Archive | March, 2012

Tip-N-Rok = Eames + Kid-O

23 Mar

February 1962 Popular Mechanics (Google Books)

Somewhere between the furniture of yesteryear and the toys of 2012 lies this awesome find, a chair-toy hybrid called the Tip-N-Rok.   Although mentioned on multiple websites as a vestige of childhood memories in the 1970s, this wonderful item dates back to the early ’60s (at least).

from eames shell to bilibo?

The ad from Popular Mechanics lists the manufacturer as the Tip-N-Rok Sales Co.  But over time, it seems to have been made by a number of manufacturers, from the MTA Company (any info would be much appreciated!) to the Infantseat Company in its latest iteration.  To me, it’s a children’s “missing link” between an Eames shell (without legs) to the modern day Kid-O Bilibo (available at

Finn's room, courtesy Deuce Cities Henhouse

Then I found the chair again in the Apartment Therapy (formerly Ohdeedoh) archives.  They found it on the Flickr feed of Alison, mom to Gus, Elsa and Finn, and the woman behind my new favorite blog, Deuce Cities Henhouse.  Check it out if you’re into feeling inspired (and very envious…).  And for more random chair inspiration, you can find it on this guy’s Pinterest collection too.

on ebay right now!

on ebay right now (intothepines)

And then I found two (well-loved, but lovely) Tip-N-Roks on Ebay today. This one (above) is being sold by intothepines. With about a day left, bids are around $30.  (The other one is being sold for a lot more, btw).

"as advertised on tv" (intothepines)

The kid on the sticker seems to be having a good time.


getting the basics right

20 Mar

They look innocent enough.  But they’re intent on destroying your carefully-designed, thoughtfully-appointed, simple but beautiful baby nursery.

Because guess what?  That adorable DS or DD (or, bless you, combination of s’s and d’s) – whether you’re ready to admit it or not – has outgrown ‘baby’ mode and is now firmly putting his or her foot down into young kid territory.  And with the changing table, so goes the crib, the pom poms, the bedding you spent hours agonizing over and coordinating with paint colors, and virtually anything else that’s too delicate to have lasted this long.

And as you may find, a daytime dalliance with Geo and Milly might just morph into a super-obsession.  Then Grandma finds out.  And a couple of days later, you find yourself with officially-licensed character sheets and a new bedspread straight from China to you.   What to do?  Console yourself with a super heaping of the basics.

As Miss Sarah Brown says, “follow the fold and stray no more.”

You know the room is going to be taken over by Super Shapes.  You know Wubzy is yellow, and everything’s painted a lovely shade of pink.  Here are some tips for making the new toddler room a sea of calm amidst all the stuff your modern-furniture-loving-self is starting to get twitchy around.  Remember the power of simplicity and knowing what you can control.   At the end of the day, everyone wants to be happy.

1.  Shapes – make sure your new furniture is bold and graphic, but not too delicate or serif-y.

2. Colors – keep them neutral, save for a pop or two of brights.

3. Density – everything needs to be climb-tested.  Twice.

(Click image to view larger)

To put these rules to the test, I wanted to see what I could do with items from one retailer only.  Curious to see what was going on at the re-styled JC Penney, I checked out the new website – which is full of offerings only available to online shoppers.   And I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I found.  For anyone who’s gone one round (or ten rounds, as it seemed) with the Ikea/WalMart/Target furniture the first time around, this stuff will seem a little more on the expensive side.  But it should also last a LOT longer and feel a lot more sturdy.

1. Colors Kids dresser and mirror $400 + $150

So the room here starts with white and neutrals, and pops into red and turquoise for some flash.  This dresser/mirror combo is the perfect shape and size for bedrooms of any size.

2. Hollie tufted headboard $300

It comes in a million colors.  Jonathan Adler would be proud.

3. Colors Kids nightstand $200

The companion piece to the dresser, but in RED.  How cool is that.

4. Cameron storage tower $190

I doubted whether to include this one; it doesn’t look like it would pass the #3 (density) test.  But you get the idea.

5. Flush-mount ceiling lamp $50

Score. I love this piece. It lends a vintage-y feeling to the design without being old fashioned.

6. Champagne washable shag rug 5×8 $250

A washable shag area rug. What will they think of next?!

7. York circular frames $25

To finish off the theme and to remind the kid of the folks who really matter.

If you’ve found any great decor for your toddler lately, let me know- I’d love to see it and hear it.

Russel Wright for the kids

12 Mar

Hi friends. Image Last time we spoke, I had a toddler.  Maybe even an infant.  Six months or so later, we’re in full KID territory.  And in that move from crib to toddler bed, from squeezies to go-gurts, and from tossing to outright *throwing* (balls, forks, tantrums), my interests as a mom have changed slightly too.  So expect me to cover fewer “isn’t that cutes” and more “will it last”s over the next few months.

Image So back to the story.  We’ve got a kitchen (of course, this one: KidKraft Kitchen).  And we’ve got the nice wooden play food from Melissa & Doug and the crappy plastic stuff from the dollar store (that the dog really loves crunching on).  But no plates or tea sets for my little boy.  And every little boy needs a tea set.


Enter Russel Wright (Ideal vintage advert, above).  Mummy has her own set of this lovely, wonderful, beautiful tableware, why not Fionn?  For the uninitiated, imagine Russel and his wife Mary the disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright and the predecessors to Charles & Ray Eames.  Or in more modern terms, they were Martha before Martha even started organizing her dolls.  In a truly fortunate marriage of equals, Russel was the industrial designer and Mary was the promoter.  He had a vision of introducing high quality design to the post-war generation – at the dinner table – and she has a vision for marketing it as a guide for ‘easier (not better or simpler) living.’

They wrote a book to that effect, their mission (as it were) to “liberate readers from the stiff dinner party, the formal tea party, and fussy houses that ‘make scolds out of so many women, who are constantly after their families to keep coke bottles off the coffee table, feet off the sofa'” (via the Cooper-Hewitt guide to their exhibition).  So what better way to celebrate the freedom of casual life then by getting my son an entertaining set of his own? I promise I’ll try not to force the fork on the left or move the spoon to the right when he’s not looking. (I have been known to do this.)


There’s a set currently up for auction, but I won’t tell you where until Wednesday.  (If you bid against me I will be very unhappy.)  The pieces are exact replicas of the teapot, cups and saucers, creamers and sugar bowls I, myself, collected as engagement gifts to Fionn’s dad.  They’re on display most of the time, though we take them out for use on special occasions, the irony of which I am supremely aware.

So if you find the plastic Russel Wrights, snap them up. They’re a lot nicer than anything you’ll find today.