Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Should I?

I am forever scouring flea markets and second hand places to "update" my house. You can tell by now that I like things with provenance--the older the better--battered up or not. I have to show that I'm not so into the "battered up" look or the dealers don't want to give me a battered up price!  Anyway, I'm contemplating these for the house. They will replace things that are already in place, but that I don't exactly love. I want my house to contain only things that I absolutely love.

Here is a flush mount fixture that I'm a bit fixated on. Won't have that sharp halogen beam, but will have so much more character.

It's similar to the many light fixtures I saw at the Paris flea market--but this is already here--ready to install! (hehe).  Then I need to replace my foyer table which is chinese--nice but not the right size. I've always wanted something mirrored, and I'm also still on my Francophile mode.


I like the console, not that little table below. My daughter just told me she didn't like the console because it was multicolored. No, I told her, that's mirror reflecting the rug and other things! Oh, then she doesn't like the rug! I think she'll like this because it's mirrored and "fancy" (she loves Fancy Nancy). My other daughter will definitely NOT like this because at 7 years old, she has declared that she likes Modern, and why mommy, does our house look so old. "We could at least paint it", referring to the unpainted concrete front wall. She also points out to boxy houses in the neighborhood, with lots of glass and says she likes those houses, not ours. Well, tastes change. Just have to bring them the Europe and expose them to more ruins.

I also saw this mirror, but it looks a bit too...square? I wanted something more curly. But I like that it's an old European plaster frame. I think I should hold off on this one and check out our local wooden frames. I've seen beautiful reproductions at the furniture fair before but that was long ago. If I could only remember the supplier!


It's at an awkward angel because the photo was taken horizontally, with the frame leaning back--I just rotated it. I like this, but not in love, so maybe I should really wait a bit more. Let's see what I keep thinking about and then I'll go back next week. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Antique Tiles



I was headed towards a hardware store at the end of Via dei Coronari in Rome. I didn't realize it was a famous street lined with antique stores. I was happily window shopping, admiring chairs, tables, gilded mirrors and sterling silver. Also came across Gelateria del Teatro hidden in one little side street. The hardware store was a bit hard to find, but I stumbled on this very interesting shop selling antique tiles. These are glazed hand-painted decorative tiles that were removed from houses in southern Italy, mostly Sicily, Sardinia and Naples. 



The owner of the shop was a gentleman called Carlo Maffetonne, who had been to Manila, and has good friends/customers here. He told me their names but of course I forgot their names too. All I was interested in were his old tiles! He showed me his inventory which he had in his computer. He kept saying that the tiles were from the 700 or 800 period. I didn't know if he meant they are from 700 or 800 AD? I had been in Rome for a few days now and everything I'd been seeing was ancient--the colloseum was built in 80 AD, so 800 didn't seem too impressive to me then.


I left the shop because I had to meet the rest of the family for dinner, but not after looking over many of his tiles. But what would I do with a few pieces? Over dinner I couldn't get my mind off the tiles! I knew I had to go back and get at least four of them. Maybe I could hang them somewhere in the deck area.


The next day, I made sure I made my way back down to the store, got gelato again at Gelateria al Teatro, walked down this wonderful street very slowly until I got to the end. I chose four tiles, bargained a bit, and got it all packed up with bubble wrap ready to stuff into my suitcase. They were about 30 euro each!  I was and still am so thrilled with this purchase ( bought the tiles to the left of the tiles pictured above--but now I realize that the one in the picture is more my type!)

The next day was a Sunday and we went to the Porta Portese, Rome's famous sprawling flea market. They had these tiles below for 11 euro each--but they were nowhere as beautiful as the ones in Senor Maffettone's shop.


I want to buy more of the antique tiles but I just don't know where to put them!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Con Gas!



One thing about being in Europe is that it's so normal to have sparkling water at every meal. It's nothing special unlike here where you can order Perrier or San Pellegrino only in hotels or in chichi restaurants!

I really like fizzy water.  I thought all waters were the same until I came across an article in an inflight magazine that explained the difference between different brands of water. Some had smaller bubbles, some had more aggressive bubbles, so the mouthfeel was different, etc. Then it even went on to explain that nowadays there are water bars serving different sparkling waters from different parts of the world, and that there are suggested pairings for food! Oh my, what marketing can do!

For me, Europe means fizzy water and it just doesn't taste the same anywhere else no matter how upscale the hotel or restaurant is. Maybe bottled water just doesn't travel well? :)

Las du Fallafel at the Marais



This place was right across the apartment. There are 2 or 3 other falafel places on this street, Rue de Rosier, but this one looked like the most popular one. There was always a line outside and we were told by our landlady that people came across town just to eat there. Of course we had to try it, and we finally did on our last night.

We didn't have the falafel but had the shawarma in sandwich form---they also had it in platter form--and it was really really good! It had lots of marinated veggies in it as well as eggplant. We didn't realize that their take out counter was still open (there was no more line) and could've gotten the same thing for 2 euros less. We could've had it at home! But then again it was nice to sit and relax, and then right after dinner, walk a few steps (well not a a few steps, because the apartment is on the 2nd floor, which is the 3rd floor for us!) home.

It was really good--I still think of that shawarma now!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Fell in Love in Paris...


furniture lights paris 2010 - 27, originally uploaded by mvpl2.
WIth this beautiful chandelier! Actually found 3 I really liked but this one on the right is the one I had in my mind. If I could only figure out how to get it packed and shipped home.

There are really no bargains at the flea market in Paris. Everything is expensive, or should I say, a do-able price for an end-user. I"m still computing it it's viable to have a business with the flea market as a source--the landed costs wouldn't make sense--or would make sense to a very few people with a lot of money. SO not really a good business proposition.

Paris was too cold this march--it was 27 F (or -2 C!!) degrees during the day--much too cold to be a the flea market, but that's what I did two days in a row since the visit was over a weekend. There will be other times to explore the rest of the city next time when the weather is better.

I want this chandelier! Come to me! (next..but where will I hang it!)

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