Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sue Whitney Talks JUNK - Interview with the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art

The Fort Worth Show welcomes Queen of Junk Sue Whitney to our 55th year show. Sue will offer a hands-on furniture revival project and sign copies of her books, JUNK Beautiful: Furniture ReFreshed... JUNK Beautiful: Outdoor Edition & more. Sue will be with us Fri March 2, 10-6 and Sat March 3, 10-4. The show continues Sun March 4, 10-5.

 Fort Worth Show: Sue, when you first started JunkMARKET Style, what drew you to vintage items and up-cycling? Did you realize that the public would find it so intriguing?
   When I started, I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years, raising my kids. At first I could not afford antique and vintage items, so I looked for junk –things that no one wanted or knew what to do with. In one year I went from a 900 square foot building to 7,000 square feet full of design projects based on junk. This growth told me that there was a void in the market. My first occasional sale drew 35 people, all my friends and family. After that the business skyrocketed. My son would joke about my shoppers as women “with designer handbags loading up on junk.”
   Junk was built to last – tractor implements, corn discs, old table legs, chair parts…useless in their former purpose, but ready to be re-imagined. I tried to encourage being creative with true junk and being respectful of real antiques – not just painting everything turquoise! 

Fort Worth Show: Is fake vintage/fake industrial, like Restoration Hardware, a good investment? 

   No. They are probably built better than IKEA, but they are not style-makers. Both RH and Pottery Barn send their buyers out to shows like The Fort Worth Show of Antique & Art to copy and reproduce what antiques dealers find and create. They give the look, but they can never reproduce the real thing. Lift up a fake vintage table. Lift up a real vintage table ---much heavier and durable. Does the fake look good? Yes. Is it unique? No.
  The only way to get a style of your own is to acquire it one piece at a time and put them together in a way that only you would do. Your home is not a catalogue.

Fort Worth Show: In Furniture ReFreshed, what are some of the techniques that you show for improving old furniture and junk?
    You learn in the book how to use an intentional glaze by Valspar. Vintage pieces get patina and crackle selectively –not all over. I try to show the difference between merely changing a look and actually improving a look. I did the glaze on a large sideboard/cabinet that had been hobbled together. The front was old, the back and shelves were added later. It was a great piece to pull together with a deep gray paint and the crackle glaze. I painted the interior back and shelves a “JUNKMARKET green” so that it has an olive pop, which gives a modern tweek. It is a great piece.
One chapter in the book has a very easy project: a medical/dental tray stand up-cycled as a blanket holder. Sometimes abuse and the elements make a piece look better! On this piece, the metal had a great patina. All I did was remove the lead paint flakes and seal with poly. I used an old technique, Naval Jelly, to remove the rust. Then I used Penetrol, also an old product, to prepare the metal before I sealed it.
   In another chapter, I took a damaged old Art Deco desk and simply fixed the wood surface. I used a broken piece from the desk in a new way, as part of a mirror – it lived on in a creative way.

Fort Worth Show: Your upcoming book is called JUNK Beautiful: She Sheds. What is a “She Shed” and why do we need one?
    A She Shed is a new form of human cave—a place to hang out, eat, watch TV or use for artistic projects. A She Shed could be outdoors or it could be inside your home. It is a place to get away to, without actually going away. In my upcoming book, She Sheds, I feature several style-makers who have unique She Sheds. One example of a She Shed was a former cattle trailer. It took two days to de-poop.  Now it’s a writing shed, a very modern and fresh environment. This shed is mine. I get to leave my house, walk a few steps and find a private and serene place to write.
   A She Shed could be a wooden shed, an enclosed pergola, it could have an indoor/outdoor function. I did a She Shed for a woman flower grower who supplies weddings and banquets. Her shed has an attached flagstone patio, an indoor work space as well as a spot to relax. I worked on a She Shed for three sisters in Minnesota who hijacked a storage shed from one of their husbands to create a place for them to have sister re-unions, a place to drink tea by day and wine by night. She Sheds are a practical form of escape and personal renewal.

