The Hurrider I Go the Behinder I Get and How it Pertains to Saguaro Cactus

Knoll Saguaro Cactus Wood Base Table with Slate Top by Lawrence Laske

Knoll Saguaro Cactus Wood Base Table with Slate Top by Lawrence Laske

Some days the hurrider I go the behinder I get!!!!

We have this table I want to list for sale on our website and, of course, on 1stdibs and subsequently, if it doesn’t sell right away, other sites (Chairish, eBay, Etsy) where we sell our vintage furniture and accessories. So, I’m just going to go through the process with you.

First, we need to make sure it is in the best condition possible for a vintage piece. That is John’s department. At my request he found the table in our showroom and began cleaning and looking it over. It had a teeny tiny little nick in the edge of the black slate top and some fingerprints etc. so he dutifully cleaned them gave a little sand to the natural stone top and filled the nick with some of the slate dust and epoxy. IT LOOKED BEAUTIFUL!!!!

We were really excited to photograph it because we had finally obtained some photography lights (rather than using some old work lights) and the first thing we wanted to photograph was this wonderful table. By the way, I know this table by sight it is an iconic 1993 Cactus Table designed by Lawrence Laske and produced by Knoll and ever so handsome and collectible. We photograph it. IT LOOKS AWFUL!!!!

I show John the photos and say “OMG! The new lights show up every sand mark in the slate top and the nick now stands out like a beacon in the night”! Back to the work table it goes. Then he really gives it a John restoration, 000 steel wool, exceptional attention to detail on the nick no it’s totally invisible, and nice coat of stone sealer to keep it looking that way. IT LOOKS STUNNING!!!

I finally get a time scheduled with my photographer friend who helps get me the awesome photos, at least most of them, you see on our website and this table is top on my list to photograph. She takes the photos of it from every angle making sure we photograph every square inch so online buyers can be sure of what they are getting. She photographs the label too because, of course, that is the documentation we need to show it is truly, as if this could ever be copied, a Knoll Cactus Table by Lawrence Laske. THE PHOTOS ARE BEAUTIFUL! THE TABLE LOOKS AWESOME!!

The photos get edited and resized and ready to put online. Tammy sends me a Facebook message they are in the file and ready to go and now it is my turn. I need to write the description, get the facts about it correct, make it sound wonderful, and be sure I have all the key words in the description so google can pull it up when someone is looking for one. Plus, make sure I have the measurements and weight so we can determine shipping costs. Piece of cake. I already know all about this table.

Then……….I get a message from my photographer………….I googled the tag on the bottom of the table she says……the tag says it’s a Toothpick Cactus Table not a Saguaro Cactus Table she says…….it looks like a Saguaro Cactus Table she says.  Oh! It’s a Saguaro Cactus Table, I say. But I look at the photo of the tag and………..sure enough the tag reads:  Lawrence Laske (signature) Toothpick Cactus Table KnollStudio 1993. WHAT!!!!????

So now we have come up with all these theories of how this table has the wrong tag.

  1. Bad day on the assembly line and someone put the wrong tag on the table.
  2. Someone purchased both a Toothpick Cactus Table and a Saguaro Cactus Table, liked the top from one better on the other and changed them. (the tag FYI is on the underside of the table top.)
  3. Someone purchased a Saguaro Cactus Table with a slate top, broke the slate top, requested a new top and received one from a Toothpick Cactus Table.
  4. Purchased the table, table didn’t have a tag, requested a tag, received the wrong one.

So now. Here I am ready to write but not sure how to explain. I search the web over. I read every article I can find about the Cactus Tables and Lawrence Laske (what an interesting and great designer he is by the way – I may have to write about him soon.) Making sure I know what I thought I knew. I place a call to KnollStudios…..left a message. And that’s where I am right now.

Knoll Cactus Collection of Tables 1993

Knoll Cactus Collection of Tables 1993

These are my dilemmas.

  1. Do I go ahead and write the description and tell all now?
  2. Do I wait to hear from Knoll? Will it make any difference?
  3. Does this make the table MORE valuable?
  4. Does this make the table LESS valuable?
  5. Does it really matter?

