Favorite Things

I’ve told this story before: I said “that’s my favorite thing” so often that, one day, a friend said
“oh, Steph, EVERYTHING is your favorite thing!”  I guess it is so: I like a lot. So here are a few
of them:
Glass girls…
A grey cupboard full of white stuff. May I have that back, please?
1930s homemade tinfoil birds, glittered for the Christmas tree…..
Pretty clock faces…..
Old homespun linen, gathered in the corner of a daybed cushion…..
Tiny leather diaries, meticulously documenting one man’s life through the 1930 and 40s……
Leather books, old European paintings and (always) sheep…..
A country store counter-turned-sideboard full of things that I love…..
A barn vent, stunning with its remnants of white paint…..
A hand painted (by me) trunk and a spotted tin horse…..
Letters made of mirrors on a shocking blue board…..
A zinc architectural piece, the best one I’ve ever had…..
A navy blue basket full of navy and cream coverlets…..
A wooden processional piece from the flea market in Tongeren, Belgium…..
A pot metal bird…..
A navy corner cupboard with a hoop skirt form as a wreath…..
More leather books and European paintings…..
Which is the best? Could I ever pick just one? Some of the items in these photos were sold at
The Hudson Mercantile but  I still think of them lovingly from time to time. Most, though,
I have kept. As my eye sweeps back over these pictures, I know my friend was right. Everything
IS my favorite.

There’s Just Something About The Way They Look

People ask me all the time how I choose what to buy for my store. There are always

certain pieces that sell well for me: cupboards, tables, daybeds and interesting

accessories. But why this old wooden industrial drum?

It certainly wasn’t an easy piece to load and as more things were added to the trailer,
the decisions about how to get it all on became more serious.  The long trip home was
accomplished at a slow crawl, with constant stops to correct load shift and tighten straps.
Fortunately, this sweet, fat hitchhiker was spotted before we hit the road. I would
not have minded at all, though, if he ended up at my house.
And, why all the old car fronts?
Below, the  1930s Dodge Rum Runner…as evidenced by its bullet holes…is an all-time favorite of mine…
And the old, fabulously-patinaed truck doors…
A 70s Volkswagen Bug trunk with a nicely color-coordinated license plate…
What about this one with its cool Cuban license plate?
A refrigerated rail road door…
Why this table, with its divine storm of colors?
Or this one, in shocking orange?
And speaking of color…
Below, the long, bleached out tavern table (wonderfully lacking in color and a perfect match for the
practice balls in the box beneath it) was something I wished I had room for at home…
So, why do I buy these things?
There is something about the way they look that makes my heart sing. I know that this is my intuition
speaking, reminding me that if I love it, so will someone else. Happily, my intuition has never steered
me wrong.
Most items pictured above are/were in  The Hudson Mercantile.

Just Perfect

I like things to be in order. Dramatic is good, chaotic is not. This counter is symmetrical:

drawers, doors, drawers. On top are display cases, one, two, three. Behind are factory

molds, all in a row and just the width of the counter. Nice!

A row of French baskets on a bench…

Verticals and horizontals in perfect harmony…
Straight farm-implement shelves displaying license plate frames: one on one,
no more, no less.
But, wait! What’s this? What happened to symmetry? Harmony? Everything in its
place?
I guess a laughing friend, keeping warm under a grain sack at an early morning
flea market is as perfect as it gets.
All but my cozy friend were in The Hudson Mercantile.

Word!

When I look at photos from The Hudson Mercantile, I spot themes that continue
from one year to the next. Things with writing on them have always struck my fancy and
the pair of factory doors, the men’s department door, the ice bag and the Hudson’s Soap
doggy dish are no exceptions. I don’t know if it is because I really love to read and write
words or if there is something about the visual effect of them that pleases me so much.
These packages, books shipped in the 1940s, which sat, unopened til now in a warehouse in
Chicago, were just too good to pass up. The waxed brown paper, creamy twine, the old
stamps and…again!…the writing. On either side of the books are a toss game and a parade
banner. More words! Do other people notice that they are everywhere?
A close up of the beautiful penmanship…..
I guess I wouldn’t have been so enthralled with this folksy cupboard without its assertion
to “Keep Out”!
I had two of these “Old Home Day” banners (below), one for upholstering the back of a sofa,
the other to sell “as is”. The banners always made me think of childhood picnics, fireflies
and dropping off the tire swing over the river that ran through my parent’s friend’s place
in the country.
The European rail road signs (below) let us know what to do using symbols
rather than words. That’s a good thing in a situation where many different
languages are spoken. But, while I love them and think they are fun, they
don’t do it for me the way the contractor’s sign behind them does.
Words have a power over us, they tell us what to do and where to go. They
inform us and make us feel. As soon as I was born, my mother started reading
to me. Maybe when I see words now, something deep within me remembers
gazing upon the pages as I listened to her magical voice. It’s something to think
about anyway.

