Archive - Retro RSS Feed

The Mid-Century Moment

Looking through the catalog of an furniture company called FusionLiving, I came across this bookcase:

Libra Furniture Retro Bookcase

Look at those legs. Some of you might be too young to remember those legs, but for those of us who grew up in the 1960′s and 70′s those tapering legs, part Danish Modern, part George Jetson, were on almost everything from television sets to dining room tables.

I can’t say I’m a fan of that look, but apparently many of you are, because all of the style blogs are talking about a return of mid-century modern.

Here’s another example from the same company, Libra Furniture, this time a geometric-style retro wing chair.

Libra Furniture Retro Wing Chair

I know, it’s supposed to make me think of Mad Men, but it doesn’t. It makes me think of the furniture that used to be in my parents’ living room and how I was glad when my mom finally threw out that giant console combination hi-fi stereo and television that used to dominate one side of the room.

Fit for Royalty, Available to Those With the Money

In keeping with yesterday’s tufted furniture theme, may I present Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair and stool? Originally created to furnish his German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, these beautiful leather and chrome pieces are as gorgeous now as they were bakc in the day.

Apparently, Mies van der Rohe designed the chair to serve as seating for the king and queen of Spain, while the stool was intended to accommodate their attendants. But non-royals coveted them from the get go. The Barcelona chair and stool are still produced to Mies van der Rohe’s original specs, and can be found at Design Within Reach (though I wouldn’t say they’re within *my* reach at $4,523 for the basic chair, just the chair).

Want to know more? Check out Fifty Chairs that Changed the World by Design Museum, which takes a close look at some of the most influential chair design from the past and the present.

Chair LOVE

I think I’m in love. With a chair. Don’t tell my husband, okay? Vintage Thonet chairs become something new entirely when reupholstered in a bright blue fabric that’s been hand screen printed with a collection of California’s birds and blossoms. Sadly, these gorgeous chairs from En Route Studio will not be en route to my home any time soon. A set of four chairs costs $1,100, and as The Beard so sarcastically put it: “Cute! And they’re in our price range, too!”

A Steal at $19

Need a bitty rug for your house or apartment? You could definitely do worse than these 3′x5′ area rugs from Urban Outfitters – especially since they are lurking in the clearance section for a mere $19 each.

How about a woven cotton rug in a gingham stripe design with a playful fringe at either end?

Or, my favorite, a pretty sweet flower print low-profile cotton rug in a dreamy chartreuse?

Finally, for the mod squad out there, how about an eye-catching, free-form agate-inspired rug with tonal stitched edging? Also in cotton, in case you hadn’t guessed.

The only downside to these rugs is that the pattern is printed on, not woven in. But at $19 that’s not much to complain about, and a wee rug like this can easily live on in usefulness as an entryway rug or pet bed when you tire of the pattern.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Isn’t this retro Jones & Co wall clock to die for?

I believe it is the Jones & Co Boxy Clock, which as you might have guessed from the lovely reflections in the photo taken by a certain booyaa, is made from glass. I am in serious coveting mode right now!

NtB Loves: Al Bombo Barstools… But Does She Love the Knockoff?

The Al Bombo Barstool is one of the most recognizable designs to bear the Magis brand, and one of the most fun. Designed by Stefano Giovannoni, the real Al bombo is an all-aluminum seat swivel bar stool that weighs a mere 26.5 pounds but costs a whopping $1,400. The not-so-real Al Bombo is made of molded ABS thermoplastic coated with a full-gloss scratch-resistant enamel, weighs 13 pounds, comes in 15 bright, brilliant colors, and costs about $60.

pink bombo

Like the original (I believe) these go from table to bar/counter height and have a 360 degree swivel.

yellow bombo

They’re gas lift tested to operate at least 100,000 times. And a rubber ring lines the perimeter of the underside of the base to protect your floors from scratching.

blue bombo

The question, of course, is whether knock off furniture belongs in the realm of, say, knockoff designer bags and shoes. I’m going to guess that the human rights abuses associated with knockoff designer bags could conceivably be a problem in the land of knockoff furniture, since both likely come from parts of the world where the idea of a minimum wage is laughable. Thoughts?

