Iconic Jascha Brojdo… Georges Briard

This is an article re-post originally written for Audrey Would! back in August 2013. Now that Audrey related blog posts are featured here, I wanted to re-share, because I love the story behind this Mid-Century great, and his ornately detailed pieces.

You know a notable designer when you see one – that is, when you search for a photograph of him, and all that comes up, image after image, is his amazing work!

Jascha Brojdo. Do you know who I’m talking about?

Photograph of Georges Briard - Anthology House

{Source: Anthologie House}

That’s right. Georges Briard!

Georges Briard was born in the Ukraine in 1917 under the birth name of Jascha Brojdo. At the age of 20 he made his way from Poland to Chicago where he earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the Art Institute of Chicago. Do you know he also studied at the University of Chicago?

Jascha, being fluent in several languages, also served for the US Army in WWII as a Russian translator. He was discharged in 1947, and that’s when his life took on the shape we now connect him to.

A known, or maybe lesser know fact, Georges was an artist first, a designer second, which was ultimately instrumental in his use of Brojdo vs. Briard. But first, how did Georges Briard even come to be? How did he get that name from Jascha Brojdo?

After Jascha was discharged from the army, by the 1950s he had started working in New York with Max Willie whom he met in art school. Jascha first hand painted blank trays, which quickly became a huge success. These trays were initially signed with ‘Brojdo’, but because they were such a success, Willie came up with a pseudonym to mark Brojdo’s commercial pieces, and save his personal last name for his paintings. This is when Georges Briard was born!

How the actual name, Georges Briard, was chosen is mildly amusing. Willie liked ‘Georges’ simply because it sounded very ‘French’, and Briard after the breed of dog he [Willie] had recently lost! No, we’re not making this up!

Georges Briard became most well known through the 1950s, 60s and 70s for his signature dishware and glassware, from basic pieces to gold plated serving dishes. He was behind some of the decorated pieces of companies like Libbey and Anchor Hocking, as he would buy them clear, add his artistry and sign off with his finishing touch.

Georges Briard was also known for his ornate barware pieces like you see here.

Briard Pieces

I am of course swooning, and so excited to currently have this collection available at Audrey Would! {Bar Tools} {Gold Filigree Ice Bucket} {Gold Filigree Highball Glasses}

Though he never did officially change his name, in spite of how or where Jascha Brojdo’s designer name came from, the bottom line is the 22k gold signature we have all come to know was, and still is his brand.

Georges Briard Gold Ice Bucket - 22k Gold Signature 

Jascha Brojdo died on July 30, 2005… Georges Briard lives on today!

I am happy to raise a glass in celebration of Jascha Brojdo yesterday, Georges Briard today. Will you join me?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated. Please link and credit if you choose to use! 🙂


A New Site for Audrey Would!

After a little over a month of working it out, I am thrilled to say Audrey Would!‘s new site is live… just in time for Valentines Day! You can expect to see more classic, sleek and glam pieces like these!

Classic Bamboo Stemmed Coupes

There will inevitably be tweaks and things to fix along the way – I’m pretty sure that’s called ‘transition’. 😉 In the mean time I would love for you to stop by and take a peek. If you see anything askew, please let me know!

There is a lot more to come, but for now I hope you like what you see!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Bedroom Makeover Update

Well, I’ve been working away on our bedroom makeover (introduced here), until progress suddenly ground to a halt. A lot of the parts and pieces are collected, and some DIYing is underway, however this week I was bitten by a nasty cold… All.Week.Long. 😐 So frustrating.

Here’s a little peek anyway.

This is part of the palette that was already in place, and won’t be changing (read more here, here, and here), so it became the jump-off.

Duvet, Drapes, Quilt Rack

You might remember an area rug was part of the new plan. These are the options within the rug budget that made the shortlist, and I’ve since chosen one.

Rug Potentials

Which one do you think I chose? I know, two very different textures, two very different looks!