***Big Sigh***I think I’ll go ahead and list it. I hope it doesn’t make a difference. #Saguaro-not Saguaro #thehurriderigothebehinderiget

UPDATE: Heard back from Knoll………hmmmm? Somebody must have used the wrong tag. (face palm!!!!)

The Mink is Mine!



When I was a kid the epitome of glamour and being dressed up was a mink stole. So, whenever my cousins or friends and I would play “dChris & Phil - Cigarette and all!ress-up” I always wanted to wear…. the mink stole. In fact, I remember I had a “fake” child-size one along with some plastic “high heels”.

This week I photographed and listed a 1950’s-60’s vintage mink stole on our website and 1stdibs. I learned a LOT researching to write the most accurate description I could. Here is what I learned.

Man has used animal fur to keep themselves warm for approximately 200,000 years. With the advent of animal rites fur wearing and hence fur clothing production slowed to a crawl in the late 20th century and we began wearing faux or synthetic fur. But, with our growing understanding of the fragility of our environment and making synthetic fur from fossil fuels we are again beginning to use naturally culled animal furs or farmed animal furs once again, understanding that they are renewable and biodegradable. Whether I agree with the use of new fur or not I’m not sure; but, I do feel we should honor the animal whose fur was used years ago by using the product made with it and not throwing it away. Therefore, I am reselling vintage furs.

Mink is almost entirely farmed ergo the name Ranch Mink. The underfur will be or should be dense, compact, and a little lighter in color and the guard hairs, or the upper fur will be or should be silky and of the same length. The color should be uniform and have a very lustrous sheen. The females are softer but smaller. A garment made with full skins is of higher quality than one made of pieces. In a high quality garment, you should not be able to see the separate pelts.

Now that you have had our course “mink 101” take a look at the vintage great mink stole we have listed on our website and watch for the coats we will be listing in the next several weeks.

1950's-60's Mink Stole by Berksons the House of Courtesy, Topeka, Ks

1950’s-60’s Mink Stole by Berksons the House of Courtesy, Topeka, Ks

As I said before, a mink garment was the epitome of glamour in the 1950’s-60’s and something most wives/women yearned for their husband/boyfriends to give them. It spoke of pure luxury and therefore was regarded highly meaning they, also, were held in high regard. I remember my mom had one…….I wonder where it is?????


Warehouse 414’s 10th Anniversary!!!

We have been open here at Warehouse 414 for 10 years.  And, I’m thinking the proverbial, “it just can’t be possible”!

Chris & John Profile @ Warehouse 414Go back a little over ten years to 2005. A friend told a friend, who happened to own the building that houses Warehouse 414 here at 414 SE 2nd St., that they should call us, Chris and John Grandmontagne, to give them some ideas on what they could do with their building. Well….. they called us…… and called us…. and called us to meet them there for advice.  After many tries, with both parties being extremely busy people, we connected one day and decided to meet at 414 SE 2nd right then. As we approached the building I thought “ooooo, this is a great building”. Then, as we walked in the open overhead garage door and I saw the inside, I sucked in a breath and exclaimed “I have to have this building”!  And that was that.  John says I didn’t leave us any bargaining power.

By 2005 we had been searching for a building like this one since 1989. We had taken some detours along the way that just hadn’t been quite right. In 1989 we opened our first little collectibles and architectural shop, Hot Deco-r, in the old Highland Crest Bowling Alley on SE 29th St. (it has since been torn down.) In 1993 we closed that shop, as we had purchased the old Seymour building at 120 SE Crane St. thinking we would open a shop in it. Well as fate or time or whatever would have it our interior design business began demanding all of our available time; and the shop… and artist studios… and loft living we had envisioned in the 120 Crane Street building, which, by the way, we had privately named “The River Gallery”, never came to fruition. We had taken a 13-year detour. All the while filling the 40,000 square feet of 120 SE Crane with treasures.

In June of 2006 we opened the doors of Warehouse 414 coming full circle with a high style collectible, vintage furniture and architectural salvage retail shop. A few months later we threw our hat into the ARTSConnect First Friday ARTWalk ring and became an art gallery as well. It’s been 10 years that feel like two or twenty depending on the day! We still love our building and hope to be here another 10 (or 2 or 20 depending on the day!!)!!!  Thanks for supporting us.  We love you all!!



