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Chinoiserie Chic • Mid Century Modern • Palm Beach Regency Vintage Sales & Rentals

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Girl Friday: Hammer Time

LeAnn Stephenson


Right after my fifteenth birthday, my dad strongly suggested I get a summer job.  And by "strongly suggested" I mean every morning, while we were at the kitchen table, he'd stare at me for several moments - kinda blankly, but in a "summing-me-up" kinda way, and then shout over his right shoulder, "This kid needs a job!"  I'm not completely sure who he was talking to because it was just the two of us in the kitchen, but he had a point.  I mean I hadn't taken any steps toward my dream of becoming a millionaire or a rock star, so it was obvious that I needed a little nudge in the career department.  My Mom was a vocational director at the high school where she worked and suggested that I enroll in the vocational program at my high school.  I did and was placed at a beautiful china shop called The Brownie Shoppe.  A lady named Boots (I have no idea what her real name was, this was her nickname) was my manager and I loved her to pieces.  She taught me a lot about the world of work and tutored me in the manner in which to conduct myself while at work.  Plus, she talked me through some occasional teenage angst and like to take soft-serve yogurt breaks!

So, I tell you all of that to tell you this - this summer I'm doing my best impersonation of Boots.  And by that I mean that I have hired my children to help me get the shop ready for opening day and then requested that they continue on as sales staff for the few weeks before they are off to camp at the end of July.  I'm not sure if I have given them any valuable information to take with them on to future jobs but I have learned a little something about myself - I have quite a healthy "micro-manager" streak developing - and I'm sure if you were to ask them, they would say that it's actually a fully developed "micro-manager" streak!




So my kids have become my full-time, on-location carpenters slash painters slash electricians slash plumbers slash landscape experts.  Needless to say neither one of them had previously done a lot of this kind of work, so there has been quite a bit of on the job training.  The other day I was perched on a ladder changing out the gawd-awful  florescent lights that came with the space to something a little more attractive when I had this interaction with my kids:

ME:  Okay, lets see . . .  Oh, it looks like I need a different screwdriver than the one that I brought up here with me . . . could one of you go fetch me a Phillips?  The tool box is in the bathroom . . .

NOAH:  Right . . . I'll go get it  . . .

OLIVIA:  . . . (smiles and let's out a sigh and kinda sways from her heels to her toes as she swings her arms out in front of her and then to the back of her)

ME:  . . . . . . wait, wait and wait some more . . . .

NOAH:  I don't see it anywhere. . . . . . . What IS a Phillips?

OLIVIA:  (with a facial expression I'll never forget, like she was amused and tickled and overwhelmed all at the same time said this)  You named your screwdriver? . . . . how sweet! . . . . What's the hammer's name?

And after that I got nothin' . . . . except to say that my children and the Hubbs have worked the booties off along side me and I love them to pieces and thank them more than words can say!!

So below are a few photos of my children becoming familiar with the tools of their mother's trade and a glimpse or two into the decor choices for the shop.








Color inspiration photo courtesy Boden

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BREAKING NEWS!!!

LeAnn Stephenson


I admit it.  I flunk blogging.  I'm inconsistent and I take loooooooong breaks in between posts.

But today, I have news . . . BIG news!

If my blog were one of those 24-hour news channels like CNN or MSNBC, it would be running an endless loop of white banners at the bottom of your computer screen with phrases like VINTAGE LAUNDRESS SIGNS LEASE and LAUNDRESS TO REOPEN BRICKS AND MORTAR SHOP.  And, under the white banners would be "the crawl," - you know the endless moving line of script that reports the steps that I have taken over the last several weeks to prepare for opening day, from the paint colors that I have chosen to cover the walls of the store, to the number of friends, family and even customers that have come out of the woodwork to help get this venture up and running, to how much paint I find in my hair, under my fingernails, and on every single t-shirt and pair of shorts that I own on a daily basis.  I might even resort to using one of the most oversold phrases on the planet and slap a bright red banner that reads "BREAKING NEWS" across my blog header just for funzies. 

All of which you might think a little excessive, but I'm really excited about reopening the shop and want to share the details.  I mean, you have to admit, it's not like my BREAKING NEWS is something obvious like;  BREAKING NEWS:  NUNS DON'T CUSS or BREAKING NEWS: IT'S GOOD TO HAVE EARS.

So, back to my point (and I've buried my lead as usual);
BREAKING NEWS:  I'M REOPENING THE SHOP!

Below are a few photos of the shop before I got my hands and paint on it.  Thursday and Friday I will share "after" photos and supply the "what", "when" and "where" details of the grand opening.












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Retro Redo: Master of My Domain

LeAnn Stephenson

Okay, have it your way, I'm a procrastinator.

You know how they say that procrastination is like masturbation because in the end you're just screwing yourself?  Well, the only thing I have to say to that, is at least I'm the master of something.

Now, to be fair and maybe a little less inappropriate, I did accomplish one or two things that I'd like to share with you.  So, in today's Retro Redo, I'd like to show the "before" and "afters" of a couple of vintage armchairs that our workroom has done.

I'll begin with this mid-century club chair that I had listed on my Etsy store.  This handsome mid-century piece has great scale with great pieced button tufts on the back that emphasize its tailored silhouette. Even in its original velvet fabric it made a marvelous statement.  But the fabric my client chose to re-upholster it in simply blew my mind.  The piece finished up beautifully and though I didn't think it was possible, it is more gorgeous than before!



Another piece that proves my theory that customization in the home is like couture in the closet, is this great vintage reproduction Louis XV Bergere chair from the 1940s that I had also listed on my Etsy.  It is a beautiful example of craftsmanship with its fantastic carving on the curvy french feet and arms. This client decided to guild the arms and feet and re-upholster in a lustrous chocolate pinstriped velvet.  I think the results are spectacular and it is a simply sensational piece!







See you tomorrow with a "Christmas-y-themed" Want It Wednesday.

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