Quiet moments around the house: plants, and my seashell collection from Miami. I just love that the little cactus has a new baby leaf.
I was interviewed about my personal style for a Japanese fashion magazine this week – favorite pieces, designers, places to shop, etc. – and most of my answers lead back to one place, the thrift shop. I’ve decided it would be fitting to add Thrift Shop Finds as a regular post, since Dylan and I are always popping into whatever little junk shop we’re near to see what trinkets we can bring home with us. These finds are from Vintage Thrift on 3rd Ave & 22nd St. It’s far more curated than say, the Salvation Army, but still has rather inexpensive prices. The shop also feels old, dark, and comfortable, unlike many vintage or resale shops. It’s like searching through you’re Grandma’s house; there’s a rack of beautiful vintage gowns, but also piles of old bric-a-brac you may or may not need. Among the bric-a-brac, I found this tulip-printed vase and tiled dish that are now brightening up one end of my sewing table. So many tulips, Spring is really here!
We’re certainly careful with our purchases (as Grace always says, only buy things you love) which makes the furnishing and decorating process frustratingly slow. But, after months of collecting things we like, the bedroom is finally starting to perk up. We found the leather shag rug at the Chelsea Antique Market and picked up the black sideboards at the Meeker Avenue Flea Market.
The little vase is my favorite recent purchase. It’s a beautiful piece from the ’60s illustrated by Danish artist and designer Bjørn Wiinblad. I’m also so happy to finally have art framed and hung! The drawing on the left is by Aidan Koch and the little bow tie man is a screen print by my friend Rachel Levit. I love Rachel’s work so much. You can see more of it on her blog, and she has a handful of pieces for sale in her Etsy shop. I also have this 2-layer screen print she did that I can’t wait to hang!
Now, onto the iffier parts of the room. Our bedroom (and entire apartment) came with a no-closet handicap we have to work with. Dylan installed clothing racks using basic wood planks, brackets, and pipes from the hardware store.
I’m generally happy with how it turned out, although the room is basically a windowless walk-in closet, and it’s still a little bleak in there. We need a nicer lamp, more art on the walls, more trinkets, perhaps a fun quilt…the search for things we love continues.
Obligatory cheesy photo in front of the hotel that was the doorman’s idea, not ours, I swear. It turned out pretty good though.
We flew to Miami two weeks ago for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We were working with Evian, a sponsor of the festival, on a different sort of social media – live, illustrated tweeting. You can see all the drawings I did here. Aside from all the work (drawing in the moment like that was incredibly stressful) and the events (met Martha Stewart, NBD), it was really nice get away from New York for a while.
The tasting tents had hundreds of booths from different restaurants and chefs, all giving away food and drinks. I had as many of those crab claws as I could. Also, the Evian cube in my favorite color pink, and Dylan photographing a drawing.
The beach was beautiful and felt much different from what we’re used to in California. The shells were prettier and the water was warmer, clearer, and without waves.
We went to a Cuban diner called David’s Cafe for breakfast every day. It was an old place with a bar and just a few tables, and really relaxed and refreshing compared to the body-building Bently-driving hpnotiq-drinking lifestyle that seemed to be South Beach.
South Beach was dotted with colorful buildings: sea green, salmon, pale yellow. There were so many art deco buildings and wonderful, old typographic signs. I found this great blog post with tons more photos of the typography in the neighborhood.
That’s it! Excuse all the light leaks, they can be bothersome. Dylan just needs a new camera, his has been through a lot.
Last September, I was minding my business in San Diego, doing San Diego things with my San Diego friends, when I received a text message from Leah. She sent me a picture, of what was essentially trash in the rain on a curb, along with the text, “You like these kinds of chairs right?” Intermingled with 4 black trash bags, I could make out some pieces of wood sticking out that resembled some kind of Danish-mod lounge chair. Turns out, there was a chair and a matching two seater bench abandoned on the curb.
Leah texted back “they’re pretty broken…” but I didn’t care, I insisted that she drag them home four blocks back to her old apartment in Williamsburg. She kept them for a month and then she moved them to our new place where they sat, broken in the living room, until I finally made the move to New York in mid-November.
“I’ll just fix them,” I fantasized, “I’ll just read some web tutorials and clean them up and then Leah can sew the cushions and we’ll have a lovely living room set for nearly free!”
Yeah, right. When I finally laid eyes on these things I realized what I had gotten myself into. These chairs were rotten and broken beyond anything I could ever dream of repairing.
So, in the next few weeks, I set out on foot searching for an antique furniture repair shop in my new neighborhood. Finally, I met Abraham and Al at Family Fine Furniture in Maspeth, Queens (a surprisingly short walk from where we live in Bushwick). And voilà…
Pretty nice right?
Leah and I picked out the perfect linen fabric at Leah’s favorite fabric shop, Belraf Fabrics, in the Lower East Side. The man who works there is the nicest guy and he has some really interesting fabrics. I think we made the right decision, I love the geometric pattern.
The chairs have no tags or marks, but as soon as I saw them I could tell they must be American-made, probably from the mid ’60s. I did some research and figured out they were designed by Theodore Baumritter and produced in the ’60s for Baumritter’s “Viko” line of furniture. Fun fact: Baumritter Furniture Co. later became Ethan Allen. Of course this is all uncited internet research so if anyone has the scoop on these chairs, please share.
Sure, my fantasy of nearly free midcentury chairs for the living room didn’t quite pan out. In reality, we spent some hard-earned cash on these pretty things. But I feel good about it, I feel like we spent a little bit of money to rehabilitate some sick orphaned chairs that would have never seen the light of day again if it weren’t for us. And just look at them now, I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.
Our living room is by no means livable yet – we are just beginning to hang some art and figure out what the hell we may want to sit around in the there for. My favorite place to sit/eat/read/ etc is still at the dining room table, so until we get a credenza or some shelves or a coffee table or something else going on in the living room I can’t foresee much living going on in there for a while.