We love it when we are able to collaborate with interior designers to help them find the right piece/s for a project they are working on, there’s so much satisfaction for us and our clients to know someone who is considered a professional tastemaker is interested in recycling their long loved possessions. Because few of us out there can afford to work with an interior designer we’re thrilled to know that estate sales can really level the playing field for people to own designer quality home furnishings and décor. Still some of us struggle with transforming our homes into designer abodes…
We were lucky enough to spend a few moments talking with the creative force, Judith Lance, a Los Angeles based designer with impeccable taste and style. Judith’s international experience in fashion and interior design has instilled in her a unique aesthetic and cultural range that continues to be the basis for her passion for the decorative and domestic arts. May this interview inspire you!
Can you tell us a little about your background? I was born in Tokyo and grew up in Tokyo and Manila. I spent my high school in schools in Hawaii, Arizona and Los Angeles.
How did you get started as an interior designer? The interior designer, Bill Sofield, approached me to work with him. I did not have formal training and had previously been in the fashion industry, my last position being with Valentino Garavani.
Judging from your online portfolio you’ve had the opportunity to design some pretty drool worthy spaces – is there any one thing that you’ve designed that you wish you could’ve just moved right into? Not really, they were all designed specifically for each client’s requirements and vision, though the closet I could say that would apply would be the project 1 on my website….with some modifications, of course!
It seems like you use a lot of soothing neutral colors and natural elements in your designs and keep things modern with pops of color in the textiles – What other design tricks do you use to keep your designs timeless but fun and interesting? For fun and interesting: There is much focus placed on upholstery details, well-chosen objects. For timeless: Emphasis is placed on addressing the bones of the room that allows for thoughtful furniture plans, traffic flow and appropriate storage and millwork.
So many of your designs feature interesting furniture pieces and decorative art – where do you find such awesome stuff? So many places; dealers, antique stores and many in-house designed furniture and objects made by our fabricators for us.
Does a lot of it come from your husband’s store, Dana John? Only when appropriate to the project.
Do you have a favorite resource, online or brick-and-mortar, other than Dana John,that is your go to resource when sourcing items for a project? 1stdibs is the go to place to shop decoratively.
Can you tell where you find inspiration for your design projects? From my clients, the given architecture and where my aesthetic interest happen to be at the time.
Like anything design is cyclical and mid-Century design is all the rage right now, what do you think will be the next design style to become popular will be? Mid-century means different things to different people, as does the word modern. For me modern encompasses the period, primarily though not exclusively, from the 1920’s – through today. For some it means the period of the 1960’2 – 1960’s Eames / Knoll California modern. That said, traditional interior design is alive and well, though mixed in with “modern” pieces. And are you seeing any movement in that direction now? I think the goal going forward is towards comfort, not overly aggressive design or “themes”, more sophistication in the mix.
Your home must have so many mouth-watering decorative pieces. Give us a little taste of what’s behind the doors of your personal residence. Vintage paintings and prints with custom frames, lots of vintage light fixtures slowly collected over the years, thoughtfully designed upholstery in rich fabrics, a garden we designed with 85 topiary plants.
Any parting words? We relate to the world around us through our eyes and happily find much to entertain us in both the humble and extravagant.
I was recently introduced to a local (Ventura, CA) artist who creates the most whimsical mobiles. Right, like those things hanging above a babies crib that are supposed enliven their senses. Noah pointed out to me that a typical mobile you might purchase for a friends baby is designed for an adult walking into the room, not so much for the baby lying below it. Essentially what you get is a baby “looking at bears butt”. So true Noah!!
What Noah creates are works of art designed to enliven the senses. More than just a mobile that hangs gracefully above a crib these are investment pieces that can function in any part of the home. I’ve heard he’s working on one that spreads 8′ wide, I imagine this would be a spectacular piece in a retail environment and would love to actually see this massive piece hang above me.
Noah’s mobiles are made of light-weight materials like feathers and rice paper, and they are designed to change with the slightest breeze. It’s truly spectacular how they are balanced with such grace. To purchase visit Noah’s shop page, there are only four mobiles featured but I hear he has more to chose from. Or you could contact Noah directly and he’ll custom make something full of all kinds of sentimentality just for you.
Our very own Stacy Browner is here to share with you the best way to clean jewelry – it just so happens it’s eco-friendly too! Stacy is the owner of not one but two jewelry oriented Etsy shops, Chickie Vintage Love and Blanche. She’s also the Succor Estate Sales jewelry expert and she’s here to share with you an eco-friendly and totally easy way to spiff up that dingy jewelry you found for a bargain. Without further ado…
Vintage jewelry is my passion – I love finding it at estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores – basically wherever I can find vintage or antique jewelry for a steal I will. But a good bargain usually means it’s tarnished and in need of a little TLC. I’ve tried method after method for cleaning my estate jewelry and this eco-friendly cleaning tip is by far my favorite. It works wonders on metals such as gold, silver, copper and brass, (it’s even safe to use on gemstones or pearls), without using harsh, smelly abrasives.
Here’s what you need: a small bowl, tin foil, baking soda, boiling water, a towel and a toothbrush
Line a bowl with tin foil – it doesn’t matter what kind of bowl you use, this mixture is totally safe.
Add baking soda to the bowl – there is no ratio of water to baking soda, you’ll need to feel it out for each piece of jewelry you have.
Add boiling hot water to the baking soda and stir.
Immediately add the jewelry you are cleaning and use your toothbrush to clean in the crevices – you can work on several pieces at a time.
Soak, rinse and towel dry
*Depending on how tarnished the item is, or how many you are cleaning at the same time, you may have to repeat the process or leave in the solution a little longer.
*After the first few times you will get the mix right based on what you are cleaning.
*It is always wise to test a small area, until you get the hang of it, but trust me you will.
Bringing a dingy treasure back to life is a very satisfying experience and you’ll be shocked at how easily you see results.
- Stacy Browner
I am an estate sale lady. This means I love estate sales, but it also means my job is to produce them and it is to my benefit (and yours), especially if you’re an LA native, that you gain an appreciation for shopping estate sales. Here’s hoping I’m convincing!
Think about everything inside a home, in the cupboards, on the floor, in the closets, . From linens and china, couture clothing and designer handbags, to antique and modern furniture, and all kinds of home décor. And it’s not just grandma’s old stuff (though grandma’s had style too!), some people are moving or simply redecorating.
And the best part is that its sold as a bargain… That Le Corbusier dining table you were drooling over at DWR, you might be able to find it for less than 50% off retail. That vacuum cleaner you just bought at Bed Bath & Beyond, you could’ve bought it last month for a fraction of the price.
Here’s a little tip – bargain! Estate sales usually last three days, Friday – Sunday, go on the second or third day and make an offer. Not everyone will negotiate with you but most everyone will take your offer back to their client if the item doesn’t sell for what they’re asking.
By now you’re probably thinking this sounds a lot like a garage sale. It is. It’s like a garage sales older more refined sibling, where you’re going to find a lot more than closet cast-offs. Where everything is clean, priced, and presented with respect.
And for your inner voyeur it all takes place inside someone’s home. In LA that means access to some fantastic estates that you might normally see only from the outside. Estate sales grant you the freedom to roam and in the most innocent way, to root through peoples lives.
A tad late in the game this post comes with only three days left of the “Mega-Monumental Garage Sale” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As of November 17th the museum has opened it’s doors to hoards of second-hand shoppers looking for a bargain and a piece of history – this likely marks the first time a museum has sold piece-by-piece it’s exhibition. All items were donated by the conceptual artist, Martha Rosler, the museum, and the general public.
Visit the museum before this rare event is over on November 30th.