Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The iconic Chesterfield

The Chesterfield sofa is thought to be named after the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope in the 18th century.  This is fitting as the Earl was a known trendsetter in his day.  The Chesterfield sofa is characterized by it's deep button tufting, rolled arms, equal back and arm height, and nail head trim.  This sofa is most often associated with a gentleman's library... think rich mahogany paneling, distressed leather, a fine bottle of scotch, and the faint aroma of pipe tobacco.  However this iconic sofa makes a statement in traditional and modern interiors alike. 

Want to get the look??  It seems like everyone has a Chesterfield in their current line, each with their own twist!

Leave it to Anthropologie to come up with this fun canary yellow version.

I love the wide sloping arms on this great interpretation from Windsor Smith Home.

Hickory Chair offers a sophisticated Chesterfield with classical lines and proportions.

Mitchell Gold's version will be at home in both transitional and modern interiors.

The Restoration Hardware sofa is evocative of  a gentleman's library, masculine and clubby, with distressed cigar leather and over-scaled styling.
If you are looking for authenticity check out Jean-Mark Fray on 1st Dibs, this one is from England circa 1920.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Three Potato Four

For those of you who enjoy quirky vintage finds, I thought I'd share a fun site.  You never know what you might find here.  A collection of vintage pencil sharpeners perhaps... I mean who doesn't need that.  While some of their stuff is a bit kitschy, even for me, it is like a trip to the flea market without having to get up before dawn on sunday morning!  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Check out what is blooming at Anthropologie!

Yet another great idea from one of my favorite stores... 

Here is a creative way to repurpose those pesky plastic bottles and raise awareness in the community.  Check out Anthropologie's store windows this spring to see what is blooming, or visit their flickr photostream to see photos from windows across the country:  

I think this would be a great project to do with kids and would make fun decorations for a springtime shower or party.  

Here are step by step instructions:

images courtesy of Anthropologie

Of course if we all switched to refillable bottles, we wouldn't need to come up with ways to re-purpose our trash... just a thought.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rescued from the dumpster...

my personal quest to save our planet one chair at a time...  

Each month I will bring to you one chair (maybe an occasional ottoman) that has been tossed aside and give it a new life.  These will be chairs I have found on their way to the dump, at a flea market, or in a thrift store, all for free or a very reasonable price.  I will present you with the before pictures and document the transformation on my blog.

Month: February, 2010
Found: Goodwill Costa Mesa
Price: $17.99

I loved this chair instantly... It has great button tufting on the back and seat. The small scale makes it ideal for the corner of a bedroom or as an accent chair in the living room.  The date on the bottom of the chair is 1975.  The finish is in decent shape with just a few scratches, although I think it would look great refinished darker, almost black.  While I love the pop of the orange upholstery, it is looking a bit worn and faded and has a few spots... I’m envisioning linen or mohair.  White linen will give it a crisp look, natural linen a softer more subtle effect, or mohair for a richer more textural look...hmm hard to choose.  I’d love to hear your ideas too! 

So it’s a fun project, but come on, how will this help save the planet...
Did you know that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produce approximately 4.6 lbs of trash per person every day.1  Imagine if you had to carry that around with you all day, and then tomorrow you would have 9.2 lbs to carry, the next day 13.8 lbs... you can see where I am going with this.  By the end of a week you wouldn’t be able to pay me to take another cup of coffee, shopping bag, or food wrapper, let alone a new chair if that meant carrying the old one around on my back for the rest of my life.  We are running out of space in our landfills, so in essence we are carrying all this trash around with us.  
On Friday, I attended The second annual Vanguard University Environmental Sustainability Conference and met some really passionate folks trying to spread the word about sustainable business practices and the power consumers have to influence business through ethical and well informed buying decisions.  As a resident of one of the most wasteful places on the entire earth,  (Yes, Orange County... we produce 6.7 lbs of trash per person per day, well above the national average!!)2 I left the conference with a renewed determination to present my clients with information, products, and sustainable solutions, that will allow them to make healthier and more sustainable choices for their homes, the planet, and all those who live on it.  My belief is that design should enhance our everyday experience, quality of life, and the way we interact with our environment.  

As we look at our homes here are some of the things we can do:
  • Use energy efficient building technologies to reduce the amount of energy required to run your home, and lower your energy bills in the process.
  • Introduce water conservation features such as xeriscaping, low flow shower heads, and on-demand water heaters to reduce your water intake.
  • Use low or no VOC paints and formaldehyde-free materials to keep harmful chemicals from entering your home and eventually the environment.
  • When selecting materials look for long-lasting and low maintenance, reducing how often they will need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Buy from local sources and artisans reducing the resources used for  packaging and transportation.
  • STOP buying low quality junk that ends up in the trash within days, weeks, or months of when we purchase it... I often find that waiting to find that one special piece, and then paying a little more for it, is both more satisfying and more economical than all the impulse purchases that deplete our bank accounts, leave us dissatisfied, and end up in the landfill.
RE-USE (My personal favorite of the 3Rs)
  • Incorporate previously used materials into your home.  There are a lot of great vintage and antique pieces that bring character to a space and look great juxtaposed with newer elements. 
  • Re-purpose items using them in a way other than their original intended use.  An industrial fixture from a closed factory could make a great table base, an antique dresser can become a vanity... the options are endless.
  • Look at the things that you already have and see if they really need to be replaced.  Sometimes re-finishing or re-upholstering a piece can give it a completely new look. 
  • Ditch the disposables and bring out your good dishes.  How much better would your morning coffee taste in fine china than in a paper to go cup?  Okay the taste might not be that different but the experience is incomparable.. and isn’t life all about experiences?
  • Use reclaimed and recycled materials whenever possible, they look great and provide a market for recycled goods.  Reclaimed wood flooring from old barns, furniture made from reclaimed wood, countertops made from recycled porcelain and paper, tiles made with recycled glass, recycled carpet, the choices get better everyday. 
  • Before sending things to the landfill ask yourself if they could be recycled...several carpet companies as part of the sale, will pick up your old carpet up to recycle it and make it into new carpet.