It was over three years ago.
I know it was in the early days of our business.
In those days we were buying furniture with wild abandon. Looking back, I realize that was a smart move because as the business has grown, we’ve had less and less time to shop.
Anyway, one of the first pieces we ever purchased was a small vintage server that we both thought had a slightly Asian vibe. We added it to our warehouse inventory, assigned it an item number, and next to the number, we wrote “Small Asian Server.”
Its fate was sealed.
The piece was Asian.
Over the years, the Small Asian Server got buried deeper and deeper into the back of the warehouse.
Every few months we would spot it as we were digging around to pull out another piece and one of us would usually say something like “I forgot we had that piece, we should do something with it.”
Now and then one of us would see something – a great image for decoupage, a color combination, or a hand painted design – that had a slightly Asian vibe and one of us would suggest a finish for the Small Asian Server, to which the other one of us would usually reply “what Small Asian Server?”
Three weeks ago, Paul proclaimed that he had an idea for the Small Asian Server.
I looked at him quizzically. He made some gestures to indicate the height and width.
The quizzical look was still on my face so he continued by saying “you know, that piece we always forget about.”
“Ahhh, yes, the Small Asian Server……I forgot we had that.”
Then Paul started to describe his idea.
The shape was boxy so it was pretty much a blank canvas for a really great graphic. It also had gold detail outlining the drawers on the face and he would incorporate that, too.
Paul said he wanted to paint an image on the front, something oversized and colorful. I got very excited about the idea so he started digging around in the stencil drawer and pulled out a giant zinnia.
I must’ve looked a little underwhelmed because he quickly added “it doesn’t have to be this, but something LIKE this...something BIG” I explained that I thought flowers were a little overdone but I knew what he meant, he wanted something that made a statement.
A little more brainstorming ensued and finally Paul said “paisley!”
“That’s not Asian.” I said.
He looked at me as if I was 3 steps behind.
“It doesn’t HAVE to be Asian, we called it Asian, but it can be anything we want.
Ah-ha! What a radical concept!
So, in that moment I said good bye to the Small Asian Server and hello to what we would start referring to as The Paisley Piece.
I watched him begin painting. He had a vision, and off he went, lost in his design.
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer in the 1700’s and he said “There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.”
I guess now we’ll need another Asian piece.
As I was writing this piece, Annie Sloan featured it on her Facebook page! We were so proud!
'Where age-old design meets 21st Century cool' is the motto of my stockist in Bordertown, New Jersey, Soldier58, and this perfect paisley piece just sums it up!
Click here if you'd like to see the original post. While you're there, "like' her page, it's a fun and inspirational page to follow!
We're Paul and Johanna and we write about our life in the furniture business. The things we love, the places we go, and the treasures we find along the way.