Saturday, April 02, 2005

Open House

On the way down San Pablo Avenue yesterday, from San Pablo to Oakland, I discovered that there has been a significant change in the scenery, especially in Emeryville. Where once there were decrepit houses and commercial edifices, there are now extremely attractive condo and apartment complexes. Wow! I was impressed.

The new construction even extends into Oakland, in an area that still shows vestiges of blight. I have no idea whether or not people with low incomes also have an opportunity to live in these complexes. Perhaps in Oakland they are able to do so, but I am fairly sure that the Emeryville facilities are upscale enough to be unaffordable. I guess I’ll have to check into that further, so that I’ll know what I am talking about.

I was on the way to a friend’s open house in a warehouse he owns. He is in the antique business, and, at least once a month, holds an open house, hoping to sell a lot of merchandise. The warehouse is rather incredible, consisting of many rooms that are loaded with fantastic furniture in room settings. There is artwork on the walls, and wonderful decorative pieces on the furniture. Show cases chock full of smalls – silver, porcelain, statuettes, all manner of items, titillate, begging to be purchased.

There is a room that has storage bins full of art, other rooms with items from an exclusive period, such as the 50’s, vintage clothing, more than anyone would have imagined. The shelves in other parts of the warehouse stretch from floor to ceiling, piled high with collectibles of all types. The whole place could be considered the best museum you have ever had the luck to peruse. Many items, on the highest shelves, are not for sale, but are in the owner’s personal collection. He collects things in many categories; art, signage, tribal art, religious artifacts, figures made with metal kitchen items by a local artist, so many categories that I can’t remember them.

The furniture that is for sale is amazing, some pieces so huge that they would not fit in most Bay Area houses. There are pieces that I would have loved to own when I was living in the Buffalo house, and they would have fit there. I can’t imagine where he must have found them. Also, I loved a lot of the art available, the etchings and engravings, and the botanicals. I had not been to an open house here in some time, so hundreds of items were new to me.

Part of the open house “thing” is the serving of a buffet type dinner. Of course, this is a dinner eaten while walking around or perching on a lovely chair or sofa. There are always main dishes, salads, finger foods, and a staple is barbecued chicken, done by the guys on site. One main room is used for the buffet, set out on many tables. The girls who help run the open house are expert at displaying the food in a very attractive setting. The artichoke hearts last night were particularly tasty. There was quite a bit of food, as usual. A very large amount of fruit was displayed on top of two huge copper kettles, placed on a sideboard. The fruit itself was beautiful. There was a huge birthday cake, for one of the women, on another sideboard at the other end of the room –yummy. In many of the rooms, there were dishes of candy, nuts, trailmix, chips & dip, and one area always contains the drinks of all types. The people invited, friends and customers, always walk around with food and drink in their hands. I had forgotten how much I enjoy going to these open houses. I’ll have to go again soon.


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