New For The New Year

The new year is always an exciting time and, for me,  2014 will bring a new name, two new

stores and so much fun that I can hardly keep still.  After four very happy years at the Hudson

Supermarket, I will be moving on to a new adventure in Hudson:  The Hudson Mercantile. We

will have two fantastic stores, one located in a huge old warehouse, seen below in a “before”

picture. The warehouse will be ready to open in April-May, 2014.

The other,  a traditional shopfront at 318 Warren Street, opened January 1, 2014.

Both Hudson Mercantile locations will be home to a wonderful mix of dealers, all

dedicated to offering the coolest furnishings around. We all hope that you will love

the new stores as much as we do.

 

 

 

 

 

A Room For A Reindeer

 

It is no surprise that I am crazy about German grain sacks. And even though

I no longer import them in the huge quantities of a few years ago, I sometimes

can’t resist making a purchase.  The hand-drawn reindeer on the grain sack

(below) is a recent acquisition that is so special that I have named a room after

him! Alfred’s Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He belonged to, and was named by, my dear friend, Karin, a German antique

dealer who lives in France and writes the most charming blog, found here:

http://lapouyette-unddiedingedeslebens.blogspot.com

I have this little room in the old 1790s part of my house that never quite got to

be anything but a dumping ground for all the things that had nowhere else

to go.  When Karin agreed to sell me Alfred, this treasured sack from her

homeland, I knew that it required a place worthy of such  kindness and I got

busy making a room ready for his arrival.

I brought in other reindeer.

Including a favorite painting by my great friend, Jennifer Lanne

(www.jenniferlanne.com)

Made some grain sack curtains, all sporting reindeer, natch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked out the window one snowy day and realized that the lovely bare winter branches

looked like antlers! Even nature was cooperating in creating a warm welcome for Alfred.

For now Alfred is draped over my little fireside bench.

The bench is upholstered with a Swedish drop cloth from the

1800s and is full of the most beautiful old hand-worked repairs.

 

My coffee table is a Swedish sailor’s trunk. It is wood, covered

in grey canvas. There is a wonderful brass label on the top…

But, best of all, is the hand-written inventory label on the inside. While I have been

assured that Swedish is easy to learn, I am content, for now, to just imagine what

this pretty thing says.

Whenever I am doing a new room, I run around the house gathering

favorite things. This Victorian pillow is perfect for a reindeer’s room.

This one had to come, too.

 

A southwestern corner shelf, Vischy baskets, more animals and,

of course, books.

Who’s to say why some things please us so? Colors, shapes, words or maybe just

some long-forgotten memories trigger our senses.

The group below includes a tole box (on the left) that my mother painted

back in the 1970s. During that same period of time, my parents gave me the

oval lunch box on the top of the pile of document boxes. It was my first piece

in old paint and I still love it…and old paint, as much as I did then.

My oldest grain sack. Sigh.

I have had this chair for a million years. It is surprisingly comfortable

and, along with my bench,  allows me to entertain a friend  in my

new room. I hope someday that friend will be Karin!

There are all kinds of things I could do with my new reindeer

grain sack.  A  jacket, a bed cover, anything would be fun.

But for now, I am happy, whiling away some time in Alfred’s

room, looking at his funny little face, thinking of Germany and

wondering what treasures Karin is out there finding right now!

For things like these, please visit us at The Hudson Mercantile.

What’s New In The Hudson Supermarket?

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MORE SPACE = MORE FUN.
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That’s what I keep telling myself as I gobble up more and more space in the world’s
most super market, the Hudson Supermarket.
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I love it here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
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And even though I have just added on again, I still look past my now-very-long run
of booths and see how much more stuff I could put in here if I only had just another
30 or 100 feet.
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I could have more factory cart furniture. I’ve been making upholstered seating from
carts for more than 10 years and I never get tired of them. I don’t have one myself
because I  have to replace these faster than I can have the upholstery completed. But,
someday….
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I could have more chickens!