Fort Worth Show: Our 55th year show theme is “Revive! Revamp! Renew!” If your home is feeling a little blah, what is the best thing you can do to revive and renew your home? Where do you start?
    Start by moving the furniture around. If you buy things that you love, they will always work. But think –will it work in the kitchen? The bedroom? The living room? Anything you love can go just about anywhere. Move things around. Then think about buying accessories and accent pieces, which will be less expensive than big pieces. Add vintage or up-cycled junk in a fresh color or look. Seek out textiles at the show. You don’t have throw out your old textiles and collections ---store them and rotate them. I’m not a clutter-bug. I collect antique scales. I put them out in winter. Then I put them away. 

Fort Worth Show: You like to mix old and modern with a twist. Why?
   I do this because it doesn’t date a look. If you get pieces from different time eras and put them in your home, it does not date your home. My very first book, “Decorating JUNKMARKET Style,” is just as robust and fresh today as it was then. Go for an eclectic combination. A sweet Swedish piece could be an unexpected element in a modern design. It gives your eye a rest. It gives you options to move about your own home more freely. If you can move pieces from room to room, it will not look “dated” in a few years.

Fort Worth Show: Any thoughts about coming to Texas and the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art?   
    I can’t wait to hang out with my friend Jan Orr-Harter, who owns the show. I have not spent much time in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. It will be all new, a kid in a candy store. When I am not signing books and doing furniture demos, I will be shopping! I’m very excited about the Fort Worth Show. I am also excited to bring my books to life with displays and how-tos and provide a sneak peek at my upcoming She Shed title, as well as to talk with people about repurposing and refreshing pieces--- when to do so and when not do so. I will learn from them too.

Fort Worth Show: When you come to a big show like the Fort Worth Show, how do you decide what to buy?
    Well, my approach is always to go through a show twice. Go into every booth, even if they appear to not have anything you need. See what’s inside the booth. You never know what is behind the table! Get to know the dealers; a big part of shows is building connections with dealers, letting them know what you are looking for. Then I go back through a second time. My rule is: if you love it, buy it. You will find a place for it. Make your home out of things that you love, one piece at a time.      

Learn more about Sue Whitney and JUNKMARKET Style at and for a complete listing of her books, see            

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Fort Worth Show welcomes two Benefit Booths on March 2,3,4, 2018, both about transformation: The Center for Transforming Lives which helps Fort Worth women and children build new futures after homelessness and abuse (See Dec. Blog ) ... and Threads of Hope Textiles, an international micro-business that provides retail selling opportunities for impoverished artisans around the world who have the skill and determination to succeed.  

Founded in 1999 on Christian faith principles, Threads of Hope (ToH) began with seven artisans in a shantytown outside Lima, Peru. The new non-profit organization provided USA sales of textiles that brought in $7,000 that year for their community. Today ToH works with over 300 artisans and has sold a total of over $2.5 million on behalf of makers primarily from South America.

In 2014 The University of Mary Hardin Baylor donated warehouse space and technical support. This was added to a growing group of professional merchandising volunteers who partnered with the artisan communities to grow the concept in a sustainable way. A special ToH project links persons with wheelchair disabilities in the USA with their counterparts in other countries, producing unique textiles for "chair people" and forging a human connection across diverse settings.  

Cinde Rawn, of Plano, Texas, is the Executive Director of Threads of Hope. On a recent visit to artisans, Cinde met Susanna, a young mother of two boys, married to Edgar.
As Cinde put it, "They are committed to their family and giving their boys the best opportunities for a successful life." Susanna, right, has used her grants from ToH to start building the house they dream of for their family. By western standards, Cinde explains, it is a humble home. But through the eyes of people rising out of poverty, it is a castle that fulfills many hopes and dreams. Purchasing textiles from Threads of Hope empowers dreams and creates family at a time.

What can you buy March 2,3,4 at the Fort Worth Show from the sewers and artisans of ToH? Woven scarves, pillows, purses, children's and holiday items, rugs, pillows and other home decor. Quality, authenticity, beauty.

Threads of Hope works through public events like the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art and also through smaller events such as a church or club or a home sale. Find out about hosting a sale, shopping on-line, donating or just learning more about this extraordinary organization that gives hope to us all. 

Visit with Cinde at the Fort Worth Show or see  

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fort Worth Show Parking Sponsor -The Mercantile!