And you might remember, I showed a long, low MCM dresser factored into the plan. Well, I kind of became a ‘Used Finds’ junkie, scouring the ads like a daily habit, week after week with little to no luck. And then finally one day, there it was!

Used Victoria - MCM Dresser, Mirror & Highboy

{Used Victoria}

A DIY option (at least for me), but definitely along the lines of what I had in mind. This came as a package deal with a mirror and a highboy, because the seller wouldn’t split the set apart. But for the price, it’s a deal that’s hard to beat since they are Honderich pieces c. 1960s, and nice thick walnut veneer.


Did you know the veneer in older pieces is much thicker than now-a-days, therefore a better option to sand? And the base wood tends to be of a higher quality than what you get now. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a used find. I say, the older, the better!

Here’s a look at my workshop right now. Notice my other Used Find in the background? Hint: the doors are removed.

MCM Dressers & Cabinet Makeovers 033

Since so much of the space depends on the MCM dresser, I’ve been working on it first, even though I had the glass door cabinet before it.

The top is fully sanded and complete, and this is where I left off when the retched bug decided to take over. GRRRR. So frustrating. Oh, did I already say that?

MCM Dressers & Cabinet Makeovers 047

It feels like the cold is starting to break, so I’m hoping to get the sanding finished up this weekend. You can see I have the the finicky areas left, and I still have the drawer fronts to do. And I’m dying to get my hands on the other Used Finds cabinet, too! These pieces will have completely different finishes, and I can’t wait to get the pretty party started!

Are you working on any projects right now? Any makeovers to do?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.



It’s All About Personal Taste!

Not too long ago a mid-century style vase caught my eye, but I decided to walk away. Good, right? Well you’d think, except I couldn’t let it go. I kept thinking about it and knew I’d be back in the area in a week… but would the vase?

Enter my friends the following week, and I near dragged them to the back of the thrift store where the vase had been… and as luck would have it, still was!

MCM Gray Glazed, Brown Ribbed Vase

Um, they weren’t so smitten. So I sent this pic to my hubs to get his reaction. Only, his response didn’t reach me in time. I paced, and contemplated, waited until I had to make a decision. Was it walk away for a second time, or buy it without hub’s feedback?

I bought, I left, and in came his response… always the way, isn’t it? Nope, he wasn’t sold, either. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, just not all warm and fuzzy about it! Apparently I was in this one alone – my daughter flat out hated it, and another friend diplomatically withheld comment. 😉

Well that was a month ago. Every day I look at this vase, and every day I still like it. Why? I don’t know, I just do. I’ve researched it, but can’t come up with much.

This vintage white glazed French jar and lid, c. 1940, was the closest I could find.

1st Dibs - White Glazed French Jar & Cover, c1940s

{1st Dibs}

1st Dibs - White Glazed French Jar & Cover, c.1940s

{1st Dibs}

Can you believe this piece is 4′-8″ tall x 34″ wide?

I’m certain my vase isn’t this vintage, but who knows, maybe this French jar was the inspiration piece!

Here’s the bottom of my vase.

MCM Gray Glazed, Brown Ribbed Vase Bottom

You’ll notice it doesn’t have any glaze on it, but do you see the etched mark? That’s likely the symbol of the artist. And the dark brownish marks indicate to me that this bottom was once covered in signature felt. You might remember my Royal Haeger vase with its signature felt bottom here. If I had to guess, I’d guess this vase is c.1970s, but if you know for sure, I’d love to hear from you!

To make a long story short, my vase is a great reminder of what’s important when you’re choosing pieces for your home. Never second guess what speaks to you. Surround yourself with things that draw you in, even if no-one else seems to see what you see. If you do this you’ll always feel at home in your home, and that’s what it’s all about!

Oh, and guess what was on the cover of my latest HGTV magazine?

HGTV Magazine Cover - April 2013

Do you see it? Not the same shape, not the same colour or finish… but don’t you think the ribbing suggests they could be relatives?

