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Antique Sale! Day 4: Ottoman Empire

For today’s sale I would like to offer a little treasure.

A Syrian Mother-of-Pearl Inlay Chair.

The Syrian Chair at my shop featured in Santa Barbara Magazine.
Even though currently Syria is a tragic war zone, it is steeped in a history that goes so far back it would make your head spin.
When Gracie was in elementary school and I was bored, I decided to go back to school. I enrolled myself at Santa Barbara City College in what I thought would be some fun classes. Boy was I right because not only were these classes fun but they were taught by some of the best professors I’ve ever had and I learned more in that one year of school than all of my years of my overpriced private education.

I signed myself up for all interior design classes… History of Furniture, drafting, lighting design, spatial design and a few others. I soon learned that I was terrible at drafting, kind of uninterested in lighting design, halfway interested in spatial design but boy, oh boy, that History of Furniture class just knocked me off my feet… It was love, pure love.

My professor of the History of Furniture class was a charismatic, fiery ginger and a brilliant architect who knew more about furniture and its origins than anyone I’ve ever met. To say that she was inspiring is an understatement. She was my mentor, my guru and probably my soulmate but here’s the funny thing… I can’t remember her name because I have ALS, a fun little brain disease which causes me to have selective memory. However, Prof. What’s Her Name started our year off with the first known piece of furniture all the way through the 1970s. Any furniture after that was honestly not worth mentioning, let alone studying.

Not surprisingly, I was teacher’s pet. I was on the edge of my seat every day, pen and paper in hand writing down every word that came out of her mouth. She not only taught about the physical piece of furniture but the story behind it and that to me was the most interesting. I also became completely obsessed with furniture descriptions… linen fold, tester, marquetry, parquetry, chinoiserie, fluting, arcading, lacquering, bombe, cabriolet, blah blah blah… I loved it all.


Prof. What's Her Name and I at the opening party of my shop, Circa.
One the pieces that we studied in class is the chair that I am offering today. I don’t know why but I kind of fell in love with this little chair. I loved the lines of this chair, the little mother-of-pearl inlay, the exoticism of it, and the fact that it was antique yet completely modern. I also love the fact that it had a place in any room, under any circumstances, with any decor.
When I was in France collecting for our shop I almost had a mini heart attack when I saw this little chair and its partner in a dealer’s booth. I knew I had to have them for our shop.

Like I always say, a beautiful home is a curated home. It’s always important to have just a little something that is unique and not the norm. I think a super chic place for this little chair would be in the bathroom next to a beautiful bathtub holding your 5 million threadcount towel, a Diptyque Baies candle and a bud vase holding a perfect David Austin rose from the garden.
Let's look at a little Syrian influence inspiration, shall we?

So without haste, let’s get to the details of this chair that I have for sale today…

Syrian Folding Chair with Mother-of-Pearl Inlay
Intricately Carved Middle Eastern folding chair. Inlaid with mother-of-pearl star pattern.

Price: $895
Place of Origin: Syria
Materials: Wood, Mother-Of-Pearl
Peroid: early 20th century
Condition: Very Nice Antique Condition
Wear: some minor loss to the inlay and slight stripping to the wood on the back (no big deal)
Height: 3’ 6  5/8 inch
Width: 1’ 7 3/8 inch
Seat depth: approximate 21 inches
Number of Items: 1
Location of Item: Los Angeles, California USA
Do not be alarmed by this chair, it is not delicate, in fact, it is quite sturdy. An elephant could sit in it and it would hold. :-)
Even though I think that I have it bad with my ALS, there are people who are worse off than me if you can believe it… People like the Syrian refugees. I may be paralyzed, have a 24 hour breathing machine, a feeding tube and a life expectancy of zero but at least I do not live in a tent as a refugee constantly worried if ISIS is going to come and steal my daughter and sell her off as a bride to some other ISIS idiot or be sprayed with chemical poisonous gas. So, I decided that a portion of the sale of this antique Syrian chair will go to a Syrian refugee charity. May I suggest you all do the same? There are many legitimate charities that will help the Syrian victims that you can choose from HERE.

So, this beautiful Syrian chair is the fourth item for the sale. If you have any questions, just email me at If you would like to purchase the chair, just email me at the same email address,, and put the title of the piece in the subject line. This is a first come first serve basis and I promise I will not play favorites (unless it’s Princess Caroline of Monaco… Obviously). You can pay with either PayPal or Wells Fargo Bank deposit. You can pick them up or arrange transport for them. If you need to ship them long-distance, I use a company called Vintage Transport.
Voilà! Stay tuned for Day 5 of the sale. Hint: “There is no exquisite beauty… Without some strangeness in its proportion.”-Edgar Allen Poe


  1. What a treasure !! I love folding chairs ... Would you like to help me decorate my home - how amazing would that be!

  2. Oh my, you are zipping right along - this is becoming like an auction! I didn't even get a chance to say how phenomenal the Swedish settee is and now we are already at something super duper rare and wonderful. When I first moved to France 14 years ago, you could still occasionally find these Syrian chairs (the dressers were already long gone) and how do I KICK myself for not buying them then? Because poof! No mas. And as you say, they work anywhere with anything and have that masculine/feminine thing going on...

    You really are doing a "Best Of" in the antiques world...just missing a massive chandelier! ;)
    Brava and much Love to you,

  3. It's quite exotic! What stories this chair could tell! It would make an interesting addition to a room. I like your idea of it beside a fabulous bath and giving a touch of Arabic mystery to the room.
    I'm loving your offerings and especially the stories behind each one! The nameless professor will probably jump into your memory at 1am, not leaving you alone until she is restored to you!
    Deborah - Melbourne, Australia

  4. I love these chairs!! Your price point is fantastic. xoxo Mary

  5. I love this type of furniture! It has the special knack for going well with most homes from Japanese zen tea house - saw one in a ryokan last year to classic Parisian Haussmann proportions. Love the folding aspect bc in most European living things need to be flexible too!

  6. As Mary says (and she knows her antiques!) this inlaid chair is precious! I love these complex and inspired inlaid furnishings. I hope someone snaps it right up!
    Take good care my friend!

    The Arts by Karena

  7. I would have DEVOURED THAT CLASS TOO!MY favorite class in college was ART HISTORY!
    OFF TO set up for the SHOW.REMNANTS of the PAST!Had to READ this FIRST!!!!!THis is REALLY fun..........XO

  8. Hi Ellie, what an interesting post. Love the chair, it would look fab in my bathroom. ;) Loved hearing about furthering your education when your daughter entered school and how much you loved your class. Perhaps your Prof. will find you again via your blog??

  9. You're a stunning woman Ellie.
    And you have exquisite taste x

  10. I don't have great taste, but I'm trying to educate myself. You have touched my heart with your great courage and that vulnerability. Like lots of others, I have fallen a bit in love with you and will keep you and your sweet family in my thoughts/prayers. Have you checked out LiLou Mace's web-site, good stuff there. The information you share with us is valuable, I will be making a donation. God Bless