Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wooden Inlays

Wooden inlay work and other unique and precious details are something that at Mignonne, we scout for diligently, keeping an eye out for pieces that reflect skilled craftsmanship and sturdy construction, therefore reflecting quality, and value. We apply this to our workmanship as well.  When redesigning a piece, we keep in mind what qualities it possesses that make it something worth re-vamping, and focus on playing those wonderful qualities up. It's important to know what aspects are better left alone, and what can be done to highlight those special details.

As most of us know, these little details can make us fall in love, with furniture that is, but the rough edges or dated style can hold us back from actualizing their potential. Some furniture looks dated by nature, but don't let that stop you from re-imagining it. Re-imagining is something we've been doing here at Mignonne Decor for years. There's no need to be hindered by your love of classic pieces, it's possible to modernize practically anything! Using your eye, you can find pieces you love, you may even have a few already. With the help of our skilled team they can be everything you imagined and more!

'VIENNA' coffee table and side tables.

We revamped this 1940's wooden inlay coffee table and side tables set, and only modifications we made to the inlay work was to sand off the areas that were too far gone to be saved, then we varnished up the rest.

The next step was to find a color that was modern and classic altogether. Marie (assistant furniture re-vamper here at Mignonne), after much deliberation, made the decision to mix a creamy pastel with a touch of green, resulting in a color similar to home made key lime pie. The color is so light that it's not accosting, but weird enough to have a funky edge! The color both complements the beauty of the woodwork while making the set look vibrant and incredibly unique.

Something that we must consider often here at Mignonne, is when to make a full transformation, and when to make subtle changes, as to not effect the integrity of what we're working with. Especially when it comes to furniture detailed with things like woodwork, inlays, veneers, and more.

If you're not sure of what you want to preserve about a piece, or if you should preserve it at all, we can help you. With a distinguished eye for quality furniture and details, Johnelle(about) has been scouting furniture for Mignonne years, and has an educated taste to help you modernize, without jeopardizing your classic furniture.

Have a piece of furniture in mind? The possibilities are vast, and here at Mignonne, we can help you achieve them. Start a conversation by emailing us at, we'd love to hear from you!

xoxo mignonne

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Wonderful World of Salvaged Doors

We'd like to highlight the many uses of salvaged vintage and antique doors as a part of our Custom Build Services here at Mignonne, and show you what we can help you to achieve.

Vintage doors are a simple way to add that sought after vintage charm to your home. The plethora of applications makes them not just a one use item, no longer do they simply offer a barrier from one room to the next. Get rid of your flimsy Home Depot quick fix, and get real, with a solid, high quality vintage creation!

With years of in-home interior decorating and restoration experience, Mignonne has collected some of our favorite doors and used them for a variety of projects, we can help you do it too...

Right off the bat: vintage doors can be used in place of drab store bought ones, but that's certainly not the only possibility...doors can be transformed into head boards or room dividers, or more. To customize your own door project, first think of your needs and intentions. Maybe you need a facade to conceal storage?

This sliding horse-stall door transformation was shared by Design Sponge. It demonstrates the space saving quality of a door on a sliding track.

This sliding horse-stall door transformation was shared by Design Sponge. It demonstrates the space saving quality of a door on a sliding track.

This technique can be used for all sorts of places around the house (or apartment).  And Mignonne can install the sliding track or any other door solutions!

We can also customized a headboard with one or more salvaged doors. The more doors the more grand the effect, here we have a pretty substantial headboard of two doors, found on Dreamy Whites Blog.

Dishfunctional Designs has highlighted a number of really awesome ideas to make use of old doors, but that's not the limit, if you can dream it up we can work together to make it happen!

With years of in-home interior decorating experience, owner & lead designer of Mignonne Decor, Johnelle, has collected some of her favorite doors and used them for a variety of projects like her booth dividers when we set up shop at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair.

Salvaged doors can be found in places such as Urban Ore, and Ohmega Salvage.

Have an idea for a project? The possibilities are vast, and here at Mignonne, we can help you achieve them. Start a conversation by emailing us at, we'd love to hear from you!

xoxo mignonne

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feature on Brian Hill Custom Carpentry

We've been collaborating with our lead carpenter, Brian Hill for a time now. We've put out some really great customized work with him so far, including, but not limited to: cabinetry built-in's for client's homes, custom stand-alone furniture, repurposed vintage furniture, and heavy duty repairs, reconstructions and restorations on shop and client pieces that stand the test of time in aesthetic and durability.

