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Archive for the ‘vintage furniture and decor’ Category

With Mill and Leaf, I occasionally go out on private design projects. Most recently, I worked for about 2 months converting a “vanilla box” family room into a collector’s trove of sports and music memorabilia. Near completion, I quickly shot some pictures to share with our readers. Pardon the photo quality…but enjoy the post from my designer’s perspective!

From a young age, this Austin, TX area home owner collected all types of signatures and items that seemed important at the time. From General Patton’s signature on his original Life magazine cover to Elvis and Buddy Holly, even Mickey Mantle and several other sports giants, I never knew what would show up on the list next.

Framed Life Magazine from 1941 signed by General Patton himself!

Framed Life Magazine from 1941 signed by General Patton himself!

Yes there was a list. An Excel with over 200 items sorted by category and person/team with measurements and notes on each item. This list proved invaluable, initially to calculated the largest parts of the collection (in sq inches) and later to sort by frames needed to purchase, etc.

After the initial list was made (of course more items showed up later) I began sketches for the final project sign off.

Here are a couple of the walls I saw at first walk through.

Sofa wall before

Sofa wall before

Doorway to existing bedroom

Doorway to existing bedroom

It became apparent that transforming just one room would be inadequate for the full collection. So we choose to take out the bedroom door and open up the bedroom wall into the main room to combine both spaces. This made a unique opportunity to make the former bedroom into the music bar area and the current family room into the sports den.

The large bar would relocate into the bedroom area, giving ample floor space in the family room. Large plank wood flooring was run throughout the two spaces to keep continuity in the design even though the subject matter changed.

Here’s a look after the wall was out and decor almost finished…

New wall opening and old doorway roomed (was located where ed polo hangs)

New wall opening and old doorway removed (was located where red polo hangs)

 

But I am jumping ahead… let’s back up to the original sketches.

We spent a few hours photographing each item so I could envision how the items related. As an example, the homeowner had worked for Kodak as VP of Sales and Marketing for years. Sponsoring racing drivers and cars was a common event. So he started collecting Jimmy Vassar items (one of the Kodalux drivers.) An authentic racing suit, worn in formula races, trophy replica, signed thank you photos and even a Wheaties box featuring the driver were a few of the items pulled out of storage.

The back of the actual Jimmy Vasser racing suit

The back of the actual Jimmy Vasser racing suit

So the adventure of designing each area, perfect for the items to be displayed began.

Jimmy V on the Wheaties box

Jimmy V on the Wheaties box

 

The sketch out of a portion of the race area where Vasser racing suit would be hung

The sketch out of a portion of the race area where Vasser racing suit would be hung

Specific “bump out” display shelving was designed for certain items in the collection to differentiate them from the mix. The Jimmy Vasser suit would be encased in a type of plexiglass “door” with chrome hinges and handle. This would allow the piece to be swung out into the room to see both sides of the piece.

Racing Suit case on hinges to reveal back

Racing Suit case on hinges to reveal back

The “bump out” areas were textured like the existing walls, but painted a lighter grey than the room walls inside the shelving areas to make them visually stand out. LED lighting was run in strips along the sides of the shelving and LED gimbal recessed can lights (mini spots that tip) were placed at the tops of shelving areas and in wall boxes at the top along the ceiling where displays would mount below.

View of the completed Vasser display area

View of the completed Vasser display area

The plexiglass box with racing suit had an additional plexi layer mounting the poster of Vasser in the Kodalux car and Certificate of Authenticity concerning the suit. This kept the lower portion of the suit (no logos on the legs) from being too non-eventful, also visually balancing out the busy display on the left.

Without belaboring the process, the design continued around the room. For the baseball area, I converted the large valance by recovering and attaching two huge hand stitched baseballs. The many balls, bats cards and collectors magazines were layered by adding a block behind some pieces to hang them out 1.5 inches from the wall so they could layer over a corner of another piece that was flat on the wall. This optimized our scant wall space for such a large collection, while adding a natural design rhythm to the groupings.

Valance before

Large 108 inch window valance before

Baseballs attached to recovered valance. Team collections on right and left wall areas.

Baseballs attached to recovered valance. Team collections on right and left wall areas.

One area of the baseball section featured older items. During the project, they discovered a vintage suit worn by a family member nearly 80 years ago was still with a sister.They managed to procure the piece and I placed it in a protective box with Grandpa’s vintage glove and hankie. This section really echoed the Hall of Fame feel.

