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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.


ole wanscher and danish modern rocking chairs

22 Feb

Lovely reader “Nashville Momma” has just reached out to me, asking about the Danish Modern rocking chair (above) featured on myModern Vintage Eclectic inspiration board a few months back.

Unfortunately, being a vintage piece of furniture, the rocker has already been sold from Modernicus, a furniture shop in Alexandria, Virginia.  It seems like their inventory is constantly being refreshed, and they have lots of other gorgeous pieces, so you may want to bookmark their site, just in case.

But the good news is that there’s lots of Wanscher pieces out there, some reupholstered, some a little different in style, but all beautiful and very collectible.

So who’s this guy?

Here’s the short version, for your next cocktail party (yes, that was a little joke I made to myself).

Ole Wanscher.  Danish.  Mid-century.  All about well-designed and mass-produced pieces (the original ‘design for all’ philosophy – one of my favorite things about this period).  A contemporary of Finn Juhl, another famous MCM Danish guy.  Both were known for developing the ‘unsupported arm’ style of chair frames – see how the wood extends beyond the cushion?  (It’s one of the fun details that makes this design quirky and joyful).  He designed these rockers for a company called France & Son.  Not the most adventurous of the designers of this period, so not as famous as some of the rest.  Shame.

(Read more at the Danish Furniture Decor website).

Gorgeous yellow upholstery, once sold at Modern Montage (Alexandria, VA).

This is the shorter version, which is much easier to find.  The above is sold out, but here are a few others, which are still available…

Love this.  Leather from Tom Gibbs Studio on 1st Dibs.  $1500.

A tall one! But the listing’s old.  Don’t know if it’s still available – at $695, it’s got to have been snatched up by now.  Regardless, it’s worth checking out Ottawa Finds, described as “Canada’s best source for Danish Modern Furniture and accents.”

This one’s from Ebay, being sold by Atomic Lipstick for $900.

So what have I learned?  This guy Wanscher deserves our respect.  And if you want a gorgeous piece of design in your nursery or living room, do a web search every few days and you may find one.

The short ones are more available (and widely copied) than the tall ones (above via Scandinavian Mod – sold, of course).   But if you can find the frame and hate the fabric, BUY IT and get it reupholstered!

Or you can expand your horizons and open your search to other Danish designers.  I think I also love this Georg Jensen.  (If you live in SF, this one is a (relative) steal for $950, available NOW on Craigslist.)

colorful mid-century modern nursery inspiration

20 Oct

Leaves and Vines bedding, BirdsHaveFlowers, Etsy

I just had to create an inspiration board based on an amazing discovery I’ve made this week.

Whether you’re in the market for baby stuff or kid’s decor, you must check out this AMAZINGLY adorable bedding available in the BirdsHaveFlowers shop on Etsy.  When not playing in her band or hanging out with her two toddlers, Rebecca, the proprietor of BHF, custom-sews sheets, bumpers, and crib skirts with the fabric of your choice.  I’ve found her personal aesthetic (and her own fabric selections and suggestions) to be really beautiful and in line with what I’d want for myself.    You can buy a set of two sheets, one bumper, and one skirt for around $250-$275 (it depends on the fabric… see here) which, to me, is a great price for a unique and defining piece of decor. (I’m sure she can do the same thing for toddler beds.)

A while back, I created this inspiration board (above)  featuring an eclectic/mid-century style design, and it got a great response.  So I thought I’d do a similar thing again.   But this time, I truly believe that every piece I’ve included can work on its own.  Truth is, most of us aren’t starting from scratch, but we all could do with a beautiful new clock or wall treatment to spruce things up.  All the items featured below are mid-century inspired, from actual vintage to having vintage-like accents.

mcm mood board (click for PDF version)

1.  Walls.  How full-on do you want to go with the color thing?  If you said to yourself, yes! more color!, I’d recommend something like this Banana Yellow shade from Benjamin Moore.  Personally, I think I’d either do a very light grey or an eggshell white on the walls.  You’ll avoid any fear of overdoing it and it’ll help the colors elsewhere in the room pop more brightly.

