The Cool House: furniture
Showing posts with label furniture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label furniture. Show all posts

Friday, December 20, 2013

Classic Miid-century Furniture Reissues

Great news for fans of classic American furniture by designer and manufacturer Harvey Probber. Until now his furniture has been out of production since the 80s, the only way to find his modular sofa has been the occasional sighting on ebay or 1stdibs. This Fall, M2L, a New York distributor of authorized modern furnishings catering to the design trade, has been licensed to produce new editions, including the 1947 Sling Chair above and the iconic 1972 Deep Tuft sectional below. 
Prices for the Deep Tuft Sofa start at $15,000 in plush fabric for a 5 piece or $19,000 in leather. It may seem a lot but this furniture is so well made it will last a lifetime. 

Here at The Cool House we inherited a 1968 12-piece sectional sofa that's still as comfortable and sturdy as ever-although it was reupholstered four years agoAs Probber once said "the true test of great design is time".
Other pieces to be reintroduced include sleek, wood wrapped casegoods and seating from the Architectural Series that were originally produced inFalls River MA in the 1960s.

It's been 10 years since Probber's death when an retrospective of his work was held  at Baruch College in Manhattan. it's certainly time to give these gorgeous designs another, closer look.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Console Lust

LOT61 Lola Credenza via Design Public. I have just the place for this...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Uniquely Modern Furniture Dilemma

A while ago I asked the Awesome Designer to design some roman shades for the so-called bamboo room (the present curtains have green bamboo stalks on a pale yellow background, hence the name) and the fabric - Celtic Knot from Robert Allen - has arrived at her workroom.

And bonus, it turns out there is enough extra fabric to cover a small chair or bench. So here is my dilemma: Do I take out the chest of drawers (there's plenty more built-in drawer space in that room) and throw a bench in there? Should I maybe recover another piece of furniture? A pouffe? An ottoman? Help me, interwebs because my mind is stuck in kitchen mode...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Something is Missing

When we were choosing fabrics for the Great Room sectional, way back in fall 2009, I pounced on a pale teal or seafoam color chenille and pronounced it perfect for the master bedroom. I had this idea that the I would paint the woodwork dark brown and the other colors would come from the Jamie Geller Dutra painting that I'd bought The Guy for his birthday a few years back.

I wasn't sure whether it would be used as drapes or pillows but eventually I asked the Awesome Designer if she'd make some "valance boxes" for the bllnds and cover them with the seafoam chenille. Being a great designer she found a blue/black trim to subtly enhance the color and suggested we make a third for the Pixel drapes that The Guy refused to replace. Now the beautiful cornices (as I have learnt to call them) have been installed and we couldn't be more pleased with the way the room turned out.

The Room and Board Grove oil-and-wax walnut credenza and bedside tables have a mid-century vibe that fits our style and complements the other furnishings in the house. Everyone (including all the electricians, plumbers and carpenters who traipse through here on the way to the master bath) loves the black glass lamps (also from Room and Board but this time the clearance section - score!) and the skinny navy and white Italian floor lamp. Even the Samsung television has gotten a thumbs up; when it's on the bezel lights up with a red accent, matching a corresponding red stroke in the painting!

There's only one thing we need to complete the room, one very important last final piece to finish our dream space. Can you see what's missing? What would, in effect, elevate this room to new heights? That would give this room the comfort level it needs? Something I need to have positioned before the rest of the art can go back on the walls? The piece of furniture that defines this room won't now be arriving until mid to late April and it can't arrive to soon for me. I'm too old to be camping out on the floor...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Waxed Walnut

I didn't get my way over the walnut bed (yet) but we did agree on a walnut dresser. Sneak peek of the furniture that arrived yesterday evening - solid walnut, oil and wax finish, made in America; magnificently, impressively awesome.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Justifying Eames

It's a tale of love - let me justify it for you - I'm sure you'll get it...

I saw this original Eames Lounge and Ottoman in an antique store on my last trip to Brussels in November, a trip that coincided with the dollar's slide to an all-time low against the euro. The piece was in perfect condition, the chocolate brown leather worn-in just gently enough to be as soft as butter. I was smitten but the euro/dollar exchange rate was so bad it would have cost at least $3000 to have it delivered to me, with no guarantee it wouldn't be damaged in transit. Reluctantly, after briefly considering dreaming about buying a pied-à-terre in the city and placing this iconic furniture in it, I let go and walked away.