When redesigning and redecorating a space it's often hard to acquire exactly what it is you're looking for. We've had a lot of success in the past helping clients to tackle just that problem. With custom furniture you can be in control of small hard to fit spaces, and add a whole new functionality to an awkward one; for instance, this pitched-roof attic was converted into usable storage space with custom cabinetry.

Possibilities are endless when you begin thinking about customizing furniture for your home, and it can be nearly as overwhelming as the idea of building a home from the ground up. But more often than not, the fix for a space can fit your budget, transform your space, and be as simple as a built in breakfast nook like this one...

Why not use your things as tools for success? Start with a table under your favorite window, to eat breakfast in the best light of day, or a double sided desk, for you and another to work at together, even custom storage, built specifically with your needs and space in mind. 

Renters don't be deterred! Custom built furniture needn't be immovable, the need can be just as great for a custom built piece that can be transported, converted, stored, or specially created for multiple uses.

For those of us who love vintage, it can be easy to get carried away with the obsession. One can spend years in quest for the perfect piece, and all the while forgetting that a contemporary piece can breath new life into a room. At Mignonne, as we've mentioned in the past, we focus on and encourage mixing and matching, to make a decor uniquely your own. By adding something built specifically for you, a house becomes a home. We believe the love of your furniture, and the love of your space are essential to happiness, and can transform a space into your sanctuary.

We offer custom carpentry design services as well as much more here at Mignonne. Visit our website, under the section titled 'custom build' for more ideas.

Or email us at:
 to start a conversation about a project of your own!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Patchwork and Paints; the Hand-worker's Chair

So as some of you may know, we've done some pretty funky designs in the past, like our chairs and couches upholstered in blankets and rugs, as well as our patchwork style of upholstery which allows for the use of small amounts of fabric and salvaged materials. But when Mignonne Decor lead designer and owner, Johnelle Mancha decided to make a piece that really said something about the shop, she knew just what to do: design a chair upholstered in her old, paint spattered, work pants!

Our 'PAINTER'S PANTS' shop chair is a statement unto its own, and we love how it not only shows what we can do, but also embodies the personality of the shop. This chair displays how we can make use of small our patchwork upholstering, as well making use of remnant materials. Made with scraps of paint spattered jeans (casualties of the job), Johnelle put together a design that not only gave her denim a third life, but also displayed some of the contemporary design ideas that make Mignonne what it is. 

Often a sentimental value is attached to heirloom items, like the blankets and rugs you've inherited or acquired throughout the years. Everyone has a unique story to tell, and we have an interest in helping you to preserve the things you love.

When you upholster a piece in this unique style, you have an opportunity to tell a story, whether it be about your family's history, your interests and passions, or even your lost and forgotten loves, like Johnelle did with her beloved paint spattered pants. Without covering you with paint splatters of your own, she can tell say something about her process, her life, and what matters to her.

So, consider the plethora of upholstery ideas, like splatter paint, before you banish your furniture to the basement or sidewalk! This chair found on HGTV's Emily Henderson's blog is sure to make a splash, but why not let us help you create something uniquely yours, with a story to tell?

There's nothing like a statement piece with a story behind it, and nothing like a display piece with great usability!

Blankets and Textiles at the Alameda Flea Market, photo curtosy of

All in all, an outrageous look often expands our minds to the possibilities in design and aesthetic. We love finding unique ways to repurpose all kinds of textiles, often saving them from total degradation, and giving them an new life and use. On top of items upholstered with old clothing, we've done reupholstering with old upholstery remnants, blankets, and even rugs. We're always looking for new ideas in upholstery, so bring us your projects and we can help you to design a statement piece of your own!

If you ever want to start a dialogue; receive a quote for a couch or a chair of your own, 
you can email us a photo at ... 
We would be happy to help you in the creative 
process of revamping your piece!!!

xoxo mignonne

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Art of Textiles

What most of us don't know about fabric could fill a library. But don't despair, there are some basic guidelines that we use in our work on an everyday basis. A little knowledge we can impart, that is of great use in our everyday decorating decisions.