 2. Crib.  This is my most favorite piece of nursery furniture in a long time, courtesy of my buddy Esther over at Buy Modern Baby (thanks, lady!).  She discovered this gorgeous item at the Dwell booth (yes, the bedding people) when she visited the ABC Kids Expo this year in Vegas.  See her link here for more details.  I only wish they had it when I was building Fionn’s nursery…

3. Chalkboard tiles. A new discovery of mine but available for a while now from Pottery Barn (the regular one, not the kids’ one).  The tiles are 20″x14″ and $34 each.  But they’re having a special promotion online – now you can get four at once for $15, for about $20 in savings.  I would do one of two things with them – either place them high-up (above a dresser, for example) as ‘decor,’ or mount them width-wise across one of your walls at toddler-height for an inspiring play space.

4. Vintage educational posters. Aren’t they great? From the wonderful folks at Grain Edit, available at Etsy for $37.50 each. 

5. Woven Poang chair.  IKEA’s really upped the game lately with their Poang series.  If you’re not totally into the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a glider, this kind of chair would not only save you some change, the new webbing design would suit a retr0-modern-styled room beautifully.  I personally think the rich forest green is gorgeous and a great complement to the background field on the bedding.  Find it here for $99.

6. Wood-slat blinds with custom tapes.   Now, this may be a personal quirk of mine, in the same so-old-school-its-new-again vein, such as the red-painted studies and ornate chandeliers of Brooklyn Heights brownstones.  But I can’t help but think it’d be super cool to outfit a kid’s room with these sturdy wooden slatted window coverings, accessorized and personalized with fabric ‘tape’ in a coordinating color as the bedding.   There are tons of places where you can find these blinds; I checked out the “Window Blinds Mall” for a price quote.  This particular company offers tapes in great colors like a flamingo pink, a canary yellow, and “Alice Blue.”  And for a typical 32″x60″ window, you’d pay around $100, then add a few more bucks for the tape.

7. George Nelson “Fernando the Fish” clock.  Just adorable, in perfect colors for both boys and girls.  $150 at Hive Modern.

8. Kartell FL/Y lamp.  Available in so many fantastically bright colors, you can’t go wrong. (Of course, if you want white or black, they’ve got that too.) The greatest selection I found was at Velocity Art & Design, where you can find them for $293 each.

Got any favorites of your own that you think would fit well in this room? Rugs? Dressers? Artwork? Let me know!

get a bargain: hollywood regency pieces

22 Jul

Jonathan Adler design, via Apartment Therapy

What I love about fashion and design is how quickly the style pendulum swings back and forth… from maximalism to minimalism, toile to geometrics, mirrored to matte, and so on.  And in the age of mixing-and-matching, and especially due to the growth of ‘interest groups’ (i.e. Retro Renovation), the amazing thing is that a wide variety of styles now easily live together, side by side.  So it should come as no surprise that my modern-design blog has been getting its greatest ‘hits’ all thanks to a post titled ‘Hollywood Regency Nursery Inspiration.’  So here’s another… with some bargains to boot.

Draper residence

It’s funny, because this dichotomy reflects the design style of two of my favorite small-screen couples, due to return to television this Sunday night.  Although much has been made of the fact that the Draper household’s furnishings now appear traditional, ‘colonial’ and quite fuddy-duddy (as opposed to the Danish Modern up-and-coming style of Pete and Trudy Campbell) people today seem to be loving on certain elements in Betty’s (and once, Don’s) old-fashioned bedroom.

The puffy upholstered headboard is considered a staple of the Hollywood Regency style, as are things like mirrored dressers, bamboo patterns, architectural forms (like x-shaped ottomans) and a loud assortment of wallpapers and rugs.  But these things can be expensive.  So, in the vein of ‘splurge versus steal,” I’ve gathered some sensible alternatives to the must-have’s for your child’s bedroom – colorful and full of style, Hollywood Regency can be a great direction for kids.

Left: Hollywood Bed, Right: Nurseryworks Vale headboard

1.  The upholstered headboard

A company named RoomService makes this rocking queen-sized bed (above left) in kelly green! but at $1895 you’d be better off taking a class and learning to upholster furniture yourself.

