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orange & gray update: a new kid’s room from target

24 Oct

Chloe & Conner Rocketship Chair

Now that the baby is a boy and the toddler bed is soon to be outgrown, I’ve been thinking about “The Next Big Project” to distract myself with.  While checking out the Target website, I noticed that they’ve recently launched a few new design/furniture collections.  Some seem cribbed from CB2, others look more Pottery Barn Kids with a bit of Dwell Studio thrown in.  Some might say  the cupboard looks a bit ransacked.  But no mind to the source of inspiration, someone in Minneapolis seems to be doing right by the “design for all” philosophy.

So here was my challenge to myself: Design a room in the same colorway as Fionn’s room right now, just with new furniture, rugs, and window treatments, and do it all online from Target. (By the way, for all you grammarians out there,  here’s what I learned while checking the title to this post: “Grey is a colour, but gray is a color.” )

I started with the awesome Calhoun metal headboard and TV/storage unit.  I then complemented with warm gray (nearing brown) accents, introducing a few patterns for interest.

Koons-SuckUK mashup lamp

I’m kicking myself for not buying this lamp (above) when it was available.  Now it says “not available” online or in stores.  But it’s genius, isn’t it?  A Jeff Koons balloon dog combined with the Teddy Bear lamp from SuckUK, but decidedly less creepy.  Hope they bring it back.

So here’s the assortment.  Click the image to enlarge.

Target room, 8 pieces

1. Calhoun Media Stand $169.99.  Meant for a TV, but can be used with storage bins for clothes/toys/junk.

2. Chloe & Conner Rocketship Chair $99.99.  The most ‘kiddie’ item in this room, but so cute.

3. Target Home Basketweave Window Panel $24.99.  I much prefer grommet-top curtains to any other kind.  These may need backing with room-darkening curtains, but would still be a bargain.

4. Calhoun Headboard (twin) $109.99.  It comes in black too, for the more risk-averse.

5. Dog balloon lamp (unavailable?!) $34.99.

6. Upholstered Storage Bench in Gray $249.99.  Expensive but super cool.  It comes in multiple fabrics… for a brighter look, there’s the Panama Wave Storage Bench , $279.

7. Threshold Basic Border Rug $179.99.  Reasonable enough to loosen the Play-doh restrictions.

8. Room 365 Dot Comforter Set (Twin) $69.99.  Love.  Want this for our own bed.

If you’ve discovered anything surprising or cool at Target, drop me a line- I’d like to know.

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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.

vintage hamilton cosco high chairs

21 Jun

cosco high chair, mikeyboy2020, ebay

I’ve been putting together images of mid-century and vintage-inspired high chairs for a future post. And in my searches, I came across this Cosco “Comfort Line” high chair being sold by “Mikeyboy2020” of Cincinnati on Ebay this week.  But there are only four days left for this auction, and was hoping someone might find it as interesting as I have.  In fact, this is the only vintage Cosco of its kind that I’ve found so far.  Apart from a chip on the footrest and the (Very Important) need to attach a new seatbelt strap, the chair is in pretty fantastic shape.  I figure that with shipping, you’ll pay a little less than $200 for it.

It’s much easier (and cheaper) to find the folding metal chairs similar to the one below (which is in great shape and also available on Ebay), although you might find the chrome needing a touch of polish and the seat requiring a brave scrubbing.

cosco folding chair, thevillagepeddler, ebay

It’s definitely very different from the powder-coated-and-animal-print-vinyl versions we’re used to today.  There’s something super cool about the late 60s/early 70s version of Cosco’s eponymous line.   My interest was piqued after learning that Fionn’s favorite chair is actually of the same generation of awesome designs to come out of the Hamilton Manufacturing Corporation of Columbus, Indiana.

cosco booster chair

Or if you’re looking for a booster seat, it’s pretty easy to find Fionn’s chair (as discovered by Grandma on Ebay and mentioned above).  I actually had no idea that it WAS a booster seat, and an adjustable one at that.  Compare these simple, beautiful designs to today’s existing contraptions, and it’s like comparing an Eames lounger to a Bob’s Furniture recliner.