Jan. 31 Wine Down Wednesday, 3-6 pm
Feb. 10 "Be Mine" Pet Adoption Event!

The Mercantile on Fort Worth's Camp Bowie Blvd. is the Parking Sponsor for the March 2,3,4, 2018 Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art. 

How? Come in a carpool of three ticket buyers. Pay to park. Receive a cash parking refund at the Mercantile Booth at the show entrance after you buy your tickets.          

Look for the big red M. Pretty sweet! Pretty easy!

Why? Because The Mercantile wants to support the larger North Texas Antiques & Art community --and because they hope that you will get to know The Mercantile. And come visit and eat and shop. They are open 7 days a week on the Weatherford Traffic Circle, at 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd. 

Plus, all parking fee refunds at the Fort Worth Show will come with a beautiful gift for you ---and with a discount coupon inside for your next visit.

But don't wait! Mercantile Special Events:

Visit Wine Down Wednesday on Wed. Jan. 31, stop by 3-6 pm for complimentary sips and bites, don't miss the cheese board --and all the new finds throughout the mall. 

Sat. Feb. 10 "Be Mine" Adoption event with the Humane Society of North Texas, 11am - 4pm. There will be 10- 15 pets available, dogs, cats and maybe bunnies!

What's at The Mercantile? Founded by the late Fort Worth businessman Holt Hickman, The Mercantile offers 40,000 square feet with 200 dealer booths of antiques, fashion, decor, art, gifts, books and a tearoom, open 361 days a year.

There are lots of gift ideas, both new and old, a book nook, furniture, lighting, art, jewelry, rugs and styles from rustic to glam.

Several dealers at The Mercantile are artists, such as cowgirl artist TK Riddle. I knew when I walked in to TK's booth that it was hers-- not just because of her paintings of cowgirls like Mitzi Riley, but because of the vintage dishes and art with delicate images of birds. TK loves birds almost as much as she loves cowgirls.  

Some of my favorite booths include Tom Duke's collection of Staffordshire dogs and Susan Davis, with Victorian to early 20th C. smalls, jewelry and furniture.

The Mercantile also offers regular classes in DIY projects--crafting, home decor, seasonal projects. 

Plan now for early April Spring Mall-Wide Sale!


  Over the last few years, I've bought some good things at The Mercantile. Here's the jacket that I will be wearing at the Fort Worth Show. Arty and great texture and fit --or at least I think so!  

The 5 women's fashion stores there are fabulous. The staff are there every day to help you, they have dressing rooms and regular sales. And each of the 5 carries a different look and different lines of clothing and accessories. Look for these 5 clothing stores inside The Mercantile: FLAX, Hip Chic, Cashmere Bouquet, Swice and Chimps. Good range of styles, sizes and prices.       

And here are a pair of huge wrought iron panels that I bought at The Mercantile and displayed, right, in my booth at the Marburger Farm Antique Show. Sold!

By the way, The Mercantile has a great staff, willing to help you load the big buys like these. The mall is clean, well-lit and full, full, full of finds.  
Of course there are keepers too, such as this folk art inlaid wood table that I found folded against a wall in a Mercantile booth. "Anything," said Cadillac Jack, "can be anywhere." (Right now it's in my living room!) 

The Mercantile offers a mix of different styles and eras. English, American, estate sale finds, Victorian, Contemporary, and more. 

And that's not to mention the award-winning Rose Garden Tearoom. Try the Chicken Salad and Peach Tea! 

Thank you to The Mercantile, Parking Sponsor for the
March 2,3,4, 2018 Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art.

The Mercantile 
7200 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, TX
Open Mon - Sat 10-6   Sun 12-6

Rose Garden Tearoom Open
Mon-Sat 11:30-3:30  Sun 12-3:30   

Watch The Mercantile on Facebook for special events such as weekly classes and the Spring mall-wide sale, early April 2018. The Mercantile is also available for private parties, fashion shows and other community or business gatherings. For more information, contact

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Welcome, Sue Whitney, Founder of JUNKMARKET Style

JUNK Market Founder Sue Whitney Special Guest
Fort Worth Show March 2, 3, 4, 2018
55th Year Antique & Art Show Theme:
 Revive! Revamp! Renew!