Which is why I was so thrilled to still see the Nurseryworks “Vale” headboard (above right) still available on the website.  It’s been discontinued by the manufacturer, which is why you can now buy a twin-sized headboard for $187.50 (down from a nutty $625).  It comes in a variety of fabrics and colors, but there’s one catch.  Unfortunately, shipping still costs $125.  But you might be lucky enough to find it on one of the children’s sample sale websites … I’ve seen it a few weeks ago and perhaps it’ll show up again.

L: Pottery Barn, R: Target

2.  The mirrored nightstand.

Yes, Pottery Barn’s version (left), at $400, is more intricate and probably more beautiful than the version avialable at Target for $90.  But think of it this way: if you have an older child (obviously, this isn’t the kind of furniture you’d put in a five-year-old’s room) the tabletop surface will be so covered with books, clothes, and other miscellany that you’ll probably only see the legs anyway.  And who wants to spend $400 for a bedside table, especially if you’re thinking of buying a pair?

L: Cyan Lighting, R: Cindy Crawford for JCPenney

3.  The bamboo-framed wall mirror.

The version at left is by a company called Cyan, again available for $400.  But I found this faux bamboo frame mirror (at right) on clearance at JC Penney, reduced from $200 to $80.  It’s not as OTT as the Cyan version, and you may have to overlook the fact that it’s from the “Cindy Crawford” collection (well, I did, snob that I am), but it’s quite lovely.

L: Jonathan Adler, R: Ballard Designs

4.  The X-frame bench

Lastly, to give your room the Jonathan Adler (if you’re East Coast) or Kelly Wearstler (if you’re West Coast) feel, one or two of these benches is really all you need.  They’re super versatile and don’t take up a lot of space.  See them at the photo at top for a sense of how they look in situ.  But “starting at $495”?  Sorry, no can do. And although I hate recommending obvious copies of iconic items (don’t get me started about Eames-like chairs), it’s the only sane thing to do in this instance.  At right, Ballard Designs offers an ottoman in some lovely fabrics, starting at $179 and averaging around $230.

Need help finding pieces for your Hollywood Regency (kid’s) room?  Give me a shout.

outdoor furniture, repurposed

28 May

Now that the weather’s getting nice, I seem to be receiving tons of catalogs devoted exclusively to outdoor furniture, and I seem to be recycling mostly all of them.  But I’m going to start paying more close attention; there are some great things in these catalogs, if you’re willing to think a bit laterally about the merchandise.

(After all, what kid wouldn’t want a hammock in his room? I know I used to dream about having a hammock in my room as a kid.)

Hammock, Crate & Barrel, $199

On a more practical note, here’s a great idea (and the impetus for this post), courtesy of my new friend Pippa.  Mother of a one-year-old, she’s got her share of toys in the front room.

GRAVA planters, Ikea, $15

On a recent trip to Ikea, she discovered these large, colorful, GRAVA planters.  The best part, besides the price?  At 14″ high, they’re the perfect size for one-year-olds to reach into, and at 19″ diameter, they hold quite a lot of stuff.    They’re made of that really nice plastic – sort of matte, reminiscent of the Starck Bubble Club chairs you always see at hotels.

Bubble Chair, DWR, $680

If you’re up for spending nearly $700 for a chair, I’m sure it’d last quite a while.  You can even drag it outside when the kids want to go camping in the backyard.

mid-century lamps and UO lounge chair update

4 Apr

Just wanted to update everyone on a few UO-related items, one circus-related, another comfort-related.

Circus seal lamp, UO, $48

Wish I’d seen these before writing my recent circus post (here).  Popped into the UO shop near home this afternoon, and spotted these excellent ceramic circus seal lamps.  They’re not cheap, at $48 apiece, but they come with a shade and you could probably get away with buying only one.  (I’m normally a fan of symmetry when it comes to table lamps, and would usually get a set of two, but the seal is kitschy enough to work alone).

As you can see in the photo at top, UO also sells a rabbit lamp in green and yellow, but it sufficiently reminds me of the bunnies by indie rock poster artist Frank Kozik (above), and therefore sufficiently creeps me out.  I could totally see it in a college dorm, though.

