Posts Tagged ‘vintage’

recently spotted

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I seldom go shopping these days, much preferring to order from the comfort of Chez Mess when possible. On Christmas Eve, however, I had to dash into the mall, that temple of mass consumption and hideous carpeting. Last-minute stocking stuffers, ya know.

Snagged some cute vintagey card games for the kid at Restoration Hardware…

classic card games |

classic card games |

And then I spotted something interesting over in the corner…

oviedo chaise lounge spotted at restoration hardware

lounge tag

An obvious tribute to Knoll’s MR Chaise Lounge, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1927…

mr chaise lounge by mies van der rohe for knoll |

mr chaise lounge by mies van der rohe for knoll |

Far from cheap but much more affordable than the original. Have you seen how much the Knoll goes for? A little history on the original, still in production, here.

Then a few feet away from the chaise, I spotted this…

1950s copenhagen chair at restoration hardware

chair tag

Basically a distressed leather homage to the iconic Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen…

egg chair by arne jacobsen for fritz hansen |

egg chair by arne jacobsen for fritz hansen |

Gorgeous since 1958 and still going strong. If you’ve ever longed for an Egg of your own, you’re probably well aware of what it costs brand-new. If you don’t require the original, I suppose Restoration’s version isn’t too shabby. The leather gives it a men’s club/smoking lounge kind of a look. Cuba meets Denmark?

Not the sort of thing I expect to see at Restoration Hardware, although they have added a little midcentury modern into their mostly traditional mix in the last few years. Their Modern Collection of bath hardware is about as minimal as they get. Anyway, just thought I’d share.

Still undecided about reproduction/reinterpretation vs original. I mean, I don’t like to think of myself as a total snob, insisting on an original no matter the price. Label hounds can be so irritating. On the other hand, is it asking too much for brands to come up with their own designs rather than profiting from someone else’s design? Granted, finding a way to make expensive things for less is the way of the world — it’s what makes sites like whiteonwhite so wildly popular. And I suppose Restoration Hardware’s whole schtick is “restoring” classic style to home goods. I dunno. What do you think?

30 festive things

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Guess who just came out for the holidays? No, I don’t mean Ricky Martin, silly wabbit. I mean our vintage aluminum Christmas tree, vintage Holly Time revolving tree stand and trippy vintage color wheel. ’Tis the season, homies!

Wanna join me in being a kid again? Come on…

holiday nursery rhyme girl

holiday nursery rhyme boy

holiday rocket racer

holiday italian glass foxy

holiday airplane

holiday italian glass bear and tin wind-up car

holiday row boat guy

holiday italian glass stripy tiger

holiday elf

holiday italian glass dopey cat

holiday rosie the robot

holiday glass ray gun

holiday ice cream boy

holiday italian glass dino

holiday wind-up astronaut moonrover

holiday santa

holiday italian glass flowerhead

holiday black robot

holiday tin flying saucer

holiday italian glass fox

holiday girlie robot

holiday liddle kiddles santa

holiday italian glass soldier

holiday creepy santa

holiday wind-up rover robot dog

holiday wind-up robot space cart

holiday tin tokyo firetruck and italian glass ellie

holiday wind-up handcar

holiday italian glass bowtie elephant

And last but not least, the Santa tree topper…

holiday italian glass santa tree topper

Where I find these things (in case you actually care)

eBay | The place to go when you want something specific. My favorite searches: “vintage Italian glass Christmas (or Xmas) ornament”, “vintage sputnik Christmas (or Xmas) ornament”, “vintage atomic Christmas (or Xmas) ornament” and “vintage spinner Christmas (or Xmas) ornament”. I’ve also gotten a few great vintage trees — as you’d figure, just hunt for “vintage aluminum Christmas tree.”

tin toy sites | There are plenty of places to pick up Japanese tin toys, but I tend to frequent and I gave up trying to score deals on vintage tin toys on eBay — prices are astronomical. Obviously big demand for them by collectors. Since I’m using them as tree decorations, I figure they can be repro. They all come with keys and actually wind up, spin, roll, twirl, etc. They tend to be heavy so I use fishing line to afix them to the branches.

flea markets and antique stores | Good for great old Shiny Brite decorations, felt elves and whatnot. You just never know what you’ll find.

revolving tree stands | There are new ones out there but if you want an old one, try “vintage revolving Christmas tree stand” or “vintage Christmas tree turner” on eBay. If you’re willing to pay a little more to make sure the stand will work for years to come, there are a few sites that recondition the vintage stand motors. Oak Tree Vintage is one of them. Ours was new in the box, dated 1961. Works like a charm… well, most of the time.

