Archive for the ‘Furniture’ Category

DIY Side Table

We’ve been needing a side table next our living room couch for a ridiculously long time, but it seems that every one I find that I love, is just a little too big, a little too shmancy, or a little out of our price range.  I was getting desperate, and in a creative fury went whipping around the house to find the makings of a side table that would hold our cocktails and appys (I mean, sippy cups and goldfish) until we were ready to commit the cash to something really fabulous.  Turns out, I like my DIY version better than most I’ve seen.

Wood tray from Target and a vintage plant stand…


plus a little Liquid Nails (love that stuff!)….


equals fabulous, architecturally-inspired side table!  I thought about painting it, but I’m kind of digging the two-tone wood look.


So tell me…have you ever taken something from your home and reinvented it?

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Butterfly Chairs

Urban Outfitters Butterfly ChairI don’t know if they’re making a resurgence, or if the great lounge chair from my childhood home just happens to be everywhere I am right now, but Butterflies seem to be following me.  First, a month or so ago while passing through Urban Outfitters — a foldable version with a leather cover.  Then in a Ralph Lauren Home ad while reading the Sunday Times.  A few weeks later, two set side-by-side as the seating area in a newly-opened local clothing boutique.  And finally, the very chair from my childhood on a recent visit to Vermont. 

Butterfly chairs, designed by Argentinian architect Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy in 1938, became commercially available when Knoll began producing them in 1947.  Since then, numerous manufacturers have produced versions of the original design, and today you can find them a retailers ranging from Modern Furniture Classics to Circa50 to PB Teen

It’s shape and endless cover choices means the incredibly versatile Butterfly can give a room a strong design statement and be used nearly everywhere.  In my house growing up, our Butterfly chair played a leading role indoors, but they can make a really stunning set up outside too, just check out the patio at the Parker Palm Springs

 Parker Palm Springs.AT


Image credit: Apartment Therapy

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bookshelf cropI’ve been in love with built-in bookshelves for as long as I can remember.  Maybe it’s that they remind me of my childhood home, or maybe it’s just that I knew from early on, without really knowing, that built-ins can be a beautiful way to maximize a space and make it feel positively custom.  Whatever the reason, I have been ripping out pictures of built-ins and fantasizing about them since I started hoarding home design magazines a decade ago.

So my dream finally came true when after spending more than two years talking incessantly about how the knee-wall in our master bedroom would be the-perfect-spot for built-ins and making grand promises of how my ever-growing piles would transform into neat, useful, and dare I say, decorative additions to our room, my husband finally gave in.   

Enter Bill Jones of FreshAir Millworks, carpenter extraordanaire.  In one short week (and only one day in our house for the installation), Jonesy whipped up a new piece for us that delivered exactly the vision I had every night as I fell asleep staring at that wall.  I don’t know why it took us so long to move on this project — possible fear of working with a contractor (we’re newbies), not knowing how to access a contractor without getting ripped off (personal referrals are key), or just getting up the gumption to spend a chunk of money on something so — well — permanent (that’s a hard one to swallow unless your absolutely sure what you want).  But the whole process of working with Jonesy was so easy, that it’s hard to stop coming up with projects for him now. 


Want a little bit of FreshAir Millworks for your home?  Contact Bill Jones at (508) 587-1109.

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Bemz CouchI’m a big fan of slipcovers.  In theory.

When my husband and I bought our first “real” living room furniture (read: not a hand-me-down futon on an unfinished frame with splinters that I slept on beginning my sophomore year of college) every piece was slipcovered.  Dirty? Throw it in the washer!  Bored with the look? Order another one!  The washability was great, but when we did, in fact, get bored with the look, I dicovered it was going to cost $750 to get a new slipcover for an $800 club chair.  If only I had bought that chair at IKEA and then, if only I had known about Bemz, things would have been different.

Bemz, a Stockholm-based company whose products can be found only online, specializes in custom slipcovers for the most popular sofa and chair models from IKEA including the Ektorp, Klippan, Lillberg and more.  The fabric offering is vast (but not too vast — a plus in my book), and prices are reasonable (a slipcover for a 4-seater Klippan sofa is about $200), but the real clincher for me is that Bemz offers slipcBemz Chairovers in Marimekko prints. 

If only I had known.  Our big ol’ club chair would’ve been from the IKEA PS collection and covered in Marimekko’s Unikko poppies…or maybe navy linen…or orange cotton…

Image credits: Bemz

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Toss One On

KalaPillow18inS9One day recently, I was at a friend’s house consulting on a living room reinvention (maximum change for minimal cash) and I spent some time extolling the virtues of throw pillows and their ability to pull together a room through pattern, update a couch or chair, or just generally add visual interest to a space that’s spare on accessories.  So on that note, let me share some of my faves from this season:256235_29582_41

Look to CB2 for some great cheap and chic options, including the Kala Pillow, featuring a collage of bright fabrics in graphic bars.

