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richard scarry + mid century mod = little lionel jones

2 Oct

Little Lionel Jones, bandleader of the 18 Karats

I am so excited to feature this artist on RFYO; Rob Bridges embodies everything I love about design and fits my aesthetic to a T.  And, even better, Rob’s an up-and-coming artist whose prints (and awesome back story) are available for anyone to buy on Etsy.

The story begins with Lionel Tiberius Jones, “or as he is better known, “Little Lionel Jones,” who cites Django Reinhardt as a major influence.  Little Lionel and his band the 18 Karats has four members, a fox bassist named Tricksy Mingo, Buddy Hambones (a piglet) on the trumpet, and a toucan percussionist named Chico LaRoca.

Tricksy Mingo

Buddy Hambones

Chico LaRoca

Lionel, as Rob writes, “hails from the small fishing hamlet of Rutabaga Island, just a hairs throw off of the coast of greater Maine. The runt of the litter, his mother gave him his moniker as the result of her oft “stymie-ifcation” due to the youths herring sandwiches and sprung guitar chords piled in forgotten lumps on his bedroom floor.

Lionel first met up with The 18 Karats because of an ad in the Atomic Music Review classifieds, placed by Tricksy Mingo and Buddy Hambones who were looking for a competent jazz player that knew how to play more than the “Triangle” and didn’t say “Daddy-O!” ad nauseam. (That was Tricksy’s bag…)”

Rob sells his painted illustrations here on Etsy for $40 each or $120 for the set.

But this isn’t the only work from Rob.  Of course I love the Richard Scarry influence and clever use of Eames and Saarinen references, but Rob’s got a broader range of work that’s equally lovely.

image from A Trip to the Moon

His gouache-on-paper works are incredible, and perfect for children’s books.  In fact, this is a sample from a book he’s planning, called A Trip to the Moon.  And here’s another: Summer and the Red Banjo, a bit more traditional in vein.

Summer and the Red Banjo

If you’re curious to learn more, read Rob’s posts here on Neatorama (a great website, btw) or Juxtapoz.  A graduate from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, he’s now based in Lexington, KY where he lives with his family.   Check out the listing on Etsy, or visit his website – he’ll be glad to hear from you.


goose barnacle, rodger stevens and wire dog decor

23 Jun

We have two super-creative neighbors, who happen to be sister and brother.   Sister Marissa is a jewelry designer who sells her beautiful wares in a shop around the corner from our apartment.  (Every mom within a three-block radius of State Street seems to be sporting Marissa’s beautiful initial pendants; to me, they’re the modern version of those boy/girl shapes our own mothers used to sport).  And brother David recently transformed a creaky, tumble-down storefront on Atlantic Avenue into a beautiful wood-hewn tribute to the best in no-fuss but gorgeous, solidly made, durable menswear (In fact, the stuff is perfect for the way my husband shops; unlike me, he spends a lot on one piece then proceeds to wear it (out) every day – so it had better be made to last).  But Goose Barnacle isn’t just a clothes shop, it’s also a place for David to show off pieces of art that match his hand-crafted aesthetic.

That’s why I smile when I walk by his store window nearly every morning:

front window, goose barnacle

I was reminded of his wire display while browsing one of my other favorite shops in New York (this time, near work).  If you’re not familiar with Mxyplyzyk, you should be.  Of course, there are more of these MOMA-store-inspired tchotchke shops popping up all over the place, but Mxyplyzyk (look it up) was an originator of the scene.  And it’s one of those design-centric shops that seems to always keep its inventory new and fresh, no matter how often you visit (it’s been there for as long as I can remember).

wall of dogs, mxyplyzyk

For those of you who are slightly bored by the Wallcandy-Blik-decal overload of the past few years, but don’t have a lot of space to feature big posters or the patience for wallpaper, these fabulous metal dogs are full of personality and only $65 each.

french bulldog? closeup

It’s funny to find something so similar to something you walk by every day, so I thought I’d try and learn a bit more about David’s colleague and collaborator for Goose Barnacle.

Turns out this guy is a pretty big deal!  His name is Rodger Stevens and his work has been featured all over the place -from private residences of the rich and famous to some really gorgeous retail locations around the US.

driftwood/wire, barney's, scottsdale, arizona

He calls his work “shadow-casting metal narrative pieces” – to me, that’s one fascinating thing about this work.  Whether mounted against a wall, hanging from a ceiling, or standing on its own, these thin sculptures end up occupying more territory and feeling ‘fuller’ than you think they would at first glace.   Here’s a video of his technique, courtesy of David’s website on behalf of Stevens.

Untitled from Goose Barnacle on Vimeo.

Which takes me back to the dogs.  I bet they’re probably imitations of his work (an impression based solely on price point) but if it builds an appreciation for three-dimensional sculpture and the place it can have in a kids’ room, to me, that’s pretty cool.