Expect to roll up your sleeves and have some fun at the March 2, 3, 4, 2018 Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art. Design author and “Queen of Junk” Sue Whitney will make the trip from Minnesota to DFW to sign copies of her new book JUNK Beautiful: Furniture ReFreshed (Taunton Press) and provide hands-on activities for up-cycling vintage furniture and cast-off junk into fabulous and unique home décor.

Junk? You bet! One of the fruits of the last recession was a new appreciation for old fragments, broken industrial and agricultural equipment and just about anything laying around America that had outlived its original purpose. Enter Sue Whitney to re-make these discards into fun and functional home decor, re-fashioned junk that is now copied brand new by manufacturers in China for high end stores. Come to the Fort Worth Show to meet Sue Whitney and get a taste of the real thing.

Accompanying Sue Whitney will be a sneak peek at her upcoming book, JUNK Beautiful: She Sheds.
What's a She Shed???

A She Shed, according to Sue, is a “new form of human cave” for women to have “a place to get away to, without actually going away.” This She Shed exhibit might be a first for the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the Fort Worth Cultural District. The model She Shed will be constructed and offered for sale by Round Top, Texas exhibitor Liz Collins of Haute Nest. Sue Whitney will appear only on Friday, March 2, 10am to 6pm, and Saturday, March 3, 10am to 4pm. The She Shed, Haute Nest and the whole show will continue for shopping Saturday until 6pm and Sunday March 5, 10am to 5pm. One ticket is good all three days.

I first met Sue Whitney over ten years ago at the magnificent Marburger Farm Antique Show when she placed an "Up-Cycling Award" on a gun rack in my booth. It was a shabby chic white painted gun rack to begin with--go figure. I had turned it into a hat rack, simply by hanging it sideways with a Lone Star Beer sign nailed to it, the rack hooks covered in cowboy hats. She has a thing for cowboys.

A couple of years later, my daughter and I were visiting Mt. Rushmore in western SD when we saw on-line that Sue was having a garage sale in northern Minnesota. We drove all night and got there just in time. On another trip to Minnesota, we were wrangled by Sue into delivering a van load of hundreds of vintage Baby Ben alarm clocks to a dealer friend in Texas, ticking all 1,172 miles.

So I am very happy to welcome my friend Sue Whitney to the 55th Year of the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art. I warn you: she's fun! Whether on a national TV show or on a cross-country jaunt to photograph the best She Sheds in America, Sue is a champion of all of us who love old things and who embrace a creative approach to life.  

“I’m very excited about the Fort Worth Show,” says Sue. “When I am not signing books and doing furniture demos, I will be shopping!” Guess who may get to deliver her buys....

Sue Whitney is the founder of the wildly popular JUNKMARKET Style, a company that helps individuals incorporate vintage finds and industrial accents into their homes. Launched in 2000, JUNKMARKET has become a national leader in the “rustoration” industry, with Whitney a frequent guest on The Today Show and regional TV programs across the USA. Her books include Decorating JUNKMARKET Style, JUNK Beautiful: Room by Room Makeovers and JUNK Beautiful: The Outdoor Edition. JUNKMARKET boasts an active community of decorators and crafters at
 Sue will sign copies of her prior books, JUNK Beautiful and JUNK Beautiful: Outdoor Edition, as well as the new Furniture ReFreshed book ($24.95). Furniture ReFreshed offers 30 projects, something for every room in the house, with each chapter turning non-functional castoffs into cutting edge home style.

Along with Sue, of course, look for 150 top exhibitors of antiques and art, including vintage and contemporary art. To honor Sue Whitney's visit to DFW, the 55th year of the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art puts forth the theme: Revive! Revamp! Renew! Come seek a vintage piece to renew your wardrobe or revamp a tired space. Or pick up a tip or a book from Sue Whitney to inspire you to revive your home. Exhibitors will include jewelry, industrial, French, American, English, silver, garden, fashion, art, Mid-Century Modern and more. Even junk! This is not a show for the stodgy or stagnant. Come for fun. Come for inspiration. Come for the stuff. Learn more at

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Iced In- Happy New Year!