color wheels | eBay eBay eBay. I’ve never seen another one that looks like ours… yet.

holiday closeup on the color wheel

brimfield past

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Over the years, Brimfield has had plenty to offer — much more than my last post might suggest. I’ve always come away with something I love, for a steal. Like these…

A vintage cast aluminum lounger. 40s? 50s? 60s? Dunno. We had it beadblasted to remove the peeling paint and left it bare, then found a company on Cape Cod who specializes in rewebbing…

brimfield score | lounger side view

brimfield | lounger back view

It came with the cutest loveseat…

brimfield | loveseat front view

brimfield | loveseat side view

Since I brought up beadblasting and rewebbing, I should mention the Brown and Jordan patio set we inherited from David’s grandmother. Was it white or yellow in its past life? I forget. We had the set beadblasted and rewebbed at the same time the lounger and loveseat were done so they would “go” together…

brown and jordan set

brown and jordan set, detail view

One year we scored three vintage medical cabinets for our storage-less loft. We decided to have them stripped and sprayed before we brought them to the new house. The metal is thin and couldn’t take beadblasting. Also, it wasn’t uniform enough to warrant leaving the cabs bare as we’d hoped we could. (I apologize for having absolutely NO natural light to help this shot out)…

brimfield | medical cabinets before

I decided to dress up the interior walls with Waldots wallpaper by Ferm Living…

brimfield | medical cabinets after

Still not sure I’m loving that paper. Hard to tell here because the light is awful, but the paper is a little more purple and much less grey than I’d imagined…

all papered!

closed up and ready to go

Have also picked up a slew of  vintage Vornado fans at Brimfield. Very streamline, industrial, Raymond Loewy

brimfield | vornado fan

Could use a good dusting because they get used every summer. The company is still around and recently released a new “Retro” style based on the original…

remodelista | vornado “retro” fa

The one above was featured on Remodelista but I keep seeing it on various design blogs. Less of an energy hog than the originals, that’s for sure.

The point is, if you haven’t been to Brimfield, go next year. You just never know what you’ll find when you have 20 fields’ worth of flea market to stumble through.

jazzed about this tile

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

tile in peoria

This is not about me, it’s about the tile. The glorious, glorious vintage tile. Doesn’t it look fantastic with the bright orange seats? That pattern makes me ridiculously giddy.

Where: Peoria International Airport

When: The terminal was dedicated in 1942, so there’s a chance it dates to then. Not really sure. Just read they’re expanding. I hope they don’t touch the tile!

Why: On our first trip to the Bix Biederbecke Memorial Jazz Festival and its companion Bix 7 race in Davenport, Iowa, in 2005. Every year about 15,000 come for the music and more than 20,000 run the race. Crazy.

I’m posting this for my friend Steve, who’s on his way to Peoria. Say hello to the floor for me. And if you see that awesome hat of mine, bring it home. It went MIA.

conflicted in kid-dom

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Our friends are always asking if we’ve made progress in the kid’s room. No wonder. The move was two years ago, which means Bix has spent nearly half his life in a mess. So we tackled his room first, hoping to create a calm, fun place away from the remodeling storm. I like the result. But I’m also conflicted about it. Argh.

Starting with what we already had

Luckily, we moved in with most of the stuff we used, including mandatory KidKraft train table, some chairs, and the drawers and bookcases David built when Bix was a baby…


I see the drawers need a little readjusting but you get the idea. We used Sunflower Seed Board from Van Beek’s in Michigan. Here’s a closer look…

closeup of sunflower seed MDF

It’s an eco-friendly MDF made from pressed sunflower seed hulls. LEED-certified, no formaldehyde, no outgassing. Finished in a simple water-based poly. Makes us feel good.

David had made the drawer fronts using a laminate we thought was fun enough for a kid but easy to like as an adult…

Formica in matte finish Beluga (#3697)

We debated about the environmental friendliness of laminate and decided that because drawers see a lot of grimy little fingers and can take a beating that the sunflower board can’t (without getting chipped, that is), it made sense.

Attack of the madwoman with a paintbrush

Before we could hang the furniture on the wall above the heaters, I had to scrape off the babyish wallpaper border that went all around the room, prep the walls and paint.

early room view 3

To encourage drawing, I decided on kid-height chalkboard walls around the perimeter. I taped off the space…

chalk board prep 1

Used a dab of caulk along the bottom of the painter’s tape for a nice, clean edge. Then filled in my lines with four or five layers of chalkboard paint to make it extra durable.

chalk board prep 3

I was hoping to tie the chalkboard to artwork we commissioned our friend Ryan Lesser to make a few years ago (click to biggify if you care to)…

wide shot, finished chalkboard


chalkboard finished

more artwork from Ryan Lesser

Those are a few more characters by Ryan.