For a summery addition to your living room, look to L.L. Bean’s new Maine Isle Throw Pillow collection including the starfish motif in navy cotton.

As the Fourth of July approaches and I reflect in my renewed sense of pride in our country, I’m loving the American Pillow Cover Collection from Restoration Hardware, particularly that little boudoir Flag pillow cover.

prod1605035Because there are so many unique, affordable options for pillows from major retailers, as well as local artisans through sites like Etsy, I wouldn’t normally advocate for a spending a ton of hard-earned cash.  But after catching a glimpse of John Robshaw’s new collection which includes a series of stunning handpainted pillows, I’m advocating.  If you can spare it, I support it…and feel free to pick up the Painted Stork for me while you’re at it.


Image credits (from top to bottom): CB2;  L.L.Bean; Restoration Hardware; John Robshaw

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Chroma Lab ChairOnce upon a time, after an auspicious run-in with a $20 drop leaf table, some rockin’ Paper Source paper and a good deal of Mod Podge, I had fantasies of making a living reinventing Craig’s List furniture into masterpieces.  That was until it took me five days to scrape, sand and do a masterfully bad job of decoupaging my bargain.  I was so tired after the experience that I still (almost a year later) haven’t found the where-with-all to refinish the table legs.

Turns out someone else had my great idea, but was far better equipped to deliver on it.  While browsing the SoWa Market yesterday in Boston’s South End, my pal Greer and I had the good fortune of coming upon Jamaica Plain-based Chroma Lab.  Owners Alicia Cornwell and Tony Bevilacqua transform vintage pieces in need of some love and attention (and maybe some nails and glue too) and turn them into things of beauty.  I was drawn to Alicia and Tony’s tent because of this joyful Marimekko-covered chair, but once inside discovered even more swoon-worthy items including a pair of sinuous yellow lamps and the practical-joking Pretend Table, faux bois-finished with the wood grain likeness so real that it wasn’t until I got home and was checking out their site that I realized the piece was painted.

Pretend Table

Best of all (I think) is that they do custom jobs — so if you have a piece-of-junk dresser that you are ready to trash, get in touch with them and be prepared to fall in love.

Image credit: Chroma Lab

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antsign3Eight years ago, when I moved back to Boston from New York, I was surprised to find that there wasn’t an open-air art market (like the ones that you can find every weekend in nearly every Manhattan neighborhood) anywhere to be found.  But just a few years later, the SoWa Open Market began to fill that void, pitching tents in Boston’s South End and filling them with local vendors offering everything from original art to handmade accessories to fresh-off-the-farm produce.  This weekend, the brains behind Open Market launch their newest addition to the SoWa family — the SoWa Antiques Market, housed in the historic Trolley Barn.  Dealers offering antique and vintage pottery, furniture, textiles, collectibles, glassware and more, promise to be a great addition to this Boston institution-in-the-making.  And if I weren’t away this weekend I would be angling for some child-free time to roam the aisles…   

SoWa Open Market, Antiques Market and Produce Market, Sundays through October; opening weekend only open Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17; 540 Harrison Avenue, South End, Boston.

Image credit:  SoWa Open Market

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Patio Vintage

769455750747mdWith the arrival of summer-like weather this weekend and a stream of visitors celebrating kids’ birthdays and Mother’s Day, I was reminded of our lack of outdoor seating.  We spent all weekend hanging out in utilitarian and decidedly un-chic foldable chairs — you know the ones I mean — meant for outdoor concerts or trips to the beach, most emblazoned with corporate logos of one kind or another.  If only I had caught a glimpse of these beauties a few days earlier, we might have been sitting pretty sipping our drinks watching the kiddos knock heads in the birthday bouncy house.

Garden Treasures Dining Patio Chair, $31, from Lowe’s.

Image credit: Lowe’s

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Last week, my husband and I rearranged our bedroom furniture.  The fresh look of the room was great, but the new arrangement left about 12 inches on my side of the bed.  Ultimately, this was a good thing, since my bedside table is really just a depository for stuff that gets cleared off and organized once every six months or so, but the lack of space for a table proved challenging when I got into bed that night and had no light for my wind-down magazine perusal.  So I went hunting in the house for something that might serve as a good stand-in. 

Using an extra child’s dining chair that we had on hand, a pretty stack of hardcovers (most of which are works-in-progress since I never read one book at a time) and the perfect little lamp from my original side table, I had a functional resting place that adds visual interest to the room – all without spending a dime.

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