Updated from a prior winter storm blog, but still a good read if you love antiques and art. 

Happy New Year - In with the Old!
 “He uses his old inkpot and his old brush, but he paints new things.” 

                              --translated from a Japanese scroll hanging in my laundry room

 It’s a lot easier to start something new than to re-make something old. That’s why there are so many churches…so many new houses…new gizmos…new nations…new beginnings. Re-vamping the old is much harder. But to me, it's better. This blog will tell the story of taking a well-loved 55 year old antique show in Fort Worth, Texas and re-making it into a shining star for the future.

You have to be a pretty good antique show to throw open your doors for 55 years. Once a small, prestigious, high-quality Americana antique show at Will Rogers Memorial Center, the  Fort Worth Show is now a mega-event with antiques and art of all eras and styles.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday March 2,3,4, 2018, look for Pre-Columbian to Mid-Century Modern. There will be art and antiques from France, England and Italy. There will be American Colonial and Spanish Colonial. Look for Garden, Vintage, Industrial, Retro, Textiles and Jewelry, as well the top-quality American primitives for which the show has been loved all these years by a strong regional audience. There will even be a diverse selection of contemporary art. We mix it up!

Why Me?
I first exhibited in the show in 1998 as Hot Tamale Antiques. It was difficult to get into. The owner JJ Frambes was tough. She vetted every dealer for authenticity and quality. I just barely made the cut. I started writing press releases for JJ and, simply because JJ  was so much fun to work with, I gradually became more and more involved with promoting the show. In 2009, our family purchased the show.

Since 1998 I have also served as the staff writer for the magnificent Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top, Texas. This month I will write what is probably my 90th Marburger Farm press release, chronicling the cow pasture that became a blockbuster international antique show.

Before 1998 I was a Presbyterian pastor in New York City. While some ministers yearned to start shiny new churches, my passion was to re-develop old churches and to bring them into a new sense of mission and purpose, building on the best of their history and traditions and memories. I was lucky enough to serve two such churches over 19 years, the West-Park Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side and the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I can tell you a thing or two about antique plumbing, ancient boilers and how to help an old community find new life and end up dancing in the aisles on Easter Sunday.

I first learned about antique show promotion by organizing benefit shows for the church in New York City, with the help of Irene Stella and the Stella Show Management Company. The Stella team is, in my view, the best antique show promotion company in the world. Once again, I got lucky.

And now I find myself in the position of owning a 55 year old antique show in the town where I grew up. Or perhaps it owns me.

Why Antiques?
Over the last decade, there have wars and a recession. There are the threats of terror, wildfire and the darn $10 parking fee at Will Rogers Memorial Center. On top of all that, there are ads in every direction that scream “Out with the old! Buy something new, new, new.” Yet still, I got lucky.

Why? Because I get to spend my energies in the community of those who buy, sell, live with and love antiques and all things vintage. We are those who would rather re-imagine and re-make the old than lust after the new. We are the lovers and re-purposers of the material culture of the past.

On Christmas Eve a few years ago, we had a rare snowstorm in North Texas. In our old farmhouse on the prairie, the Orr-Harters were snowed-in. We could not get to the mall, even if we wanted to. We could not even go to my sister’s party where there was shrimp and tenderloin, which we definitely wanted to.

Still, we were lucky. Our home was warm and the snowy landscape cast a light into the house that helped me to see our old things in a new way. Except for our computers, the Orr-Harter family lives only with antiques. Even the TV is more or less an antique. From any spot in the house, I can see our history in the stories of each chair. At last count, we have 53 chairs, indoors and out, and I can remember where each one came from. We use them all, except for the 2 Danish Modern ones in the store-room that came from Tom’s mother. We have saved those for our young architect son.

On Christmas Eve, I sat by the fireplace in the rocker that we bought at a roadside flea market in Maine and carried home in a Honda Civic. I saw the mission settee that the future architect son bought so proudly at an upstate New York auction for $25, theoretically for his tree house. Our 10 year old daughter sat in one of the old chairs around the kitchen table. Tom and I were sitting in those kitchen chairs when we decided to try to conceive this very child.

