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Furniture | Manolo for the Home - Part 10
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High Style With a Mistaken Identity

A bench of mine recently called it quits, committing furniture suicide by casting off one of its own legs. Once upon a time, I purchased that bench to match a writing desk given to me as a present when I published my first book. I wanted not just somewhere to sit, but a piece that would match the desk itself, which had brilliantly curved legs and a dark cherry finish. In looking for that perfect match, I discovered that my writing desk had been crafted in the Queen Anne style. Naturally this inspired me to want to find out more.

The cabriole leg is one of the most recognizable features of the Queen Anne style of furniture, but it’s not the only defining element. Queen Anne furniture is often marked by a carved cockle shell or fan motif that appears on the front of a chest or on the curve of an iconic Queen Anne leg. Frequently found in the dining room on tables and lowboys, the Queen Anne style of leg can also be found on dressing tables, writing desks, and benches.


I tend to think of Queen Anne furniture as being delicate, but that delicacy is oftentimes an optical illusion caused by the curvature of the legs or the scalloped edging on a sturdier piece. That’s not the only thing just a tiny bit strange about Queen Anne furniture, however, as I discovered in an article at Osborne Wood.

Who would have thought that a mistake in identifying the proper origin of a single table leg would result in arguably the best known furniture style of the world today–the Queen Anne? You see, it was really the Chinese who inspired the cabriole legs and the Devonshire legs. Although mistakenly attributed to England’s Queen Anne period, the nomenclature remains today. Carefully researching the history of the ‘Queen Anne cabriole legs’, we find that it most resembles the William and Mary styling of the late 1800’s. Thanks go in great part to William Thackeray’s novel The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne. Thackeray eluded to the Queen Anne style of architecture, but failed to give many particulars. So, readers and craftsmen devised their individual interpretations and labeled these different styles ‘Queen Anne’. Thus was born the many variations of the Queen Anne styling appearing today. Although quite a misnomer, the Queen Anne leg has certainly taken its place in the world of beauty and design, even if it does have a bit of an identity crisis.

Learning about one’s furniture is fascinating, no?

NtB Loves: Thinking Pink, Again

Pink goes from being cool to not being cool anymore with surprising rapidity, which means sometimes my tastes are cool and sometimes they’re decidedly uncool. For I, like many people, like pink. You’ll never catch me wearing it (heaven forbid!) but I do like to surround myself with touches of pink. And for a while I even had bright pink hair, so you know I must truly adore it. Every so often I go looking for more pink in my life, and now is one of those times.

Here’s just some of the pink stuff from Graham and Green that I’m digging on right now:

pink lamp

This pink mercury table light with its matching pink shade would pop in almost any room, but looks especially stunning when displayed amid lots of black and white or, as shown here, mirrors.

pink hot water bottle cover

Cute as a button, a pink and white lambs wool hot water bottle cover hides the actual hot water bottle. Which is nice, since they tend to look rather nasty and medical.

pink dresser

This pink dresser would be great in a girl’s room… or a grownup girl’s room. But somehow even though The Beard is quite oblivious when it comes to most of my decorative choices, I don’t think I could slip this past him. Nuts.

pink chair

I love this antique-style rattan back chair with its luxurious pink cotton velvet upholstered seat. Tell people it’s vintage and that you reupholstered it yourself. Who’s going to argue?

pink bedside table

Finally, there’s a mother of pearl inlay bedside table with clear crystal glass drawer knobs. Handcrafted in India. Unique with a flaw or two, as a result. Very cool, I think, since pink paired with that style of workmanship is surprising.

NtB Loves: Dressing Tables

Dressing tables. Vanities. Call them what you will, but I love them. You can put all your makeup or perfumes or kid gloves or gold watch on the dresser, but that looks messy and cluttered. Dressing tables give you a place to put the detritus of your day-to-day life.


Normally I’m not a huge fan of furniture made almost entirely from mirrors, but I’ll make an exception. Hard to keep fingerprint free? Sure. But with a Barcelona-style dressing table like this, every inch of one’s face will be visible. The luggage rack style seat is all right, but I’d pair it with an Alchemia Polycarbonate Chair.

dressing table 1

For the lover of all things modern or perhaps even for the man… this simple, angular dressing table in subtle black can either fade into the background or pop depending on the makeup of the rest of your room. As for the stool? Ho hum. Looks more like a footstool to me.

dressing table 5

You knew there’d be a clear chair in here somewhere! It pairs perfectly with the Orient Express dressing table that’s made to look like so much vintage luggage. My only beef is the bare wood that is revealed when the mirror is aloft. Kind of eh.

dressing table 3

The Kay + Stemmer rose dressing table is dripping with mid-century modern style. I like the wave and the thin tapering legs, though I wonder how well one could integrate it into a decor scheme that wasn’t primarily mcm.

dressing table 4

Basic and pretty, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional plain white dressing table. A little boring maybe, but easy to integrate into a wide variety of decor styles. Great for a girl’s room or a guest bathroom. I don’t love it quite as much as the others, but it will get the job done.


