Archive for the ‘Vintage & Reuse’ Category
What better way to ring in the New Year than with brand new furniture? Okay, maybe not brand new, but at least with a nice new coat of paint. One of my friends gifted me this lovely dresser two years ago when she moved out of town. My plan was to paint it, rather than refinish the wood, since the veneer was chipped in places and needed some love in others. But of course indecision and general procrastination led me to finally tackle this two year old project now. With a few days off work and a husband to help me carry the thing out of our bedroom (clearly I’ll be milking the pregnancy thing for all I can get), I was set. I had always wanted to paint it a charcoal grey color, but thinking that might be a bit too dark, I settled on a slightly lighter shade. The final grey is a wee bit bluer than I had anticipated, but I think it’s a beautiful color, and especially lovely with the wallpaper remnant that I added on top for extra durability.
Here’s the before picture of the dresser. I neglected to take a true before picture with the drawers still in, but you get the idea.
Okay, here are the drawers post wood filler.
Ta da! I love the grey color against the vintage brass hardware. Such a pretty combo.
I don’t know if you can tell from this closeup, but the wallpaper is actually a kaleidoscope of mermaids. It comes from bespoke wallcovering company, Carolyn Ray, who makes beautiful handprinted papers with metallic inks. (They can also print on vinyl for you commercially or practically minded folks.) I love my “new” dresser and especially love the contrast between the grey paint color and my husband’s darker wood dresser next to it.
I took this weekend as an excuse to get out of the city and up to Brimfield. Last year we scored some pretty nice pieces (a gorgeous antique dresser and a nightstand in need of love), but this year I wasn’t necessarily looking for anything in particular. We have all the furniture we can possibly fit in our tiny apartment, so what is a city dweller to hunt for. The answer came in vintage dresses and jewelry. Easy to carry and easy to bring home on the train (yup the luxury of not owning a car in NYC). But of course while we were there, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the fun and interesting things we saw. If you went to Brimfield, what did you see?
Ship replica. I’ve always wanted one of these in my house. Not sure where I would put it, but the craftsman ship on some of these vessels is amazing!
How cool is this bed frame? Too bad I just bought a new headboard!
This is a sign my husband would appreciate, not because he’s a gardener, but because he likes corny jokes.
All of these antique glasses and dishware make me wish for a larger kitchen and more opportunities to entertain large groups of people.
I do love me some antique door and cabinet hardware…
How amazing are those lady lamps? They would be perfect at a bar in Brooklyn for sure.
Good thing I didn’t go to Brimfield with my husband, otherwise this milkshake machine just might have come home with us.
These nesting bowls definitely bring me back to my childhood since my mom has and still uses her set daily. I’ve looked for a set of my own, but they’re more expensive than you would think!
Can you sense the nautical theme yet?
Just in case you were thinking about dressing up as Santa Claus this year.
Sock forms to go with the glove forms above
Hello stained glass!
As a fan of spin class, I have a special spot in my heart for this antique stationary bike.
For the winners in your life
More items for my giant fantasy kitchen
I was just in Minnesota this weekend visiting friends and family. I always have such a wonderful time when I go, not just because of the company but also because Minneapolis is a pretty forward thinking area. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll already know that I think recycling & reusing are the best and easiest way to be green. And turning old buildings or other historic structures into livable, usable spaces goes hand in hand with that ethos. One area that has done this particularly well is the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. Formerly home to flour mills, this area was booming in the late 1880s with factories stretched up and down the river using that water power. When technologies changed and businesses moved elsewhere, many of these mills were abandoned and left to deteriorate.
Fortunately for us there are people out there with the foresight to see an abandoned building and turn it into a museum, business or apartment. And from this, the Warehouse District was sprung. I’m doing something a little different today and posting pictures of the exterior of the buildings rather than the interiors so you can get a feel of what these building are like. Most of these have been converted from manufacturing facilities or office buildings into cool loft style apartments. But I also had to include a picture of the Mill City Museum which is a great place to learn all about the area and the manufacturing history in Minnesota. For me, what I find the most unique about the museum is that instead of building the facade back up, they left it as they found it and built a modern glass structure within. Such a beautiful juxtaposition. Enjoy!
