Monday, July 30, 2012

A Very Special Family Member

This past weekend my husband went up to Virginia to help his grandparents pack up their house along with all his aunts and uncles. They are downsizing and were dividing up everything to all the kids. Matt's mom couldn't make it, so Matt was there in her place.

He brought back lots of great goodies.. it was like Christmas for me because, you probably know by now, I LOVE old things.

The most wonderful piece he brought back was this antique cabinet:

It's cliche, but it's true what they say, they don't make things like they used to. Look at these hand carved details:

This piece was purchased at an auction in 1935 by Matt's great-grandfather. This man was a very, very special man and I adore him even though I have never met him!

He was actually and artist, and get this, an interior designer! He designed the interiors of churches.

Here is something that is truly amazing (but really frustrating). His original portfolio is currently listed on eBay, and Matt's family has been trying to get the seller to give it back to the family but he/she won't. They say they will sell it to the family for $2,000. I am just appalled... it should be in the family, and these people just want to make money off of Matt's family. Very, very bad karma.

This man was so very talented. Check out these pictures from the listing:

The first picture are of rooms that he designed (I'm assuming since this is his portfolio). You can't see them too well, but from what I can see they are AMAZING!!!!! The second picture is final sketch of a stained glass window (on the left) and the real window (on the right).

I seriously cannot believe this man was the great-grandfather of my husband, I am so honored to be "in the family". My dreams of having an interior designer son are closer than I thought ;)

Matt also brought back some of his great-grandfather's paintings:

I am bringing these two to my framers THIS WEEK.. They are so beautiful, they need to be professional framed asap.

Anyway, back to the cabinet... this cabinet is very special to Matt's side of the family. Matt's mom claimed stake on it, but since they live in California, it's staying at our house until they move it out there. So I'm a very lucky girl to be able to "borrow" it :)

 I am planning to hang a large abstract painting (TBD) above the piece to offset it's ornate details. I also may be moving that chair that's sitting next to it (it needs to be upholstered anyway) and find a more modern chair.


  1. Gorgeous! Family heirlooms are the BEST kind of furniture! Can't wait to see those gorgeous watercolors framed and hanging in your home!!

  2. Bryn - the cabinet is gorg!  As for the portfolio - unless the great grandfather sold it, legally the family has a claim to it.  We went through a very similar situation with my great grandfather's war medals - the "seller" bought them from a man who great grandpa had asked to keep a few things.  When he passed, none of us knew that the guy kept his belongings and sold them.  Since he didn't have right to them, we were able to send a letter via our lawyers to return the items.  We paid a nominal fee for "storage" and got them back.  In total, took about 6 mos but it was worth it.....

  3. I am shocked that the seller of the portfolio would not return it to your family!  I wonder if ebay would intervene at all if they were contacted.  He was a talented man!  Beautiful pieces you all have inherited, Bryn.  Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a great legacy! Maybe if each reader chips in a dollar or two we could buy it back! Count me in! This might be a great item to donate to a design school's archives for safekeeping so future generations could enjoy it too. Goodluck!

  5. What a beautiful cabinet! I really like the addition of wood tones to the room :)

  6. That is a beautiful vintage cabinet! The detail of the wood work is amazing. 
    The paintings are amazing so well done. Are you planning to keep the color of the cabinet the same or will you be revamping it?

  7.  Oh no, I wouldn't dare touch it!! I've watched enough Antiques Roadshows to learn that if an antique is of high quality (like this one), it's very important to keep the original finish. Even if there is a lot of dirt you should never clean it, it's considered "patina" and should never be removed! (Again, this only applies to high quality antiques.. if it's just an average old piece of mass produced furniture then I am a huge fan of painting!)

  8.  Thank you, Courtney! We aren't sure how it ever got out of the family, so I don't know if we'll be able to go this route. But I'll relay the message, thank you!

  9. I can not believe that seller wont give the portfolio back- what an awful person.  And you are right, karma is a *&%*! I Hope you can get it back in the family soon!

  10. Bryn, I swear I have been to the winery in the first set of drawings.  It was in Germany and I need to look up the place, but the drawing your G-Pa in law is spot on. 

  11. TheLittleBlackDoorJuly 31, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    What a special piece and a great story. I love things like that and I'm lucky to have some things like that from my family. Adds a great unique spin to a space.

  12. Oh, Bryn...the cabinet is beautiful!  Family treasures such as this are the best pieces you could ever add to your home, not because of their monetary value...but because of sentimental value.   When my grandparents downsized, I was given a "cupboard" (think breakfront caabinet) handmade by my great, great grandfather who had made it for his bride after arriving in the States.  How cool is that!?  Recently, I was given my grandfather's "tool cupboard"  (think shaker style cabinet)...he stored his tools in it.  It's greasy and dirty, but I'm refinishing it and plan to store quilts and linens in it.  Family pieces are the BEST.

    PS  I hope you're able to secure Matt's grandpa's portfolio.  It belongs with family.  Seriously bad karma will come to those whose greed surpasses right.

    tinab158 at hotmail dot com

  13. Megan Elizabeth JohnsonJuly 31, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    We should all message the seller of the portfolio!

  14. That is a good tip to know...keeping the original finish. Definitely going to remember this! Either way, the cabinet is a beautiful piece of work. Really hope your family will be able to get sir Floegel's portfolio back. Some people are just too money hungry and ignorant. Best of luck Bryn!!

  15. Beautiful paintings. Glad to see they will be treasured.  

  16. Love the cabinet! I bought something similar at Goodwill, but we're more mid-century modern in our house and I'm not sure what to do with it. Can't wait to see what you pair it up with!


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