Monday, July 20, 2009

2009 East Central Illinois Builders Showcase of Homes

The summer Showcase of Homes in the Champaign-Urbana area began this past Friday and continues through this weekend. This year it is located in the Liberty on the Lake subdivision in Savoy. We did a quick run through all six homes, but want to go back and do a more thorough examination, hopefully when it is less crowded.

Something different and exciting.

McGuire Custom Homes of Gibson City designed "The Abby" home with a metro feel that was a stark contrast to its more traditional exterior. Reds, blacks, grays, with glass tiles and chrome dominated the first floor color scheme. The lighting was superb, especially in the kitchen area.

Click here for the listing information. The pictures shown here came from their information sheet. It was difficult to use our camera with so many people roaming around. The company took a risk in this conservative community, but we thought the interior was a pleasant change from many of the carbon copy suburban homes surrounding it. We did think they could have been a bit riskier with the exterior too.

We bet the show favorite will be Timbercreek Development's "House for Kids' Sake." Part of the proceeds of the sale of this home will go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Champaign/Ford Counties. This home evoked a very comfy, family-friendly feeling. Jim Walder always pays attention to the little details and that's what makes his homes more attractive over similar competing traditional style homes.

The odd-ball home was "The Liberty Bell". The builders and decorators were bold using a dark blue as an exterior color, and multiple colored walls in the interior open floor plan. Personally, it just didn't work for us, but it did for someone, because that house is already sold.

Teal seemed a popular color with the decorators this year. It might be fine for walls and accessories, but we'd recommend staying away from that color when it comes to furnishings. Save your money. We believe its popularity will wane in a few short years, as it did in the late 1950's.

Our disappointments continue to be the same as previous shows. Lots in the subdivisions are small for these homes, and thus the garages and driveways must face the front. Three car garage doors and massive concrete take all the impact away from the front entries as far as we're concerned.

We also hate, hate, hate (and yes we mean to use the strong language) siding on exterior chimneys. Fake veneer brick would look better than vinyl or concrete siding. Or simply omit the chimney completely. Those new gas fireplaces don't even require them.

Our Marketing Award goes to Stefanie Pratt, listing agent for "The Stefani". Pictures of her were discretely hanging on many of the walls, as family portraits. Also, note the name of the home. Love that subliminal advertising!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thanks for being so patient!

It's been a year since our last post. Have you missed us? We hope so and we promise we'll make it worth your wait as we get back into our routine of thrice weekly postings. We'll also be making some improvements and additions to the blog over the next few weeks.

Many of you asked about our mystery warehouse and how you could purchase from us. We are working on a new website with on-line shopping and will provide a link as soon as it is completed. Since we have so many items that are only one of a kind in our inventory, it has been a large task getting pictures and descriptions on-line, but we're close to getting it done.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Unfortunately, 2 more closings

The Arcola Antique Mall, located in Amish-country Arcola, IL, has closed and will be selling merchandise and fixtures at auction on July 24.

The Peckham Gallery, located at 118 E University in Champaign, IL, has announced they are closing after 16 years in business. The Peckhams plan to concentrate on their estate sale and personal property appraisal businesses. The gallery, which was only open on select weekends each month, featured high quality furniture, glass, paintings, Oriental rugs and much, much more. Prices have been discounted up to 50%. We're really sorry to see them close.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Two more bite the dust

Mom and Pop antique stores are some of the places we liked to hunt for undiscovered bargains or unusual items. Unfortunately, like other small businesses, they are rapidly closing their doors.
Over the past five years it seems the antique market has slowed down significantly. There seems to be several causes: ease & low overhead of selling on eBay or other Internet sites, families retaining heirlooms (thanks to shows like Antiques Roadshow) resulting in lack of quality store inventories, and a general disinterest by most younger consumers.

Two area stores have/will be closing by the end of this month. Will E Makit, a well-established business on Rte. 9 in Gibson City, will close at the end of this month. Not only did they sell/consign antiques, they offered china repair, doll repair, and custom lamp shade services. The owner is retiring. Ruby's Glass in downtown Paxton has sold their building and is concentrating on internet sales. Although we felt their inventory was quite over-priced for the area, they had one of the largest antique/collectible glass selections in East Central Illinois.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Candlestick lamps

One of our favorite styles in table lamps are candlestick lamps. They never go out of style and they represent another design that goes well with many decors.

Of course they get their name from the shape of the base. Like their non-electric counterparts, candlestick lamps come in single and multiple arms. Quite often you will see tall single candlestick lamps on buffets and entry tables in the latest magazines.

We're a bit partial to multiple-armed designs.

The top lamp has three candlesticks that are affixed to a sold brass base with a tray-like appearance. The black fabric shade, lined in gold fabric, can be adjusted on the brass pole to provide different lighting ambiance by varying the height.

The bottom lamp is a solid brass candelabra base with three arms. The green fabric shade, like the black lamp, is lined with gold fabric.
Both lamps are approximately the same age and medium table top height. Can you guess which was purchased new for $250 and which was purchased at an auction for $3.00?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Reading Lamps

D. was on the lookout for a good reading lamp and found this solid brass floor lamp at a used furniture store in downtown Rantoul, IL - Family Discount Resale Shop.

The lamp was of excellent quality and condition. Height is adjustable from three to six feet.

The triangular lamp shade swivels 180 degrees and the entire lamp swivels 360 degrees.

The on/off switch also has a dimmer to adjust lighting.

We found this same fixture in an old Ethan Allen catalogue, described as a pharmacy reading lamp.
With all the extra features, like new condition and high quality construction, we felt this lamp was a great buy at $25.00.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Heartland Fashionista

Not only do we like fabulous homes, we like to entertain, so we'll also be including some great tips and bargains for entertaining in the heartland. After all, to be truly "in style" one needs to exude good taste in all aspects of life.

A few months ago we were in the midst of the holiday season and wanted a new dress to bring in the new year. One night only, special occasion dresses are not usually where we want to spend big dollars, unless, of course, it's a wedding day. We may not want to break the bank, but we do want to make a statement when we walk into a room at a party.

After scouring area consignment resale shops, we just couldn't find what we wanted in the right size or color, so eBay was the next logical step. Whether you're looking for special occasion or vintage clothing, there are so many listings on eBay that you're bound to find something that will catch your fancy.

We found and were the successful bidder on this very well made couture dress by Alyce Designs. For some reason it looked vaguely familiar. A few weeks later we discovered that Judith Light of "Who's the Boss" wore it in one of the episodes in which she was attending a party. We had rightly assumed it was probably from the 1980's.

However, we did like the coppery glitzy fabric and the mermaid fit at tea-length to show off a curvy figure. All the Hollywood starlets are still wearing mermaid dresses of some design.

The velvet top adorned with coppery sequins was warm for our winter weather, yet the plunging back allowed some skin to be revealed. Abundant netting under the flounce skirt helped keep the shape of the lower part of the dress.

Since the dress says it all, we simply added a few gold bangles around the wrist and tri-gold dangling earrings.

This special occasion dress cost us $30.00 plus $8.50 shipping/handling. The original cost was around $1000-1200. Good classic vintage clothes can put you in great style at very affordable prices. Sometimes you may need to alter them to make them more contemporary, but usually minor changes will make a big difference.