Black & White Exhibit

Join us for the opening reception of “BLACK & WHITE” exhibit juried by Judith Sabatini, Barbara Walterman-Peters and Ye Wang. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary at Warehouse 414 with black & white art!  You will not want to miss this exhibit showcasing  talented local and surrounding area artists.

”Etheric Poem #3″
Digitally Manipulated Chemigram by Drew Douglas Simons

“Prairie Opulence Unveiled”, Clayboard Etching – Sandie Bayless

“Tavern Window”, Photography – Tom Stubbs

“Inside Fort Pickens”, Photography – Steven Stutzman

“Horn Sleeper”, Photography – Carol Yoho
“Tossed 1:1”, Monoprint/Collagraph – Patricia Nobo
“White on White”, Textile – Beverly Dodge Radefeld

“Lorenzo”, Photography – Bobbie LaNier

“Black & White Covered Jar”, Stoneware – Diane Horn
“Granddad”, Ink – Mary Bauer
“Warrior”, watercolor – Kathy Rotert
“Winter Morning Walk”, Photography – Dollie Williams

You can view the winning entries HERE AT THIS LINK!!


Bring your friends and join us this Friday during the ArtWalk!

JUNE 3 – 5:30-8:30pm

Located just east of 2nd & Madison at 414 SE Second St.
You can also view the exhibit during our regular business hours: Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sat – 11am-5:30pm

We have home décor, furniture, ART and so much more!!

414 se second st, topeka, ks



May 19-20: 9am – 5:30pm
May 21: 10am – 4pm

Warehouse 414, 414 SE 2nd ST • Downtown Topeka • just east of 2nd & Madison


We are having a multi-family estate sale here at Warehouse 414. You will not want to miss it!  It’s like a treasure hunt.

You know……….”one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  Of course I think that is why John and I are in this business.  We are treasure hunters.  And it’s not really to find the most expensive treasures but for us the most interesting.  Unfortunately, because of this, it takes us way more time to go through everything.  We both grew up doing this with our parents and fate, or God, put us together.  I question sometimes if that is a good thing or not since between the two of us NOTHING is trash!  We quit our “good paying” jobs to go into business for ourselves 27 years ago.  We will never be rich monetarily but we sure have had fun.  Currently we own a 40,000 square foot building (in addition to our Warehouse 414 building) that is FULL, in our opinion, of treasures.  A friend of ours once told a friend of his who he had brought by to take a look “John and Chris’ stuff is 70% trash and 30% treasure; of course everyone’s 70 and 30 percentages are different!”

Anyway, I digress.  What I really wanted to tell you about were the main contributors of this sale; Marlene and Ken Orr, longtime Topeka and Potwin residents.  We are going through 40 plus years of accumulation.  From jewelry to silver service, tools to old Atari games, books, books, books, books, leather, lace, china, crystal, and even a flying pig!  We also will have items left from a previous sale.  That particular sale contained mostly item previously belonging to the consignor’s grandparents and her grandfather just happened to be the Chief Medical Officer of the Panama Canal during the first part of the 20th century and they just happened to be friends with Ike and Mamie Eisenhower who just happened to visit them often so you may be buying dinnerware used by the Eisenhowers or a chair where Ike sat???? You just never know when you’re looking for treasurers.

Come shopping.  The sale starts Thursday May 19 at 9am and runs through May 21.  The exact hours are: Thursday May 19 and Friday May 20, 9am-5:30pm and Saturday May 21, 10am-4pm.  Saturday also happens to be HALF PRICE DAY!

We will be adding photos as time goes on!


BLACK & WHITE : Call for ART


The BLACK & WHITE 2016 exhibition : we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary at Warehouse 414 with black & white art! The exhibition of black and white will accept art in all mediums including monochromatic & sepia photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures and fiber textile art. One additional color may be included into the composition but it is not a requirement.

Entries accepted in any 2D and 3D medium. All entries must have wire hardware and ready to hang/display. Entry cards must be attached to back of all artwork and entrant’s name & info included at time of delivery.

A maximum of four (4) entries per artist may be submitted. Artists accepted will be notified by email. Early entries MUST BE HAND DELIVERED to Warehouse 414 by 5pm on Friday, May 10th and ALL entries received by May 17th for consideration.

