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bright color + brass hardware = campaign mod

30 Sep
Image

Image courtesy HGTV.com (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.

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.

heywood-wakefield: a vintage bargain

9 Mar
There’s an antique shop near my house, in what’s called the Columbia Waterfront district, by the name of General Nightmare.  And as with many secondhand furniture shops, they refinish much of the pieces they buy.
I was chatting with the proprietor about a fantastic desk he had in the front of the shop.  He mentioned to me that he’d refinished it in a dark stain because “no one wants the blonde wood anymore.” But to me, that’s what makes Heywood-Wakefield furniture so beautiful.  Whether in maple, champagne, or wheat finish, I find that the streamlined birch wood designs complement both modern and vintage furnishings.  
My husband’s prized possession
What’s even better is that this stuff lasts.  Of course, as with all old furniture, many H-W pieces often need polishing or refinishing for surface scratches.  On the positive side, due to its durability (and having been mass-produced between 1936 and 1966), H-W furniture on a whole isn’t as expensive as it probably should be.
 Kohinoor dresser/breakfront, Springdale Furnishings

Chest of drawers, Ebay, $250

We have three pieces of H-W in our house, mixed in amidst the Ikea, West Elm and random flea-market finds.   My husband’s dresser is definitely my favorite.  But the blue ‘pouf,’ featured below, is a recent Ebay bargain.  Originally a complementary piece to a vanity set, we use it as a footrest/stool in the living room.  It’s due for reupholstery, but for less than $100, the price really couldn’t be beat.  Imagine a pair or three of these in a girls room – all  upholstered in the same fabric.

My blue ‘pouf’

Twin utility headboard, Strictly HeyWake, $550

And before you buy a new toddler bed, consider a H-W headboard.  This one – with room for storage – is more expensive because it’s already been refinished.  But if you’re handy, find a piece that hasn’t been reworked and buy a refinishing stain kit like the kind sold here.

H-W desk, Boomerang Modern

The desks are pretty incredible, in that unique ‘boomerang’ shape.

Final tip: Ebay sellers will give you a great deal if you can pick up the items yourself.  As with much of mid-century wood furniture, these pieces are HEAVY and often not worth your while to have shipped.