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Monday, May 23, 2011

If money were no object

While sitting around the shop yesterday, my SIL and I played one of those "what if" games...about what pieces of furniture we'd have in our own homes if money were no object. I was surprised to find out that it would be tough to make decisions if I actually had the money in my hand and could buy anything I wanted.

We agreed that we'd have to have a Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair. It's kinda like the Holy Grail of chairs for us (although I openly pine for one of his Ox chairs, as well as a Saarinen Womb chair and a Juhl Chieftain). Since we were talking about pricing yesterday, I asked him what he'd sell a Papa Bear for if he got his hands on one. He looked at me like I had suddenly lost my mind, and said, "Sell it? You think I'd sell it?"

Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair

We both insisted that we'd have to have a group of George Nelson lamps hanging somewhere in our houses. My SIL wanted some dramatic Danish floor lamps too, while I wanted a large Poul Henningsen PH-5 lamp hanging somewhere...and a Sarfatti or a Geller or a Thurston on my desk...and, of course, a Noguchi Akari light or two somewhere. See what I mean? Narrowing it down gets harder and harder as you try to figure out exactly where you'd put the pieces in your home and which ones you'd use together in groupings. So much to choose little space.

George Nelson bubble lamps
Poul Henningsen PH-5

Gerald Thurston tripod lamp

Noguchi Akari lights

When it came to choosing our all-time favorite sofas, it was even more difficult. We realized that that we love so many sofas, it's impossible to pick just one. My SIL is a real admirer of Finn Juhl, but there's something about the drama of Paul Evans that fascinates him. (I told him I'd be afraid to sit on a Paul Evans sofa. The term "Brutalist" conjures up images of being bitten on the posterior by some wild, metal creature, although the one he chose was fairly tame by Evans's standards.)

Finn Juhl sofa
Paul Evans sofa

I immediately thought of a Florence Knoll sofa, but I'm not crazy about the metal legs. OK, maybe a Wegner or a Grete Jalk. But in the end, I was true to my real love, the wonderful Mr. Risom.

Florence Knoll sofa
Hans Wegner sofa
Grete Jalk sofa
Jens Risom sofa

By the time I finished weighing the pros and cons of all my favorite sofas, the SIL had changed his mind. He decided to go for comfort, and since he's decided that the Adrian Pearsall gondola we have is the best thing he's ever stretched out on, that was his final choice.

Adrian Pearsall gondola sofa

Dining room furniture was a bit of a challenge too. We tossed around the ideas of a Platner set or a Noguchi Cyclone table but decided we'd rather have the smaller rocking stools. There were several Scandinavian sets my SIL liked, so he really couldn't make up his mind. I finally decided that the only thing I'd give up my Drexel Profile set for is a Brasilia Cathedral table in mint condition, with the glass in the center without a scratch and the ceramic bowl without a chip (which is so rare I couldn't even find a good picture of one). Oh, and did I mention that the fabric would have to be the original bird pattern without a spot? Otherwise, I'd hang on to what I have.

Noguchi rocking stools

Warren Platner dining set

Credenzas were a little easier. My SIL decided again to go for the drama with Paul Evans, while I decided that I'd keep my Jens Risom credenza, if only for sentimental reasons, even if money were no object. It was my first really nice designer piece, and I doubt that I'll ever let it go.

Paul Evans credenza
My Jens Risom credenza

So what would your dream home have in it?  Trust me, this isn't as easy as it sounds.

Update: 5/4/2014...Three years later - Looking back at this early post was a real eye-opener. In the years since I wrote it, pieces that seemed almost impossible to attain when we first went into business have come and gone. We've sold several Papa Bear chairs, as well as dining sets and sideboards by Hans Wegner. We've had Nelson bubble lights, Noguchi cyclone tables and rocking stools and tables by Warren Platner. We've sold many Adrian Pearsall chairs and sofas and tables, as well as quite a few Paul Evans pieces. We had a Grete Jalk sofa in turquoise that was just like the orange one, and we have a Knoll sofa in the store now.

The Henningsen and Thurston lamps have remained elusive. They're still on our list of things to find, along with many items we've added along the way. I'm sure if we played "what if" today, the thing on our lists might include quite a few new pieces.

I still have my Jens Risom credenza and John van Koert china cabinet, but I've moved on and sold the dining set. Things change...but that's what makes life exciting.


  1. If money were no object, I'd buy an airline ticket once a week and come visit you and your store. Then, when we finally build a home, I'd hire you and SIL to come and furnish it for me. Hmmm, what a nice dream.

  2. Midcenturymadam's comment is the best. I passed on a Papa Bear chair on craiglist, months ago. It was only a couple hundred bucks. But needed serious upholstery & I had just bought the one in the guest room - I was pretty cash strapped and had nowhere to put it. Sigh. I think first step is I'd need a bigger house . . .

  3. i did one set of wishlist sometime back...cant imagine what i would do if all i dream of was in my house..:P

  4. and the first thing. i need to buy a ranch home mcm style

  5. @Midcenturymadam: Awwwww, what a nice thing to say. I think you have an incredible design sense and do an exceptionally beautiful job decorating your home.

  6. @Tanya: I've never seen a Papa Bear come up on our CL. :(

  7. @Tanya and Sudha: I'd have to buy a bigger house. No doubt about it.

  8. One delight after another, as always. If money were no object... I'd buy MORE OBJECTS!! (and my hubby would still object)

  9. @DearHelenHartman: Love it...hahaha