Best of Show – $200
First Place – $150
Second Place – $100
Third Place – $50
Gallery Selection – $50

Download the 2016 CALL FOR ART Entry Form HERE
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EARLY ENTRY fees extended to Saturday MAY 14th!!
(…you can enter up to FOUR entries)

#1st Entry: early entry fee $20 by May 14th ($25 no later than May 17th)

#2nd Entry: early entry fee $10 by May 14th ($12.50 no later than May 17th)

#3rd Entry: early entry fee $10 by May 14th ($12.50 no later than May 17th)

#4th Entry: early entry fee $10 by May 14th ($12.50 no later than May 17th)

Judith Sabatini, darkroom processing photographer. With a focus on black & white and hand colored silver gelatin photographs. (artist’s statement)

Barbara Walterman-Peters, artist and owner of STUDIO 831 in NOTO.  Waterman-Peters taught at Washburn and Kansas State Universities as well as Lassen Community College in California.  She has shown regionally, nationally and internationally in over 250 solo, invitational and juried exhibitions. Currently, she writes about artists for TOPEKA and LAWRENCE Magazines. (full bio)

Ye Wang, Associate Professor of Painting at Washburn University in Topeka Kansas. He is a member of Chinese Watercolor Society, Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor and Kansas Watercolor Society.  (full bio)

May 10th – Early entries due
May 17th – ALL entries due
May 28th – Announcement of accepted entries
May 31st – Entries not accepted must be picked up by 5:30pm on or before this date. Call 785.232.8008 to schedule a time or anytime during business hours.
June 3rd – First Friday Opening Reception, 5:30-8:30pm
July 1st – First Friday Artwalk, 5:30-8:30pm
July 22nd – End of exhibit
Friday, July 22nd or Saturday, July 23rd at
Warehouse 414 (open 11am to 5:30pm)

414 se second st, topeka, ks



I really miss my mom and dad!!!

I’ve had a few times in my business life I’ve been really proud of myself. Right now is one of those times and I would love so much to be able to call my mom and dad and tell them!!! John and I, that is our business Warehouse 414, has been accepted to be a vendor on 1stdibs, visit my storefront at this link at: WAREHOUSE414 on 1stdibs

1stdibs: purveyors of The MOST beautiful things on earth! My parents would be so proud and all credit goes to them.

From the time I can remember my mom took me junkin’. She would load me up in her car, sometimes along with my sisters or Aunt Betty and her daughter, Trula, and off we would go. Stopping at every “junk store” and garage sale along the way searching for treasures. Many times we would only go as far as the local trash dump! We would stop midday wherever we were; go into a local grocery; and buy plain ole white bread, bologna (sometimes even liverwurst!), BBQ potato chips, bananas, and Oreos!! We then had lunch fit for a King! Most times we came home with great treasures like a nickel plated copper tea kettle that she then had stripped of the nickel and displayed proudly in her kitchen, or an old trunk that looked like it should be thrown away; but, by the time she was through with it, it beautifully stored her beloved family photos. Sometimes we only found a lonely old Mattel doll all battered and dirty that she cleaned up, named Mattie, and gave to my nephew who adored it! But even if we didn’t find a thing we had the time of our lives!

She taught me so many things. She taught me price doesn’t always mean good (or bad) quality. She taught me to look beyond a little dirt and dust. She taught me different is wonderful. She taught me to look at the construction and lines of things. She taught me to love the thrill of the hunt. She taught me to enjoy the adventure!  Thanks, mom. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And………. from the time I can remember my dad expected me to not only do my best but do better than my best! If I got an A on a test, he wanted to know why it wasn’t an A+. If I got the highest grade in the class on a test but missed one, he wanted to know why I missed that one. If I had the highest average of all the girls my age in bowling, he thought it should be a few points higher. His expectations were high but so were his rewards. He traveled most weeks for his job from Monday through Friday (hence why mom and I could go junkin’ so much! Ha!); but, without fail brought a treat home to say job well done. He was always, always there standing behind me.  When I wanted to quit my job and open our first little collectibles shop, Hot Déco.r, he was there to back me financially. He believed in me no matter what.