Maybe there’s someone out there who can see what I see in my beloved vase afterall!

Do you have anything in your collection that makes others roll their eyes? Well, that’s okay, just remember what happened to the Ugly Duckling!

Thanks for stopping by!

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BTW – this vase may or may not turn up in my bedroom makeover… but you’ll have to wait and see! 🙂

I was featured over at Junkin Joes. Thanks Andrea!

Junkin Joe Linky Party - I Was Featured

Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.

Tired of Ho-Humming Along!

Well, it’s been a pretty busy last few weeks over here at sZinteriors. For quite a while now I’ve been scouring the USED ads, thrifting my little heart out and just plain visioning in search of makeover pieces for my project ‘to do’!

Here’s a little heads up on what’s got my attention:

Floor Plan - Labelled Layout

Yah, I’ve had enough ho-humming along. Time to move out the pieces that aren’t working, and move in ones that will. This layout is what I have in mind. You can see from the floor plan, we don’t have a lot of options for furniture placement, but that’s okay. We don’t own this home, so will do with this space what we can do!

Here’s one piece that’s just come along…

Glass Door Cabinet - Used VictoriaAnd a look at it right-side up!

Solid Oak Glass Door Cabinet

It’s solid oak with old brass hardware. You can’t really see in this photo, but the bottom of the legs are wrapped in brass – dipping with the real thing!

I have plans for this piece. Oh yes I do! So today I swapped my vehicle to the good outdoors, and set up my workshop in its place to get started.

There will definitely be more to come, but I have to get on with the grunt work first. That would be sanding. I so don’t enjoy the sanding part!

What are your plans for the weekend? Doing anything fun?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photos courtesy of Used Victoria ad

A New Life With A Pair of Shades!

MCM Brass & Wood Lamps

All it takes is a new set of shades!

Remember these thrifted Mid-Century lamps from about a month ago?

Thrifted MCM Brass & Walnut Lamps

Don’t you just love their mismatched shades!

At first I had a hard time finding replacements, so the lamps sat on my buffet looking sad and half dressed, like this.

MCM Lamps on Buffet

Minus the ambiance and mood setting of the glaring overhead lights, of course!

When I finally came across a few options I thought might work, I tried these ones first. A sandy linen with threads of metallic gold and silver running through.

1 - Linen, Gold & Silver Metallic Shades - 11Tx13Bx9H

I liked these shades, but didn’t love them. Somehow they seemed too small, and just a little bit meh.

So then I tried these black drums.

Black Drum Shades 14Tx15Bx10H

I looove black shades, and really wanted these to be ‘the ones’. But somehow they weren’t working, even though the size was definitely much better than the first shades.

So then I tried the same shade in a warm white instead.

Warm White Shades 14Tx15Bx10H

And this one seemed to work better. To be sure, we lived with them for a few days just as is, and each day they grew on all of us a little more. I toyed  with adding some gold trim… even bought the trim. But somehow the lamps just wanted simplicity.

So we decided these shades were indeed ‘the ones’, as is, and removed the cellophane wrap. The brass of the lamps was buffed, and each walnut base was waxed.

Here’s a look at our thrifted lamps now!

MCM Brass & Wood Lamps

We are happy with they way the shades worked out, and love the glow our new lamps cast. The room feels warm, and our buffet a little more loved!

A few tips when finding replacement lamp shades:

  • Take your lamp with you to the store – I didn’t with these lamps, but it’s a lot easier to eliminate the shades that are all wrong if you do! 
  • For vintage lamps, research what their original shades might have looked like – even if you ultimately don’t like the style of the original shade, at least you can change it up with intention.
  • General rule of thumb for shade size diameter is no more than, no less than 2″ the height of the lamp base – that’s the measurement from the bottom of the lamp to where the electrical socket sits. Click here for more information.
  • Live with the shade for a bit. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know if it’s right for you by the way you react when you round the corner and see it!
  • Make sure you know the return policy – if you can’t return or exchange the shade, don’t buy it. Shades are tricky, and look a lot different in context. Even if a shade looks great on your lamp in the store, it might not look great when you get it home.