There are many options when it comes to choosing the perfect material, such as texture, woven or knit, weight, rub count (essential for upholstery), and many other aspects in synthetic and natural fabrics alike. These are just a few ways that we make fabric decisions here at Mignonne. For instance, we must decide on solids or patterns, as this decision is a good jumping off point for the remainder of our aesthetic choices. A few basic choices about patterns, solids and more is what I'd like to talk about today...  

There are many things to consider when styling with fabric. Some of the most important of these being the size of the space, the already existing aspects, and the atmosphere you'd like to achieve. For instance, a heavy load of pattern in a room will inevitably make a the space feel smaller, however a room with all solids and no texture variation, can feel cold.

When it comes to color, pop colors look better in large patterns or solids, whereas busy patterns, and lots of them, look better in softer neutrals like darks and pastels.

The 'BLACK ON BLACK' chair is an example of the use of small patterns. Upholstered in a small black herringbone pattern, which accents the shape of the chair while not overwhelming the design, this chair can act as a solid, while adding dimension!

Large patterns, on the other hand, are a versatile look when reupholstering a single piece of furniture, while still trying to influence the look of an entire room. Because of the bold look of large patterned upholstery, it can be a great solution to both an over patterned room or a room with too much solid.

The image above is of a client piece we did recently, you can see how great it looks with our 'BLACK ON BLACK' chair at the top, because their patterns won't compete. This mid century chair in a robins egg lattice pattern would perfectly accent a room with solids in most color schemes, but could just as easily live amongst other pattens. 

Above you can see how Emerald Green Interiors,, styled their large floral upholstery on a muted solid grey wall, with a complimentary solid orange throw blanket. It really makes that floral look smart, doesn't it?

And in a similar but more bohemian fashion, this patchwork couch seen on is an awesome example of how many patterns can go together when in a neutral setting, like when offset by solids.

Too many patterns can date a look, a busy look is generally associated with a stuffy, overly frilly decor. This is because to the eye, patterns can fill up a room, and this make any space look smaller. And in a small room too much pattern may even make the walls feel like their falling in on you. But don't be afraid of mixing patterns, it's fun and can make a room look modern, eclectic, and uniquely yours! It's not like styling an outfit, you have a whole room to work with with, levels, and layers and multiple surfaces. Mixing smaller quieter patterns, with bold bright, and larger patterns, can lighten the stuffy feel of a room, while still giving it a cozy warm atmosphere that a lot of pattern gives. 

This bedroom by Max Rollitt,, is heavy on pattern. What makes it all so cohesive is the variation, and the subtle solids that make the beautiful patterns pop!

Not big into patterns? Too many solids can look staged and boring, even cold and uninviting. Sometimes, for those of us who are afraid of patterns (don't worry you're not alone) we can end up with a room that looks like a doctors office waiting room, and that's just no good. Always a fan of bold large prints, I will again suggest this to bring life into the room. While in a room with too many patterns, a large print can add variety and modernize the space. On the flip side, a chair with a large vintage Ikat or Kilim, or even a Mexican serape upholstery in a room dominated by solids, can add the necessary hook. Just make sure to pick a pattern you're absolutely in love with because it will be the feature of the room. 

That brings me to the advantage of using vintage fabrics, especially in combination with contemporary styles. With you, we can create a piece that's one of a kind with vintage fabric, as well as add unique dimension to any atmosphere. In upholstering with remnants and recovered fabrics you're also making use of a material that's lost its home, repurposing and reusing, which is good for the environment, and perfect for achieving a stylish contemporary decor. There are so many patterns of yesteryear that are being imitated in textile design today, but there's just nothing like the real thing. Not to mention the differences in quality and color schemes. We have victorian, mid century modern, ethnic and indigenous designs, as well as much more of unmatchable style!

There are a plethora of wonderful solids and patterns by the yard in just about any material you could desire here in our Fabric Room at Mignonne, as well as our artfully curated collection of vintage textiles recovered from garments, upholstered pieces and more, that we can offer you for your next upholstery project with us!

Our growing team is here to help you with all your upholstery choices, come down and talk to someone at 2447 San Pablo Ave. and Dwight Way, Berkeley, Ca 94702, or shoot us an email at

Check us out:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Black is the New Black

In a true winter spirit, we're rolling out our newest settee, 'SMOKE' playing with some black on black, for a dark horse look in these dreary months. As the saying goes "*insert color here* is the new black!", well, this year, black "is the new black." In a world of color, black is sleek, sophisticated, and sultry. 

