Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lila, the mother of Shoestring Abundance, well, half of it, is a thrift shopper from way back and a master of getting a dime out of a nickel.  She has also been a lover of mid-century modern design all the way back to when it was just modern and within that vein she has a particular fondness for the Scandinavian influence; being first generation American with a Norwegian father that may just be genetics.  Whatever the case she has cultivated a style that is distinctly her own.  In 2000 Lila and Gary bought a great little house on high bank waterfront in Hansville, besides being a great place for the whole family to gather it has been a perfect palette for shoestring design.  A trademark of her style is splashes of bright color set against a stark background or the play of black against white.  Like modernism, Lila has loved chartreuse since it went around the first time.

Her collection of vases and Bauer bowls, all thrift shop finds, are the perfect accent to her black and white palette.  Complimenting Lila's love of color is a strong presence of natural wood.  The beauty of the wood is usually achieved by, Heather's father, Gary's painstaking attention to detail in the refinishing of her vintage finds. Clearly visible in the very vintage Heywood Wakefield dining chairs above and the dresser below.  I will rub some teak oil on a new find and call it good, Gary, sands and oils and sands and oils............long after I've lost interest.  This picture succinctly sums up Lila and Gary's style and our shoestring connection.  The dresser below is one of my all time favorites. We found it at St. Vinnies for $24.50.  It is made out of oak plank with dovetailed drawers and no nails.  We thought it was beautiful as we found it, but Gary worked it into a piece of art.  The Painting is a Goodwill find that expresses Lila's palette beautifully and her forever favorite flower chartreuse zinnias.  One of those great pieces of art we have found with no signature.

 A great friend of our's and a highly skilled one (same person) built this fantastic bookshelf that contributes so much to the space.  Also helps to have an artist in the family.

All of the furnishings here are thrift store finds or as is the case with the cream chair and a matching couch, Little Nickel.  Heather revealed her love of furniture early by buying this pair before finishing high school.  Shockingly, the matching loveseat came with this house 27 years later.  The black recliner is a Milo Baughman design for Thayer Coggin (mid 50's) found at St. Vinnies.


At 17 and 15 how did Heather and I know that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together?  Star alignment? Shared passions? Compatibility?  No.  Both of our mother's had a very large Lee Reynolds prominently featured in our homes.  Mine was bought at a Grantree for $100.00.  We rolled all the windows down in the Dodge Dart and slipped it in over our heads.  Lila's was bought at Arnold's Furniture in Bremerton 1968 also for $100.00.  She eventually ended up with both paintings.

We all seem to have a thing for chairs; here Lila takes their decorative aspect to another level.  Now is not the season, but we will revisit this wonderful home in the spring because no visit is complete without a tour of their beautiful garden.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A House Full of Great Danes!

                                                         A house full of great Danes.
It would be very hard to overstate the Danish contribution to the modern furniture movement.  Starting in the late 40's the Dane's contributed as much or more than any other country to the evolution of modern furniture design. Pictured above are representatives of the Danish all-stars, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Peter Hvidt,  Orlar Nielsen and Jl Moller.  This picture reminds me that we don't change so much.

In the early seventies, I was an avid collector, but my passion was baseball cards. For .15 cents you could get a stale stick of gum and 10 baseball cards. I loved the Reggie Jacksons, Carl Yastrzemskis and Vida Blues, but my prized cards were a set I found at a coin and stamp shop.  10 cents a card for all the immortals, all the greats from the 50's, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Whitey Ford.  When I saw those cards my heart stopped, I looked around, I blinked, all my heroes for 10 cents each.  From that point I was hooked, I could not believe my good fortune and to this day it is very hard for me to pass the junk shop or St Vinnies, because I just know there might be something there for me.  Thankfully, Heather shares the same passion and optimism.

While my baseball heroes were changing the face of baseball and bringing a new excitement to the game, the designers above were sharing the same commitment to excellence and changing the face of design.  They were all icons in the making.  Admittedly, baseball cards took up a lot less space.  Again thank God for Heather.
Chair #7 Arne Jacobsen
Arne Jacobsen's chair #7 was designed in the early 50's.  It's popularity skyrocketed in 1963 when photographer Lewis Morley used it to cover English model and showgirl Christine Keeler's nakedness.  A pose that has been duplicated countless time since.

                                                                   Peter Hvidt Chair
One of my favorite chairs.  Peter Hvidt (1916-1986) designed this with his partner Orla Molgaard Nielsen.  Together they designed 256 different pieces.  I love the simplicity of materials and the sculptural quality of the bracing.  We were lucky find a set of 8 of these at St. Vinnies.

We have never been able to track down the history of this chair. it has many Danish qualities but also a touch of a George Nakashima influence.  It really doesn't matter where it came from it is a beautiful piece.
                                                             Chair #23 Hans Wegner

      Hans Wegner's chair #23 a simple icon made by the master of mid-century Danish furniture.

N.O Moller, like so many of his contemporaries began as a cabinet maker.  He later founded J.L. Moller a company that is still creating beautiful pieces today.

                                                       Just a simple stool from Denmark

I love how all these pieces are unique to their creators but share a warmth that make them distinctly Danish.  I also love that we have been able to find all these pieces sixty years after their creation in the most unlikely of places.