In case you think we have only ample seating, on Christmas Eve I also studied each piece of vintage art on the walls--- the scene of trees and cows that hung over the sofa in my grandparents’ home, the metal Wonder Bread sign that I gave to mother and that she re-gifted to me, the big primitive painting of a cowboy playing a harmonica on his horse in starlight. I lugged it all over America before accepting that no one would buy it. So there it is in our kitchen; it reminds me of my still-harmonica-playing father. There is a hooked rug of a butterfly hanging on the living room wall and a seven foot tall bottle tree in the bedroom. With a collection of old cobalt blue Pepto-Bismol bottles, it is a memorial to a friend. When I wake up each morning, I see a 1950s poster of a cowboy on a bronc and a painting of trees that once read faintly on the back, “painted in exchange for lunch and overalls.” These things inspire me to seize the day.

I got lucky. I have the love of a sweet and healthy family and of friends and dogs who put up with me. And it all happens in a home where antiques are used every day, for both utility and for memory, for practicality and for comfort and joy. What I realized about antiques and art that Christmas Eve is that the comfort and joy that they bring us are in fact very practical and necessary. We have created a new nest out of old things. This comforts us. Bring on the snow.

That’s more than enough about me. Each week watch this blog for the inside story on the dealers, artists and customers who will bring the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art to life for the 55th time, in a new way on March 2,3,4, 2018. You'll hear about experienced dealers re-thinking their buying for younger shoppers. You'll discover some new and upcoming dealers and see how they approach a 55 year old show with a new eye. You'll hear about our theme: Revive! Revamp! Renew!  You'll meet Sue Whitney, our special guest, queen bee of re-purposing and of something called "She Sheds." And much more.

Let us hear back from you. How do you love and live with antiques and art ---and why?
See you at the show March 2,3,4, 2018!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Center for Transforming Lives
2018 Benefit Booth
Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art March 2, 3, 4, 2018

The 2018 Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art welcomes the Center for Transforming Lives as a Benefit Booth at the March 2, 3, 4 Show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The Center for Transforming Lives has itself been transformed from the oldest YWCA in Texas to a newly named, much more ambitious program to help women and children leave the cycle of poverty and homelessness for a future with stability, independence and hope.

It’s working! Their butterfly logos is the symbol of their goal for the over 2500 women that the Center has worked with in the last few years. Their plan is to help 10,000 women and children each year by 2023. Often, these women have survived settings of domestic abuse and find themselves homeless with children. In our beautiful Tarrant County, there are over 7,000 children under the age of six who are homeless---who sleep in homeless shelters or in vehicles or on the streets. The Center for Transforming Lives seeks to intervene with mothers and these children by providing housing stability, high-quality child-care and financial empowerment and training for employment, money management and other steps for helping a family overcome the trauma of homelessness.
        Original YWCA Elevator
                                                            The CTL Today

Over 100 years ago, the YWCA provided a safe, clean boarding house for young women trying to find their footing in early Fort Worth. Today the historic building provides an always-full emergency shelter for women and a booming child care facility for children aged six weeks to five years, available while their mothers work or seek work and training. The Center offers additional early childhood care and development programs with larger sites in the UTA Arlington area, in the Poly neighborhood, with more on the drawing boards. 

“We know that the stress of homelessness significantly impacts children, including child brain development,” says CTL Donor Relations Manager Ana Van de Venter, above
 “Providing early childhood education for homeless and low-income children is a crucial component of ending poverty’s vicious cycle.” Ana explains that sometimes education alone is not sufficient. The CTL answer: a two-generation approach. “Two-generation family services break the poverty cycle by helping the whole family achieve immediate stability, which leads to long-term independence,” says Ana. Critical to this strategy are financial coaches, social workers and Early Head Start family advocates who address each family’s most immediate needs.

How does the CTL do all of this? They do it by involving the Fort Worth community in creating businesses for CTL clients to receive training and to build support for CTL programs. These businesses range from a Salsa production company to the ReSale Shop on Camp Bowie Blvd. to the Triumph Catering & Events Company to the Historic 512 Venue Company that offers private, corporate and wedding space at the lovely 512 West 4th Street headquarters. All of these creative endeavors roll up their sleeves and work together to provide opportunity, employment and training.

