Before and After: From Smelly To Stylin’

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At the end of last year I sold some danish modern chairs, with a fair amount of post-sale regret. While I didn’t actually do the re-upholstery work, I had the vision of turning them from nothing into something awesome, and really loved the way they turned out. So shortly after I sold them I found another chair to transform and fill the void. It was on eBay and in Florida (could it be any further away?) yet it had potential and seemed in pretty good shape, so I bid on it. And won it. And had it shipped to San Francisco via Greyhound Bus. My plan was to live with it for awhile (the existing upholstery wasn’t too terrible) while I hunted for the perfect fabric.

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However, when I headed down to the bus station to pick it up on a Friday afternoon during rush hour (which I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy by the way), and unpacked it, I realized it reeked of smoke. Hoping it was just “bus fumes”, I let it air out in the empty apartment next door for a few days. But no such luck: this was smoker’s smoke.

To make a long story short, my plan of living with it for a while went out the window, and my “winter project” became someone else’s winter project. I took it to Klassik Living in Berkeley, where they stripped, sanded, stained, repaired, re-stuffed and re-upholstered the chair. It may have been overkill as it really wasn’t in bad shape, but I wanted no trace of that smoke in my apartment! And I splurged on some Norbar fabric to top it off. Because after all that work, this one was going to be a keeper……at least until I got the itch again.

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Chairished

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I’ve been thinking a lot about re-doing my apartment lately. For the past year I’ve been looking for a coffee table, which in turn has made me re-think the sofa (in addition to my home office, which has extended into my living room). So in order to streamline I’ve decided to sell a few things.

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A bunch of the blogs I follow have been promoting a new furniture re-sale service called Chairish, so I decided to give it a try. The last few times I listed with Craigs List I got lots of spam and shady replies. And I have no desire to figure out shipping via eBay. So Chairish just seemed like a good option as they handle shipping arrangements and payment for a small % of the sale.

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One of the first items I listed was this pair of danish modern chairs—which sold 14 days later. (Ironically, the buyers are local so shipping wasn’t even an issue). Done and done.

And now I’m on a roll: I have a bunch of items listed for sale on Chairish (links below). In fact I’m rethinking the whole apartment! So if you’re looking for something new (or old), take a look. Maybe one of these old treasures can become yours.

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Pair of Kofod Larsen Ottomans

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Danish Modern Cocktail Table

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Original Oil Painting

Kofod Larsen + Robert le Heros

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A few flea markets ago I picked up this pair of danish-modern Kofod Larsen ottomans for a steal. I have a few vintage chairs I wanted to pair them with, but have yet to recover the cushions. While the current fabric isn’t horrible, it’s not really my style: doesn’t go with the apartment and is too manly.

So I’ve been researching fabrics and am in love with these Robert de hero textiles I’ve seen over at Lotus Bleu (a home decor and interior design shop in Hayes Valley). They’ve used this fabric to recover danish-modern furniture as well, and I think the look goes together perfectly. I had called Lotus Bleu to ask about remnants, since the cushions have such a small surface area, and they recommended a program at the SF Design Center called Access Door. It’s a program where you can source trade fabrics without working with a designer. I have yet to look into that, but be assured it’s on the To Do list.

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(Furniture images property of Lotus Bleu)

Ode To The Egg

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OK, not your typical DIY hand-dyed Easter egg post I guess, but egg-related nonetheless. So, I popped into a furniture consignment shop on my way to the gym yesterday, and saw this huge sea of red in the back: packed with at least a dozen of these iconic Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs. The reason for the bright red? They’re all from the Virgin Airlines terminal. Kinda fun. And kinda like winning the ultimate egg-hunt.

Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs

The Painted Ladies

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{Photo courtesy of Charity D’Amato}

Mid-century portrait paintings are a current obsession. When I see one, “52 Girls” by the B-52’s runs through my head as I mentally assign retro names to each lady (“Hazel and Mavis…..Wanda and Janet and Ronnie and Reba-o-o-o….”), which I’ve also done below. There’s something about them that’s so charming—beyond the period garb. I’ve often wondered if the paint pigment was even slightly different back in the day. Whatever the case, the colors, the poses, the hair and clothing are all very unique to the 50’s and 60’s. And when grouped together, as in the photo above, they not only make a great conversation piece, they look like they’re having one. (Check out this home tour for more lady decor.) Below are some current faves I’ve come across in person and around the web.

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At top, “Joan” from Old New House on Etsy / Bottom left, “Susie”, found at Alameda Point Antiques Faire / Bottom right, “Mabel”, currently at Stuff in San Francisco

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Top left, “Louise”, currently at Stuff in San Francisco / Top right, “Madge”, found at Alameda Point Antiques Faire / Bottom left, “Betty”, Etsy source unknown / Bottom right, “Tina” from Antique Art Garden, Etsy / Below, “Effie” at Mighty Finds, Etsy

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Currently Collecting

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Vintage planters. I started picking them up decades ago, but they didn’t become a “collection” until recently. A mixture of flea market, eBay and hand-me-downs, these planters and vases are scattered throughout my apartment. I love how they mix in easily with contemporary vases I’ve bought from Anthropologie and discount stores like Ross. And they come in handy: I use some of them to organize things like make-up brushes, markers, and dish soap. And others have become my go-to dishes for serving chips, candy and crackers. And when they’re not “working” they’re just looking pretty sitting up on my shelves.

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Paint-by-Number Pillows

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My friend, and fellow freelance designer, Perry owns this great little home store in Oakland called Lot 49. While a large number of pieces are vintage/mid-century, he also creates items for the store, including artwork and these awesome pillows. Original paint-by-numbers were scanned, enlarged and then printed on fabric, which were then cut down and stitched into pillow covers. Perry worked with a local company but another good source would be Spoonflower. I think they’re totally cool, and such an original way to add a retro vibe to your home. Check ’em out for yourself during First Fridays Temescal happening this (and every first) Friday.

All images courtesy of Perry Lucina.

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