With Mantle and Maris on the Life covers and an heirloom baseball uniform, this area became a mini Cooperstown

With Mantle and Maris on the Life covers and a family heirloom baseball uniform, this area became a mini Cooperstown.

Football was also quite the draw, so we incorporated seats at the 50 yard line to watch the game on the TV on the opposite wall.

The field graphic was a shot I had taken years ago when a company outing took my husband and I to a skybox at a Husker game in Lincoln, NE. The photo was first cleaned and skewed in Photoshop, then enlarged to 91 inches and spray mounted to masonite sheeting. Mounting plexiglass over the top made it a more professional looking graphic. Spacing it 1.5 inches off the wall, lights were run behind to give the effect of upward stadium lights at night. A large shelf was added below with additional lighting and a place to prop large signed items. (Cowboys and Oakland Raiders items on the same shelf…hope they behave.) With the wall nearly full, I added a corner unit to make 22″ of wall become 34 on the angle so a 30 inch plexi box with a signed Joe Montana jersey could hang.

Seats at the 50 yard line

Seats at the 50 yard line

Corner custom display for the Joe Montana Jersey

Corner custom display for the Joe Montana Jersey

For music fans who have been patiently waiting for some tunes in this post, here we go.

The bar area was accented with Lone Star, True Grit, Waylon and Willie as well as many other  heartbroken and lonely country stars (like the three Hanks). Again signatures abound. Most could be framed, but a Clint Black signed jacket and actual guitar with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s signatures needed a larger case. So we made the awkward area where the door used to enter the bedroom into a floor to ceiling display area. Every inch of the room was hung with record covers lining the ceiling border.

Edison bulb fixtures and the new Lone Star LED sign layered over a vintage poster keep the bar area interesting

Edison bulb fixtures and the new Lone Star LED sign layered over a vintage poster keep the bar area interesting, while cool and efficient LED spots accent the albums

No respectable bar in the Austin area would miss a collage of the renowned WN

No respectable bar in the Austin area would miss a collage of the renowned WN. The table in the foreground was the owners childhood game table. A collage of old music clippings, Texas map and concert posters under glass hide the original top.

 

Next to Willie are the "Three Hanks." Even the sliding doors were decked out with thin pieces on the left so the closet is still functional.

Next to Willie are the “Three Hanks.” Even the sliding doors were decked out with thin pieces on the right so the closet is still functional.

 

The former room entry area is now an enclosed display case

The former room entry area is now an enclosed display case

 

A bit of "Jail House Rock" and "Riding High" keep the rhythm going

A bit of “Jail House Rock” and “Riding High” keep the rhythm going

 

The Waylon album collection continued over the archway back into the Sports den

The Waylon album collection continued over the archway back into the Sports den

 

No rope accent should be without its glitzy LED light rope partner. This section is filled with Hollywood and wine tasting memorabilia

No rope accent should be without its glitzy LED light rope partner. This section is filled with Hollywood and wine tasting memorabilia

The homeowners tell me they have a great time relaxing in their newly displayed memory rooms. They might be able to charge a cover to offset the design fees! I would… (just kidding). But overall what a fun project for me and a great space for their entertaining hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you have a love for great interior design, you may have come across a furniture piece that “just speaks” to you. I had such a moment in a reproduction furniture showroom at the High Point, NC Furniture show this past fall.

The entire showroom was filled with historically detailed, quality crafted pieces. Hand rubbed finishes, impeccable details, solid wood with old world construction. (You know, the type of furniture built to last 100 years.)

About 3/4ths of the way through the showroom, I came across this beautiful oak floor cabinet.

88906_alt1

The weight of the iron doors as I folded them back, the latches and louvers, solid oak feel all made me linger. But I knew I was in love, when after viewing thousands of pieces at the show, this cabinet still stuck in my mind on the airplane home.

I started fantasizing all the places it would fit in a home. Library shelving, sure, but kitchen storage, dining room cabinet, media storage… This was a piece that could bring classic furniture styling to even a modern or transitionally designed space. Definitely the furniture piece everyone would want at any estate sale or auction house if it were the original antique, this one was a classic.

Well, you get the idea… hopefully you have at least one piece in your home or “dream home” that has the same effect on you!

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With everyone’s focus on environmentally friendly ways of living, we were thrilled to find these recycled natural fiber area rugs.

Recycled over-dyed natural fiber area rugs

Recycled over-dyed natural fiber area rugs

Natural wool area rugs are given new life with an entire soak in earth-friendly dyes. The range of colors used on these rugs is astounding. Dark classic tones to bright moderns give the renewed area rugs a vintage feel. These 9′ x 12′ room sized over-dyed rugs range in price from $8,000 to $15,000. But one of a kind finds like this are art works in and of themselves.

