Friday, August 18, 2017

WHERE ARE THOSE BEAUTIFUL PIECES NOW? PART 2

This is part 2 of my blog, "WHERE ARE THOSE BEAUTIFUL PIECES NOW? After posting part 1 I had a couple of people tell me I should escort them on buying trips for their business. Marla and I found our import buying trips to be among our most rewarding, exciting, educational, and transformative experiences of our career at Wesco Fabrics! We had to dig hard for unique resources around the globe. We had to be resourceful and buy great things our clients would love! The image above was just after we unloaded a new container; always a fun moment! Please enjoy part 2 of this creative journey with us.

This was an early showroom vignette with fabulous vintage Burmese Buddhas and manuscript chests. 

We always did very well with stone sculptures. The selection of this resource in Bali was huge and...so were the mosquitos. There are small villages in the Bali Highlands where people have been involved with stone carving for multiple generations.

Marla was the reason I got excited about buying and selling vintage posters. We were at a winter antique fair in Strasbourg France and she bought me a cycling poster from the 1920's. I was hooked! We sold many vintage posters at our showroom primarily from France, Belgium, Italy, mostly from 1900 - 1930's. One day Marla told me I had to put my poster buying on hold for a spell as we were sitting on over $100,000 inventory!

This was the front page of a vintage poster catalog we produced.

I do know where this very large and gorgeous 1937 Kina Lillet poster by Roby's went. Our daughter decided she had to have it so it hangs on a wall of her home!

The blue finish on this Chinese side table is fabulous!

Marla and I saw this very large teak root bowl in a small Bali workshop. We had a container opening party in the warehouse and it sold the same day. The designer wanted it for herself! She said she would put orchids in it.


We shifted our focus to modern style furniture and these images tell a good story of our product assortment. Most of the woods pictured are Acacia Wood.

An early showroom postcard shows a front entry vignette. The Veuve Amiot vintage poster by Cappiello was my very favorite!


You can't find great items if you don't roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty! We had to envision what tables and chairs would look like once they were cleaned up, stained, and polished with a beeswax finish. I am really proud of Marla for being so fearless!


LOVE the finish on this Chinese cabinet.

This is a large teak bed from Madura Island near Surabaya off the coast of Java Indonesia. The island has multiple generations of ethnic Chinese who created fascinating furniture. 

Though Thailand was our prime hunting ground for fabulous Burmese, Lao, and Thai antiques, we also found incredible artisan workshops for modern furniture as well. Our agent with the stripped shirt assisted us for many years! Bob was once a monk before venturing into the import business!

I'm finalizing an order for jewelry in Bali. Our Denver showroom always featured a wonderful assortment of jewelry. We sold literally thousands of pieces in all price ranges over the years to designers and their clients!

A colorful new assortment arrives in the warehouse!

This is a Japanese Meiji Period Kaidan Tansu step chest. We sold it to a designer over 15 years ago. About 5 years ago she told us she was downsizing and asked if we would be interested in purchasing it back from her. We did and then sold it...again!

Gorgeous exotic wood furniture in our Denver warehouse!

I'm checking out a new arrival of jungle vine sculptures from Thailand.

I'm still in my "Crystal" phase! I just LOVE beautiful crystals and colorful polished minerals for accessories and furniture!

We know where this piece is heading! This 19th century Burmese Buddha Pavilion is Marla's favorite purchase EVER! We personally bought it from the company and donated it to the Denver Art Museum's Asian Art Collection. They are renovating the building so it will not go on display for 3-4 more years. We really look forward to the day it is displayed!

Images: All images by Dick Gentry

Friday, August 11, 2017

WHERE ARE THOSE BEAUTIFUL PIECES NOW? PART 1

I've always wanted to know where our interior designer clients placed all the beautiful pieces of furniture, accessories, and artworks we sold over the years at Wesco Fabrics. Although decorative fabrics and window coverings were our main focus. sourcing furniture and accessories was a fun and challenging part of the business that gave our showroom unique personality. 

 I'm touching a 250-pound polished petrified wood bear. A firm in Vail purchased it. I would love to see where everything went, whether to a beach house in Laguna Beach, a ranch in Wyoming, a home in Florida, or stylish abodes in Colorado.

 I'll share a potpourri of some of the unique pieces we've found over the years in Part 1 & 2 next week.

When we first opened our Denver showroom we knew we needed to feature unique designer furniture and accessories in addition to decorative fabrics. Marla and I had an affinity for Japanese antiques so we sourced them for the showroom.
This is an early image of me carrying antique millstones with our agent near Lake Biwa in Japan.
I can't believe we sourced and shipped over 60 twenty foot containers over the years!

Our Denver warehouse was always crammed full of fabulous pieces from around the world. I loved those blue Chinese chairs and the orange leather chairs.

Bali was a favorite destination for finding really unusual furniture. Marla is finalizing an order with our agent for assorted slab tables made from Teak, Tamarind wood, Suar wood, and Lychee wood.


This is a postcard we made showing some of the early items in the showroom. 

We wanted to diversify our product mix so we went to France and worked with brocante dealers south of Reims near Epernay. I found these beautiful 19th-century chairs in an old barn. They sold the first day we put on the showroom floor!

These were some of the fabulous finds we found in Japan, Bali, and Thailand. We found great Burmese lacquerware from dealers in Northern Thailand.


One of our most exciting buying adventures was in a rural village in Holland. I found a number of wholesale pickers with warehouses full of exciting items. We bought this beautiful antique German piece. We bought oodles of antique skis and sleds. It was in January and the warehouses were absolutely freezing!

An early postcard of the showroom with great antique pieces. I loved the Chinese door in the middle.

A new shipment arrives filled with treasures.

Our Denver warehouse was always fun to see. Many designers loved to see what we found on our trips. We often had container opening parties with cuisine and music from the region.

We had to have the carved wood sculptures on the left from an ethnic tribe in Burma (Myanmar).

This is another early postcard with products from Japan, Lombok Island in Indonesia, China, Thailand, France, and...North Carolina.

Our daughter Lisa came with us on a buying expedition one year. She loved this Chinese door we bought!

Designers loved our repurposed vintage Chinese cabinets. The color of this one was fabulous and sold very quickly!




We found these 19th-century Eastern European wedding benches in Holland.

These gorgeous decorative pieces from a small source in Chiang Mai, Thailand sold almost immediately when the container arrived! We went back to find them again the next year and sadly they were out of business.

I'm on a humongous teak root bench we found in Bali. Eight of us tried to get it out of the container and couldn't! A neighbor came to the rescue with an extra heavy duty industrial forklift as ours was too small. The designer who bought it used a moving company to take it from the warehouse.

Marla works on an order for polished petrified wood tables. 



My math skills aren't advanced enough to add up all the different fabrics I've sourced over the years. Thousands and thousands from the United States, Israel, South Africa, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Turkey, China, India, Mexico, England, Spain, Belguim, Austria, Holland, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and Thailand. 
PART TWO WILL BE NEXT WEEK!

All images by Dick Gentry