What Is It? Canape, Couch, Sofa, Settee??

March 13, 2012

What is it, a canape, a couch a sofa or a settee?  Canape (used by the French), couch or sofa (used by the English)  all are terms for a comfortable piece of furniture usually seating 3 people, where the seat, back and arms are  covered with fabric.   Often the French canape has exposed finely carved wooden elements.  The word couch stems from the French word coucher, meaning to lie down; and sofa comes from the Arabic word suffah, meaning a long reclining bench.  The settee is more formal and less comfortable than a canape, couch or sofa and generally seats 2 people.  In between the canape and the settee is the marquise,  an amble chair were 2 can sit at ease.

Below are pictures of some of our inventory.  Stop by Piranesi and see our stunning selection.  Or visit us on line at piranesi@nocoxmail.com

Louis XV Giltwood Canape, 19C France

Louis XV Painted Canape, 19C France

Maison-Jansen Cane Canape, C1900 France

Directoire Period Settee, 18C France

Louis XVI Marquise, 19C France



November 17, 2011

Enjoy your turkey and all the trimmings with family and friends seated around a table from Piranesi.  Come see our  interesting and eclectic selection, like the table below, constructed  from a 19th century door.  We have a great selection of dining chairs also.

19C Italian door made into a table, seats 8


October 4, 2011

Piranesi is delighted to offer for sale the works of Russian born artist Angelica Verkeenko.  Angelica, a classically trained theatrical designer, bases her creations on themes from 18th century theater and opera.  Her luxurious and unique technique involves layering geometrically shaped pieces of metallic paper, foil, silver and gold leaf on which she tools delicately intricate patterns.  The work is then completed with details using acrylic paint.  Stop by 2104 Magazine to see these amazing pieces.

Sea Horse

Eating, Shopping and More Sightseeing

August 29, 2011

After wandering the streets of Colonia, we stopped at the Yacht Club for a bite.  The Club sits right on the water and we were mesmerized watching the boats and waves blown by the wind. The day of our visit it was freezing and most people were indoors by their firesides not out and about. We feasted on lenguado, a local fish, cooked in the Mediterranean way, with olives, tomatoes and capers…divine.

Porch at Yacht Club

Dining room at Yacht Club

View from Yacht Club

View from Yacht Club

After lunch we took in some shopping;  everything was  within walking distance from the Yacht Club.  We loved the variety of handmade goods and items of natural beauty;  Uruguay is known for its’ wools, colorful mate ( a type of tea) cups, which almost everyone seems to drink from all day long, and gorgeous purple amethysts.  As we walked we marvelled at the gorgeous blue and white Portuguese ceramic signs.

Blue & white sign on house

Mate cups

Wool in all colors and of extraordinary softness

Handmade sweaters; some are alpaca

Geodes containing amethysts

Before heading back to Buenos Aires, we wanted to see what the newer part of Colonia was like.  Our two precious and personable guides took us along the beach road to new houses that were being constructed with  to die for views of the beach.

Our guides

Many new homes overlook this beach

New construction

Road to house above

And the next time we return to Colonia, we will certainly stay at this hotel and partake of the Colonia night life.

Hotel Colonia

Courtyard at Hotel Colonia

Dogs and cars of Colonia

August 27, 2011

Dogs and cars, an odd combination?  Both have a story in Colonia.  First to the dogs…The dog of Uruguay is the Cimarrón and is the mascot of the National Army of Uruguay. It descended  from European dogs brought by early colonizers.  A great variety of dogs live in the streets of Colonia;  they are tame, petted and fed by local dog lovers,  but  not owned by anyone.  Below are a few of our four legged new best friends.

Cimarrón Uruguayo

And a friend

And now the cars…Because for years there was no car manufacturing plant in Uruguay, new cars were a rarity.  Today there are many interesting vintage cars on the streets.

Vintage white car

Vintage black car

Complete with bar

More about Colonia

August 25, 2011

Among the many old buildings in Colonia is El Faro, the lighthouse constructed in 1857 over the ruins of a 1682 Portuguese convent, the San Francisco.  It is possible to (and we did) climb up many stairs for a view of the city and the harbor.  The Iglesia Matriz , the oldest church in Uruguay, dating from 1695,  is open to the public and worth the visit;  the whitewashed walls exude grace, serenity and peace.

El Faro

View of Colonia from El Faro

Iglesia Matriz

Return to Buenos Aires

August 23, 2011

This summer we made another shopping pilgrimage to Buenos Aires  in search of the unexpected and the beautiful. We are so excited by all the incredible and interesting pieces we found!  Not to mention that the ship is on the water and soon to arrive in New Orleans. Before it gets here though, we would like to share some of our recent experiences there.