He taught me so many things. He taught me to strive for perfection. He taught me to try my best and reach for the stars. He taught me dedication. He taught me perseverance. He taught me $37.00 is a lot of money to waste (that’s another story in itself). Thanks, dad. I couldn’t have done it without you.

So, thanks mom and dad. I’m a vendor on 1stdibs. OMG!!! I’M A VENDOR ON 1ST DIBS!!!!!!!!

Visions of Right and Voices & Visions or #Howtomakechrisemotional#howtoblowchrisaway

VOICES & VISIONS Art Exhibit and Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble |

No words. No words at all. None. I’ve thought about this since viewing the dress rehearsal last night. All night. And all morning. It’s consumed me. I need to write this blog but the “right” (pardon the pun-or not!) words aren’t there. But here goes….

I’ve NEVER been so moved by theatre. Never. Our own Marcia Cebulska has written a play the likes of I’ve never read or heard. Her words and story are so profound. I’m in awe. Maybe, living in Topeka the subject matter is nearer and dearer to our hearts; but…. that isn’t the only reason it resonated in me. I believe anyone in the world can relate dealing with zealots…. and hate and love and loss and fear and pain and………!

That brings me to Darren Canady, our sweetheart of a director, our own Topeka son. Darren took me away. I had no idea where I was. And the passion he brought out in the actors! Wow! Just wow.

Finally, THE ACTORS!!! Well. I know each one of them personally and I DIDN’T recognize them last night!! They WERE Christina and Oz and Larry and Reverend Jones! I didn’t recognize them as the lovely Jesyca Rodenberg, the adorable Matt Briden, the handsome and awesome Craig Fisher and the big teddy bear and role model for many Scott Kickhaefer. I did not know them.

As you can tell I’m blown away!!! You must come see this show. Here is a link for Ad Astra Theatre tickets or call 785-409-3207. Performances begin tonight (the 17th) at 7:30p, again Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30p (doors open at 7p) and a matinee on Sunday at 2p (with doors open at 1:30p).

In addition to the four performances there are three special events happening. Tonight there is a Meet the Company Cocktail Reception immediately following the performance and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon following the performances are Panel discussions: Responding to Hate. The featured panelists are: Saturday-Dr. Harriet Lerner, Dr. Inge Hansen, and Professor Alan Bearman with moderator Tom Prasch; Sunday-Dr. Reinhild Janzen, Danielle Head, and Darren Canady with moderator Marguerite Perret. Please come meet the company and give them praise and join in the  discussions.

This is Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble’s 6th season. I’m proud to say they had their first performance here at Warehouse 414 in 2010. A friend sent Craig Fisher and some of his cohorts to see me saying maybe I would have a place they could have a play. Boy did I. They had their first here and at least one each season since. I love this ensemble of passionate players and presenters of plays! When I was young I would read about the artists who hung out together in Paris in the 1920’s and later in the 1950’s in New York and be so envious of those groups and associations. I would dream that someday I could be surrounded with that inspiration and talent. Well my dream did come true. I love it when they are here rehearsing and hanging out. My place crackles with excitement and creativity then and I’m in heaven.

The list of great performances they have given are wonderful. They are always striving to be on top of the theatre world and present thought-provoking and timely pieces or classic, fun and funny. If you are interested in donating your time or financially to Ad Astra please go to their website where you can learn more about those opportunities: .

Again, don’t miss this fabulous premier presentation of “Visions of Right”!!!



North, South, East and West the Past to the Future!

What do Laingsburn, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; and Los Angeles, California have in common?

They are the locations of our latest shipments of the past to the future from here at Warehouse 414. Either shipping out pieces of history that sell from our website or receiving pieces of history here, I love dealing in beautifully made and historic furnishings. I get to sell our pieces and learn about their new homes which is important to me as I’ve usually hand selected each piece for our shop and am in love with it in some way. So, to get to talk with the new owners is a special treat for me.