I brought the tentacles around the corner and over onto the adjoining wall behind the door…


I maybe went a little overboard carrying the “bubbles” look from the laminate onto the wall…

glossy bubbles on matte paint

I used high gloss paint in various tints of white (some bluish, some greyish, some super white, etc.) on top of a matte oatmealy white. The anal part: I used round container lids in three sizes, dipped them into the paint and then pressed them onto the wall. Looks good when the light hits it. David thinks it’s too busy. Just wait, it gets much busier.

Bunk bed in a closet

The dressers are more than adequate storage for the wardrobe of a 5-year-old — with plenty of room for toys, too. His closet was wasted space, so we decided it was a smart spot to fit a bunkbed with storage underneath. Great for sleepovers someday, or the occasional guest.

In order to be twin-bed length and last Bix well into his teens, we needed to make the space a little longer…

closet build-out

David extended the closet space by about 6″ and added some serious mass loaded vinyl sound-proofing to the walls. The occasional mid-construction reading break was called for…

demolition break

Then he put in new drywall and spots for lights for both bunks.

finishing the drywall

He drilled crazy long wood screws into the studs for extra support.

building bunk bed supports

Hang on a sec and I’ll show you the finished bed. Keep your pants on.

Paint overload

Building out the closet ruined  the edge of my paintjob. No biggie. Easily camouflaged with a little sanding and some paint in a contrasting pattern to trick the eye. I did a color study using various shades from around the room — Benjamin Moore zero-VOC Natura paint so I could feel reasonably okay about sticking to our eco-friendly principles…

paint swatches

First, I taped off a floor-to-ceiling strip for magnetic paint (not so eco-friendly, I’m sure). The Ben Mo’ semi-gloss can go right over the top to dress it up, so I taped off cubes to echo the Ikea paper lamp hanging in the opposite corner…

taping off the magnetic board

So the result?

bunk beds and magnetic board

I matched bunk bed walls to the aqua in the bookcases. The magnetic strip brings in all the colors of the room. Recovered the shade of the West Elm lamp I picked up for half price. I’m liking how circles vs. squares turned out.

closeup on lower bunk

Aqua pillowcases from Area we already had. Added the illustratey one and cushy flannel sheets from Garnet Hill. Organic blanket and a quilt picked up at West Elm. Roll pillow half price from Unison. Sales rawk.

full shot bunk bed

The underbed drawers we stole from one of the dismantled dressers David made for Bix’s baby room. As Bix gets older, we could decide to pull out the bottom bunk and put in a desk. Or add a clothing rod under the top bunk. It’s a very flexible space. And the whole thing could easily become a closet again if need be.

etsy pillows

Pillows from two great etsy sellers: Spruce Home who works in some great vintage fabrics and Alexandra Ferguson who uses 100% post-consumer recycled felt. A nice comfy back for a little storytime action.

Shins “monster” art from Tad Carpenter...

Shins monster

painted border around art

Such a paint addict — I thought it needed a border. As a side note, that’s not glass inside the frame. It’s plexi. Globe lights are also plastic and not glass. Just in case, ya know.

monsters in a barrel

Barrel found at PB Teen at a get-it-outta-here discount of 75% (years ago, sorry). So many uses but for now, all things stuffed.

On the way over to the book nook…

bookshelves viewed from bed

Trish Grantham painting

New painting by Trish Grantham and Frank Kozik figures from Kid Robot over the dresser.

nice grassy pillow for sitting and reading

A grassy knoll pillow for reading, repurposed from the living area.

looking up at bookshelves

We bridged the space between bookshelves with cheap Ikea corner shelves, which added even more storage.

vintage Fisher Price “little people” toy collection

Vintage Fisher Price “little people” toys collection. Thanks, eBay. I always wanted an A-frame.

mechagodzilla and godzilla

Mechagodzilla and Godzilla — gifts from Bix’s friends “the Godzilla girls.”

dinos on a shelf

Bix’s true love: his dino shelf.

vintage Fisher Price record player

Vintage Fisher Price record player came with six “records.” Priming him to be a DJ from a very young age. eBay.

vintage Fisher Price “radio”

Ancient Fisher Price “radio” still works. eBay. I’m getting repetitive, sorry.

the Seuss section

The Seuss section.

’zilla feet, licensed by Toho

Godzilla feet from Toho for stomping through the house.

