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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.


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.

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.

hollywood regency nursery inspiration

29 Mar

Viceroy Hotel Miami, Canadian House & Home

Now that mid-century style has been around for a while, even becoming inspiration for furniture at Urban Outfitters (e.g. my favorite chair), the next big thing hitting the public consciousness seems to be a style known as Hollywood Regency. If you know Kelly Wearstler(Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style)and Jonathan Adler(My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living)you’re already familiar with this seductive choice for interiors.

“Hollywood regency,” as the name suggests, comes from the studio-era of old Hollywood, during an age when people entertained at home.  Rooms were designed as personal stage sets, through a combination of deco modernity and lush, opulent textiles.  And, true to American luxury throughout the ages, more (mirrors, curtains, fabrics, pillows, patterns) is always better.  The best summary I’ve read online comes courtesy of HGTV.  And the best description is by Kristan Cunningham of Design on a Dime.  “It’s the juxtaposition of ‘super clean with super fussy’ that is so relevant [for today].” 

For additional reading material, go here:
Regency Redux: High Style Interiors: Napoleonic, Classical Moderne, and Hollywood Regency

My checklist for a room in this style would have to include:
– Lush fabrics/curtains – cane or geometric inspired textiles
– Rich patterns, complementary but overlapping
– Bright pops of color to offset black, white, gold and silver
– Lacquer everywhere and high shine surfaces
– Beautifully sculpted but carefully selected furniture
– Mirrors (sunbursts are a must)

And what’s wonderful about all of the items listed above is that they’re also the ideal ingredients for a nursery or child’s room.  But what’s interesting to me is that in the movement towards ‘modern,’ nursery design, we seem to have neglected the lushness and vibrancy that makes interior design so much fun.  I think the two styles (can, and should) live together beautifully.  So here’s my first inspiration board for you guys, inspired by Hollywood Regency:

Sources (clockwise from top left):
Dick crib, Bratt Decor (sale) $517.50
Capiz sunburst mirror,  Target, $79.99
Tweed rug, CB2, $159
Mid-century pendant lamp, Ebay, $99
Connected/Crimson curtains, Smith + Noble $300 (full-length)
Hemnes dresser, Ikea, $279
Vola glider, Monte Design, $995
Chrome/rhinestone drawer pull, Unbeatable Sale, $14.50 each
Hummingbird bedding set, JavisDavis, $260
Hello digital print, Madebygirl, $35

Please let me know what you think about this feature, and the inspiration board in particular.  Was it helpful?