Tag Archives: furniture

Dangerous Beauty

Aren’t these upholstered folding chairs from Anthropologie super cute? (I know my title said “beauty” but super cute isn’t generally “dangerous” – and I’ll get to that in a minute):

They would be pretty convenient little accent chairs – and if they really do fold up well, you could even store them and pull them out for entertaining.

I’m a little hesitant to praise anything in the folding furniture family though… You see, I had a folding chair malfunction at a wedding reception that caused me a great deal of embarrassment.

Years ago we attended a co-worker’s wedding, and the reception was held at a well known DC restaurant, popular for events. Large parties were usually held in an atrium and just like any other banquet situation, tables of 8-10 were used. But for some very strange reason, the seating was comprised of sturdy-looking white folding chairs (make note of the “looking” which indicates some foreshadowing…)

After the dinner plates were cleared and people were moving around to visit other tables and hit the dance floor, I started a conversation with my boss, who was positioned a couple of seats over. In order to lean closer to her, I put my hand on the chair between us.

The next thing I knew I was on the ground, wondering how the hell I ended up there. Obviously the damn thing collapsed when I put my weight on it and TOOK ME DOWN!

I should have been grateful that my arm wasn’t broken, but it was kind of humiliating. No one at the table behind me had gotten up yet (of course!) and had a clear view of my descent. And you know they all thought I was wasted. Which I wasn’t because I was driving that night. But I wasn’t about to walk over and interrupt their laughing to explain.

This is the kind of thing that keeps me humble. As if I didn’t have plenty of other reasons…

Anyway – if I go to your house and see one of those super cute Anthropology folding chairs, I’ll just admire it from afar. Being mauled by a chair is a once in a lifetime experience for me, thanks.

Paule Marrot

I feel like I see this piece from Paule Marrot all the time.

And I always stop and admire it. So I finally pulled up her website and saw that in addition to art…

…she also does painted and upholstered furniture.

It all definitely falls into the decor category that my husband calls “girly.” So if I actually could buy something (I have a very rich fantasy life), I think it would have to be placed in a bedroom.

See more of his work HERE.

Ringing in the New…

A little late to start a new year of blogging here at Wishing True… But better late than never. And what better post to start with than some pictures of new things created from old things.

I love the idea taking something that may be considered junk and reinventing it. Things made from reclaimed materials are very in right now (and ironically, often very expensive). A small dent in filling our carbon footprints – but a noble endeavor nonetheless.

Here are some new/old things from Eco1stArt.com:





See more images new/old stuff at Eco1stArt.com and on their blog.

Conversation Piece

I spotted one of these carved pieces in a magazine and had to look up the source…

While I wouldn’t say that the contemporary vibe of Diane Paparo Studio suits my personal taste in furniture, I was quite taken by the few pieces that caught my eye. I would especially love to own one of those chairs. No idea how comfortable it would be, but I’d probably rather look at it than sit in it anyway!

Click on images for detailed tear sheets.

Hello pretty things blog! Has it really been almost two weeks? You have been sorely neglected… But I do have something lovely to make up for the absence.

I found the Carson & Co. site on Annechovie last week and I would just love to own one of their lamps. How gorgeous are these:

They also make beautiful furniture and accessories:

I’m sure I could find a spot for any one of these treasures.

Happy Monday!

Guest Post: Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For…

I’m on vacation this week and asked a few friends to fill in for me. Today’s guest is Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For… I’m not sure where I first found her…but I do know that I loved the name of her blog (even if I didn’t immediatly recognize The OC quote). Karen is a “real” interior design professional and she always calls me on my uneducated criticisms of other real designers. Love that – thanks for keepin’ it real, Karen. Plus she’s funny and finds good stuff on YouTube, including clips for great shows I might have missed due to an already full television viewing schedule. I owe my love affair with Modern Family to Karen…don’t know what I’d do without her.

Welcome Karen!

Hello Wishing True readers! My name is Karen and I was thrilled when Kate asked me to fill in on Wishing True while she took a well-deserved break! I racked my brain for what would be a fun topic to discuss with her design-savvy readers — decided to stay away from any discussions of Twilight, the World Cup, or Beiber fever, hope you don’t mind — and really, it comes down to two topics: shopping (especially virtual shopping!) and design.

