You win some and you lose some

05/10/13 4:18 AM

Yesterday was a whirlwind of adventure for me! I pulled out of the plantation around 8:30am on Thursday morning and didn’t arrive back until 4am!

Yes, that right… I said 4am!


I head to Richmond first to meet up with our design team at Alexander’s Auction. They wanted to preview some of the rugs we were hoping to bid on for the mansion. We have had good luck with this before so we were hoping for a repeat performance!

You know when I go to Alexander’s; it is like being a kid in a candy store! There is just so much to look at and to dream about and to want! It becomes so overwhelming, you just want to get it all! But thankfully we narrowed it down the following:



This one we wanted for the Hipkins- Bernard Junior Suite



This one we wanted for the Parlor.



If we couldn’t get the larger one, we wanted this as a second for the parlor.



This one we wanted for the Turner Master Suite.



This one is a set of two chairs. We wanted them for either the Madison or Turner Master Suites



This I really wanted because of the eagle theme on it for the Madison Master Suite. Since this is the presidential room and we needed a mirror over the desk, I thought this one would really fit the bill perfect. The only draw back is that it is cracked in the bottom section.



There were two gentlemen up for auction and I really wanted to add them to our two ladies at the mansion.





For the Grand Hallway

After the preview, I said my good-byes and headed to Chester, just a little south of Richmond to meet up with a friend, Chett. He came to the plantation about a month ago on an off chance of seeing the mansion. Well, if anyone of you has come to the plantation, you know I don’t turn anyone away that comes to visit. We love to share the plantation! And with his visit, I found the SEO help I needed and he got to enjoy looking at our history house and outbuildings. He had shared with us that he was in the process of purchasing an old home in Chester that the owners were going to tear down. He thinks it was built around the mid-1800s, with several additions. After much wrangling, he was able to save this house! And it was my turn to view his passion. I will be writing a separate post on this later.


After my tour of the house, Chett offered to take me to lunch in Petersburg. I love Petersburg! The homes there are just like walking back into the Civil War days. Big ones with so much detail and small ones that just seem that they have never changed. It is mind blowing to drive block by block seeing these houses. It’s like a surprise around every corner!


We ended up at “Wabi Sabi” in the downtown area. I haven’t been here before so it was a great joy to see that they served sushi! I love sushi, but don’t get much of it at the plantation. I just haven’t found the one place I like to get it. Back in Chesapeake, my daughter and I had a favorite haunt that we dined at I would have to say at least three times a week. My favorite was a house special called a “Green Spiral Roll”. So I am always looking for someone to copy it so I can have it. In fact I keep a photo on my cell phone so I can show the wait staff to see if they can copy it. At “Wabi Sabi” I was in luck! They decided to give it a shot!


And I was so glad they did! It was almost just like the one we eat back in Chesapeake! It was heaven!


And just when I didn’t think it could get any better. . . I found that they served Shrimp and Grits!

After eating myself into a near nirvana state, we headed out to another restaurant. This one wasn’t open for lunch, but Chett wanted me to meet the Chef. The place is called “Brickhouse Run”. It is a British Pub style restaurant that has on its specials board things like “Bangers and Mash” and “Shepherd’s Pie”. After our tour of the dining area, I knew this would be one that I would need to return to soon!

We headed out from there to do some quick shopping. One location I needed to stop at was a new Antique Store opened by another good friend, Robert. When we walked into the door, I was so glad to see him! He has been such a huge help in getting our tea sets together over the last year. He has even had us over to his home, which is one of the beautiful Victorians that Petersburg is known for. We sat for almost a half hour as Chett browsed and I caught up on the goings on in Petersburg. His shop called “AH” is doing quite well. He is also the one that told me about Alexander’s.

After my visit, I said “good-bye” to Robert and Chett and headed back to Richmond! It was almost time for the fun to begin!

