludge…
ya gotta love it. (I am alone, no one can dispute me!)
I have a passion for these roof drain caps (above, right). The shape, the color, the wire.
Apparently, not everyone shares my enjoyment, as these sturdy little gems were usually
tossed in the garbage, making them difficult to find. My pickers in Pennsylvania, who have
the most discerning taste, had this nice bunch of 15 in their barn.
Linen-covered French books (above) all in a row. Pretty toppers for a rustic work table.
I used them in my last blog to display my Vichy baskets. Today, when I was taking more
Vichy photos, I wished the books had been safe at home, instead of in Hudson where they
were at risk of being sold! I know that I have to let people buy my stuff. But, I don’t have
to like it.
Big cabana pins and a vane with peeling layers of old paint. I have hundreds of pins in both
Hudson and Bournebrook. The staff in both centers say that all day long they hear the
swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of the pins being pushed back and forth as customers look for the
one with a favorite number. Grain sacks, of course, are central to any discussion (of mine!)
about patina with their many weaves and beautiful old repairs.
Time spent admiring patina is never wasted.
A customer came here the other day, a set decorator I’ll call D, who I really like
a lot. She was looking for mostly workbenches and industrial pieces for an up-
coming movie she is designing. She brought her friend along, another set designer
from California, who I will call S. After my house, they were continuing on to the
Finger Lakes where they both have family.
As we wandered through the house, on the off-chance that something for the movie
was lurking around inside, S asked “what are all those things you have everywhere?
I love them!”
They were, of course, grain sacks.
But why had she never seen grain sacks before? A set designer! From California!
Well, she just hadn’t! But, now that she had made this miraculous discovery, she
wanted two for some chairs. So, while D and Ken went out to the barns to check
out the big stuff, S and I went to work picking out the two very best sacks in the
This was no easy task given the hundreds of choices and, at some point, S said “I
wish you only had two!” We started with the new-old stock (like the ones above),
which most people who are new to grain sacks prefer for its less well-worn presence.
And, graduated quickly to the old-old sacks. S is a set decorator, from California,
after all, and was thrilled with the old hand-worked repairs, the darnings and
patches that I love.
We tried different ones on the back a chair, made piles on the floor and, in what
felt like no time ’cause I was having such fun, found the perfect two.
Customers always offer to help put the grain sacks back on the shelves and I always
decline. There’s nothing more relaxing than being alone with my grain sacks, folding,
stacking on the correct shelves : wreathes with wreathes, plows with plows. A bonus
that day was finding Mitten, sound asleep and not even pretending to help. I guess I’m
not the only one who relaxes around grain sacks.
Ok, so we’re driving along and we see this thing (below) on the side of the road. Knowing
it will make an incredible table base, we pull over and we buy it. The guy says “I’ll get my
fork lift and put it on your trailer.”
So, what is it about machinery that attracts guys like a magnet and causes them to stand
around watching as if Something Really Amazing were going to happen ?
Not that I’m complaining. It would have been way less than amazing to load it ourselves.
It’s the same thing with cars.
I guess there’s just something about the power of an engine and its ability to make things
happen that draws those fellas in and keeps them looking instead of, like me, saying
“uh huh” as I walk on by.
No. Reality ! These great-looking hard rubber balls were used in a paper mill. They
rolled around inside a drum mashing the necessary ingredients into pulp.
The wonky, less round looking one (above) was attached by the remnant of heavy
fabric to the inside of the drum to keep things stirring. The perfectly round ones in
the cart (below) were loose and did the real mixing work.
Lucky me to know pickers with eyes so good that they see the beauty in old stuff
that others would send to the dump.
I always think of myself as a seller of industrial furnishings, with a little bit of
mercantile, a little bit of painted country, a little bit of European and a lot of funk, just
to keep it interesting.
And, while I’ve been buying and selling grain sacks for 13 years, in the last year it
seems like they have really taken over. They’re everywhere!
They are certainly all over my house. And, I have a large grain sack room where I store
the hundreds of sacks in my stock.
Of course, my spaces in Bournebrook and Hudson Supermarket are brimming with
sacks, as well.
One of my favorite times is when I happen to be in one of my spaces when someone from
Germany comes in and spots the sacks. They are always so pleased to see these items
from home and to think of the names of German towns on furnishings across America.
I fell in love the day I saw my first German grain sacks in a pile of junk in a guy’s attic. I
knew that something good had happened, in fact I felt like I had hit the jackpot! But,
even then, I had no idea that they would fill my space and life in this way.