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And, more of the world’s largest flags.
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More French chaises. This one is upholstered in a vintage heavy linen, embroidered
French sheet, natch.
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There would be room for more deconstructed American chaises. This one
started out as a fainting couch…covered in that  fancy-schmancy shiny stuff,
stuffed with uncomfortable horsehair. It had one of those upholstered curved
things (to keep fair maidens from toppling as they fainted dead away, I
suppose) along what is now just an open side. The thick, hand woven linen
and piles of down invite cat naps and other activities that don’t necessarily
require passing out.
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And, another few Frenchy day dream daybeds.
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I designed the pair of fireside benches (the frames are built from the ground
up) and had them upholstered in the most beautiful ca 1900 Swedish drop
cloth material, complete with all the markings and fantastic hand worked
repairs and patches.
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They’ve already been copied by a well-known retailer. Whom I shall not
name.
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Their mass-produced fabric is unusual and really wonderful.
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But not as nice as mine!
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The 1930s steamer chair is upholstered in the last of the drop cloth material.
The grommets, old rope and other parts of the drop cloths are left intact and
look  incredible….so there, big international retailer!
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I really like small stuff, but only if it is old and different from the run of the
mill things that are everywhere. These jars, new-old stock with wonderful
labels, are sure to be reproduced and will show up in a retail store near you
very soon!
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These fabric sample books, ranging from 1887 to 1912, are loaded with
pieces of wool and the most wonderful old hand-written notations and
labels. They are real treasures and are hard for me, a lover of textiles, to
let go. The wavy pages of the book in the middle of the table is like art to
me and, thus, even though it is the newest, is my favorite.
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Other textiles, samples of linen and cotton duck.
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And an old artist’s apron.
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Piles and piles of old bags…
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of all different kinds.
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I have dozens of old Swiss Army bread bags, perfect for slinging
over a shoulder. The leather loops were meant to hang on the handles
of a bicycle.
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Canvas of all kinds gives me a thrill! The thermos cover is full of buckles
and ties and do-dads, including the owner’s initials.
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In a departure from my mostly masculine look, I couldn’t resist a load of pretty
1920s-40s lingerie and jewelry bags from a stone house in Vermont.
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Old advertising, there’s nothing like it anymore. Here, a heavy paper
electric light! I wonder if anyone really believed that the Easy Washer
and the Easy Ironer were  easy?
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 A 1950s paint bucket! I love the embossed numbers and the
happy housewife.
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Even old oil cans looked better back then.
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The window at my post office is nowhere near as good looking as this one
with its gilded lettering, patterned glass and lack of junk mail.
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I have a hundred cultivator parts that make perfect little shelves now that
their farmer has gone modern. The 1937 orange paper “license plates” in
the chrome holders are fillers, merely meant to show how they would look
on a brand new Chevy.
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A see-saw turned bench. Something fun for a front porch.
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A pair of 1800s iron rabbits.
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And a mid century papier mache panda.  Animals. Still the loves of my life.
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But, best of all, paintings by my friend and the greatest living artist,

Jennifer Lanne (JenniferLanne.com). This 6 foot x 6 foot depiction

of country life is the way we would all like it to be.  As much as I would

like to keep it for myself, I have it on 1st Dibs for all the world to see.

(1stdibs.com  >   click “Hudson” in the “Cities” column on the right  >

type “Stephanie Lloyd” in “keyword search” on left.

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I think this one is my favorite with its farm animals, barn, baskets and view.
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But what about this one? The color! The sheep! Is that a Swedish drop cloth
I see on the chair? Picking a favorite is hard for all of us. We really just want
it all. In the end, I guess it comes down to space. We always need just that
extra 30 or 100 extra feet.
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All photos and written materials are the legal property of Stephanie Lloyd
and Stephanie Lloyd At The Hudson Supermarket.  Please do not copy,
reproduce or in any way use without express written permission.

‘Cause Doesn’t Everybody Need A Price Tag Room?