Have you ever noticed that designers or celebrities will have really great home accessories, like an antique vase or a collection of mercury glass, and they’ll casually mention they got it at a flea market in Paris, or they picked it up during an impromptu trip to Morocco? Who does things like this? I don’t know about you, but the flea markets near my house don’t have 19th century crystal chandeliers for $60. Some of us have to be resourceful in regions with more Costco’s than shops spelled like ‘shoppe’. And while my day job as an Interior Designer gives me access to wonderful high end accessories, my real life attempts to decorate my apartment (plus a friend or two!) has sharpened my shopping skills on a real life budget. So if you’re thinking about freshening up your home on a budget, here’s a list of places to check out first …

1) Home Goods (or Marshall’s or TJ Maxx)
Here’s the thing about Home Goods: you have to be in the mood to sift through alot of junk to find your treasure. But it’s worth it, and many designers and home stagers don’t want the secret to get out. In addition to accessories like vases or bookends, you can also find great linens, mirrors and lamps for less than department stores.

2) 20 x 200
Finding art for an ‘average’ person’s home can be depressing at times … like when that $99 Art Show rolls into your local convention center, shilling oil paintings of fruit baskets. Or those giant black and white posters of a random dock on a lake from Ikea. 20 x 200 is a nice alternative: it features art starting at $20! So whether your thing is kites, big yellow taxis, or a vintage-ish beach scene, they’ve got you covered without dipping into your savings.

3) Etsy
You can find anything under the sun in Etsy’s stores, and support small business, too! Talk about a win-win situation. My favorite Etsy shops include Katie Armour Home – a great place to score milk glass – and littlebrownpen, who’s got adorable photos of Paris.

4) West Elm, CB2 & Z Gallerie
Although it’s a bit of cliched HGTV advice, changing out throw pillows or adding an object to your bookcase really can make a big impact with a small amount of cash. Profiles are both current and classic (although this is also screaming for DIY if you’re crafty!) and this blue vase is the perfect summery accent!

Many thanks to Kate for inviting me to stop by! And if you have a favorite place to shop for inexpensive treasures, share them in the comments!

Flashback: In Defense of The Chair

After taking my laptop in for repairs, I assumed that it would be a while until I got it back.

In the meantime, I’ve set up posts for some vintage stuff from The Big Piece of Cake: a little weekly feature called “Materialistic Monday” about stuff I was currently into (or just wishing I could afford to officially be into). Hopefully I’ll get my computer back and today will be the last day of flashbacks…

And if you’re wondering what I’ll do about my Fifi Flowers givewaway, I think I’ll just keep it open until I can spring my laptop from the Geek Squad jail. So ENTER HERE!

February 9, 2009
*This follows a “Friday Confession” that posted earlier today (you may want to read that first – a link can be found below).

I think my post on Friday was a little misleading. You see, this was not in fact the first time that I have referenced “the chair.”

The first time I featured it as a topic was in one of my Friday Confessions last November. I suggest reading that post for full details (don’t worry – it’s not as long my my usual novels). But here’s the short version: This chair is very popular with current style makers. It is well designed and is also somewhat historical. When I “confessed” to not liking it, I wasn’t trying to say, “hey look at this ugly chair.” I was really saying, “this celebrated chair is beloved by design gurus throughout the world….but I personally, think it’s ugly.” This was a confession, not a statement of personal opinion. Okay – well it was actually a statement of personal opinion, but in a wincing, “please don’t egg my house,” kind of way.

Truthfully, I was surprised to see how many people agreed with me. Because seriously – this is kind of a famous chair. And with modern/retro furniture so well represented in interior design publications, one would think that MOST readers would like it.

Even though I wasn’t looking for a debate per se (again – I was confessing to an abhorrence of something considered quite stylish), I was happy to see at least a few comments with opposing views. This would indicate that the post had a somewhat diverse readership. validating the actual topic as worthy of some discussion. Namely – who defines beauty?

My position when I first wrote about the chair (I know – like I had a “position” other than, “I think that’s one ugly chair” – but just play along okay?), was that beauty is subjective. Not everyone will agree on a given label, and sometimes we find ourselves in the minority camp. BUT – I do think that opinions are given more weight if they are well informed. So I will attempt to defend the chair in all of its plastic glory in order to show that I do actually appreciate the fact that it is deserving of love (if not from me).

So without further ado, I will now arbitrate for the maligned chair. Much like a defense attorney who doesn’t really believe her client.

As I explained in my original post, this chair has a prominent place in design history. It is an Eames. The one I specifically featured was an Eames Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker from Herman Miller.

In the early 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames experimented with new methods of bending plywood in the work they did for the navy wartime effort. They then applied these techniques to furniture, specifically chairs they designed for Herman Miller. They used molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh, and cast aluminum. Their goal as to create a design that provided comfortable support through molding of the seat and back as opposed to the addition of cushioning.

Several chair bases were designed. The RAR (rocking armchair rod) pictured above has a molded fibreglass-reinforced polyester seat and an “Eiffel tower” base with birch wood rockers on the bottom. RAR rockers were first given as gifts to Herman Miller employees who just had babies.