After I arrived, I settled into my reserved seat and waited and watched as item after item came up for bidding. Most of the items were furniture, which we really don’t need much of. I had two lists of items. One list was my own of items I wanted to add to the mansion if it was a good price. The other was a list of items that our design team was bidding on. They were doing their bids by phone. So I waited and watched.

Most of theirs came up pretty early. First was the large rug we wanted for the Hipkins-Bernard Junior Suite. But the bidding got going pretty fast and before I knew it, it was over. Did we get it? I didn’t know. There had been two phone bidders (one was our design team) and I didn’t know if they were the ones who won. So I sent a text message and hoped we did.


Next came the Victorian desk. Again two phone bidders and the bids were flying. Argh! It was so frustrating not knowing. So off went another text. Did we win again??


Next came the large rug for the Parlor. I really wanted this one. It was just the right look and just big enough to cover most of the main area. But won’t you know it, two phone bidders again! And not only that, but two bidders in the room! I guess I have good taste because everyone wanted it. The price shot up fast. Before you knew it, it was over. A phone bidder won. Yes… I think! Still no word. . . so off with another text message.


(Hey did we win again? . . . Are you there?)

Next up was our “Gentlemen”. The first was the one that was in a really nice frame. I knew this would go high because dealers like to get the frames to make mirrors out of. So I sat and waited to bid.


The auctioneer started . . .$1000 . . . $500 . . . $100 . . . and then it happened. Someone jumped in and the price went crazy! I didn’t even get to bid. The ending price was $350, well over my budget. (sigh)


Then the next gentleman came up. His frame wasn’t nice, but he had a kind face and would make a wonderful addition to our “ladies”.

The auctioneer started . . .$1000 . . . $500 . . . $100 . . . and then it happened again! Someone jumped in and the price went crazy again! I didn’t even get to open my mouth or hold up my hand! The ending price was $250, which is still over my budget. (sigh . . . again)


Next up was the smaller rug we had selected for the parlor if we didn’t get the larger one. This one would just cover the space between the two settees and would make a wonderful look between them. But again two phone bidders. And again I didn’t know who won. Again I sent a text message hoping for some success because I wasn’t finding any on my side.

One item after another came up, each time with two phone bidders. Each time, I wouldn’t know if we won.

Then just as I was about to give up hope, a text message arrived.

Did we win? . . . What did we get?

The news wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Below are the results:



We didn’t win this one.



We didn’t win this one.



We won this one.



We didn’t win this one.



We won these!



We won this!



We didn’t win.

While we didn’t score on items I really wanted, we did get some that we really could use.

And the night was still young. Anything could happen.

And it did.

Around 1am – 2am, the crowd thinned out and the prices dropped. And I got to hold my hand up a lot more! Here is what I scored!



For the Turner Master Suite





For the Madison Master Bath – between the two sinks



For the Conway Junior Suite



To make into a flower arrangement bowl



For the Madison Master Suite



For one of the half baths

So while we didn’t get those items I really wanted, I have come to understand that it always works out to our advantage. I know that something better is coming our way that will work better and could in fact cost us less.

So I loaded up and headed by to the plantation around 3:00am. I can’t say I was all that tired going home. I enjoyed driving with no traffic through Richmond. And watched like a hawk as I made my way back down Route 301 so I didn’t hit a deer. And there were tons of them. But I arrived safely back at the mansion, pulled up and pretty much walked in and crashed. It was a good day and my desire for adventure was fed.

And you can’t get any better than that.

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 2 Comments »

2 Comments on “You win some and you lose some”

  1. David Says:

    These auctions are a bit tricky, especially when there are phone bidders. Your mirror with the eagle, that’s rather nice. Too bad you couldn’t win the two gentlemen – would’ve made fine additions with the women.

    Regarding the large floral piece, is that a Capodimante piece?

  2. Michelle Darnell Says:

    Thank you! Yes, that is a Capodimante. I was disappointed in the two gentlemen though.