Flickr Widget

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Magic 8 Ball, will I find out who designed this bench?

It is decidedly so.

And the Magic 8 Ball turned out to be right again. For over a year, we have eyed a fantastic bench at a mid-century shop in another state, but the dealer wasn't willing to sell it, because he was sure it was a designer piece. He was determined to hang onto the bench until he got more information on it, rather than underprice it.

We were in his shop on a picking trip a while back and learned that the mystery had been solved. The bench is a Martin Borenstein design for Croyden Furniture Inc. It's part of the Challenge series he created for the company. Naturally, we were so excited about finding the answer to our long-standing question that we forgot to take a picture of our friend's bench, which has been recovered in the colorful velvet fabric called Caravan by Jack Lenor Larsen (see ottoman in yesterday's post), but here is a photo of a similar bench.

Bench for the Challenge series by Martin Borenstein for Croyden

The Challenge series included a sofa with attached end tables and built-in lighting in several variations. It was designed in 1952.

Croyden Challenge group
Challenge sofa
Original ad for the Challenge series

As for our buying the bench...Well, since finding out what it is, he's put a pricetag on it that's sky high. Now the question is, "Magic 8 Ball, will he ever lower the price?" 

Reply hazy. Try again.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jack Lenor Larsen

Jack Lenor Larsen (1927- ) was born in Seattle, Washington, to Norsk-Canadian parents. He studied architecture at the University of Washington, but in 1945 he took a weaving class, which changed the course of his life.

He worked for a time at Handcraft House in California, teaching weaving to famous students like Joan Crawford, until he was offered a position as teaching assistant at Cranbrook Academy, from which he received a Masters of Fine Arts in 1951.

In 1952 Larsen move to New York, and by 1953 he had formed Jack Lenor Larson, Inc. Florence Knoll, who had rejected his portfolio in 1951, asked him to do a group of furniture fabrics in olive green and shades of orange, which became the avocado green and harvest gold of the 1960s.

In 1954 he opened a showroom on Park Avenue and sold to customers like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1958 he designed upholstery fabrics for Pan Am. By 1974 his various companies were producing fabric in 30 countries. He was also operating as Larsen Design Studio, Larsen Carpet and Leather, and Larsen Furniture.

While Larsen has designed many of the beautiful textiles sold by his companies, he has also employed many talented designers who have created many of the fabrics for Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc. and Larsen Design Studio.

His work is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Fashion Institute of Technology, among others. His art center, LongHouse Reserve, houses treasures from around the world.


Horsecloth, 1952 (designed by Jack Lenor Larsen)

Eclipse, 1955 (designed by Warren Platner)

Spice Garden, 1959 (designed by June Groff)

Spice Garden on Milo Baughman chair

Primavera, 1960 (designed by Don Wight)

Primavera pillows

Aurora, 1961 (Larsen Design Studio)

Aurora chairs

Caravan, 1962 (designed by Anita Askild) - pixiedustlinens

Caravan on a Paul McCobb sofa for Directional

Caravan on an Edward Wormley ottoman for Dunbar

Milo Baughman sofa, 1960s

Momentum Blue Flame on Pierre Paulin Ribbon chairs, 1960s

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crestview Redi-Screens

Crestview Doors has a product line that adds real eye appeal to mid-century homes. The panels are called Redi-Screens™, and I'm considering adding one to my living room.

Launched in October of 2011, the screens feature patterns inspired by vintage textiles and are made from unfinished, stain-grade maple. They can be used as sliding doors, pocket doors, partitions, room dividers, interior shutters and hanging or mounted screens and come in a variety of standard sizes, as well as custom sizes.








Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paolo Buffa

Paolo Buffa
Paolo Buffa (1903-1970) was the son of Italian painter Giovanni Buffa. After graduating from the Politecnico in Milan in 1927, he went to work in the studio of Gio Ponti. In 1928 he opened his own studio with architect A. Cassi Rimelli, and they designed numerous homes and villas. He was also a significant contributor to the design and architecture magazine Domus.

He was a prolific architect, but his real passion was designing furniture. His works range from the traditional and ornate to the futuristic, but they are all of exceptional quality and refinement. His clients were generally quite wealthy and wanted their homes furnished with elegantly modern, functional pieces.