The Mill City Museum
Rock Island Lofts
After my successful weekend painting furniture and accepting delivery of my brand new chair (okay, I didn’t actually do any work on that one, but the result was fabulous), I’m that much more impressed with people who refurbish vintage pieces. They always make the “afters” look so easy, which, I can attest to, are not. Maybe that’s why I’m addicted to before & after pics like those on Design Sponge’s - it’s the raw possibility that exists in each and every piece that makes their transformations that much more interesting.
So with all that said, I bring you Mod Pieces, a restyled vintage lighting boutique, created by Lia Fagan. She salvages cool antique lamps and brings out their true awesomeness. They’re fitted with new (and modern) wiring, super fun shades and nicely lacquered bodies. Even the lamp shades are salvaged where possible, making these lights as green as could be.
Photos from Mod Pieces
I’m not talking about dogs or cats, but furniture! Yup, my new lounge chair arrived from ABC Home and I finally tackled painting our nightstands this weekend. So even though our apartment looks like a tornado ripped through the middle of it right now (hey, painting is messy work!), I’m pretty happy with this latest transformation. Take a peek for yourself & tell me what you think!
First off, the nightstands. I bought one at Brimfield last year and the other at Housing Works here in Manhattan for a combined total of $40. Pretty sweet, huh? The Brimfield one needed a lot of love in the form of wood filler but the small size & cool handles are what sold me on the piece. And both nightstands are narrow, a necessity in our bedroom because with the addition of a new and wider bed frame, we’re taking up every inch available door to door. Here are the before pics.
Brimfield nightstand. I love the shape, but the cracking wood and retro look had to go.
Housing Works nightstand. Even though drawers are so practical, I love the look of the delicate open shelves which help make the narrow area look not so heavy.
So, how to make two totally different nightstand shapes & styles look like they match? I painted both of them the same blue and topped them with the same wallpaper for a little added durability. The wallpaper was actually a leftover strike-off from Studio E. This company makes beautiful products, one of which is palm leaves pressed into plaster which creates a luminous and textural wallpaper. And because the plaster is troweled over paper, it can be installed just about anywhere, even furniture. So are you ready for the after pics?
The Brimfield nightstand. I have to admit that taking pictures later in the day, doesn’t do the best for bringing out the beautiful colors of the paint or wallpaper, but you get the idea. I’ll post more pictures on Facebook when the light is right.
And the Housing Works nightstand
Another view of the Housing Works nightstand
What about the chair? As I said, this modern wing chair is from ABC Home from their Cobble Hill collection. It’s made with a goodwood frame and manufactured by an American employee-owned, family and community oriented company. What I love about it is not only is it super soft and comfy, it’s also extra wide, so when we have people over it can fit two people (okay, two very good friends) perched on the ends instead of just one. While my husband is still getting used it versus the old Ikea chair, I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time curled up reading here.
I was very sorry to miss Brimfield two weekends ago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do my share of vintage sourcing on my own. One of my favorite things about flea markets is the dishes. In my dream house, I would have a huge kitchen with enough cabinet space for tons of antique dishes and a dining room big enough to use them all. Sometimes though, vintage porcelain can look a bit dated. Thankfully Sarah Cihat has taken those very same dishes and made them totally modern with her line of Rehabilitated Dishware. This makeover goes a little beyond my expertise as a do-it-yourselfer, so I’m even more impressed that she can rescue vintage plates that I wouldn’t have even looked twice at and turn them into something I would definitely want on my table. Now that’s the way to reuse! Sarah also has a beautiful collection of porcelain objects, vases and candleholders which are even more rockin’ so definitely take a look for yourself.
The before and after views. I mean, the original pattern is oh so dainty and the end product is totally edgy and cool.
A few of my favorite designs
Photos from Sarah Cihat
Last fall I showed you a really cool model home at the W Hollywood Residences, a LEED Silver building in the heart of Los Angeles. If you remember back, towards the bottom of the post, I included a picture of the master bathroom complete with a bunch of interesting wood branch hooks (If you don’t remember, what are you waiting for? Go, refresh you memory here. I’ll wait… Okay, now you remember? Great, let’s move on). At the time I had no idea where they were from but loved them. Well I guess someone was looking out for me because the maker of these same hooks not only reached out to me, but left a comment on the blog. So now that I know who made them, I wanted to make sure you did too.