And, lastly, the Cosco chair I hesitate to feature, because I kind of want it for my own.

cosco rocker, eames forever, ebay

Same as the booster, but a rocking chair, here on Ebay.  HOW COOL IS THIS.   So if you visit the link, and find it sold,  here’s the tip I’ll share with you:  Antiques > Periods & Styles > Mid-Century Modernism.  Always worth a browse.

mattel modern mid-century doll furniture

9 Jun

Mattel Modern boxes, courtesy Rosies Too and You

I have a son.  And unlike the famous Jenna (J.Crew) whose son famously had his photo snapped while receiving a bright pink pedicure, Fionn is just as well-defined by his dislike of pink and the prospect of having his toes touched at all.  This is a short (and probably non-PC) way of saying that there’s probably very little chance of him – anytime soon – enjoying this amazing dollhouse furniture I just discovered by the Mattel company, manufactured in 1958 and sometimes available on Etsy and Ebay.

Vintage breakfront, courtesy The Toy Box

This amazing toy furniture was developed in 1958, a year before the launch of Barbie. But I’m sure Barbie would have loved it.  You can see from the top image that this was a limited collection (and a premium one at that, being called “Mattel Modern” from the get-go).  The Scandinavian influence is apparent, and it pleases me to no end to learn that a mainstream toy company would have created what us KidRobot fans nowadays call ‘limited edition exclusives’ which may not have appealed to all doll-house-furnishing consumers at the time.

Mid-century dresser, courtesy The Toy Box

Chairs and table, courtesy The Toy Box

As with most niche mid-century modern furniture fashions, Mattel Modern has inspired a Flickr collection.  You must visit these images, if just to see the intense care paid to maintain and reupholster(!) some of these pieces.

Sofa box, courtesy Rosies Too and You

Even the packaging is fantastic.
As of today, I found pieces (as represented by the photos above) at the Rosie Too and You shop on Ebay and the Toy Box (in Texas) on Etsy.  Pieces range from $15 to over $100, but compared to those silly Vitra collector’s chairs, it’s quite a deal.  Keep an eye on them – at time of posting many of the pieces were already sold, but they seem to be popping up quite often.

Any additonal detail to add on the origin of these designs?  Anyone out there who’s furnished a mid-century dollhouse?  Please write!

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.)

beware! snakes!

9 Feb

If I had a whole lot of money to spare, I’d start every shopping trip at 1st Dibs.  That’s where I found this carnival side show box, being sold by the American Primitive Gallery in Manhattan.  (You may need to register in order to log in, but it’s worth it, I promise).   The glass at top (to protect the poor snakes from little kids’ fingers, I’m assuming) has been replaced by plexiglass, but the rest of the table is completely intact.   A great side table or even a mini-bookshelf, I’d love this piece in a big boy’s room.  Only trouble…  it costs $550.

So how about something a bit … newer … for a little less cash?

One of my favorite online toy shops is called Oompa.com.  It features lots of European-based toys and furniture, stuff you can’t find on Amazon or, goodness knows, Toys R Us.   This table/play piece is designed by Bolette and Louise Blaedel of Denmark (their company is called bObles).   Made of 10 layers of foam, I could see this lasting quite a while.  Of course, at $279, it should last forever.

Here’s my last amazing snake-related discovery of the day, courtesy The Freckled Elephant on Etsy.

These are the most clever teethers I’ve seen in a while.  Handmade and featuring a variety of different fabric patterns, these plush snakes wrap around your baby’s arm (or crib post, or the dog’s leg, as would be the case in my home).  Perfect for the time in between teeth appearing and real motor skills kicking in.  For $13 each, you can get a handful of them.  Or select just one, put it in a clear acrylic box from the Container Store, add some easter grass,  and you’ve got a really cool terrarium-themed shower gift.

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 Vilac.com

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.