Then, in the bon chic bon genre Sablon district, we saw a brand new genuine Herman Miller licensed version in cherry and black leather for ::gulp:: 4900 euros, approximately $7000. Now, the same basic 670 and 671 models in the US were selling for $3899. If you subtract the price of the chair in the USA from one sold in Europe you save over $3000 or almost the price of the American Lounge Chair and Ottoman. It would be like BOGO - nearly free! Right? ...No?

Well, that's the justification I made when I gave in and ordered the limited edition Santos Palisander ( a sustainable alternative to the original rosewood veneer) Chair and Ottoman with black Dream Cow leather. It's an upgrade but I took advantage of free shipping and an extra 20% off promotion in December. It was a huge splurge, I know, and if I hadn't compared the prices in euros and dollars I would almost certainly never have taken the leap but if you remember I said back in 2004 I wanted one fine mid-century chair to complete the house; it's just that turned out not to be a Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair but an American classic.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Morning

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maybe this bed?

Art Nouveau bed (1899) by Belgian artist Gustave Serrurier-Bovy at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The big bed bust or the super kitchen table steal deal

The DWR Annexe sale in Secaucus last weekend had plenty of bargains - there were lots of King-sized beds on sale, including the Matera that I loved, and all these tables that I've previously considered to replace our cafe kitchen table were substantially reduced. Not that we were looking for tables on Saturday but we were there and they were there, so...

This oval Saarinen had a black marble (Nero) top, too dark for our house - and we decided too big

This round Saarinen had the white Carrera top but it was the same size as the present kitchen table - too small

I was leaning towards the Matthew Hilton Cross table but it was only available in bleached oak - too light

The Warren Platner table that I didn't even consider because The Guy had vetoed it a few years back. The same Guy who called me across the room as I was checking the beds out. He had his whole hand on it and I think he would have licked the top if anyone other than a salesperson had come near him. He wasn't going to give it up. What could I say? It's the right period (1966), right shape, unique, classic, eco-friendly (Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified) and Warren Platner worked with Raymond Loewy just as Andrew Geller had done. Bonus - it has exactly the right dimensions for the kitchen. SOLD!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Taste

Apparently an upholstered bed will work in a modern, mostly wood room. Check out this gorgeous house for sale in Vancouver

The bathroom is pretty awesome, too

and I'm seriously in love with the kitchen.
Apparently the house was used as a location for a new film that has something to do with a popular TV series. Julia has the details...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Head of design?

I am seriously re-thinking The Guy's role in the design/decor decision-making process. Yesterday I took him to look at the last of my selection of walnut beds.... and we came home with a table. The table is gorgeous, and of course it was on sale, but I swear that when I first suggested it eons and eons ago he rejected it out of hand - this weekend he has to have it. Meanwhile he's still holding fast to that upholstered bed. Who is this person and what has he done with my man?
No details on the table until it's delivered - which will probably be mid-week. Until then, how about a nice Fall photo?

Hermes, who cares not a whit for design, is on the fence.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I am totally in love with this Sergio Rodrigues Diz chair from Vintage and Modern Brazilian dealer Mercado Modern. Designed in 2002, it pays homage to many 20th century styles and would fit perfectly into the unique architecture of The Cool House, perhaps near the Michel Arnoult game table. The asking price is actually something of a bargain - they retail for almost double. Dreaming....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Since I got my sinfully scarlet Steelcase chairs last week I've been coming across the American manufacturer's modernist office furniture everywhere.

Founded in 1912 as the Metal Office Furniture Company, Steelcase got its new name at the height of the mid-century modern movement. Their website doesn't have much information about the designs from the 1950s, 60 and 70s but a few evocative photos can be found at the milestones section.

There's better luck searching for images of catalogs from that era: A selection of red office chairs with a contrasting yellow desk from a Steelcase catalog

or this yellow chrome armchair, from the early 1960s. (If you are hungry for more MCM images the Mid-Century Modernist has a post here).

Of course actual examples of Steelcase MCM furniture often come up for auction, on ebay, or at 1stdibs. Prices vary widely - as does the condition of the furniture.