From a thrifted find to a pair of lamps we’re totally loving in our home! And one more small ‘to do’ I can  check off the list. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Vintage MCM Desktop Mail Sorter

Maybe it’s my office background, maybe it’s not, but when it comes to office organizers, my knees go weak! Looove them, look for any excuse to need them, and no matter what, just flat out want them!

So when I saw this Mid-Century beauty, how could I just turn and walk away? Honestly.

Compact, made of wood…

And designed with function in mind.

The drawer has four small compartments on the right, and I bet back in the day there was a roll of postage stamps in one of them!

And see those numbers, 1 to 31 along the top edge? No, they’re not a metric ruler. Although I have to admit, for a second I wondered why they took a standard 30cm ruler to 31! 😉

The numbers actually belong to a slot, and there’s a slot for each day of the calendar month.

The slats you see are for letters, invoices… basically incoming mail that is time sensitive.

Now, how cool is that for visual organization? Can’t you just picture the secretaries of Mad Men working this system?

Such a great piece, and through its design, one that hints at the story of the way things were.

I will be making room for this prized piece to sit up front and center in my own office. I love it!

So how about you? What kind of office organizers do you like to use? How do you keep your time sensitive mail sorted and on track? Oh right, we’re all about the digital age now, aren’t we?

This sweet find was featured by the sweet Andrea…

Junkin Joe Linky Party - I Was FeaturedTYSM Andrea!!!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have an awesome weekend.

Photographs by Sheila Zeller 


Organizing My Sewing Stuff: A Blend of Gran’s Vintage & My Semi-New

I inherited my Gran’s sewing box years ago, and believe it or not, left everything in it. I’ve used a few things over the years, but have always just left it the way Gran had it. Well, maybe not exactly the way she had it… it’s a lot less orderly now!

And if you think this is bad, here’s a peek at the mish-mash of my own sewing box!

Enter the little red vintage tool box that inspired me to take charge of all this chaos.

Yes, this was a thrifting find from the other day, and for some reason I saw it becoming part of my sewing mix… even though this is what it looked like inside.

Some soaking, Goo-Gone, lots of elbow grease and a little steel wool took care of this, and then I lined the bottom with rubber shelf liner and red felt.

It’s actually this I was more worried about!

Sorting and organizing all the random contents of my sewing stuff along with my grandmother’s to become one! Eeeek. And getting better systems in place to boot.

My thread and bobbins were a tangled mess.

The idea behind this thread/bobbin caddy isn’t so bad, but it’s one of those organizers that doesn’t really work. I’ve moved my bobbins to this little case instead…

I still have to decide on storage for my thread. Do you have any favorite solutions to share?

And buttons. Who saves them in all these packages, anyway?

Well, that would be me! I’ve now sorted my buttons and separated them into little jars of darks, whites, metallics, mixed colours, and kid inspired!

My Gran made her own dresses, and she loooooved rick rack, seam binding and elastic. I wrote about a quilt she made here.

Did you notice the vintage labels with their vintage prices?

I corralled all the rick rack and seam binding into a small box, and placed it with the rest of my craft supplies.

No need for this factory supply to be kept in my sewing box, right?

I did put all Gran’s elastic into a pretty little box, and it along with some other things you saw on the table now live in the bottom of my sewing box.

I also sorted and organized more things from the table into the top tray of my sewing box, and this is what lives there now.

The pink seamstress tape belonged to my Gran along with the very burnished thimble beside it. The tape is only in feet and inches, and it’s so old I’m afraid it might crack and break if I handle it too much. I have two of my own, but there’s no way I want to part with Gran’s, so it gets to take up a cubby of its own! Hey, do you know of any DIY ideas where I could showcase this special tape instead?

Remember all those envelopes containing spare buttons? Here’s how I used some of them for my larger needles and pins.

