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bright color + brass hardware = campaign mod

30 Sep

Image courtesy (Traci Zeller)

There are two vintage furniture shops in our neighborhood.  They sit side by side.  The first one on the corner is called Holler & Squall.  (Zak and Gillette are two of the most amazing shopkeepers you could meet.  We’re very lucky to have gotten to know them).   The second shop next door, Jarontiques, is more in line with the mid-century style to which we’ve all become accustomed (but cooler, and definitely more hipster than the expected DWR-lite stuff you often find at these shops).

Now, if you would have asked me a few years ago what my design style gravitated to, I would have walked you right up to a Nelson bubble lamp and an Eames fiberglass chair in celery green, and been done with it.  But I have a husband, and his taste leans way more to the browns and oranges than the cool blues and greens I love.   Taxidermy? Yes.  Worn down leather club chairs? Totally.

campaign chest, Lonny Magazine

All of this is a super roundabout way of explaining (to myself, mostly) why I’m so enamored with these “campaign chests/dressers,” which I surely would have dismissed as heavy and overwrought a few years ago.  But having happened on the image at top the other day, I’m newly curious.

Apparently, this is not a new thing to the internets (i.e., I’m very late; see roundup from Apartment Therapy here).  But for those of you with changing tastes, or new winter clothes storage needs, or newly-graduated-from-layette-furniture homes like mine, it could help.

So, first, to browse.  Here’s the Pinterest page.  Second, to learn.  From Wikipedia:

Campaign furniture is evocative of luxurious travel and a time gone by… The appeal of its nature has been picked up on and modern furniture made in a campaign style is produced by a number of makers today. Often, the consideration of portability has not been a factor with the overriding concern being to achieve the look by adding brass corners and strap work. Another group of manufactures have produced direct copies of period campaign furniture seeing that there is still a call for it today be it for safaris or the high class camper.

Kelly Wearstler vanity

Oops.  Ok, so the stuff we love isn’t exactly British Army Issue (good thing, with all the not-so-appealing connections to colonialism and stuff), and is much too heavy to fold up and carry with us, and was certainly not EVER intended to arrive in bright green or hot pink. No mind.

So you want one? How hard do you want to work?  Let’s take it in three steps:

Rast Ikea hack

For Chic Sake blog hack

1.  Hack it.  It’s Ikea furniture, paint and hardware. Ikea hacks have done it, so have the For Chic’s Sake blog.  It doesn’t look super hard.  Apparently, you can get the brass from Ansaldi & Sons.

2. Refinish it.  The amazing Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook did this herself.  Bless her.

Ebay treasure, 9/30

3.  Buy it. (My preferred method).  They’re all over Ebay.  This one (above) is a little different, but I really love the style and the storage possibilities.  Currently at $600 and shipped from Miami.  Think of all that BabyMod you’re about to throw away after the drawers are falling in for the third time, and it may not seem like too much of an investment.


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.

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.

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.

Liberty of London for Target piggy banks

13 Mar

Today is such a nasty day in Brooklyn.  It’s making me especially excited for tomorrow’s Liberty of London for Target launch.  Mark your calendars and bookmark your Firefoxes – if New York’s pop-up store pillaging is any indication, stuff will sell out really quickly.  Mind you, I’m not a huge fan of florals (*flashbacks to Laura Ashley junior prom dresses*), but they are incredibly beautiful in small doses.  These piggy banks are just perfect.

From top: Sixty, Peacock, Pink Garla, and Dunclare prints

I especially love the art nouveau Peacock print.  Found these photos at Liberty of London, proper, so I’m not sure if they’re all going to be available here.  I hope so.  Plus, if you want to avoid the stress and virtual crowds (of the US website), you can order your Target items from the UK site itself, although you’ll be paying a hefty exchange rate plus postage for the privilege.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

discovered: madras canvas storage

30 Jan

M79, Vampire Weekend

Synchronicity, according to Jung (and Wikipedia) is the term used to describe a “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” Basically, a meaningful coincidence (and yes, I nearly avoided the Police reference. Nearly.) Don’t think this really qualifies, but the sophomore effort from Vampire Weekend, Contra, ‘dropped’ almost TO THE DAY that I discovered this excellent canvas tote on

Color cuff canvas storage tote,, $29

So, in homage to madras, sail canvas, and the Upper West Side, here are some other outstanding examples of playful storage for kids’ rooms.

First, my favorite Etsy finds. (Disclaimer: I found these items on my own, which means I haven’t been asked, or -heaven forbid- paid, to feature anything on my posts. When this happens, I’ll let you know).

12×12 canvas storage bucket by rubystella, Etsy, $25

This one is handmade and hand-stenciled with the cutest red-ticking ribbon handles, and at a great price. The stencil can also be customized.

Yarn keep by ink lore, Etsy, $30

Now I love this one, but as it’s meant for yarn I assume it’s pretty small. But how great would it be for a desktop, to store mini-toys or Lego pieces?

These are the baskets we have at home:

Canvas buckets, Pottery Barn Kids, $19 and $35

I’m not quite sure why they’re considered ‘boys’ buckets. I guess because the ‘girls’ ones are really, really pink with a capital P. But for what it’s worth, we now use these buckets for our two boys – the boy dog ended up getting one for his toys too. And, as with everything PBK, they can be customized (and probably monogrammed, to keep with the theme here).

Floor totes, Pottery Barn Kids, $27 and $35

And I especially like these floor totes, which feel slightly more modern than most of the other items in the PBK catalog. (Make the dots touch, and you have a DwellStudio print).

Create-Your-Own Jester Ottoman by Simply Sauce Designs, Etsy, $35

Lastly, thinking outside of the tote/bucket box, here’s a creative idea from Simply Sauce Designs, back on Etsy. I double-checked to make sure I got the price right. You get the store-and-stow ottoman, and from what I understand, five paint colors. You can even go to the craft store, get more paints, get more brushes, and voila, you have an afternoon decorating party.

discovered: foosball coat hanger

25 Jan

Offside coat hanger, Funktion Alley, approx $105

Coat hooks are our friends. But they’re usually not that much fun to use. But this one, designed by Norwegian Runa Klock, has incorporated the functionality of ‘table football’ into an awesome accessory for storage. You get to choose red, green or blue players (great for Manchester or Chelsea fans) on a steel or powder-white bar. But the best part is that the players actually tilt and move around to accomodate your clothes. Found this on a UK site, so prices are dependent on the exhange rate…

Dart Coat Hooks, Uncommon Goods, $35 for 3

Reminds me of the coat hooks (above) I recently purchased from Uncommon Goods here in the US. I always fall for kitschy-clever things like this. The hooks mount at an angle, so they really look like you’ve just missed the dartboard. And they’re not too heavy, but you need to make sure you’ve got a good anchor in the wall – plaster will crumble, as I learned.