Recycled natural fiber area rugs

Ecofriendly dyes provide broad range of color

Pair these area rugs with vintage decor or modern designer pieces. Either way, you’ll know your design choice leaves less impact on Mother Earth and more design appeal in your home.

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Ever look at the interior of a home and say to yourself, “Wow… this should look really great, but something just isn’t right here?” There’s a gut instinct response that is sometimes hard to put into words. And then, little by little you notice it. Everything matches. Like…everything. The chair fabric matches the pillow fabric. The wood type and style for the end table matches the dining room table. The living room curtains match the kitchen paint. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not into the “matchy-matchy” look. Home decor should reflect your personality and quite frankly, I’m just not that put together. One of my favorite quotes is, “I think my life would be easier if I could just get my selves to agree on something.” (Brian Andreas of Story People)

So imagine my love of pairing seemingly contrasting items for a surprising home decorating idea. For example, pairing soft textured fabrics with the rough feel of reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed wood table

Soft chair…rough table. Love it!

Try this: Take a look at the reclaimed wood table below and find something visually appealing in your house that would not be an obvious pairing.
Reclaimed Poplar Wood table from the Shandong Province

Reclaimed Poplar Wood table from the Shandong Province

Fun, isn’t it? I bet you actually came up with several items. When you free yourself to look at a broader range of options for home decorating ideas, the combination possibilities suddenly grow.
This is especially true of reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood touches a cord with us on many levels. There’s something about making something useful again that is appealing. It seems to embody the circle of life and ground us in Mother Nature’s worldview. Once a rarity, reclaimed wood furniture is becoming more and more accessible. Don’t let the industrial look of it scare you off. It just may be the piece that allows your other pieces to really shine.
Industrial buffet cabinet made of reclaimed wood

Industrial Buffet Cabinet Made of Reclaimed Wood

So the next time you see a home decor item that appeals to you don’t say, “Oh…but I don’t have anything that will go with that.” Stop for a moment and allow yourself to expand your design thinking! You’ll be surprised and happy with what you discover.

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Vintage looking books tell a story on your wall shelf

Vintage looking books tell a story on your wall shelf

One of the things I love to do when I visit someone’s home is peruse their wall shelves or book cases. Not only do I discover my friend’s interests in books, I gather information about the things in their life they find important. Do they have books of a certain genre? Do they display a collection of items? Is there balance between spaces on the shelves where my eye can rest vs. spaces that contain something?

As you know, we just returned from the High Point Furniture Market and one of the coolest new implementations of a tried and true home decor idea was using covered “books” as design elements on wall shelves. Two displays from a vendor booth really caught our attention. These decorative books tell a story that will captivate.

Eiffel Tower Vintage Decor Books

A little Paris in your home!

When deciding how to place items in your bookshelves, the style of the shelving unit itself plays a part. Are your bookshelves more in line with vintage furniture? Or are they sleek with a modern appeal? How can you play with items of meaning to you while giving a nod to your own interior design aesthetic?

Wall shelves and book cases harbor endless possibilities when it comes to home decor. Whether you have your personal reading collection, decorative books, or display cabinets of your favorite treasures, each item you choose to place on your bookshelves should be thoughtfully selected.

Personal library floor cabinet

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Just having returned from the High Point Furniture Market, it seems to be a great time to recap on new lines and evolving lines we found.

Vintage furniture was high on the list of “up and comers.” The “Restoration Hardware look” was found at multiple vendors. Some vendors had to to “rough up” their existing sleek style, while others who have done this classic styling for years, suddenly became more relevant.

Check out the our top picks in vintage chairs:

Super comfortable, with a vintage industrial look.

New designs on a century old pattern.

Who wouldn’t enjoy a pint on one of these perches?

Vintage sofas abound from multiple vendors. Love the tight tufted look.

Looks great in fabric or leather!

Or if you are really into vintage decor, grab one of the three hundred year old looks in a candlestick chair or antique desk. Incredibly rich in finish and style, but can still mix with modern furniture in the right application.

Pair this authentic repro with a reclaimed wood or glass table.

Reproduction Antique Desk – with dovetail joints and all wood drawers, this piece will last another 100 years!

The old adage, “History tends to repeat itself” might be a good thing here. The most popular styles in years past, were the ones that outlasted the rest!

All these quality pieces will be available in 2013 on Mill and Leaf. Don’t be a stranger!

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