Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You Can't Make a Silk Purse of a Sow's Ear or Can You?

Part Two of the Great Mystery Thrift-Off

Did you ever hear the idiom "make a silk purse from a sow's ear"?  Where did that saying come from?  The original idiom actually dates back to 1579 with the definition being: To produce something refined, admirable, or valuable from something which is unrefined, unpleasant, or of little or no value.  Today's idiom has evolved into "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", meaning you can't make something good out of something that is naturally bad.  I prefer the original idiom from 1579.  I will make something refined, admirable, or valuable from this unrefined, unpleasant, inexpensive Goodwill item!

So what's in the box?

My Mystery Thrift-Off item is-------a chrome yellow tissue box imprinted with colorful ducks!

What to do, what to do?  Not much to work with, so there is really no way to turn it into something else.  My decision is to "make a silk purse of a sow's ear" by "producing something that is refined, admirable, or valuable, from something which is unrefined, unpleasant, or of little or no value".  I decide on leaving it a tissue box but making it into an "admirable" version

A good sanding to roughen up the smooth surface, along with a good cleaning using alcohol.  I then used a Rust-oleum paint for plastic, giving the tissue box a dark base color and eliminating the bright chrome color.

Decided to cover the plastic tissue box in snakeskin, just need to chose a color.

I decide to go with the chinese red snakeskin with the natural black markings.

The box is covered!  Now for some clear finish.

The clear finish really made the snakeskin pop!

And now the once chrome yellow, duck imprinted tissue box is now a sophisticated, snakeskin wrapped box fit for display.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Mystery Thrift Off is Coming!

What is a Mystery Thrift-Off?

What's it all about?   Lindsey Allen , of the blog www.betterafter.net, decided to feature a contest in which the chosen contestants must take a thrift item from the Goodwill and give it a new look or turn it into something else.  

What incredible luck!  I had the good fortune of being one of the chosen ones!

Back in April, I received an email from Lindsey congratulating me on being chosen for her very first ever Mystery Thrift-Off.  As I anxiously awaited the arrival of my thrift item, I couldn't help but wonder WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?  

Stay tuned for my next post on the great Mystery Thrift-Off when I reveal my item, and what I do to turn it into something else.

More Client Projects!

Karl Springer style side table on casters, covered in linen by Kravet, lacquered finish.

This console turned out so beautiful.  Wish I had better pictures.

Console being covered in Fermoie, Rabanna fabric.  

Karl Springer style petite table covered in genuine snakeskin in fuchsia color.

Karl Springer style Hexagonal Table covered in Kelly Wearstler, Katana fabric.

Karl Springer style petite telephone table covered in Kravet, ivory washed linen.

Mirror frame covered in hair on hide in a lep-zebra print.  

Recent Projects

Sorry for the absence of posts, but I've been busy, honestly I have!

Photos of some of my recent creations, all custom orders for interior designers and showrooms.
JMF style coffee table in the process of receiving a clear finish.  Table was covered in genuine python.  Going to an interior designer in New York.

Parsons style table, 48" square, covered in Schumacher's Iconic Leopard.  In the process of being finished with a clear lacquer.  Made two of these tables for a showroom.

Did three Parsons style in a solid ivory linen, pie shape inlay, going to a showroom.

Parsons style table, covered in fabric, "Birds and Butterflies" by Schumacher, for showroom.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two Classics All Wrapped Up In One!

The eponymous Karl Springer petite telephone table covered in iconic "Les Touches" fabric. This custom, made to order table, is available through the Johnson3 Custom Furniture Studio.

Petite Telephone Table measures 12.5" x 9" x 17" high, comes fitted with casters in either brass or bronze.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


A few years ago when I first started putting designer fabric directly on the wood frames of case good furniture, I was the only one doing it.  Now the look has caught on and other artisans are doing the same.  I wish I could say that this desk was created by me, but it's not; I love it just the same.  Gorgeous!!!  This is so typical of the desks that we did when I worked at Karl Springer's, only then it would have been covered in leather.  This is covered in a gorgeous designer fabric. The fabric has so much texture, that's what I love about it; it would appear to not have a finish on it, not sure about that.

Hampton Designer Show house, interior design by Gil Walsh.  Photo by blogger Lynn Byrne of Decor Arts Now.  http://www.decorartsnow.com/2014/07/31/now-homage-mcmillens-betty-sherrill/

Sunday, October 5, 2014


This is my JMF style table that I had made into a coffee table.  The table was to be placed into a very narrow living room, and for that reason the table was custom sized to be 42" long and only 15" wide.  I covered the table in a veneer called origami, in color birch.  I love the pattern of the veneer!



It was an honor to be included in the July/August 2014 edition of HOUSE BEAUTIFUL featured section - 101 Tiny Tables. 

This is the table that was in House Beautiful, under the section 101 Tiny Tables.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Jean Michel Frank Style Table in Batik Fabric

Suzanne Rheinstein fabric "Indian Zag" for Lee Jofa.  

What a beautiful fabric, and in the hottest fall color - Indigo!  I did some cutting and piecing of the fabric on this small table so as to capture all the wonderful elements of this fabric.

Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2014

Another Show Gone By!

I was so lucky to be selected to participate in this years Architectural Digest Home Show.  It's such a great way to get discovered!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Fabric is Grand and The Table is Petite!

Jim Thompson fabric Grand Paisley, on my Petite JMF Table.  

This table was custom made to order in a petite size of 17" long x 9" wide x 21" tall, with the client choosing the Grand Paisley fabric in the color Cherry Tomato.  The fabric was such a "grand" size for such a petite table, I seriously had my doubts about how it would look.  The client requested that I please try to incorporate some of the grand paisley and some of the leopard print.  Not easy to do on such a small piece, but I think it turned out great.  How about this for a "Pop of Color" statement piece for an entryway!

Pieces for the Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2014

Some of the furniture pieces you will see as my Booth M100 at the upcoming Architectural Digest Home Design Show:

Tall KS table covered in genuine snakeskin in Pantone color of the year Brilliant Orchid.

JMF Petite table covered in hand marbled fabric by artist Vansant.

Assorted Telephone Tables

JMF Table covered in Suzanne Rheinstein fabric, Indian Zag, for Lee Jofa, in color way indigo blue.