Live Wire Farm is a family owned business out of Jacksonville, Vermont and the creator of not only those chic branch hooks, but a line of beautiful wood spoons, rings and candle holders. In fact, the wood is where it all starts. Live Wire Farm takes the scraps from firewood harvesting, pieces that would otherwise be thrown back into the woods, and repurposes them into usable products. It goes without saying, but every spoon, hook or ring is handcrafted and totally unique. Personally I have a bit of a weakness for wooden spoons, so this definitely going on my birthday wish list. If you’re interested in buying anything, just fill out the contact form on Live Wire’s website. Enjoy!
The hooks that started it all. Beautiful, no?
Birch candle holders
Or napkin rings
Those beautiful spoons. I could make a mean risotto with one of these.
Photos from Live Wire Farms
I’ve been in an industrial furniture mood lately. Something about the raw and textured metal together with beautiful wood full of character. That combined with it’s practical beginnings gives each piece such history and interest. While looking around for a work project, I stumbled on the fabulous collection of industrial chic furniture from Interieurs. They have a particularly good collection so I wanted to post a few of my favorites. Make sure to check out their entire antique collection online.
Photos from Interieurs
I was at the New York Design Center last week and took the opportunity to wander through the brand new 1stdibs showroom on the 10th floor. For those of you who don’t know what 1stdibs is, it’s an online shopping destination for one of a kind vintage pieces. It started out as a way to connect the numerous antique furniture galleries to potential clients and has since transformed into a marvelous curated website of all things beautiful. You can find anything from the aforementioned furniture to home accessories, jewelry and clothing, all of which is valuable and most of which is vintage. 1stdibs’ latest transition has been from an online shop to a real showroom full of real pieces. Each gallery owner maintains their own booth, but patrons can come wander the aisles and see everything in person. Such an important thing when the piece you’re buying is, say, $30,000.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the showroom. I mean maintaining a website is one thing, but an enormous showroom full of one-of-a-kind furniture is quite another. It looks like it’s not quite complete (they were painting the entry area), but there’s plenty of furniture to spend hours wandering and dreaming. I took a few (okay, a lot) of pictures to show you what 1stdibs in person is all about. Enjoy!
You know the saying, the shoemaker’s children go barefoot? Well, sometimes that’s how I feel about my house. The projects I do for work are amazing, but my own abode is sometimes lacking in style. Sure we did a bit of a renovation and the walls and doors look much better. But I have drapery left to hang, dining chairs that have been begging for reupholstery and my aforementioned lounge chair that has to go (apologies to my friend Lizz who has the same chair). So I’ve decided that I’m going to tackle one project a week and finish up this house. I may not finish each one every week, but you’ll get a peek at some of my DIY projects and I’ll finally get this ball rolling.
So first up, my dining chairs. Here’s the before picture.
We inherited these bad boys from my husband’s grandmother. I love the shape of the curvy shape of the frame and for both sentimental and aesthetic reasons, I didn’t want to change the wood color at all. One less project to tackle too! The seat fabric however was a different story. It was stained from years of grandkids plus the light colored ikat-ish print is really not my taste.
Here’s a close-up of the old fabric. See what I mean? Time for a change.
Fortunately, I also inherited a large piece of silk from my best friend’s mother that I think was destined to be a sari. It’s colorful, unique and oh so perfect for these chairs. So here goes, my first attempt at reupholstery.
So first things first, I had to rip off all the old covers. I cheated a bit because I could see the previous bright pink under the ones I ripped off, but I just couldn’t bring myself to take them off too and open up a potential can of worms.
Covers are off!
Thankfully the previous reupholsterer had added a bit of cotton batting to the top of the chairs, so all I had to do was put my new upholstery on. If you look really close, you can see a bit of the pink fabric underneath.
The new covers are on and the chairs are almost done! All that I have to do here is add a bit of trim at the bottom to cover up the staples.
Ta da! All done. I decided to go with a navy blue trim to contrast against the lighter silk ikat. I’m going to try to take a better picture tomorrow morning. It was dark out by the time I finished up and my nighttime shots never seem to turn out as well.
Here’s a detail of the chair seat. You can see the trim a bit better in this shot.
All in all, I’m super excited about my new chairs. It was a bigger and tougher project than I anticipated. I give reupholsterers and furniture makers so much credit for the amazing work they do. As for me, I’m taking the rest of the night off. And tomorrow I might just treat myself to a well earned manicure to clean up my hands after all that staple gunning.