Hotel Astor

A lot of people have been curious about where I take photos for my etsy shop marybethhale so I thought I would share a few photos here. Originally, the building was a hotel built after the great fire of 1922. Opening in 1924 as The Hotel Astor, it was the first building begun after the fire, and the tallest. Today, the building is used for apartments on the upper six stories. The ground floor has offices and boutique shops around the perimeter. It is the decayed ballroom and side rooms on the mezzanine level that are the location of many of my photos.

Under new ownership the building is being restored….except for the ballroom.

front ballroom
front ballroom

This room has arched windows all along the north and west walls. Massive damage was caused by a tenant flooding the building by leaving a bath faucet on to water a plant.

plaster moulding detail
plaster moulding detail
plaster moulding on the columns
plaster moulding on the columns
hallway
hallway

Hallway between ballroom and side rooms.

side room

The pink side room has great textures on the walls but the photos in this room are often flat. I have only had one photography class in my life and that was in the 90s when we used a dark room. Learning to work with lighting may be in the future.

another side room
another side room

I’m not sure what this room was originally, but now it is full of old hotel bed frames and dressers. A few of the old red and white tiles remain on the floor. My favorite place to find vintage home decor used to be located in the shop space below this room. Vintage Hardware has since moved to the river front.

The opposite side of the mezzanine is this long narrow space with a sunny window.

Another window amongst all the others….each one a little different.

Gabriela in tuxedo

Gabriela in Edwardian waistcoat and tuxedo pants

There is something about the light and the textures in this place. They are kind to me. And when I arrive here there is a spring in my step and I get lost in time for the day.

Tyler in the ballroom
Tyler in the ballroom
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Interview with CrafterCommunity

Reed, who also has a new blog,
CrafterCommunity

recently asked me to do an interview with him. So I thought I would share it here also.

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Tell me about your store…what you sell…when you started?

I started selling vintage in 2010. I sold a wide variety of decor, housewares, collectibles, and some clothing. Now my focus is mainly on clothing and accessories. The shift happened last year when I got a model and a great location to shoot.

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The personal change happened when I created a vision for what I wanted my shop to be. Everyone has their own unique “voice” and that is what I want to express in my shop by creating a narrative with the photography. I want the items to tell a story in the way they are shown, like little snippets from a diary. Hopefully people will want to keep returning to see the latest entries.
What would you do differently if you started over?
Use social media! I’m a late joiner in that arena. I finally started an instagram account and am loving it. It is a way to show my photography, and items before they are listed in the shop (hint, hint) and it is a way to connect with people around the world. My instagram is @domesticrebus
“domestic” for the connotations of home and the every day, and “rebus” for the use of images to tell a story.

Mia on a back porch modeling 1930s blouse and 1950s skirt.

Do you have any tips for new sellers?
Take the best photos you possible can. Join teams….these can be an enormous help to you. Ship international. Offer returns and insure your parcels. A seller who says “no returns” (unless final clearance) and “if you don’t pay for insurance it is your responsibility if it breaks or gets lost” is not getting my business.

Victorian baby booties

What are your goals for your store?
To grow an international customer base. And to keep unfolding a story that people want to return to.

first post

Mia in Edwardian Eyelet Skirt and Blouse
Mia in Edwardian Eyelet Skirt and Blouse

I had no intentions of starting a blog and taking on something new but a friend gently persuaded me into this. “People want to know more about your shop and your process”…..So, I once wanted to be a writer, but being sparse of words, I went to art school and studied sculpture and painting….for eight years. But maybe I will write a few words in between the photography here in this blog to come. So for this very first post I hesitated about how to start things off and just starting where I am is the best place of all. I am currently working on a group of about twenty pieces of Edwardian and late Victorian summer clothing, mostly whites, and some accessories. All will be coming to the shop soon…..

Mia wearing an embroidered Edwardian dress with Victorian parasol and kidskin shoes
Mia wearing an embroidered Edwardian dress with Victorian parasol
Mia wearing a blue embroidered Edwardian shirtwaist
Mia wearing a blue embroidered Edwardian shirtwaist