I think that deep down, no matter how lackadaisical we might be, we all
really crave organization. It just feels better when everything is in its place,
when the scissors are in the drawer where we need them, when the car keys
are there when we’re ready to roll.
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Even more, many of us want special places for doing the things that give us
pleasure: a place to wrap presents or to paint. And, in truth, we are so
affected by our surroundings, that we  experience a better time in spaces that look
nice than we do in chaos. Who wants to do laundry squeezed into the corner of a
damp basement when an attractive, sunny place would be so much more appealing?
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Trends come and go but the most interesting and, to me, astounding one a few
years ago was the advent of Costco Rooms. These large, expensive additions were
purely for stockpiling purchases made at the discount store, Costco. I still find it hard
to believe that the savings gained by the bulk purchase of discounted paper towels
would ever off set the price of the room itself.
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However, my own recent brainstorm for using a small barely-seen room in
my house has made me see that maybe I was too quick to scoff at the Costco Room.
For I am now the happy owner of a Price Tag Room…..
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Tucked in a cranny, under beams in the 1790 part of our farmhouse, the space has
been an unused bedroom, an unused sitting room and an unused writing room in our
time. One day while I was dragging my price tag bag around the house, trying to
decide where I should set myself up, I got the idea that this nice little room was the
perfect place to be. All I had to do was find a perfect table in the barn and I’d be ready
to go. Everything else was already there: an old wicker waste basket, decorated with
papier mache swags and fruit, paintings and other decor that I love.
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Store display cow heads, organ pipes with the most amazing patina. Beams!
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A commodious and oh-so-comfortable English wing chair…
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The walls were painted a few years ago to look like a forest by my friend, artist Jennifer
Lanne.  They are covered wall-to-wall with my favorite paintings of farm animals…
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Below, a study from Sweden…
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And this sweet-looking trio…
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But, what is going on here? Where are these barnyard friends going by the light of the

moon? Are they off to a seaside vacation? A night on the town? They say every picture

tells a story but this one, delightfully, leaves me with many questions left unanswered.

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Below, a farm wife in a blue apron pours fresh cool water for her pretty girls. I
place myself in her wooden shoes and feel the joy of her spectacular surroundings.
I know it is work! But just look at the expression on her face! She is providing something
nice for those who provide for her. While wearing cool clothing! All that beauty just
has to make her day brighter.
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Below, all is primitive and perfect, from the ladder leaning on a thatched roof to the
chickens enjoying breakfast in the sun.  Someday, when I become a painter, I want
to be just like this artist who (imagining two suns or just not planning ahead), cast
shadows from the trees and from the ladder from two different angles.
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Cows in art are always wandering down country lanes.
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Wandering down lanes. Drinking cool water. Eating fresh green grass.
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In beautiful places.
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Places we would like to be ourselves.
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It all seems so wholesome, so simple, so easy.
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So peaceful.
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Is it any wonder that century after century artists want to paint these scenes and
we want to own them? They make us feel so good.
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What else makes me feel good? Sitting at my desk, looking at this fabulous
6 foot x 6 foot painting (below), another by Jennifer Lanne. I asked her to paint me
something with a bookcase and a chair. She knows me well so there’s no need
to say more. There are two paintings within this painting: one of sheep
on the middle shelf on the left side of the bookcase and the other a painted
pillow on the chair (the pillow’s scene is hard to see in this photo).
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And, of course, the reason for the room:  the price tags!
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I guess it begs the question, why a Price Tag Room?
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It all goes back to the price tags themselves. I have been in the antiques business
for many years and have always wanted my tags to be as unusual and interesting
as the pieces they represent.
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Just like the desire to have my surroundings be appealing, I want the work
I do to please me, to please my eye, to be fun for me and, hopefully, be fun
for the customers in the Hudson Supermarket where I have my public show
room. Writing price tags isn’t a chore for me. It is part of what makes me love
what I do. Having a perfect place to do this enhances the experience in ways I
didn’t expect when I decided to give myself this room.
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In the early years, I made price tags from photos and other printed paper
of heavy stock. There were old tattered hand-made linen maps, restaurant
receipts and anything else that caught my eye.
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When I started selling industrial furnishings, some of the private pickers with whom I had
developed relationships had items, such as the metal machine labels (pictured above),
which I couldn’t resist. I asked for more and now have such a huge collection that, even
if I never purchased another tag, I would be set for life! While a Sharpie does work on the
metal tags, a paper sticker on the back side does an even better job and looks nicer.
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The one above is my all-time favorite. I use it for pricing my most favorite pieces. It has
everything going for it… Money! Trouble! An old car! I just know the waving driver of
this 1940s dream car is having fun, maybe even looking for trouble. The speed lines
behind the car seem to prove me right. I don’t mind at all that I have to reinforce the
string hole. And speaking of string…
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The string is important, too! I use everything from heavy electrical wire to fat cotton fishing
line. The brown waxed twine is from France, the brown with pink at the bottom of the photo
has copper wire inside its cloth webbing. I match the string to the mood of the piece of furniture
and the tag. This is all very time consuming but so much more satisfying, for me, than
writing on the same old, same old, same old little white Office Max tag with its wimpy white
string.
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Storage is a key component of my happy life! Interesting containers make all the difference.
Which brings me right back to that Costco Room which, suddenly, doesn’t seem so weird,
after all!