The Center for Transforming Lives offers a holistic approach to recovery from poverty, homelessness or domestic abuse. It is not enough to provide just emergency shelter or just a job or just child care. As any parent knows, all of these things must work together for long-term success. In addition, the support and training that a family receives from the CTL will give them the tools and confidence that they need to cope with future challenges and stay independent. As Ana puts it, “We offer the whole picture.”

Plan to shop in the Center for Transforming Lives Benefit Booth at the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art March 2,3,4, 2018. From salsa to vintage décor, with all proceeds benefitting the CTL. To donate items for the Benefit Booth, contact the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art at 817-291-3952.

And today?
How can you help these families thrive now?

Donate a tax-deductible gift of any size at

Help the Center identify local jobs that TCL clients might apply for and receive training. This is a key to the whole process. Call Kim Clarke, Director of Family Strengthening Services at (817) 546-5542

The ReSale Shop!
Donate (and shop) all kinds of gently used items, jewelry and clothing for the ReSale Shop at 6500 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. Open Mon. 10-5, Tues.-Sat. 10-6. To volunteer, donate or for furniture pick-up, call 817-377-0664. The CTL sponsors “Clean Out-Help Out!” in Spring 2018 as a community-wide effort to donate housewares, furniture and clothing.  See more info on items accepted at

Client Assistance and Encouragement!
Donate new or gently used items for clients such as pots and pans, furniture and cleaning supplies for apartments, as well as gifts, educational books and school supplies for kids. You can even “adopt” an emergency shelter room, providing paint, décor, full size or long-size twin sheets and bedding. Call Ana Van de Venter at (817) 484-1537 or Email:
(Due to safety recall issues, the CTL cannot accept donations of cribs, stuffed animals or toys.)

March 28 Annual Luncheon!
Sponsor the March 28, 2018 Transforming Lives Annual Luncheon (sponsorship are $2500-$25,000) Call Ana Van de Venter at (817) 484-1537 or Email:

Historic 512 Venue!
Host your next event at the 512 West 4th Street building –weddings, parties, meetings in a convenient downtown and beautiful setting. Contact 817-484-1544. See

Triumph Catering & Events!
Enjoy catering services provided by the CTL for private and corporate events of all sizes. Contact 817-484-1544  or 817-546-5546

Contact Ana Van de Venter at 817-484-1537 to join in a monthly tour of the CTL or for other information.

Learn More!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

From Ruffles and Bows to Harry Bertoia

Editor's Note: Enjoy this from Guest Blogger Diane Orr from a few years ago about making and loving a home 

By Diane Orr

James Herron Antiques, Fort Worth Show
 of Antiques & Art
John and I married in the fall of 1953.
For the record, October 3, 1953.
How mid-century can you get.

Daddy had given us some money and we spent it on shiny brand new hard rock maple Early American furniture. Oh, it was beautiful.

We packed everything in the feed store’s bobtail truck and drove to our first house, 706 Cherry, in College Station. All the houses looked alike and we were on a cul de sac.

I had milk glass for wedding presents, cranberry glass, blue and white Spode china. I found a calendar of antique cars and framed 12 pictures in small black frames. We had rooster prints and chicken prints to hang over the back of the couch. I Pennsylvania-Dutched every inch of the walls that weren’t already covered. John’s mother made muslin curtains for the windows with ruffles all the way down and bows for tie-backs.

Oh, it was beautiful. 


We met the architects.

They were our best friends. Tiny and Muff were with the fledgling CRS firm and Jim was a senior architectural student at Texas A & M.

Jim and Joan’s one room apartment had low slung beds and canvas director chairs to sit on. Joan was a potter and the dishes were all handmade. Jim built a huge wire and bamboo birdcage for a partition between the kitchen and the living room and a population of finches thrived.

Muff and Tiny’s house had plastic molded chairs around an oak pedestal table. There were canaries in Mexican cages, white dishes, Swedish Facette stainless flatware. Muff kept fresh flowers in a tall clear glass cylinder vase, more pottery everywhere and floor to ceiling windows that brought the woods inside.

I loved that house.

