Sunday, January 10, 2010


The furniture piece in the corner-- our "Chinese Bar"--we call it.  It came to me from my grandparents;  I have memories of it in the dim semi-basement room of their DC split-level that my grandfather used as an office.  A collection of samauri swords-- three and four feet long-- with silk tassels and ornate carved handles used to hang above it.  We have a mirror my dad and I made from a pattern we "borrowed" from Martha about 15 years ago (man, I'm getting old.  I was in college when we did that...)

My grandfather was an honest to goodness spy.  Career military, he worked in intelligence during all of the major US conflicts from WWII to the Korean War.  He was a wonderful man--  he looked just exactly like Telly Sevalas-- and lived by a system of organization the likes of which I've still never seen. ( I wish I had him to help me with my books!)

Our bar is stocked with all these amazing linens and barware and crystal my grandmother collected.  I love the fact that there was a NEED to have 27 different patterns of embroidered coasters-- makes me want to have more cocktail parties.  The bar itself is a piece my grandfather had comissioned in Tokoyo sometime in the mid 1940's.  He worked in General MacArthur's "war room" and the piece is made from the officer's desks that he had taken apart to use for materials.  The fittings are all delicately etched brass.  Does anybody know if it's ok to clean this?  I'm never sure what the rule on "patina" is.

The entire piece is lacquered-- anybody know how to clean lacquer?  I have no idea!  The entire piece, when it's all opened up, is pretty huge-- around 5 feet long.  We don't open it for parties very often-- we invite all our friends' kids to the parties, and we would end up with a big, sparkling pile of glass if  we did that! 

Thanks for looking-- I'm hoping that there will be some Hoot Baby to show you in the next coupla days!


Joy said...

What a great story, Melissa! Now we need to get a sitter and have a party. :) Love all the different barware, but then we have 40 glasses that don't match each other so what do I know. Can't wait to see what's up w/Hoot Baby!

paula said...

It's a beautiful piece. My "cousin" Betty was a spy too and lived in DC along with every where else in the world. She was much older than I so assume she was really my grandmother's cousin.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful conversation piece! Such a lovely piece of furniture with a rich history.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I love the idea of embroidered coasters -- and lots of them. I have lots of my grandmothers old linens and wouldn't part with them for anything. They're too precious -- so I can relate.