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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.)


jens risom vs ikea poang

1 Aug

Risom rocker in lychee

Move over, Monte.   Although the amazing Luca glider is still my favorite item in Fionn’s room (space-saving, cozy, and orange) I’ve found a new love among the rockers.  As described by the folks at Design Within Reach, “We turned to Jens Risom to lend a hand when we were looking to bring an upholstered rocker into our assortment. The Risom Rocker (2009) has a nine-button tufted back; a nod toward the classic Danish modern aesthetic that can be found in all of Risom’s work.”

So not ‘vintage’ (designed in 2009) but thoroughly mid-century in its aesthetic, the Jens Risom rocker would be a gorgeous addition to any nursery (or living room, or sitting room, or hallway…)

close-up, in tiger lily

It comes in two standard fabrics (“lychee” and “tiger lily”) for $1680 but can also be customized – at a price within the ‘if you have to ask’ range.   But compare this to the thousand-plus bucks you could be spending on a fancy crib or a Nurseryworks rocking chair and the price becomes less crazy.  Plus, wouldn’t it just make you so happy to see it everyday?  (remember, slight feelings of guilt for spending a mortgage payment on a chair are totally natural and sometimes a necessary side effect).

If not, we’ll bring you back to reality.  But we’ll bring you down softly.

Poang in tuna (light blue/gray), brown legs

The IKEA Poang chair has become a basic by now, like a pair of (non-designer) jeans – functional, useful, perfectly pleasant, but unlikely to stir any sort of complex emotions in your household.  Well, good news.  I spied two new fabric coverings upon my last visit to the Swedish mega-emporium that made me smile.  At top, Tuna (I have no idea why it’s called that).   And below, a woodland-themed design called Karlsro Multi.  I could envision an entire nursery designed around this pattern.

Poang in karlsro multi, beech legs

At $129, it’s virtually palpitation-free, but smile-inducing, nonetheless.

little castle gliders, all price points

1 Apr

Whenever I tell expectant moms that I write a blog about nursery design, the first question I inevitably get is, “Where can I get a cool glider at a good price?”  There’s something challenging about the glider/rocker purchase; baby websites seem to perpetuate this odd fear that somehow the wrong chair can make or break a nursery.   I know I felt that way.  (And yes, I know it’s silly, NOW.)

But to save anyone reading this from the confusion I faced, I’ve done a roundup of my favorite gliders by a very well-reviewed company named Little Castle.  What I’ve learned (through my experience with BabyMod/Walmart, AKA Million Dollar Baby) is that it’s now common practice for manufacturers to sell incredibly similar products under different names across different price points.  (It’s similar to Converse One Stars being sold exclusively through Target).   Interestingly, when the more expensive lines go on sale, they all become very comparable.

So rather than organizing the following gliders by price, I’ve listed them by dimensions, from narrowest to widest.  In my personal experience, making sure the chair actually fit in my room was the most important consideration!  But what you’ll find is that price actually correlates more with chair depth than chair width (the deeper the chair, the more cushy it is, I suppose).  But please take these prices with a grain of salt — when you customize fabrics, the prices will go up.  (I’d also normally offer a broader range of retailers as well, but this time I found the best deals on the Posh Tots site).  But if you’re in the market, I’d always double-check Rosenberry Rooms , CSN Sofas and Just Nursery Gliders (it’s a real site) to be sure.  

UPDATE: The prices originally listed below were only available during a March promotion at PoshTots.  I received a lovely letter from Lesley at PT, who wrote:

PoshTots typically offers a 20% off glider sale twice a year, so your readers can look forward to another sale in the fall. Until then, there are several PoshTots coupons that can be found online, including CJ750, the most popular ($100 off orders of $750 or more) that could be used on a glider order or with a more affordable glider and ottoman.   
And just so you know, “as PoshTot celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, we’re offering a 20/10 sale every month. The sale items change from month to month. We link to the 20/10 sale page from banners on our home page and category pages. You can find it via this direct link:

1.  Venice glider, JC Penney, $559 (was $699)
Measuring 31W x 35D x 37H, the Venice is on the short end (chair backs range from 37″ to 40″ high).  If you’re on the taller side, you want to be sure that you’ll be able to fall asleep sitting up (when nursing at 3AM, for instance).  But the depth is such that I’d bet you’d be really comfortable, regardless.  Color selection is very limited, but I love the white piping available on the brown chair (and ottoman) as shown.