Always on the hunt for new adventure, from Buenos Aires we took a one hour Buquebus ride across the Rio de la Plata (the widest river in the world)  to Colonia  del Sacremento, the oldest town in Uruguay.  It was founded by the Portuguese in 1680 and is utterly charming…   In its early days it changed rulers often, going back and forth between between the Spanish and the Portuguese until it was incorporated into Brazil in 1816 and then in 1828 became part of the independent country of Uruguay.

The Barrio Historico is the oldest section of the city. This is where the colonial history of the city can be seen in the architecture.  Winding streets of 17th century cobblestone are  laid out in the Portuguese style,  a pattern different from the perpendicularly laid out streets found in Spanish colonial cities.  Ancient homes of colorful weathered adobe and of stone are everywhere.   When the first settlers built their houses, one could distinguish the wealthier owners by the thickness of their roofs;  the more layers of tile a roof had, the wealthier the owner.  Below are some pictures of the houses and streets of the old quarter.

Roof with 3 layers of tile

Roof with 2 layers of tile

Notice the absence of sidewalks. The street goes all the way to the house.

This street has a sidewalk and is lined with beautiful sycamore trees.

Gloriously painted pink house

Gargoyle rain spout

Amongst the charming ancient houses are areas of verdant green space concealed behind thick walls and dotted with huge old sycamores.  One imagines that once upon a time cows, sheep or goats grazed here.  There are also charming courtyards glimpsed through iron gates or open archways…Of equal interest is the fact that it was in the dead of winter when these pictures were shot!  Can you believe how green everything is?  Look at the oranges on the trees in the square (last picture).

Walled green space behind a house.

Look at the beautiful green front garden behind the gate.

Here is a lush court yard.

Light house overlooking the main square. Note the orange trees!

A Word About Veneer and Marquetry

May 12, 2011

Veneering dates back thousands of years and was prized by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.  Simply put, the craft of veneering involves the slicing of rare, expensive and beautiful woods into the thinnest of leaves and gluing this precious material onto a substructure of more common and less expensive wood.  It was a way of stretching the scarce and exotic as far as possible in making lovely and elegant furniture.

The related art of marquetry uses a palette of different wood veneers to create formal or naturalistic  patterns or pictures. The 17th and 18th centuries marked the zenith of marquetry, when the courts of England and France patronized this art form in furniture. From the seventeenth century right through to the end of the nineteenth century, tools improved, and techniques became increasingly swifter and more refined. By the end of the nineteenth century, veneer and  marquetry had become extremely popular and accessible forms of furniture decoration.

Piranesi has in its collection several pieces of veneered furniture adorned with marquetry designs.

Top of Small Table, Italy, 18thC

Semainier, France, circa 1880

Secretary, Italy, circa 1910

Close up of Italian Secretary

Center table, USA, circa 2010

Confit Pots @ Piranesi

March 26, 2011

Confit pots were used in the late 19th century in southwestern France to preserve meats.  (The word comes from the French verb confire meaning to preserve.)  Meat, traditionally duck or goose, was slowly cooked submerged in its own rendered fat and allowed to cool. The lower part of the pot, which was left unglazed, was buried underground and thus, the contents remained cool without refrigeration.  The rarest and most desired pots are the small pots and those with a green glaze.

We are delighted to have a new shipment of confit pots in all sizes.  They make wonderful gifts or are fun to collect.  Stop by Piranesi @ 2104 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA.

About Daybeds

February 21, 2011

Designed and planned for rest during the day in preference to the formal bed, the daybed has a long and varied history. Dating back to the ancient Egyptians,  they were created  out of palm sticks that were bound together, and used for sleeping and lounging.  In the age of Cleopatra, they became famous in the Roman world as well as the Greek.  Made of and adorned with rich materials,  they were a sign of wealth.  In ancient India, the god Vishnu was depicted reclining on a daybed; historical evidence of daybeds exists in nearly every culture of the ancient world, including Etruscan, Mesopotamian, Chinese and African.

Daybeds became popular in 17thc France where they were elaborate pieces with scrolled sides and cushioned seats.  Called couches in England, they had one high end and were cane or rush covered with loose cushions on top.  Later in France the chaise longue developed.  Immensely popular and useful  in Victorian England, daybeds were referred to as fainting couches and used by ladies who needed to rest when their corsets became too tight.

Still in use today,  daybeds are wonderfully versatile:  whether  used  for catnapping, seating, as  a room divider or to accommodate  an overflow guest, they can work in almost any room.

At Piranesi we have several elegant daybeds.  Stop by for a look! 2104 Magazine, NOLA.

Maison Jansen day bed, France, C1920

Duchesse en bateau, France, 19thC

Day bed attributed to Maison Jansen, France 19thC