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bringing the circus home

12 Mar

 Old carnival water fountain, Olde Good Things

There’s a huge architectural salvage shop in the Flatiron/Chelsea area of Manhattan called Olde Good Things.  The prices are mostly nutty, so I haven’t really shopped there.  But for a few weeks during the spring and summer, their inventory spills out onto the street, revealing some quite amazing finds.  I used to pass by the store on my way to work and find myself fantasizing about this huge pair of lion statues.  On closer inspection, I noticed a spigot inside the wide-opened mouth (right by the fang), then discovered another pipe down by the base, near the tail.

My Encyclopedia Brown-style curiosity piqued, I constructed a little story in my mind about the backstory of these adorable circus runaways.  I’m assuming they used to grace the entrance to a carnival, as water fountains.  How cool would that be as a child to stick your head in a lion’s mouth for a drink of water?!

In all this time, I haven’t yet mustered the nerve to approach an OGT employee to ask about the origins of these fountains. It doesn’t really matter.  And to most people, I’m sure they look like bashed-up pieces of old metal.   But, man, if we had a backyard, restoring these lions would definitely be my summer project.

All of this got me to thinking about carnivals, circuses, and play time.   As readers of RFYO know by now, I’m very much NOT a fan of the theme room.  Added to the fact that I’m personally NOT a fan of circuses overall, clowns in particular, and caged animals of any kind, this could be a tricky one.  But I’ve been so inspired by some circus-related items I’ve discovered online that I just had to share.

Old Pottery Barn Kids catalog image

Remember this post about painting on the ceiling? If you’re going whole-hog on this circus thing, and you’re incredibly patient, the big-top stripes would definitely be the way to go.  Unfortunately, PBK has discontinued their circus bedding, which is incredibly sweet and well-designed.  But I actually prefer a design from Boodalee Kids.

Boodalee Circus Tree Twin Bedding set, Zac and Zoe, $95 (on sale)

This is not going to last.  At Zac and Zoe, a fantastic online retailer, you can get the entire sheet set for $95 (down from $190) or just the duvet set for $55.

 Circus Seal color palette, colourlovers.com

As this color palette suggests, blue, red, orange, gray and beige look great together.  Blue and red seems to be a popular color combination in kids rooms nowadays, probably because it’s clean, bright, and unisex – great for shared rooms and small spaces.  It’s also easy to match and decorate around.

Boodalee’s matching circus pillows illustrate the point.  Also available at Zac and Zoe, I want them for myself.

Elephant rocking chair, Overstock.com, $67

Any circus-loving fan needs an elephant.  Available on Overstock.com, this rocker (shown above) is the nicest one I’ve found at this price point. 

L: Restoration Hardware (sold out), R: Bazoongi Kids, CSN Stores, $94

Given the reception the PBK rocketship tent received in an earlier post, I set out to find a big top tent.  My favorite by far is the one from Restoration Hardware, but unfortunately, it’s not being sold any more.  If you were interested, I’d scour Ebay for a week or so and one might pop up.  The Bazoongi one is cute, but a bit, um, bold for my taste. Regardless, I’m sure kids would love it.

Doorway Circus Puppet Theater, Restoration Hardware, $35

Alternatively, Restoration Hardware is now selling a circus-themed puppet theater – which may actually be just as fun, and more interactive.  As with the Boodalee bedding, it’s also on sale (from $89) so it may sell out soon.  What’s great about this piece is that the curtain hangs from a tension rod, so it’s easy to move and take down when playtime’s done.

Circus Penguin Print by Watotodesign, Etsy, $27

I just had to end the post with this picture.  Not sure how often you find penguins at the circus, but in the name of artistic license, this print gets a pass.  Watotodesign’s shop is full of whimsical animal prints, featuring penguins, elephants and monkeys.

As always, let me know if you’ve got any circus-related suggestions of your own.  I’d love to hear, and if you’re interested, I’ll follow up with another post sometime soon.

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robot decor

23 Feb


X-ray Otto (Bunk Bots), Amazon, $14

My friend Farrah loves robots. She really loves robots. And if you do too, you might want to visit her blog devoted to all things tin and animatronic, aptly called Things That Remind Me of Robots. I was browsing the other day and discovered Bunk Bots, which she (rightly) describes as the Ugly Dolls of robot toys.

Me, I’m not a huge fan of all things robot, but I can be won over. . . especially when a retro illustration is featured in a beautiful color palette.


Aimee Wilder Robot Wallpaper, $156/roll

Ding. I absolutely ADORE Aimee Wilder’s wallpaper patterns; they’re sophisticated yet playful in patterns that suit both younger and (much) older kids. I know the price is high, but as mentioned in an earlier post, I think the robots would be perfect for one accent wall. The colorways are fantastic as well. Pick out one of the robot colors and use it as your highlight color for the rest of the room.


In fact, you’ll see this pattern around town very shortly. According to Aimee’s blog, Robots and another pattern called Analog will be featured on plastic bandages, for sale at Urban Outfitters.

Robot decals by Designfruit, Etsy, $19 for three

Also available in multiple colors, Jason Gaylor’s robot decals are clever and simple. Interestingly, they also feature a ‘robot with a heart’ design as in the above wallpaper. As I’ll explore in a future post, I have a slight issue with decals, because they’re so tricky to do right. When the wall space is too big, they tend to ‘float’ and seem without purpose. With decals like these, I’d get two or three sets instead of one, so you have a robot theme instead of three dudes who seem to have gotten lost on their way out of the room.

Robo duvet by fred the dog, 58 euros

Fred the dog is a Parisian-based company, founded by a mom (as many of these companies are) who was dissatisfied with the current offerings for kids’ bed linens. The company’s website features ten designs, all of which are fun and colorful.

Robot bedding, Land of Nod, $49 twin duvet

Lastly, I’d be remiss not to mention the ubiquitous Land of Nod and their own robot bedding. (If there’s a trend out there, LON is sure to have an offering that fits the bill). In this instance, however, I’m not as impressed as I usually am. I think the design is perfectly adequate, but maybe not something I’d design a room around. However, if you want to refresh a room without spending a ton of money or effort, a new duvet is the way to go.

Discovered any other fabulous robot-themed home furnishings lately? Let me know.