The prototype of the RAR rocking chair was designed for the Museum of Modern Art’s international competition for low-cost furniture design in 1948.

This design was not initially mass-produced since fiberglass shells had not yet been developed at time of the competition. A condition that has happily since been remedied so that mass quantities of these chairs can now be found in:

private homes

Dooce has one in her office (on top of a filing cabinet – which I find puzzling…but have ultimately decided that it was just placed there for effect in the photo shoot).

catalogs and magazines

Anthropologie catalog, Fall 2008

and blog after blog after blog…

The picture I featured on Friday comes from the blog, Making It Lovely via Black Eiffel (again – it is ONLY the chair that I didn’t like, I do love the pillows).

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this chair cannot only be judged only by the material of which it is made. There is far more to this chair than plastic, metal and a striking similarity to subway seating. It has a rich history in interior design. And 50 years of accolades and public demand don’t lie. This is not a chair to be taken lightly. Nor is the question of its beauty a decision to be taken lightly.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are not asking you to love this chair (god knows I sure as hell don’t) – but we are asking you to decide whether the chair is in fact worthy of love.

You have heard the defendant plead “not guilty” to the charge of “truly ugly.” If and only if the defendant is judged UNWORTHY of love, can this charge be supported. Based on the evidence that has been presented today, only one answer can possibly be given in good conscience: Not guilty.

I now leave it in your hands to make this decision and ultimately confirm the public’s right to decide where they choose to find beauty in the world – a freedom upon which this, our great nation was founded. Thank you.

So now you know my vote: not guilty of true ugliness. Just the subjective kind that I apply as is my freedom to do so. Feel free to make your own choice – you won’t get any argument from me.

*Source material on the Eames Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker from designboom.com.

Flashback: Friday Confession – I Hate This Chair

After taking my laptop in for repairs, I assumed that it would be a while until I got it back.

In the meantime, I’ve set up posts for some vintage stuff from The Big Piece of Cake: a little weekly feature called “Materialistic Monday” about stuff I was currently into (or just wishing I could afford to officially be into). Hopefully I’ll get my computer back and today will be the last day of flashbacks…

And if you’re wondering what I’ll do about my Fifi Flowers givewaway, I think I’ll just keep it open until I can spring my laptop from the Geek Squad jail. So ENTER HERE!

November 14, 2008
*This is a little different. It was a “Friday Confession” – but since it’s style related – I thought I’d include it here. I wrote a “Materialistic Monday” follow up which will follow this one.

I hate this chair.

And apparently – I’m one of the few people willing to admit it. You see – it’s expensive. And important designers like it. And people don’t like to admit that they don’t like expensive things that “the experts” admire.

Until now. Until me. Until I just couldn’t take one more sighting of this chair without coming clean. This chair is EVERYWHERE. Every time I open a catalog or peruse a magazine spread on a celebrity home, this chair is in the background. I think it’s ugly, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t even want it if you paid me to take it off your hands. Actually, that’s not true. I would take the chair and your money and then make even more money selling it on Ebay. Because people are willing to pay up to $500 for this chair (more if it’s one of the original fiberglass ones).

“But it’s an Eames Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker from Herman Miller!” you exclaim. Yes – I am aware of this. I don’t like it. I have limited funds to spend on luxuries, and I’d like to think that I spend them wisely. At least 75% of the time. Okay 50%. But wise investment or not, I do actually like everything I buy. And I’m willing to spend more on something that I deem to be worth the sacrifice. I’ve always believed that for the most part, “you get what you pay for.” But for $500, I would think that I’d be getting something better than a plastic chair.

Do you think I’m provincial? Do you suspect that I wouldn’t recognize style if it bit me on the ass? Do you wonder if I’ve ever even seen Domino Magazine? I don’t blame you for these questions, because it’s obvious that I’m just not seeing what the rest of the world sees in this chair.

Is it me, or does this chair look startlingly similar to plastic high school cafeteria chairs? A cafeteria rocking chair if you will… Personally – I don’t care to own a chair that even looks plastic (or brings back memories of suspicious chicken and overcooked pasta). I don’t care if it is an Eames. In my book, an expensive chair should crafted from wood and/or beautiful upholstery textiles. And yes, I am aware that I’m now channeling Joan Cusack’s character in Working Girl – the part when she looks at a simple, black couture cocktail dress and says, “Six thousand dollahs!? It’s not even leathah!” Remember – this is a confession. And I’m admitting to not liking something that has been celebrated by great designers for 70 years.

But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. History making or not – I hate that hideous chair. Comments are now open for my public stoning.

Have a great weekend!