And if you prefer your work space modern rather than modernist, The Steelcase Design Studio is still producing solid, ergodynamic office furniture. For more info on new products visit their blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pierre Paulin Dies

Iconic French designer Pierre Paulin died June 13 in Montpellier, France at the age of 81. Although he began his career designing for Thonet-France, he is most famous for his abstract and sculptural fabric covered foam on metal frame furniture that was produced by Dutch firm Artifort in the 1960s:

Ribbon Chair

Mushroom Chair

Little Tulip

Orange Slice

Tongue Chair

In the 1970s and 80s, two French Presidents, Georges Pompidou and Francois Mitterrand, invited him to furnish rooms in the Élysée Palace, and President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Paulin declaring "he made design into an art form". Last year a retrospective of his work "Pierre Paulin, le design au pouvoir" was held at the at La Manufacture des Gobelins - Le mobilier national in Paris. His designs are in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including MoMA in NY and were used in the futuristic Elrod House setting of the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever”.

His last design, the Flower Chair for Magis debuted at the ICFF May 2009.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nakashima Woodwork

Conoid bench with back, 1968

For the longest time I have been in love with the distinctive benches, tables and chairs of mid-century designer and furniture maker George Nakashima.  I adhere to his philosophy of "no style", which I take to mean let the object be itself, showcase the raw source and use its imperfections to make a more beautiful piece of furniture.

Arlyn Table, 1988

Not rough-hewn but lovingly finished, natural splits in the wood are tied with his signature butterfly ties and the unique form of burl wood is celebrated for its dynamic shape. 

Other woodworkers have been inspired by his aesthetics and style to produce custom handcrafted furniture. This 6' bench was recently for sale on ebay.

via remodalista

Nakashima influenced designs fit seamlessly into almost any decor - Asian, Modern, Country, and every room - here on a porch,

in designer Shamir Shah's living room (featured in Interior Design), and even in tile designer Sarah Baldwin's bathroom.

Conoid Chair 1988

The beauty and radiance of genuine Nakashima furniture is outstanding.  To wonder at the range and craftsmanship of this unique designer visit the online gallery of vintage pieces at Moderne Gallery or the slideshow of the George Nakashima and Knoll: The Making of an Object exhibit that runs until June 6 at The Design Center at Philadelphia University.

The Nakashima legacy continues under the guidance of his daughter Mira and a team of dedicated woodworkers at New Hope Pennsylvania. Tours of the showroom and property are given throughout the year, contact George Nakashima Woodworker for details.

It's Friday so go visit old houses at Hooked on Houses and Fifi Flowers is giving away a Coco Chanel book (small girly scream)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Craftsman Modern

If I had the need for a bar stool, which I do not, if I even liked bar stools, which, unless they are in a bar, I really don't and if I had $1,400 in the budget, which is never going to happen, this warm, handcrafted, uniquely modern Tractor Bar Stool is the one I would buy.

Designed by BassamFellows as part of their Craftsman Modern collection I love everything about it: the ergonomic solid walnut seat, inspired by a Swiss tractor seat; the leather wrapped footrest; the mid-century feel of the tapered legs. I want to look at every day; to touch it; to sit it on it, elbow resting on the counter, one foot resting gently on that leather bar.

Despite the seductiveness of the image I just painted, practically I have no use for a bar stool but fortunately The Tractor Stool also comes in a regular height model ($1350). That would be better suited to our needs; it's just the thing to add to the table when extra guests turn up unexpectedly and would look gorgeous in The Cool House, or any modern, or Craftsman, interior.

The Craftsman Modern Collection, which includes tables, credenzas and a deceptively simple daybed, is available from The Conran Shop. You can see more of BassamFellows' furniture in a New York Times slideshow of their Philip Johnson designed house.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Inspired by Daffodils

One lone daffodil to be precise. I don't know the variety but the combination of pale sunshine yellow and hot orange makes me want to sing* and decorate with:

A bright orange Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair

Soft saffron Elin bed linens by Area from The Conran Shop 

Finnish designer Sanna Annukka's folklore inspired Kanteleen fabric from Marimekko

Or maybe I should make a couple of DIY art panels with a quart of Benjamin Moore Citrus Orange and another of Lemon Meringue?
What would I be singing? Well, certainly this number from the Belgian days