Charles S. Anderson poster circa 1990

On the other dresser, a leaning Charles S. Anderson poster hides a hideous air conditioner. Dated ’89, although I picked it up at a paper show in Houston years after that. It’s a French Paper sample Bix insists he must have in his room because up above King Kong…

Godzilla on King Kong/C.S. Anderson poster

there’s a tiny Godzilla. I cannot deny him.

gremlins on the turntable

Gremlins on the crappy eBay turntable that came with about a zillion records to add to those we already had.

bix listening to records

And now we’re back to the corner where we started! Only now somebody’s appreciating the joys of vinyl. Good boy.

What’s left undone

Still to come: the ladder and top railing for the bunk bed, replacement baseboard and trim here and there…

need new trim around the window

a wood ceiling (to cover the popcorn ceiling) and wood floor. Can’t wait to get rid of that hideous toxic carpet, too.

Why I’m conflicted

Had really hoped this room would be super “green,” seeing as it’s our child’s room. Sustainable materials, great.  Completely thrilled with the organic mattresses — beautifully made and comfy. Eco-conscious paints, very good, but so much paint, right? And it amazes me the shizzload of plastic in this room! On the one hand, much of it’s vintage — we’re keeping plastic out of the landfill, yay. On the other hand, it’s still plastic. Oy.

So I give myself an 85% on achieving my goals for Bix’s room. Granted, I’m a harsh grader.

Valentine’s Day card from Orrin

Orrin made Bix a Valentine. So cute. Thanks, Orrin!

one perfect thing

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

neon clock 1

neon clock 2

What is it? Minty vintage aluminum clock with painting we commissioned from John Dee.

Where did it come from? David and I came across the clock in the dusty corner of a stripmall antique store in Pueblo, Colorado, ages ago. The tag said $25. Sold! Spun aluminum case, un-dinged (finally got all the paint off). Original glass with pinstripes, unscratched. Hands and clocky bits, working. The face had some awful lunchmeat promo on it, sloppily hand-painted right over the top of what was probably a great Chevy bow-tie sign. It was begging to be stripped, so I did.

Had the neon replaced. Mmmmm, glowy. Then it sat in the corner of our loft until I asked John if he’d  throw his paint voodoo on it. Now it sits dark and unplugged in the corner of our house longing for a wall.

Circa? Unsure. Guessing the ’40s or ’50s.

Interesting tidbit: John Dee is a UI artist and illustrator at Harmonix working on games like RockBand and, well, probably all their other titles as well. His paintings make me smile. More here.

gondola rides, $1

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The short version of this post: Dog devours couch. Couch becomes a project. Project goes exceedingly well. Refinishing and upholstery, awesome. Couch doesn’t fit in new space. Waah.

And now, for the longer version.

The couch before

What an upset greyhound can do to a couch

The couch, before

Poor, poor couch... devoured

Glorious, vintage danish modern couch, turned into bits of shredded foam by Rocketdog while we were on vacation and the housesitter was out. Not something she did on a regular basis, thank gawd. She passed on about a year and a half ago, poor pookie. We miss her.

But back to the couch…

This baby was an antique store find picked up for a mere $600 — well worth it when the original fabric was intact. I always intended to recover it, so once the dog had her say I figured it was time. Had a furniture doc strengthen some wonky joints. Refinished the wood myself with a very tedious wet-sand and oil process. Then I picked out some fabric and left the frame with Richard, an able upholsterer.

Ta-daaaa! Click the pic to bigify. It’s impressive.

couch in all its glory

A 9′ behemoth of a couch that screams gondola. Who wants to go for a ride… anyone?

9 feet of fabulous

The sexy curves now get the attention they deserve. And in spite of my novice refinishing, the wood glows like it never did before.

ooh la la

And that fabric! So yum. Robert Allen Loop Around in Bark. I took a chance on a bold pattern. Slightly nubbly but with a sheen here and there when the sun hits it… sometimes it looks silver, sometimes pale blue.

ooh, shiny!

If you look close, you can see that there’s actually no silver thread. The sheen comes from the interplay of white and black weave. Love the warm yellowy gold woven in there with the brown. Lovely. A touch-me upholstery-weight fabric — you should really click the photo to see it closeup.

closeup on the texture

Okay, done swooning.

As I said before, I absolutely love how this project turned out. However, I started this ages ago, well before we started talking with an architect about how to make the most of the small living space in our new house (more on that another time). Yes, everything in the livingroom will change. And at 9′, this couch is just way too long to put anywhere. What to do, what to do?!

For now, I’ll just cover it with a sheet and try not to gaze upon its fabulousness.

dear sweet Rocketdog