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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Celebrating Wirkkala's centennial

Tapio Wirkkala was born in Hanko, Finland, in 1915. (He was born in June, but Iittala is already celebrating, and who am I to quibble with Iittala?) He designed everything from glass products to banknotes, knives, jewelry, furniture, and graphic arts, winning a number of awards during his career, including three gold medals at the Milan Triennale in 1951, followed by another three in 1954. He was also director of the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki for many years.

As Wirkkala is one of my favorite designers, I have written several posts about him over the years.

Icy goodness
Works in wood
Tapio Wirkkala jewelry
Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal

Celebrate the hundredth-year anniversary of his birth and treat yourself to one of his extraordinary designs. I just bought a little Wirkkala leaf bowl by Rosenthal like this to hold my rings at night, and I have my eye on a Pearl Drops vase and a beautiful Full Moon pendant.

From - moderndesign20

Sunday, April 26, 2015

New house: Let the transformation begin!

Furniture is ordered and should be here in six weeks or so. A decision has been made about new countertop to replace the gold and black "flipper's choice" granite, and someone will be out this week to measure. After looking at countless paint chips and putting swatches on the walls, a color has finally been selected, and a painter has been chosen after taking numerous bids. It will be a few weeks before she can start the job, so rather than just sit around waiting, we decided to start replacing light fixtures, since the ceilings don't need new paint.

First up were the simple, flat ones that we want to fade away into inconspicuousness...a couple in the kitchen, one in the entry, and one in the hall. (We had considered something a little fancier in the entry, but we decided that we didn't want it to compete with the dining room fixture.)

The sputnik went up today in the dining room, and the transformation was amazing. Here's the "before" fixture:

And here's what the dining room looks like now, sans gold leaves and teardrop. Picture it with white beams and white walls à la the swatch underneath the windows...and furniture.

This is the 35" sputnik I told you about in an earlier post that sells for less than $200 at Lowe's. As it comes out of the box, it combines the familiar mid-century style with trendier Edison bulbs, which will look good with my daughter's color palette of dark blues and golden yellow. Of course, the bulbs can be changed if they decide on a more traditional sputnik look. If you want a lot of bang for your buck, you can't go wrong with this fixture.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

High Point Market

My SIL is in High Point, North Carolina, to attend the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world.

The High Point Market attracts more than 75,000 buyers every April and October. They come from all over the world to view new products offered by over 2000 exhibitors. The exhibit covers 11.5 million square feet of showspace in 180 buildings.

The show started in 1909 as the Southern Furniture Market and changed names in 1989. Two of the main buildings are the Showplace building and the International Home Furnishings Center.


International Home Furnishings Center

Mid-century aficionados recognize North Carolina as home to such companies as Thayer Coggin and Kent-Coffey.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Olioboard: Mint and coral

One of the ways I pass my time these days is playing around on the Olioboard site, creating mood boards...both for planning rooms in our home or just for fun.

Olioboard currently has a mint green and coral design challenge going on, and here are my submissions. If you'd like to cast a vote for one (or both) of them, you can find them under the Latest Entries tab, or just click on the images below.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New house: First things first

When we found our house, there were a number of details we were willing to overlook. The owners had bought the house to flip, and they had chosen very "mainstream" materials for the re-do, as they had a legitimate reason to do. They obviously didn't want to limit their potential buyers to hardcore mid-century lovers, so they took the more traditional route in preparing the 1964 beauty for sale.

Granite countertops. Check. Ornate light fixtures and fans. Check. Tan walls with white trim. Check. They were particularly proud of the ceiling fan in the living room, which they called their "wow factor." We were only wowed by the fact that it has the smallest fan blades on the planet and puts out no air, despite its dual design.

For those of you who aren't from Texas, believe me when I say ceiling fans are necessary, but it's possible for them to be less obtrusive. The curly metal and baby blades will be replaced with this simple fan:

Roto ceiling fan by Minka Aire

Also being replaced are the ubiquitous builders' grade "booby lights," both the flush mount and its slightly fancier semi-flush sister.

They will be replaced by these fixtures.

Golden Lighting Multi-Family flush mount fixture

Philips Discus semi-flush fixture

This is the fixture over the kitchen island.

It will be replaced by two (or maybe three) of these:

Bromi Design Camden pendant

Last, but by no means least, is the dining room fixture, which we're hoping someone buys the minute we put it on Craigslist. I'm sure it will be lovely in someone else's home...but not in ours.

It will be replaced with this Sputnik style chandelier.

Style Selections 18-light  brushed nickel chandelier

The interior walls and beams will be painted a gloriously creamy coat of Benjamin Moore White Dove, which we finally selected after agonizing over more white paint chips than we ever knew existed and multiple swaths of actual paint blotching those perfectly blah tan walls.

It's one of the most popular of the Benjamin Moore whites, described as a soft white with just a hint of yellow, which I hope will look just right with our creamy white brick walls of the sun room and the atrium. As soon as the walls and beams are white, the new light fixtures will go up.

After that, we'll start looking for something to replace the granite countertops...but that's another post.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New house: Living room planning

Plans for the living room and dining room are coming along nicely. My daughter and SIL are ready to start ordering furniture, fixtures, rugs and accessories. Fun, fun!

Sputnik light from Lowes, West Elm dining table, vintage Cathrineholm bowl, Joybird dining chair,
vintage Laurel arc lamp by Harvey Guzzini, Ligne Roset coat rack, Joybird sectional sofa,
West Elm pillows, vintage Paul McCobb coffee tables, Crate and Barrel vase,
vintage Bitossi vase, Joybird chairs, West Elm rug, ponytail palm

The arc lamp is a keep-your-fingers-crossed piece. We sold one exactly like it at the store several years ago, and we're hoping to luck into another one at a good price. Till then, there will probably be a chrome one as a place-holder.

Here are the pillows that pulled the whole look together:

West Elm Crewel Modern Stripes Pillow Cover
in Pale Harbor

West Elm Modern Blocks Pillow Cover
in Pale Harbor

Thursday, April 2, 2015

House-buying saga: Done deal

After an arduous house search, we found the perfect house for us, which proves that things really do have a way of working out the way they should. We had a couple of disappointments, but now we're actually glad the other deals fell through, because this is a much nicer house in a much better location for us. 

Since our house had sold very quickly, we were afraid we'd have to rent an apartment for a while, but the owners of the new house graciously agreed to lease it to us till we closed...which was yesterday. We've been stalled for a while, unable to start making the interior our own, but we can finally begin decorating...getting rid of all the "house flip decor" by painting the interior, changing out all the light fixtures, and generally returning it to something more akin to its mid-century roots. Of course, I'll post pictures when we're done, but here are a few photos of the exterior from the real estate listing:

For now, let me say the house has everything we wanted and more than we ever hoped for...built in 1964, a great exterior, tons of glass, beamed ceilings, gorgeous interior shutters (like we had in the house my parents built in 1957), an atrium, a sunroom, literally walls of storage and built-ins, and a huge back yard with lots of room for the boys to play and for us to build Nest II (already working on the plans). With a little tweaking, we'll have it exactly right. And, of course, we're in love with the landscaping (although the small tree in front of those beautiful ceiling-to-floor windows may have to go)! The first two photos of the yard were taken last October, and it should be looking like this again in a matter of weeks. I'm beyond thrilled!!!