Siamese cat TV lamps, Ebay, (currently $46)

The ceramic animal lamps also remind me of a favorite Ebay search item – the vintage ceramic TV lamp.  Like some weird cross between Halloween pumpkins and “Color Me Mine,” these lamps were ostensibly created in the 50s and 60s to protect viewers’ eyes from flickering screens in darkened family rooms.   As described on, most people who bought TV lamps did so because they were fun and cool.  (Check out the eyes on these Siamese cats – they glow!)  Some TV lamps (named because they sat on top of the TV set, back when TV sets had ‘tops’) even double as planters – great for the little green thumb in your family.   We used to have a cat similar to the Siamese one featured above, but unfortunately, it didn’t survive the trip on the way to our new home. 

Two Lulu chairs in situ

And in an earlier post about UO chairs, I’d mentioned that I would get back to everyone about the quality and comfort of their offerings.   At about the same time, my friend Farrah mentioned that she’d just ordered two Lulu chairs in the light tweed color.   I hope she doesn’t mind that I swiped her photo (above) – but the chairs just look so great in her room.  So far, the report has been all good.

I didn’t have the same experience with the rocker, unfortunately.  Saw it in the shop and wasn’t all that impressed.  The seat is very low to the ground, and the cushion is very thin.  So I’d definitely hold off on that piece, especially if you were considering it for a nursery, until you can experience it in person.

Til Monday — take care and happy Easter!

modern chairs writ small

3 Feb

Barcelona chair, Knoll Kids, $3674 (what would Mies think?)

In my dreams of the near future, when Fionn gets older and our home gets larger, I plan on building him a fully-stocked playroom, complete with desks, easels, crayons, beanbags, Xboxes (I’m nothing if not a realist), and, of course, one perfectly-proportioned child-sized Barcelona chair.

For some reason, I thought a half-sized chair would cost half the price, but apparently that’s not how these things work in Modern Furnitureland. Maybe if the demand exists, someone will make a ‘faux’ version, like the white one I used to play on at Bubbie and Grandpa’s apartment in Rego Park.

As I’m still in my dream, I’m off to buy some more furniture.

Ava toddler chair by Jennifer DeLonge, Rosenberry Rooms, $350

This is a comparative bargain. And I really Jennifer DeLonge’s line of furniture, self-described as “hip furniture perfect for style-minded families who want their toddler’s furniture to be part of the home, and not just relegated to the kid rooms.” If you know more than I do about Blink-182, you’ll also know that she’s the wife of one of the guys in the band. (I know she’s her own person, apparently with a thriving business before her LA connections were further solidified through marriage, but I just had to make note of it. Sorry.)

Boom Lucy sectional,, $650

I have very little to say about this one, but I wanted to feature it. For some reason, it just feels wrong to take something serious and adult like a sectional sofa and shrink it down. It’s like seeing a baby wearing a tuxedo.

So, onto some hits…

Floral tufted kid’s chair, Target, $90

I worry that I’ve leaned towards featuring ‘boyish’ things on this blog, and I’m sure that having a son plays a part in this. But I think it’s also because so many furnishings specifically made for girls lean a little too far in the princess direction. That’s why I adore this chair from Target. It’s definitely feminine in shape and pattern but thoroughly modern and fresh.

Jonathan Adler, NY Int’l Gift Fair, courtesy

The blogs are all abuzz about Jonathan Adler’s new line for kids. As an already huge JA fan, I think most of his stuff is pretty kid-friendly to begin with. But in my dream, I’ll buy myself and my son matching chairs.

Lou Lou Ghost chair, Hive Modern, $133

Speaking of matching chairs, how cute are the Lou Lou versions of the Starck Ghost chairs? At $133, the price isn’t Terrible, and they’d instantly class-up an Ikea chalkboard-painted table.

There are so many more chairs to feature, but I’ll leave on a high note.

The Mod Rocker by Iglooplay, Design Public, $285 (or more)

If you haven’t checked out Design Public, go there now (I’ll wait). This online shop features a beautifully-curated assortment of modern furnishings and decorative arts.

This rocker is one of the items they sell. Yes, it’s expensive. Would it make you feel better to hear that it’s made of “eco-friendly sourced North American hardwood veneers with hardwood maple or walnut face?” Or that “the design gives an easy rock to mellow children” (do they mean children who are mellow or the ones who need mellowing?)

You know what I like the best about this chair? The name, which recalls one of my favorite movies of all time.

The original mod rocker.