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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

When I was growing up in the 1950s, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. Adult supervision wasn't necessary. We struck out on our own, going up and down neighborhood streets, usually wearing a costume created from our parents' clothes or old sheets and carrying a paper Halloween bag. We would knock on one door after another, shouting "Trick or treat!" when the homeowner opened the door and grab a handful of goodies from a big bowl. There was no fear of homemade treats or loose candy, no examining our loot when we got home.

My mom usually made popcorn balls wrapped in wax paper to give out to trick-or-treaters, and we always hoped there would be several left over. If I were lucky enough to receive a caramel apple, I'd start eating it immediately and arrive home blissfully sticky.

Here's wishing you a sweet Halloween!

Trick or Treat bag

Red Hots

Circus Peanuts
Popcorn balls

Candy corn

Orange slices
Caramel apples

Candy pumpkins
Wax lips

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We've been looking for new lines of smalls to carry. VacaValiente, a company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that manufactures desk accessories out of recycled leather, contacted us recently about becoming a dealer, and we're having some ambivalent feelings. We're strangely attracted to some of them, but we know they're a little unusual, so we're not sure how they would sell.

We decided to ask you.

Amigos series: Lizard - Holds business cards

Amigos series: Turtle - Top opens to hold paper clips, coins

Amigos series: Horse -  Holds cell phone, notepads

Amigos series: Kangaroo

Amigos series: Pig - Actual piggy bank for coins

Playing series: The Team - Decorative only

Playing series: The Team (a different way to connect pieces)

Playing series: Dramatique - Decorative only

From the Garden series: Leaf - Cell phone, keys

From the Garden series: Grassball - Decorative only

Origami series: Boats - Holds pens and pencils

Basic series: Waste paper basket

Basic series: iPad holder

Frankly, I'm a little smitten with the horse, the kangaroo and the entire Basic line. And I'm hopelessly in love with the leaf. How about you? See anything you'd buy?

Monday, October 29, 2012

George C. Mulhauser, Jr.

George C. Mulhauser, Jr.
George Mulhauser (1922-2002) received an industrial design degree from Pratt Institute in 1953. His career began as a staff designer for the George Nelson Studio designing furniture for Herman Miller. He contributed to the development of Herman Miller’s steel frame cases, and in 1955 his first commercial attempt at chair design resulted in the Coconut chair, which is usually attributed to George Nelson.

Later in the 1950s Mulhauser developed molded fiberglass chairs for Paul McCobb and contributed to the design of an office desk system for Stendig. He also taught furniture design at Pratt and 3-D design at the Newark School of Fine & Industrial Arts.

In 1955 he moved his family to the suburbs of New York City and started working out of his home studio. Here he created the Mr. Chair, the first reclining lounge chair formed from a single sheet. It was manufactured by Plycraft in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Mr. Chair  was followed by a smaller armchair called the Jr. Mr. Chair. His MC 500 series for Directional was a group of chairs all produced from a single molded shell, and the Fancy Free line featured curlicue plywood moldings.

Later designs included cast urethane pieces made by Singer in Canada, the one-piece injection molded polypropylene Stack-Chair by Overman in Sweden, and the tubular steel Paper Clip chair for Design Institute of America.


Coconut chair

Fiberglass chairs for Paul McCobb

Mr. Chair

Plycraft lounge chairs

Kangaroo lounge chair

Plycraft rocker

Fancy Free chair

Pod chairs for Overman

We've sold several Plycraft chairs since we opened the store, but this is my favorite.

Plycraft chair, presumably by Mulhauser, that we sold at the store

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pine, Pickard and pretty impressive

An impromptu eBay search the other day resulted in my delving into the history of a china manufacturer I didn't know existed. I'm not sure I even know how to look up one thing on the computer anymore without branching off onto a different path altogether. One thing always leads to another...and another.

I hadn't planned to do any shopping, but the little voice in my head that sometimes gets me in trouble said, "You haven't looked for any Russel Wright pieces in a while." The little voice was right, so to eBay I went.  Once I was there, the little voice said, "Fostoria Pine." Never one to ignore a little voice, I entered f-o-s-t-o-r-i-a p-i-n-e into the search box. After all, I had to admit that after starting that glassware collection almost two years ago, I lost my momentum and allowed the so-called "collection" to languish at a pitiful three water goblets.

Then, while reading what a seller had to say about her Fostoria Pine, I ran across an interesting tidbit of trivia. She said that during the 1950s and 1960s, Fostoria manufactured several patterns to accompany Pickard china...and that Pine was designed to be used with Pickard Gossamer.

I learned that Pickard opened in Edgerton, Wisconsin, in 1893 but relocated to Chicago, Illinois, at the turn of the century. Shortly before World War II began, the company moved into a new facility in Antioch, Illinois. Soon thereafter, the company obtained a contract with the U. S. Navy. Eben Morgan, the company's president, believes that without the fuel granted for the government contract, Pickard's kilns would have been shut down and the business forced to close.

Over the years, Pickard has been commissioned to create custom china for the King of Saudi Arabia, the Hilton, Sheraton, and Marriott hotels, General Motors, the U.S. Air Force and the Queen of England, as well as producing china for the U. S. embassies throughout the world, the Presidential Bicentennial, for Air Force One, Camp David and for Blair House, the presidential guest house across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House where visiting foreign heads of state are hosted.

While I have no doubt that Fostoria Pine and Pickard Gossamer complemented each other beautifully, the china's platinum rim makes it a little more formal than I need, so I doubt that I will start a collection, but I am definitely inspired to renew my search for the glassware.

While looking at the Pickard website, I happened upon the work of Kelly Wearstler, and a trip to her website let me know that she creates much more than beautiful china. She very well may be the subject of one of my Fifty Years from Now posts soon, as she is creating some remarkable designs that I think will endure.

Pickard china is sold in stores such as Neiman Marcus/Horchow and in upscale boutiques.


Fostoria Pine - whatadish1

Pickard Gossamer

Dots by Kelly Wearstler, part of her casual collection

Marquetry by Kelly Wearstler, another of her casual designs

Mulholland by Kelly Wearstler, part of her formal collection

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A horse walks into a bar...

No, wait. This is no joking matter.

I want you to take a look at the latest addition to the store. Bar stools of any kind are a rare commodity for us, but bar stools this elegant are rare anywhere. They were manufactured by Dillingham out of solid walnut and chrome and are attributed to designer Martin Borenstein.

Would you have a long face if you were sitting on one of these beauties?

Barstools by Dillingham, attributed to Martin Borenstein

Wood and upholstery detail

More wood detail

Chrome detail

Top view

Friday, October 26, 2012

I remember that credenza!

Houzz recently featured a local couple's beautiful 1960s home, which they restored and decorated on a budget. I thought you'd enjoy seeing what a remarkable job they did (and see the credenza they bought from us as well). You'll be amazed by their ingenuity, their great finds and their exquisite taste.