Apr 24

Handmade. Unique. Priceless.

Posted In Clothing, Decorating, Green Design, Old to New, Recycle/Reuse, Shopping, Uncategorized

There is something extra special about stuff that is hand made by artists, especially those that use and reuse old fabrics, textiles and furniture.  If it is stitched, embroidered, patched, quilted, or hand painted, so much the better! The final effect is new, unique and inspiringly fresh, oozing personality and soul.

I recently discovered (and fell in love with) these puffy blue pillows at  JUXTAPOSITION in Newport Coast. I first thought they were made of old blue jeans, but upon touch, could tell the fabric was much much softer and very fine. When I saw the price, I knew they must be something special indeed. (around $480 each)

They are made of “Boro”… vintage hemp and cotton fabric woven by Japanese farmers to make their everyday clothing in the early 1900′s.  Washed, worn and eventually torn, bits and pieces of  this fabric are now very rare… and valuable.  You can see more examples, read about it and even buy from this ebay dealer here…

Anthropologie does a great job of ferreting out the unique, especially considering they are a large corporation. MOST of their furniture is so distinct, especially that with hand stitched, quilted and patched together fabrics. These gorgeous pieces might not be one of a kind, but they are distinct and not something normally seen in other furniture shops.

I first saw this chair made of vintage denim bits and pieces right after seeing the Boro pillows at Juxtaposition, so they immediately caught my eye.  Such a casual, cool, and rough look for this a formal chair.  LOVE.

Beautiful fabric collages were everywhere… Anthropologie IS known for this sort of look.  How about this ottoman?

AND… sofa:

Mathilde Sofa, Dots

Anthropologie is currently showcasing the upholstery work of Serbian artist Draga Obradovic… unique, one-of-a-kind pieces created when she reupholsters vintage frames in coated-cotton canvas fabric that has been layered with rich pigment ,then screenprinted and hand-distressed.  The final product has a durable, leather-like finish. This is my favorite… I’ve always been a big fan of polka dots.

Prestino Sofa

Another example of Obradovic’s one of a kind, repurposed vintage pieces.

Partial Eclipse Armchair

I’m drooling now… time for some more upholstery classes!  What has caught your eye recently… anything unique or handmade?  Please share!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 17

Pillow Fight!!

Posted In Decorating, Move-in's, Old to New, Redesign, Shopping, Styling, Uncategorized

Are you a pillow lover, or a pillow fighter?  It seems like every household has someone who makes a stand against throw pillows on the furniture… someone who proclaims to not like them, not want them, and will not even consider the potential beauty they provide.  Reasons abound, but pillow fighters mostly think these soft poofs serve no purpose whatsoever and are always in the way, making it impossible to sit or lie down easily.

Really?! I guess it can be time-consuming to swipe pillows onto the floor before retiring to bed at night (approx 15 seconds) and especially to place them back on said bed the next morning. (close to 30 seconds) Worse yet, is the necessary adjusting, fluffing, moving or tossing of pillows when lounging on the sofa, (takes 10-20 seconds) and then putting them back when the movie is over. (40 seconds, start to finish)

Hmmm… too much work??  Absolutely not!  Worth it?  YES!  Adding pillows is, by far, the easiest and cheapest way to brighten up and accessorize a space.  Just imagine what all of these rooms would look like without their pillows.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes…  BLAAAAH would be the word to describe these spaces if pillow-less.

Always opt to finish off your rooms with a few throw pillows.  It’s easy.  BOOM… toss them in and you’ve got instant personality, color and fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 10

Furniture Redo

Posted In Budget, Decorating, flea market, Old to New, Styling, Uncategorized

My friend Lisa is fearless.  She’s also artistic, creative and SO SO brave with power tools, paintbrushes, electricity and pipes, not to mention sewing machines and knitting needles. You name it, she does it. Imagine… she once tore her bathroom apart… completely… plumbing, electrical and all AND then redid it when her husband was away on a business trip.

Compared to that epic redo her latest project is extremely simple, but I am still impressed at the BIG difference fresh paint made on her decades old hutch. Here’s an email she sent me this last week about a simple paint project she took on… again, hubby was away, so Lisa played….

“I had nothing to do last week so I painted the hutch in my foyer. I’ve been wanting to add some turquoise to my color scheme and decided to be bold and paint this hutch. It was painted flat black….”
“So, I painted it with a flat paint too… a super bright shade of turquoise.  This selection was brighter than I would normally choose because I knew I’d be sealing it with a combination of clear and brown wax for a European finish.   This picture (below) shows you the process.  The item on the left was only painted with the very intense turquoise color…  it looks and feels like flat paint.  The  bottom part on the right is in the process of being antiqued, where I’m applying and rubbing off alternate coats of clear and dark wax until I get the dirty look in the place I want it.  Then I buffed the heck out of it. 
“Here is the final product.  It looks like it came out of a kitchen in a french farmhouse and has years of dirt on it…I didn’t want a fussy or a perfect look.  I LOVE how it looks with the milkglass, but now the chairs I kept on either side need to be recovered. (another project!) Yeah..you should see it in person..much more beautiful..took 3 days of hard work to get that finish just right.”

Beautiful!!
Meanwhile, now I’m super motivated, so I’ve decided to paint some some rusty white garden furniture that my neighbor just gave to me.  Here’s what it looks like after a little bit of sanding and priming.
I’m gonna spray paint them with standard black Rustoleum paint.  Glossy.  Will keep you posted, but give me a while because I’ll be reupholstering the chairs too!
I admit that I’m not as skilled or brave as Lisa when it comes to refinishing furniture… she really could be a pro. But, I’m not afraid to try a few simple projects.  Do you have any tips on how I should be doing this? Please share….!
BY THE WAY…. Lisa is the talent that designed the artwork and graphics for this website and my newest, latest, greatest business cards.  Is there anything that this woman can’t do, and do extraordinarily well???

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