Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Thrifting

You can often find me perusing my favorite vintage stores around Portland. I love finding interesting and unusual pieces. Pieces with history. Pieces with strong bones and excellent craftsmanship..built to last. So, without further adieu, here are a few of this week's findings.

The first set of photos is from my all time favorite Portland vintage store...Lounge Lizard on 13th and Hawthorne. They have quality mid century modern pieces and their inventory is constantly changing. It's organized, too. Often vintage stores are filled to the max with stuff and it can be a little overwhelming. So, thank you for your neatness, Lounge Lizard. It is much appreciated.

Crazy huge orange chandelier. Wouldn't this look great in an all white room with high vaulted ceilings?

MCM appetizer tray with brass handle

Set of acrylic chairs and dining table with tulip base. I actually have one of these chairs in my studio. Reupholstered it and it looks fantastic. 

Chair in my studio

MCM ceramic pitcher with teak detailed lid

The second set of photos comes from a little store that Eric and I stumbled on the other day called Old Portland Hardware. Well, we thought it was little. Turns out it is actually 5,000 sqft of architectural salvage. REALLY fascinating stuff. I would definitely recommend checking this place out. Here's a few of the things we came across.

French Provincial Double Door from Egypt

Door detail

Pair of Corinthian Columns. Quick history lesson: Corinthian columns are the slenderest, most ornate of the 3 classical orders (Corinthian, Doric + Ionic). The capital is often carved with leaf like ornamentation and the shaft is often fluted.

One of these things is not like the other.

Old boiler lid from Portland, I think?

And, I leave you with...a stuffed hyena. I think it's name is Terrance. Any takers?

Monday, December 27, 2010

MCM Miniatures

 This post by Modernica is a must see. A spectacular collection of mid century modern miniatures. Makes me miss my days of model building...

Photos: Tim Boyle’s Brinca Dada miniature modern home

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Portland Treasures: Cozy Mid Century Lodge

I love snuggling up with a blanket and a good book on a cold winter day in front of the fire. There's nothing like it. So, in lieu of the recent gloomy Portland weather, I thought this an appropriate post.

I was browsing through Apartment Therapy today and stumbled upon a Portland gem. Designed by architect Roscoe Hemenway, this 6000 sqft ranch home won House of the Year in 1954. The owner has undertaken some significant remodels and created a beautiful mid century lodge full of character and taxidermied eccentricity. She has achieved a particularly nice blend between indoor/outdoor spaces by utilizing walls of windows and outdoor seating areas.

It's brooding. It's dark and cozy. A perfect retreat for those cold, rainy Portland days we all know so well. Take a look. Images: Andres Leoncavallo.

living room

living area nook



covered outdoor living space

covered outdoor living space 
rorschach stags wallpaper

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid Century Marvels - Hairpin Furniture

Hairpin furniture is the bees knees. It's a mid century staple. I love the way you can juxtapose a heavy slab of wood with hairpin legs to make it appear like it's floating. The good news can do it yourself and it's really affordable. Check out Silvia Song's blog post for a DIY hairpin coffee table.

Here are a few images to show you the possibilities.

1. Hairpin side table, 2. Hairpin Sofa from Modernica, 3. Rare Vintage 60s Bullet Planter, 4. Walnut live edge slab table, 5, 50s Vintage Desk, 6. Buy them at Starts at $14, 7. Vintage Art Deco Ironing Board, 8. Paperclip Side Table at CB2, 9. Classic Eiffel Base Side Chair, 10. Scrap wood credenza with hairpin legs

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Adventure Room

Welcome to the Adventure Room. Yes, it's a bedroom. No, not that kind of adventure. We call it the adventure room because it houses all the tid-bits we've picked up in our travels. Originally this was my husband's ONE room in the house that he got to decorate. So, he did. The result? Terrified house guests and hushed whispers of  "What is wrong with these people?" A gigantic kids bed made out of logs, creepy deathmasks, skulls, bull whips,  bullet shell necklaces, fake real-looking pistols...wouldn't you be scared? Needless to say, I had to take action.

First order of business...a new mattress. A big kid one. Cramming two people in a twin bed is never fun. Especially when the massive logs slip out from the bed frame and crash to the ground in the middle of the night sending our guests plummeting to the floor. Sorry, Stephanie. Second order of business...a few quick sketches, a trip to ikea, and a reintroduction of some of our travel goodies artfully placed with the utmost care in (hopefully) an un-terrifying way. Ta da. Done. Problem I like it more than our room. Husband's thoughts? "Where's the rest of my stuff?" 

Scandinavian Inspired Guest Bedroom 

Guest Bedroom with Aztec Calendar
Mask from our trip to Florence, Italy 

Moroccan Death Mask

Bridlemile Times

Just thought I'd share a little side project I've been working on in my free time. I was asked to design and layout a student newspaper for a 4th grade class. What an ingenious class project. Not to mention the articles are adorable. My favorite? Justin Bieber Christmas toys!