They’re now tucked down a side compartment in one of the trays in the top of my sewing box.

And by now I bet you’re wondering where on earth the little red tool kit comes in.

Well, tools of course!

Between my Gran and I, we had a few tools of the sewing trade…

Believe it or not, the wooden handled tracing wheel, seam guide, and large seam ripper were mine in high school! Never mind, never mind – I said my stuff was ‘semi-new’!

Here’s something of Grannie’s I never had! A scissors sharpener.

Do they even make these anymore? The scissors you see are mine… would you dare use them to cut paper? No, my family doesn’t either 😉

Anyway, I thought the little red tool box would be perfect for our sewing tools!

I slipped the sharp objects into the little leather pouch on the right, just to protect them and the red paint that’s still in tact!

Everything fit perfectly.

And the lid even closed! 🙂

My Gran’s sewing box is empty now, and all our sewing things combined. You see, I have to do some minor repairs to it, because the screws that hold the hinges in place are really loose, and the drawers are pretty shaky when they’re pulled open.

In the meantime I will just enjoy it for the beautiful piece that it is. Well used, and well loved!

Do you craft or sew? What kind of organizational strategies do you use for all the ‘stuff’ that goes with it? Oh, and if you noticed the old Aspirin bottle in the first photo, pop by next week… I’ll show you some of the other treasures that kind of go with it!

So happy to be featured over at Junkin Joe’s! Thank you, Andrea 🙂


Published in the Home section of Savvy Stories over at Savvy Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

Shopping ‘Used’? Remember What You Went For!

Do you ever shop the used sites online? I love to scour our local ads, and not too long ago I came across this one for a sweet vintage typewriter table.

Used Cowichan

I’ve been looking for a small writing table as an alternate work station in our home. But not just any table. So when I saw this little beauty, I was smitten. What’s not to love, right? Vintage 1950s or 60s, a nod to the changing role women played in the 20th century… You know – all those things that make my heart skip a beat! 😉

I made the call to set up a viewing, and when I headed off this was my ‘must meet’ criteria:

  1. The scale needed to fit my intended purpose, and placement;
  2. Its finish, preferably original;
  3. The price, hopefully negotiable.
As soon as I saw the table, right away I could see it was too low. Like, almost as low as my heart sank 🙁  Once up close and personal, I could see the green finish was not the factory finish. The photo shows that when you look at the shelf underneath, but I like to see these variances for myself. And the price. Well, I never got to the negotiating stage to find out if there was any flex in the price.
Here’s another look.

 Used Cowichan

I really fell for this little guy. And I found myself trying to talk myself into buying it just because it melted my heart.  I mean, I could slide it into place as an end table, a phone table, or a bedside table. I could use it for another folding surface in my laundry area, I could sew on it… heck, I could even wheel it around and multi-purpose it!

But… none of these uses was what I went for. And even though I loved the green in spite of it not being the factory finish, I had to let this one go.

My tips if you’re shopping ‘used’…

  1. Know what you want;
  2. Know why you want it;
  3. Know what you’re willing to pay;
  4. Know when you need to walk away (need, not want)!

And if you’re looking for vintage, do your homework.

  1. Find out a little bit about the piece before you go.
  2. Try to find out roughly what circa it is;
  3. Have an idea of the average asking price for pieces like it so you know how much wriggle room you have;
  4. Pay attention to the details.

This little guy is in great shape, and has definitely been refinished. The colour is not the factory finish, and the drawer pull is not the original hardware. This piece has been nicely refinished, and you also see the efforts of that work reflected in the asking price. You need to know if that’s part of what you want to pay for.

In my case, I had to walk away because as much as I loved this little guy, little was the problem. It was a little too low to serve the purpose I needed it to.

Urban Remains Chicago

Have you done any ‘used’ shopping lately? What’s on your checklist when you set out for a potential purchase? Got any great stories to share?

Thanks for stopping by!