This Ain’t Your Momma’s Beanbag (or Maybe It Is, Who Knows)

As I said in a once upon a time post, I think of beanbag chairs as being the purview of toddlers and teens. That said, I understand that there are some contemporaries of mine who’d like nothing more than to sink into the engulfing embrace of a beanbag chair at the end of a long, stressful day. But please, if you’re going to do it, at least do it right. Insofar as I can dig on a beanbag chair, I’m digging on the beanbag chairs sewn by a certain Lil Chrissy.

She uses vintage fabric from the 1970s to craft her creations – unless, that is you’d prefer that she sew you up a beanbag chair (or floor cushion or wind break) using fabric that you already have in your possession. As she puts it, perhaps you have the fabric, but not the skills to use it.

Actually I sort of like the second example, possibly because it seems structured? Like it could hold its own against other pieces of furniture around my house. More like a beanbag ottman than a beanbag chair. Less lumpy and frumpy, and not at all as squishy, surely, but certainly more stylish.

Terminology Time: Knole Sofas

Like many people, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the specifics of furniture. I see something, I like it, I can’t afford it, so I write about it here. The end. But a little education can go a long way when one is at the designing stage of outfitting one’s home (which is when one needs knowledge and imagination more than money). With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to go against the grain and spend at least some time thinking about the specifics of furniture. And writing about, since that’s what I do!


(via)

First on the list: The classic Knole sofa (or Knole settee). When I say classic, I mean Jurassic because you don’t see many new Knole sofas in furniture shops. First made in the 17th Century, with the original having been produced sometime between 1610 and 1620 for the Knole House in Kent, it was not intended to be a comfortable seat for one and all, but rather as a formal throne upon which royalty would have sat while receiving visitors.


(via)

The main defining features of the Knole sofa are the adjustable side arms that rise as high as the back, deep seating, and the carved finials in the rear corners. Those are what make the Knole sofa’s side arms adjustable, actually, for the side arms are tied to the back of the sofa with decorative braided fabric, as shown below. It’s quite distinctive, but also quite old fashioned, so I’m not surprised that the Knole sofa is slowly going the way of the dinosaurs.


(via)

Ikea Kids – Then and Now

Ikea has been around for a pretty long time, and they’ve been making cool stuff for kids and babies since the 60s. I came across pics of an old Ikea high chair and kid’s table and chair set. Here’s how they compare to their modern counterparts.

The Dino high chair designed by Charlotte Rude and Hjordis Ohlsson-Une was sold in 1969. With its wide base and lack of tray, it was designed to pull right up to the dining room table, much like the Stokke high chair (we have one and loooove it). The ANTILOP high chair is one of today’s Ikea high chair offerings – that and the SPOLING – and, I believe, is meant to be used with the optional tray. Karin Morbing designed the gorgeous red table set in 1963, and I think it’s a hell of a lot nicer than the modern LÄTT set, and not only because the 1963 version was made of solid wood!

(Images via: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Cool Crafting, No Hot Glue In Sight

I was all set to post about a cute little crafting project that lets you make a ‘please remove your shoes’ sign because, hey, no one wants beach sand or road sand tracked all over their floors. But as I was poking around the Intertubes wondering what else I could include to flesh things out a little, I happened upon a much radder DIY project that is as cool as the other was country-ish.

DIY pacman chair

I won’t say this is an easy DIY Pacman couch project — think woodworking and upholstery shaping, not Mod Podge and a couple of minutes with a cordless drill. But for those with the time, energy, space, and materials money to give it a go, I say try it! Then (whether or not you’re successful) send me a link so I can feature it here, of course.

Page 1 of 212»