When bombarded with aromas of potpourri and cashmere, daring is the scent of leather and tabac. Amidst the colors of the seasons, spring, summer,and fall, lie the rich depths of winter in blacks, browns and grays. 

With that in mind, we're presenting some more masculine pieces this winter, and our star is the real and recycled leather 'SMOKE' settee...
Recycled leather allows for flexibility in a budget, significantly cutting the costs of material, as well as reducing waste. 

This particular couch is from the late 1800's to the early 1910's, in addition to the quality of craftsmanship that entails, it also means it is unique in size. Because this settee was not made in an era of standardization it doesn't fall under a size category. Measuring in at 56" wide, 23 1/2" deep and 38 3/4" tall, it's small, but no love seat, nor is it a gargantuan couch. It's a great place to sit and talk.

To modernize a settee like this we take into account the original look, and the appropriations of that look throughout the years. Often details in a piece can date it, and because at Mignonne we aren't replicators or imitators, we look for ways to transform a forgotten item into a fresh, unique statement.

The details are lovely and delicate, so there's no need to accentuate the feminine aspects. Instead of remaining in line with the delicate theme its structure begs for, we balanced the delicacy of the settee with an added masculine side: the brutish, black, patchwork leather upholstery. 

Often when we color block, it feels like a stark contrast is essential, but the contrast may be more rich, even more daring when it resides in the textures and the subtle hues. And as for the color, black on black is synonymous with high fashion, how do we know? We bet your grandma wouldn't do it! 

With lots of people renovating antique homes and trying to keep original interiors, while not wanting to live in a replica of grandma's living room, they're looking for ways to make classic interiors and pieces new, modern and bold. This is achieved by honoring the shapes and the details of an antique, while taking artistic liberties with fabric, pattern, and mismatched decor. We're all about helping you do just that!

Our 'SMOKE' settee is available for purchase now in our shop on 2447 San Pablo Ave. and Dwight Street in Berkeley, 94702.  

At Mignonne we offer design services with reupholstery, revamping and transforming pieces you may come across or already own, as well as items already in our shop. This is a unique piece, but so are so many of our pieces, if you are interested in creating a similar look we'd love to start a conversation about the process!

Come on in to the shop, or inquire online at

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Collaborations and Customizations

Not long ago we were approached by interior designer and dear client of ours, Lyn Matejczyk to collaborate on designs for her husband's marketing firm, aptly named MUH.TAY.ZIK (the phonetic spelling of Lyn and John's last name).  Lyn approached us for our assistance with upholstery design and customization for the décor accents.  The designs being for the firm's brand new downtown SF location on Sansome Street.  Located on the 15th and 16th floors and with a vintage architectural charm and fabulous views of the city it's dream space to design, and a pleasure for us to be of assistance with.

The design concept was white on white, and black on black, with each floor being predominantly one color.  We worked with Lyn both sourcing and scouting pieces from around the bay to be reupholstered in step with the overall theme.  A true endeavor, each piece was individually designed with our help, by Lyn, and executed by us here at Mignonne. 

Chrome and white hide chairs, sourced by Mignonne, give a nod to the history of the ad industry.

Matching white recycled leather and white hide stripe chairs, sourced by Mignonne. Here, though the colors are in theme, the difference in texture and tone give complexity and depth to the décor.

And a solid upholstery to contrast the many textures, like in the case of the 'CLOUD' chair upholstered, sourced by Mignonne, can add complexity to style as well!

Sourced by Lyn herself, and upholstered by Mignonne, these couches in dark grey herringbone give sophistication the eclectic look.

But one of the most striking pieces is the two tone federal couch, which serves as the tying piece from dark to light, straddling both worlds. Upholstered in black and white hide, and sitting against a matching black and white wall, this piece serves as a statement piece of the firm's new look.

At Mignonne we work on a wide range of projects, from individual pieces & private residences, to commercial spaces.  In this case we had the opportunity to collaborate with designer, Lyn Matejczyk, in her goals of making the commercial space a truly unique one.  We are always excited to embark on new commercial projects, and all that they entail.  In collaborating with other designers we are able to put our heads together, as well as our resources, and skills, for and end result that
you just can't buy from a store.

