Old carnival water fountain, Olde Good Things
There’s a huge architectural salvage shop in the Flatiron/Chelsea area of Manhattan called Olde Good Things. The prices are mostly nutty, so I haven’t really shopped there. But for a few weeks during the spring and summer, their inventory spills out onto the street, revealing some quite amazing finds. I used to pass by the store on my way to work and find myself fantasizing about this huge pair of lion statues. On closer inspection, I noticed a spigot inside the wide-opened mouth (right by the fang), then discovered another pipe down by the base, near the tail.
My Encyclopedia Brown-style curiosity piqued, I constructed a little story in my mind about the backstory of these adorable circus runaways. I’m assuming they used to grace the entrance to a carnival, as water fountains. How cool would that be as a child to stick your head in a lion’s mouth for a drink of water?!
In all this time, I haven’t yet mustered the nerve to approach an OGT employee to ask about the origins of these fountains. It doesn’t really matter. And to most people, I’m sure they look like bashed-up pieces of old metal. But, man, if we had a backyard, restoring these lions would definitely be my summer project.
All of this got me to thinking about carnivals, circuses, and play time. As readers of RFYO know by now, I’m very much NOT a fan of the theme room. Added to the fact that I’m personally NOT a fan of circuses overall, clowns in particular, and caged animals of any kind, this could be a tricky one. But I’ve been so inspired by some circus-related items I’ve discovered online that I just had to share.
Old Pottery Barn Kids catalog image
Remember this post about painting on the ceiling? If you’re going whole-hog on this circus thing, and you’re incredibly patient, the big-top stripes would definitely be the way to go. Unfortunately, PBK has discontinued their circus bedding, which is incredibly sweet and well-designed. But I actually prefer a design from Boodalee Kids.
Boodalee Circus Tree Twin Bedding set, Zac and Zoe, $95 (on sale)
This is not going to last. At Zac and Zoe, a fantastic online retailer, you can get the entire sheet set for $95 (down from $190) or just the duvet set for $55.
Circus Seal color palette, colourlovers.com
As this color palette suggests, blue, red, orange, gray and beige look great together. Blue and red seems to be a popular color combination in kids rooms nowadays, probably because it’s clean, bright, and unisex – great for shared rooms and small spaces. It’s also easy to match and decorate around.
Boodalee’s matching circus pillows illustrate the point. Also available at Zac and Zoe, I want them for myself.
Elephant rocking chair, Overstock.com, $67
Any circus-loving fan needs an elephant. Available on Overstock.com, this rocker (shown above) is the nicest one I’ve found at this price point.
L: Restoration Hardware (sold out), R: Bazoongi Kids, CSN Stores, $94
Given the reception the PBK rocketship tent received in an earlier post, I set out to find a big top tent. My favorite by far is the one from Restoration Hardware, but unfortunately, it’s not being sold any more. If you were interested, I’d scour Ebay for a week or so and one might pop up. The Bazoongi one is cute, but a bit, um, bold for my taste. Regardless, I’m sure kids would love it.
Doorway Circus Puppet Theater, Restoration Hardware, $35
Alternatively, Restoration Hardware is now selling a circus-themed puppet theater – which may actually be just as fun, and more interactive. As with the Boodalee bedding, it’s also on sale (from $89) so it may sell out soon. What’s great about this piece is that the curtain hangs from a tension rod, so it’s easy to move and take down when playtime’s done.
Circus Penguin Print by Watotodesign, Etsy, $27
I just had to end the post with this picture. Not sure how often you find penguins at the circus, but in the name of artistic license, this print gets a pass. Watotodesign’s shop is full of whimsical animal prints, featuring penguins, elephants and monkeys.
As always, let me know if you’ve got any circus-related suggestions of your own. I’d love to hear, and if you’re interested, I’ll follow up with another post sometime soon.