This wonderful vintage Mid Century Modern Yugoslavian day bed / sofa came directly out of the basement rec room where they were placed when purchased new. Great Danish modern style and the original coordinating fabrics are in excellent condition for their age.  $995  |

click to view listing

Going South to New Orleans is one of a pair of Yugoslavian daybed sofas we’ve had here which just sold to a young mother. Her new baby is just weeks old and she has found they didn’t have any comfortable places to sit so as she is nursing and cuddling her new one she is combing the web for stylish yet comfortable seating. I like to imagine the child and family as it grows sitting on the sofa and making memories together just as the previous family did for many years. When I acquired these sofas the previous family recounted the story of the original purchase and I got to hear their memories of when they brought it home and all the holidays it served them and hear the son reminisce of the teenage parties they saw and the many naps he took on them in their basement in the heat of summer! It pleases me to save the past and share it with the future.

He invited several people for dinner so he set ten places at his Bruno Mathsson Style Maria folding table. The doorbell rang and she was standing there looking sultry in a low cut red dress holding a bottle of fine wine. “It’s just you and me tonight baby” she whispered in his ear… In a matter of seconds his table for ten turned into a cozy table for two… This guy knows how to impress a lady! This is a very good vintage copy of the Maria folding table Bruno Mathsson designed in 1936. We were told this particular table was purchased in the 1960’s.  We do not know its maker.  It is in very good vintage condition.  $1200

click to view listing

Then headed East to New York City is a vintage iconic Maria gateleg table designed in 1936 by Bruno Mathsson. This time to a young woman who just became an architect and is putting her first apartment together! She is investing in wonderfully made iconic furnishings to satisfy her designers eye. Being on the downside of my design career it is rejuvenating to visit with this young woman and feel her excitement of her first piece of “real” furniture and getting started in her design life. She’s going to send me photos when she gets it in place – I’ll share them when she does. And I’m keeping a watchful eye out for just the right chairs to go with. Again, a joy to share the past with the future.

This is such a wonderful walnut antique store display case!   Its curved front, the walnut finish and the chunky square legs are just downright handsome. This cabinet is an interesting piece of Kansas City history.  $2250 |

click to view listing

Last of the sales and headed West to Los Angeles is an incredible antique oak display case  made by the A. R. Jackson Kansas City Show Case Works most likely in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. I don’t know much about where this piece is going but I like to imagine it will show up in some wonderful film about the era. That someday I’ll be watching a movie and say… “hey! there is that display case we sold and sent to Los Angeles!” You never know!



For the Northern direction of this blog post it is Laingsburn, Michigan. We are receiving here, for one of our design clients, an absolutely gorgeous antique round rift-cut oak dining table and eight chairs which they purchased while travelling in Michigan. It will be just stunning in their new home I just helped them create. I can’t wait to see it in person.

So you see, from here; Warehouse 414 in Topeka, Kansas, central USA, we are shipping and receiving the past to the future in the North, South, East and West!

9th Annual Works of Heart Exhibit

Join us and 350 community leaders and art enthusiasts on August 21, 6-9:30 @ Maner Conference Center for Topeka's biggest and most unique art event. Proceeds directly benefit the children, adolescents and families FSGC serves.

Auction Photos by Nathan Ham Photography ©2012

I’ve been thinking about our exhibit we have here at Warehouse 414 for the month of August and what it means to our whole community.  For the last seven years we have been hosts to Family Service and Guidance Center’s Works of Heart Exhibit.  What is it you say?  Well let me tell you.

It is an exhibit of children’s art which tells the story of how important FSGC and art is to their lives.

It is an exhibit of professional artists donated work who know how important FSGC is in our community.

It is an exhibit of art that has been planned for and solicited by a committee of hard working and community minded individuals who have worked almost a year in preparation for the event.

It is an exhibit which Warehouse 414 is proud to display until it leaves to be set up at the Maner Conference Center, 17th & Western where the Works of Heart auction event fundraiser will take place on August 21st from 6-9:30pm.

It is an exhibit which when auctioned the proceeds go to benefit and enrich the lives of the children of our community by providing, for over 115 years since 1904, behavioral and mental health care, education and outreach programs to over 11,000 children and families each year in our community.

Each year I meet the kids and hear their stories and am so proud I live in a community which understands.  And whose community members support and help to provide for these kids.  It makes me proud to be able to give back in some small way to my community.

Come.  See the exhibit. Meet the kids and hear their stories. Be part of the enrichment of their lives.