Email us at to start a conversation about your next project!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Peering Into Gatsby's Windows

Hey there! I'd like to introduce our newest window displays! They are just so yummy. Sexy, cozy, warm, and sultry. Marie really pulled out all the stops for these puppies. 

Inspired by the art deco era, the use of metallics in geometric shapes reminds one of The Great Gatsby, which has made a recent comeback in the right brain of many creative types, inspiring many of us and recalling us to a time of no holds barred. Thrown into the mix are some lovely accessories, seemingly tossed off in a fervor. Wine glasses lay strewn about in a careless glamor. And the beaded necklaces of rambunctious flapper girls are draped about, somehow perfectly accenting the clean lines of the furniture with a beautiful mess. The textures as well, are rich and abundant, from a silky black backdrop, to sleek metallics, extravagant beading and jewelry, and sultry fur, give the eye nothing to grow bored of.

Designing a little display space is kind of like putting together an outfit. We don't want to mix too many patterns, but if the texture's all the same it looks too much like one muddled pool. With a black silk art deco dress, a true flapper girl would see the purpose of accessorizing. She may try on her fur stole, some long beads, and possibly a shiny chain purse, to glam up and go out on the town!

Thanks for taking a look, and remember to stay on the lookout for our upcoming Holiday Soiree! Held on December 22nd at 5pm here at Mignonne, 2447 San Pablo Avenue.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Design Services For All~

I think it's about time to talk about the big issues. Big projects, big spaces, and BIG ideas. At Mignonne we don't just work on individual pieces, interior design is a big part of our wheelhouse, and with the redesigning of a space, we bring in a number of new elements to the equation. 

We mix the old and the new. We work with our clients to design around their aesthetic, or even specific pieces they're inspired by. But possibly the biggest part of this process is the custom installations. Sometimes there's a piece that we need, and that piece doesn't exist yet. For this we call on our lead design team and lead carpenter to create something truly one of a kind. Whether it be a small set of wall shelves or a floor to ceiling built in! 

::before and after - water heater solution::

What's so wonderful about this is we don't have to be hindered by what's at hand, when you can customize, the sky's the limit (or maybe the ceiling). 

Bookshelves and other types of wall storage are some of the most common custom installations. Because for the most part, we're all attached to our accessories and knick knacks, we like to find a way for you to display them, and eliminate clutter at the same time. For commercial spaces and homes alike, a beautiful space saving installation can make life all the easier, as well as being pleasing to the eye. 

::custom commercial shelving unit::

 One commercial project we worked on was for our West Berkeley neighbors on Fourth street in the shopping district. Out of the several custom pieces and installations we did for them, probably the most evident is their fabulous herringbone soft wood floors we put in, with the reclaimed wood counter. 

::ketér salon - reclaimed counter and herringbone floors::

So if you're thinking of a piece that doesn't quite exist yet, or even if you've found it but it's not for sale, we can help customize something for your space and for your life! You can always email us at for any project inquiries, and we'd be more than happy to start a dialogue.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

May I introduce to you, the one and only 'GUERLAIN'?

We named this one-of-a-kind piece after the Parisian cosmetics brand and perfume brand "Guerlian". Founded in 1828, The House of Guerlain has been on top of the cosmetics world for nearly 200 years! Known for their prestige, Guerlain is a brand associated with luxury. Not only does our wonderful desk remind us of their color pallet, but the essence is that of a Guerlain woman.

Their usage of teal undertones brings out a glow on a gal the way our 'GUERLAIN' desk glows within a wonderful neutral interior. 

This is a great example of how color can transform a whole space. In a subtle earthy interior like this one, a teal desk adds an element of variety, as well as great eye candy. It's a real conversation piece. We like to take it a step further with some pop color, to break up a monotone feeling. 
(Photo curtesy of

But how great would this piece look in a bolder setting, too?  Bright colors really pop in a refined setting, or even pair well with one another for a more eclectic vibe. This teal would be stunning when paired with your favorite shade of pink, or even black and white. Now that's something The House of Guerlain would approve of!

Vintage Vogue Ad 1933 Art Deco Ad  SHALIMAR  GUERLAIN Perfume Original Advertisment Art by Darcy

All in all, teal is very versatile. Adding a flare of color to your interior can be just the thing you need to accomplish a change in atmosphere in a budget savvy way.

Not one for teal? Check out our website: for our available pieces to transform and we can customize something wonderful just for you!