Before we moved back to Fort Worth, I had an Early American garage sale and neighbors gleefully hauled off everything. I waved a fond goodbye to rooster pictures.

There were four of us now and, to save money, we rented a small FHA duplex in a field of other duplexes and started over.

I bought two iron butterfly chairs with aqua canvas slings. We had a George Nelson Bubble lamp and Muff had given me a birdcage for the finches.

Mother gave us a four piece place setting of white Russel Wright dishes from Cox’s department store, $12.99 a set. We splurged on 16 pieces of Facette stainless flatware and two years later we built our flat top roof mid-century dream house in Wedgwood. Jim was the architect.

The closet doors were painted Frank Lloyd Wright colors. Jim could get a 50% discount then from Knoll and he ordered six wire Bertoia chairs for our dining room ($44.00 each). Mother kicked in again and bought us the round oak pedestal table like Muff’s.

For the living room, we had a high back Bertoia “Bird” chair in black and brown upholstery that rocked a little. But when the twins were born, I got an Eames molded plastic rocker. We were stuffed in that wonderful little house.

Then Thomas came and, with five children, we had to move.

Jim was studying at the time under Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania. For his masters project, he designed us the most exquisite house I have ever seen, five cubicle bedrooms for the children, nestled in the hill of the lot we bought.

He made a model of the house and the grounds and I worked for two years trying to get someone to build it. The foundation bid came in more than the whole budget, but I wouldn’t give up.

When Mrs. Tibbit’s obituary was in the paper, a friend called John and said her house was for sale in Park Hill under a trust. The family wanted a quick sale. John called the young bank trustee, inquired about the price, and bought the house over the telephone.

He was a little sheepish when he came home and told us. “You don’t have to live there,” he meekly said.

The neighborhood, however, was perfect, good schools, close in. You could buy big old houses cheap then. Mrs. Tibbit’s house was built in 1928, solid Oklahoma rock, two stories high with a red tile roof, turrets and a basement. The front was covered with cemetery Cedars. I would call it dismal. Besides, it had only three bedrooms.

Then came Mariana.

Mariana was an architect in Fort Worth who lived in a mid-century house of her own design. I went over to meet her. There were pre-Columbian figures and pots stashed everywhere and all built-in furniture. The cups for tea were handmade, the teapot elegant. A ficus tree and ferns dominated the living room.         

Mariana made the inside of our fortress mid-century modern. We’ve been here 46 years I think and the Noguchi lanterns hanging in every room are fragile to the touch. The six Bertoia chairs are each one broken at the same stress point. I should tell Harry. We have a Corbusier chair in the living room and an Eames chair so old the leather seat is crackled white. As you can tell, I’m a sucker for big names. The desk top that I am writing on now is the same Formica slab that was our coffee table in the little house.

Jan found for us at Canton, in a box of hotel utensils, 30 or 40 pieces of the Facette stainless. The Russel Wright has grown to 20 place settings and I gave both girls the fancy wedding china.

We have spent a fortune re-caning Bauer chairs but it was worth it. The bamboo blinds on all the windows have a soft patina. Stainless hinges are on the old doors.

Mariana made the garage our den and the room attached to the garage the boys shared. An oversized carport pulled it all together.

There are worn Navajo rugs on the floors. There are tansu chests for our clothes. Being an English teacher by trade, I cherish every forlorn paperback. The walls are bookcases. I bought 12 white Luxo lamps when Tonny Foy closed his business. For $20 each. We use those to read and work by.

A few years ago, we took the low ceiling out of the garage and put glass in the eaves and added a small loft. I hate to say it, but it looks like a cathedral. Mariana’s son Brian did that.

I’m even embarrassed to tell you, but there is a Corbusier feathered canvas sofa in the future. At 80 years old and 83 years old, we love to live in this house.

I wish everybody had a house to live in that they love. 
Gordon Harrison, Fort Worth Show
 of Antiques & Art

Editor’s note:
The story continues several years later, with new Noguchi lanterns ordered from the Noguchi Museum in New York, an architect for a grandson and finally the feathered Corbusier sofa, after only a few tries. The Bertoia chairs are used every day. They are still cracked at the stress point.