Check out more about Rodger Stevens here.  Could be a nice option if you’re looking for some new art in the rest of your home too.

inspiration board: girly girl meets mod mom

8 Feb

So you’ve got a modern home.  And you’ve got a little girl who’s grown out of her crib, conversion kit to toddler bed, and those cute monkey wall graphics you bought while in the ‘nesting’ phase of your pregnancy.   What’s more, she’s decided she loves pink.  LOVES pink.  Oh, and Mom, she’s also really loves princesses.  And tutus.  And anything shiny, glittery, or reflective.

At RFYO, we’re here for you.  So let’s take a deep breath.  And let’s start with a wonderful compromise. . . a vintage bed frame.

I discovered this  reupholstered set of french ‘shabby chic’ bed frames at an Etsy shop called Antique2Chic, based out of Birmingham, Michigan.   The beds are $600 each – I agree, a bit steep – but consider them the centerpiece of the room.  The fabric is a beautiful blush-toned linen, perfect for you to play with your pinks and also to be a bit brave with the rest of your decor.  And the nice thing is that once you have the bed in place, you’re now free to use super-new and modern pieces to offset the vintage feel of the piece.

So, Mod Mom, what’s next?

How about going black and white and really BOLD with your graphics?  I think butterflies would be a pretty good bet too.  Here’s my suggestions, including a mix of Kartell, George Nelson, IKEA with some Target thrown in for good measure.  Click here (girly chic) to enlarge the PDF.

1.  French hand-painted mahogany twin beds with linen upholstery, $600, Antique2Chic, Etsy

2. Flannel brocade hook rug, $473 (large size), Layla Grace

3. Set of beautiful 5×5 photo prints, $8.50 each, Lola’s Room, Etsy

4. Circus stripe black and white curtain panels (shown – $180 each at Rosenberry Rooms), similar fabric available for $6.98/yard on Amazon

5. George nelson Ball Clock, $385, Velocity Art & Design (an excellent shop)

6. “Princess” paint color swatch, Benjamin Moore

7. Xhilaration Pixelated Butterfly bed in a bag, $64.99, Target

8.  Edland dresser, $299, IKEA 299

9. Crystorama (!!!) Angelina blush mini chandelier, $229.91, Lamps Plus (A great find, and small enough to look cute)

10.  Kartell Optic storage cube in clear, $283, Design Public

vintage trucks and light fixtures

7 Feb

I always love learning about new places in my neighborhood, especially when they’re shops.  Was going through my (junk) email this morning and saw this post by Daily Candy about custom wallpaper, designed by a UK company and available exclusively in the US through a company called Modern Anthropology.

I must admit that I don’t quite know how to describe this company.  It’s a design studio, supplying furniture and related interior design accessories to the film/television industry, architects, and to fellow designers.   But the folks who work here also design their own spaces, with a very vintage-like Three Potato Four aesthetic, but more masculine (e.g. men who wear flannel checked plaid, make french press coffee and groom their  mustaches) and a bit more industrial.  (e.g. Ace Hotel).  Their featured projects were a little too monochromatic and distressed-wood for me as an entire look.  But…

Then I found their shop on the site.

LOVE LOVE LOVE these vintage truck lamps.   The only drawback I see is that you’d have to keep your kid from wanting to play with them.

They sell a few other things I think would make great accents to a modern, bright kid’s room.

Take this IKEA Besta Burs lacquered desk ($299), for example, and add one of Modern Anthology’s cage lamps to ‘authenticate’ the space a little more, without looking like a construction site.

And a perpetual favorite, done in a new way… A bus route sign, cut down the middle and framed as two images.   I don’t know if these prices are per image, framed or unframed, but if you’re in the market, they’re definitely worth investigating.

keith haring chairs

15 Dec

Haring chair, courtesy New York Magazine

Although I’ve always loved the idea of Keith Haring, I’ve never been a true fan of his work.  But I think the passage of time has caused me to reconsider my feelings.  Don’t know whether it’s nostalgia for those junior high school trips to Pop Shop in the Village (Returning to school with a Radiant Baby notebook was the end-all-be-all for the Scunci set in Long Island), or a recognition of Haring’s pioneering approach towards graffiti-as-commercialism (e.g. people going nutty over Banksy today).  Regardless, I was moved enough to publish my first post in ages after seeing this chair on the New York Magazine website.

Vilac Haring chairs, courtesy

Made for children by French company Vilac

Here’s a little more about the company:

“Deep in the Jura region of France, surrounded by mountains, lakes and forests, Vilac has been producing high-quality wooden toys and gifts for the past 80 years. Vilac was founded by Narcisse Villet in 1911 as a wood turning workshop, which later came to specialize exclusively in the finely lacquered wooden toys for which Vilac is so well known. Appropriately, Vilac is in fact an amalgamation of the name of the founder, “Villet,” and the word “lacquer.” In 1985, Vilac was purchased by Hervé Hagland, who continues the Old World wood working traditions to this day.”