2.Rage glider, Posh Tots, $635
The Rage measures at 31W x 33.5D x 37H.  It’s smallish, but incredibly streamlined, without the back cushion like the Venice.  If you’re looking for an unassuming, basic glider, this is it.

3. Riviera glider, Posh Tots, $599
At 32W x 36D x 38H, this chair is deeper than the Venice (at top).  But these measurements are slightly misleading, as both feature a cushion back.  It’s listed as Verdi Jou Jou on Posh Tots but is clearly marked on the Little Castle website as Riviera.

4. Chateau glider, Posh Tots, $678
The Chateau is 33W x 33D x 40H.  The rounded arms take up much of the width.  I don’t know if it’s because of the fabric shown above, but I love this chair.  It’s much more traditional than I’m used to but I think it could serve as a beautiful contrast in a modern room.

5. Enchanted Embassy glider, WalMart, $364.88
At 33W x 31D x 39H, this is the deal of the day.  I’m not wildly crazy about the rounded back cushion but at nearly $200 less, I think I’d grow to like it.  This chair is exactly what I was talking about.  I have read nothing to suggest that the quality of fabric or manufacturing here is any lower than the Little Castle-branded items elsewhere.

6. Heritage (certain colors), Posh Tots, $599
The Heritage measures at 34W x 30D x 39H, which means it’s pretty big.  And the prices are all over the place for this piece — they’re highly dependent on fabric selection.  So if you’re flexible, you can get a great deal.  And please shop around for the best price.

7. Buckingham glider, Posh Tots, $754
34W x 38D (removable cushion) x 38H.  Huge.  But somehow fitting.  I love this toile fabric.  If you have room, and want to make a statement, this is the chair to buy.

I’ll do a similar roundup of other favorite rocker/gliders, and I can’t wait to feature Monte Designs (home of Fionn’s orange chair – see it here).

urban outfitters + mid-century modern = perfect!

15 Mar

Sometimes I feel way too old to be shopping at Urban Outfitters, even though it’s a stroller’s throw from my apartment.  But OMG you guys, they’ve just introduced a line of furniture – much of it available exclusively online – that seriously makes me want to redecorate. 

This is the Lulu chair in lime. It costs $425.

Not cheap, but compared to similar chairs at Room & Board (Cole chair, $749) it’s a steal. Personally, I like it better.  And what’s great about the Lulu is its scale.  At 31″ wide, it’ll fit beautifully in smaller rooms. 

 Front view, aqua fabric.

Semi-profile, black fabric.

Free fabric swatches are also available by calling UO customer service.  I wouldn’t normally recommend a black chair, but the tweedy fabric (above) lends the chair a vintage feel and would easily mask stains.

Lulu would also be a great alternative to a traditional rocker.  But as a nursery design lover, I’m always on the lookout for a stylish and affordable rocker.  Think I’ve found my new favorite:

Mid century rocker chair, $288.

Check out the lines at the back.  Not only does this rocker beg central placement in a nursery – it’s definitely not a stick-me-in-the-corner kind of piece – it’s narrow enough to fit anywhere.  Nursery rockers usually resemble overstuffed pillows (even the nicest gliders at Serena & Lily lean a bit too far into shabby-chic territory), resulting in double-door widths and large footprints.   This is only 25″ wide.  At $288, it almost sounds too good to be true.  I really hope it’s made well, because I want to recommend it to everyone I meet.

There are so many more pieces that’d work perfectly in a kid’s room.  Just check out the Jet Set storage bench or the Night and Day convertible sofa.

UPDATE: My friend Farrah has just ordered the Lulu chair (actually, two of them).  Per recent comments, we’ll field test the chairs for comfort and report back.