We’re already in the habit of throwing old quilts over the furniture to protect everything from cat hair, so is it any surprise I’m digging on patchwork furniture? I swear I run the vacuum and the Roomba daily, but our cats are like tarantulas, defensively ejecting their hair everywhere. I’m not sure what it accomplishes, but it sure seems to satisfy them. So, quilts. I’m thinking patchwork couches and chairs would save us a step (though not the need to vacuum hourly).

patchwork furniture

Want to be all patchy-patchy? Try Squint Limited, makers of all things rocking the patchwork look. This isn’t your grandma’s patchwork, however. It’s bright and bold and fun and not at all dowdy.

patchwork couch 2

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with grandma’s couch or something like it. A patchwork daybed, perhaps — easy to do with nothing more than a throw!

patchwork chair

Depending on how DIY proficient you are, you could try your hand at a patchwork reupholster project. Find a sturdy free chair, and you’ve got yourself something sweet on the cheap.

patchwork couch

Big patchwork squares are balanced with little patchwork squares from Bazaar Style: Decorating With Market and Vintage Finds by Selina Lake (a very fun book, if I may say so).

patchwork furniture 2

A traditionally-shaped couch gets a new look with beautiful patchwork fabrics in the home of Mark Homewood, a buyer for interiors and textile company Designers Guild. I love how it’s set in an otherwise modern living area. (via)

Daybeds: Five Ways

The humble daybed was my dream bed as a girl, which is why I’d like my daughter’s first big-girl bed to be a daybed. I’m sure she’ll despise it because the grass is always greener, meaning she’ll dream of a lovely wooden platform bed or a sleigh bed or perhaps even a round hanging bed if she peruses the Manolo for the Home archives. A daybed can be thought of as a cross between chaise lounge, couch, and a bed, and may come with a trundle bed that stows away underneath so two can find a night’s rest.

I still love them, I’ll readily admit, which is why I went looking for pictorial daybed inspiration. Here are five daybeds done five ways…

For the sunroom, where guests can sit on it year round or sleep on it in the summertime:

daybed 4

For the home office, where one can lounge between frantic sessions of productivity:

daybed 5

For the living room, where it doubles as the couch:

daybed 6

For kids’ rooms, whether it is a seating space or a bed for sleepovers or both:


For a cozy, out-of-the-way guest bedroom (otherwise known as the room your dog thinks of as his own):

daybed 2

Dear Ikea,

I’ll take one of these:

melltorp table ikea

And four of these:

urban chair ikea

And while you’re at it, I may as well have you send me one of these:

spoling high chair

Never teh Bride (who is redoing her kitchen)

Why Don’t We Take This Outside

Walk around any town with more than a few triple-decker apartments long enough and you’re bound to see at least one or two faded armchairs or loveseats that have obviously been exposed to their fair share of rain, sun, and, here in Massachusetts’ North Shore, snow.

outdoor couch

I personally have always maintained that there is indoor furniture and outdoor furniture, and never should they meet. No plastic chairs in the living room and no couches on the deck, in other words. Not everyone shares my opinion, however. Just out of curiosity, I thought I’d post a poll to find out just how many people do or don’t. Have at it, please:

Do note that so far as I can tell, this pretty upholstered plum settee from The Quill Pen was only let out of doors for a few moments for a unique furniture photo shoot. Otherwise it dwells inside where it is protected from the elements awaiting its forever home. If you’re interested, the price is listed at $850.

Shelving It

The Beard and I are starting to think seriously about home renovations, which is a good thing when you consider that I have an office and he doesn’t, and the entire upstairs of our house is basically unfinished. We think, though we’re not entirely sure, that we’ve figured out a way to turn the upstairs floor (which is currently divided into two fairly large rooms) into two small offices and one big master bedroom. That would leave us with two children’s bedrooms on the first floor and a basement that said children can eventually destroy, thus saving my living room from wear and tear.

This change, if it’s even possible, is quite a ways off, which is fine since we’re still, nearly eight months later, getting used to managing the day-to-day responsibilities of being parents, homeowners, employees, and well-rounded grownup people. Oh, and Horde warriors, but that’s another tale for another day.

Back to those small offices. I’m not sure what The Beard will do with his other than fill it with expensive audio equipment and an ankle deep pile of papers, but I plan to actually work in mine since that’s what I do in my current, rather more expansive home office. Moving upstairs will mean some things have to go — like my freestanding bookshelves, for example. So what to do, what to do…

There’s this:

storyteller shelves

Isabel Quiroga’s Storyteller Shelves could be a fun DIY project resulting in some truly deep shelves. And cheap, too, if I have the patience to scour the classifieds for legged coffee tables that are just about the same width. Plus a similarly-sized desk. Overall, I love the look (not to mention the color!), and it’s something I’d consider if it happened that the Craiglist freebies board became inundated with shorty tables.


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