Bridlemile Times

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mid Century Marvels: A Vintage Christmas

I love the holidays. Ask anyone. My tree was up and house was decorated the day after thanksgiving. Of course, I would have decorated at the start of fall, but my sensible husband refuses to let me. I have been searching for the perfect mid century tree topper for 2 years now and I found it today!  A red aluminum sputnik starburst tree topper ( see #2). In my search, I came across the most darling mid century Christmas ornaments and decorations.

1. Vintage silver sputnik era tree topper with jeweled center. 2. Red Aluminum Sputnik Tree Topper - 8" (ebay). 4. Sputnik era tear drop ornaments. 5. Vintage Paper Mache Bells, covered in foil with frosted tops. (etsy) 6. Vintage Mid Century Tear Drop Indent Glass Ornament (etsy) 7. Vintage Mercury Glass candy cane ornaments (etsy). 8. Aqua blue tinsel garland reminiscent of the German vintage lametta tinsel. (etsy)  9. A set of vintage sputnik era, blue glass teardrop ornaments. Made in the USA by Paragon Glass Works. (etsy) 10. Vintage Christmas Pixie Ornament (etsy).

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Sketchbook Project: Mystery Maps

I received my sketchbook yesterday and couldn't wait to get started. My theme? Mystery Maps.

theme: mystery maps
journal: black moleskin, size: 5.5 x 8.5
media: technical pens, copic markers (W5: Warm Gray, PM-170: Peach, G40: Dim Green)

So...what is a map? 

Well, by definition a map is " a representation, usually on a flat surface, as of the features of an area of the earth or a portion of the heavens, showing them in their respective forms, sizes, and relationships according to some convention of representation."

To me, a map is much more. A fingerprint, a computer circuit board, a family tree, a memory. It can be a physical tool to locate a place or time. It can be a journey to finding someone or something. Through my sketchbook, I plan to explore the possibilities.

What is a map to you?

The Sketchbook Project

Heard of the sketchbook project? If not, you should check it out. The Sketchbook Project is a national art project based out of Brooklyn. Essentially, it will be a huge collection of sketchbooks gathered from thousands of artists that are based on a variety of preselected themes.  Anyone can participate.

The sketchbooks will tour the states being showcased in museums across the nation.  After the tour, the project will become a permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Art Library. Pretty cool, eh? But there's something cooler. The sketchbooks can be checked out like library books. Each book comes with a barcode. Every time your barcode is scanned, you'll receive a notification. So, you can track the popularity of your book. Neat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Whenever you refinish a chair, don't expect it to be done quickly. Not if you want it done well. It takes a lot of time and patience but it is oh so rewarding when you start to see the raw wood underneath.

  • A wood sanding sponge. My favorite kind has a rounded corner, a sharp angled corner and 2 right angle corners. These are great for sanding curves and nooks and crannies.  
  • A handheld electric sander.
  • Various grits of sandpaper. (For this I started with a 100 grit and finished with a 220)
  • Safety glasses 
  • Unless inhaling wood dust is your thing, a handkerchief to cover your nose and mouth.

I painstakingly sanded the first side of the frame by hand, which took 6 hours and resulted in the loss of several of my fingerprints. On the next side I wised up. I used the electric sander for the majority, and sanded the hard to reach spots by hand. Praise the electric sander. It cut my sanding time down by more than half...and salvaged my remaining fingerprints.

I sanded the entire frame with 100-150 grit paper first. Then, I went over it again with 220 grit to give it a smooth, even finish. Keep in mind that sanding with fine grit paper will effect the amount of stain that can penetrate the wood, giving it a lighter appearance. If needed, you can just do a few coats. 

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Before we begin, a word about Danish Furniture. I love Danish Furniture. I would fill my entire house with it if I could and, actually, am well on my way to doing so.  I love the Danes. I love them so much, I have a Great Dane. A Great Dane and a house filled with Danish furniture.

Moving on.

First of all, you'll have to forgive me. I got so excited about finally refinishing this chair that it was in pieces on the floor before I realized I didn't have a proper "before" picture. So, you'll have to settle for the one below. 
I picked this baby up at Lounge Lizard for only 35 bucks. It's been pretty abused. My temporary solution was to cover it with a nice lamb skin throw, but the time has come to give it a new life. A prettier life. As you can see, someone dared to, not only paint the wood, but paint it a lovely solid brown covering up any indication that there's actually wood under there. The orange terry cloth upholstery looked great in it's prime, I'm sure, but is now in pretty shabby shape. But enough of the negative. This chair has already got low self esteem. It's got great lines and great potential. When I'm finished with it, this chair will be fabulous.