In 1945 he began a collaboration with Ico Parisi that lasted a decade, during which time they designed simple, bare interiors. In 1947 Buffa was invited, along with several other well known Italian designers, to participate in the exhibition The Modern Style of Furnishing, which celebrated the rebirth of inventiveness and elegance in Italian design. The exhibition was repeated in 1948 in Paris, where it was very well received.

Some of Buffa's notable projects were the Royal Palace of the King of Albania in 1940, the Quirinale Hotel in Rome in 1951, the furnishing of the royal yacht of King Farouk of Egypt in 1952 and the furnishing of the cruise liner Leonardo Da Vinci in the 1950s.

From, and

Bar cabinet with inlaid brass stars
Rosewood side table
Lounge chair for the Hotel Bristol in Merano, Italy
Console table
Dining chairs

Glass-topped bar cabinet
Close-up of glass-topped bar, open

Friday, January 27, 2012

Up and coming

We opened the doors of our store last March in an 1100 square foot location...with my daughter, SIL and two grandsons living in an apartment taking up the back 600 square feet. Right after Thanksgiving, they moved to a large loft much better suited to raising active little boys, and the wall dividing the two spaces came down.

However, my SIL saw an opportunity to expand further in a more highly trafficked area, so the move is on. Here is a peek at our new digs as he is getting it ready. (For those of you in the area, it's the old Century Modern space. Watch for our name to go up soon!) Stay tuned for photos of the finished store.

For the moment, as you can see, we have furniture at both places, as it makes no sense to unload new things at our current location and then have to move them in a few days. And somehow, in between painting and running the store, my SIL is still finding time to keep buying new things! He just called to recite a list of today's estate sale booty, which includes this beautiful turquoise sofa manufactured by Glostrup and designed by Grete Jalk. At the same sale, he found a Grete Jalk coffee table by Glostrup, a Sven Aage Larsen credenza by Faarup, a Nakashima-style side table and a rolling bar. Photos of those will be coming soon.

Grete Jalk sofa by Glostrup Møbelfabrik

In the meantime, here are some better photos of a couple of the Broyhill Brasilia pieces and the American of Martinsville bedroom set from the last buying trip out of state.

Broyhill Brasilia room divider sans estate sale knicknacks 
Broyhill Brasilia buffet
American of Martinsville bedroom set

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heavenly hardware

Sometimes a couple of coats of paint and a change of cabinet hardware can give a kitchen or bathroom a whole new look, but if you're like me, you've had a hellacious time finding hardware that works well in mid-century or modernist homes. Well, hallelujah! There are a couple of companies that have hardware just for us.

The Moderns is the mid-century line manufactured by Atlas Homewares, and it offers all the classic styles, including concave round and square knobs, and the classic Paul McCobb style cone knob.

The Moderns by Atlas Homewares

I also like the Atlas line they call Sleek. It is just that, with no ornamentation or curliques. Sleek is all about streamlined functionality. They also made a similarly unadorned line in pure gloss white.

Sleek by Atlas Homewares

Though the Atlas Modernist collection may not be for everyone, it reminds me of mid-century cufflinks, and I think it has a distinct googie feel.

Modernist by Atlas Homewares

Atlas also makes a couple of door knockers that I think are great. One (which I happen to have in brushed nickel on my own front door) is described by Atlas as Mission style, but I think it works well for modern doors as well. The other is called the Avalon, which was inspired by Streamline Moderne, an architectural style that emerged from the great transatlantic steam liners and architectural styles of the 1930s. Still, I think its simple lines would look great on a modern ranch. All the pulls above, plus the two door knockers below, can be purchased at Hardware Hut.

Mission by Atlas Homewares
Avalon by Atlas Homewares

Another company, Hume Modern, has designer-specific hardware, as well as other parts for furniture. Take a look at these Paul McCobb styles. The company also has 

McCobb Delineator pull
McCobb dresser pulls
McCobb ring pull
McCobb Connoisseur pulls
McCobb jewelry box pulls

Hume Modern also carries George Nelson Thin Edge pulls and legs.

Nelson Thin Edge pulls and legs