If you’re not in the market for a new piece of furniture, I’m happy to report that Vilac also sells these Keith Haring puzzles.  Here’s a link to the Nova 68 website, which sells the set of four puzzles for $50.  Fionn received them as an (early) Christmas gift last week, and I believe they were purchased at one of the NYC museum gift shops!  So check online for better prices, if you’re interested, perhaps you’ll get a holiday bargain.

birds everywhere

12 Oct

I’m typing this from my desk at my new job.  (It’s lunch hour, btw).

Surrounded by contact lists, org charts and presentation decks, it’s quite a different thing from the ‘playground-nap-lunch-errands-playground-nap-snack’ cycle I’ve become accustomed to over the past year.  Needless to say, by the time I get home from work, I’m friggin exhausted.  So here’s the plan.  We’ll aim for one post a week (I’ve yet to figure out what day that’ll happen, and if it’ll be consistent to that day).  So bear with me, and please check back periodically for new inspiration.  And as always, reader suggestions, questions or tips are well welcome.

Concert poster, Doves at Sasquatch 2009

And as I’ll be surrounded by news of eggs, chicks, hens and other poultry-related issues on one of my new accounts at the agency, I thought it’d be great time to return to this ever-popular nursery (and toddler room) motif.  Above, one of my absolute favorite concert posters by Andrio Abero, a limited edition silkscreen for the Sasquatch 2009 festival (Incidentally, see Fionn’s Sasquatch poster by Invisible Creature here.  It’s out of stock, but I believe the 2010 version is available).  Buy the poster here, it’s a steal at $25.

multimedia birds by Dolan Geiman

I just discovered this artist named Dolan Geiman.  I think he may be a big deal… his work was featured on FFFound! and a handful of art blogs.  Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the ‘found material’ school (Joseph Cornell is a notable example, if you’re curious check out his work), but this piece grabbed my attention.  It’s not cheap ($400) but if you’re a starting-out art collector, it could be a compelling part of your new collection.  Find his work on (where you’ll also be directed to his website and blog).

Chicken puppet, seewhatimade, Etsy

Baby bird crochet rattle, blue moon crochet, Etsy

On a slightly different note… I couldn’t resist including these two little guys.  At top, the chicken with the most personality is available on Etsy from the seewhatimade shop, for $10.  At bottom, a perfect itty-bitty gift rattle by blue moon crochet is available for $5 in lots of different colors.  Get a craft nest from Michael’s and fill it with an assortment of these tiny chicks.

Oeuf poster, Bad Circle, Etsy

Lastly, and perhaps in terribly bad taste, here’s another poster I really loved.  Created by Bad Circle, it measures 16×20.  Like many artisans now selling their wares on Etsy, 10% of your purchase will go to charity … in this case, helping  children in Chiapas, Mexico to go to school.  At $12 (unframed) you really can’t go wrong.  Place it side by side with a mod Who poster and you’ve got yourself a clever juxtaposition there.

nineteen seventy three cards

16 Sep

Paul Thurlby card

I’m not the first to notice this amazing manufacturer of retro-influenced greeting cards and prints. In fact, I’ve seen the work of 1973ltd on a variety of blogs, most notably a fantastic website called Retro To Go. (They’re London-based, so some of the items they cover are difficult to find stateside… however, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.)

As their namesake suggests, the company selects relatively new-to-the-scene artists and designers to feature and promote.  You can check out the whole selection here, but my favorites are definitely the cards by Paul Thurlby (whose alphabet “A” is featured at top), Darling Clementine, and Sanna Annukka.

Claudettes by Darling Clementine

And although I think the Thurlby cards are incredibly clever in a vintage way (very Three Potato Four), the Claudettes series by Darling Clementine really captured my heart.  I’m always partial to a mid-century circus/magic-inspired drawing, and I fall for the cut-paper look every time.    Apparently, this collection was designed specifically for 1973, but you can see everything on their (Norwegian) website here.

Badger by Darling Clementine, framed

They also produce a (larger-sized, obviously) screen print of the lion shown above, as well as an elephant,  for GBP 70 here.

Sunflower, Sun Bird, Out at Sea

Lastly, if you haven’t been feeling the whole “1973” theme yet, here are some cards to get you in the avocado-and-maize shag carpet mood. A 2005 graduate from the University of Brighton, Sanna Annukka also brings the Scandinavian influence (and her Finnish heritage) to her work.  These gold foil-detailed cards are incredible examples of her style, and you can mix and match among the 12 versions.

Spirits of the North silkscreen

Also beautiful are her “Spirits of the North” silkscreen posters (above), which are numbered and signed in an edition of 85.  Buy them for GBP 245 on her website.

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people decorating their walls with things they’re not crazy about.  (I honestly don’t know how homeowners on these HGTV shows can stand it when Bromstad etc. drag a brush across a canvas, call it ‘art’ for the sake of covering empty space).  Find images you love.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re original paintings, silkscreens, poster prints or photocopies.  As long as they’re meaningful to you, it’s wonderful.