Friday, July 29, 2011

White on white decor

I was wandering around some antiques shops and found myself drawn to the white palate that is often characteristic of Scandinavian design. It's not really all white, but shades of whites and creams with a bit of natural wood color thrown in.

This antique Swedish sofa says it all. The white painted frame looks terrific with the contrast of the natural wood back and sides. The white cushions go perfectly. 

This elegant corner cabinet is that almost white cream color that would be so wonderful in a kitchen or an all white living room. Pair it with cream colored dishes, and you complete the look.

The decor of Lars Bolander for his own houses is the perfect example of how to put together a white on white look. It's about subtlety of shades with just a touch of color. Adding some pillows in a pastel color, or a painting, or a touch of gold set off the white and creams. 

In another Bolander room, just look at details. The white walls have added interest in the detail of the paneling. The white upholstery is a whiter white than the painted frames of the furniture. The floors are almost a gray white shade.

This combination console table and mirror would be a wonderful way to decorate an instant entryway. All you need are a few cream vases on the console table, and you establish your look as soon as guests enter your home. This table and mirror is being offered at the Bonhams auction in San Francisco August 14th. This is is Lot 2487, and is described as a Louis XVI style painted and parcel gilt console table with mirror. It has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. The white paint is set off by the gold and color insets.

This lovely little writing table is also in the Bonhams sale. I love the white on white painted detail with gold accents.  This is Lot 2445, and is described also as Louis XVI style. It has an auction estimate of $400 - $600. This is the kind of size that it would fit anywhere - a living room, bedroom, even a bathroom.

This commode with marble top would add that element of cream to the 'white on white' look. It is a warm shade and the top adds that extra subtle element of color. This is Lot 2482 in the Bonhams sale and is described as Louis XVI style. It has an auction estimate of $300 - $500.

We will need some seating, and this delicate George III Adam style chair would be perfect. The white painted frame is set off by a pastel pink upholstered seat. The Prince of Wales feather on the back is a great detail. This is included in the next New Orleans Auction 30 and 31 July. It's Lot 5, and has an auction estimate of $300 - $500.
I was taken by these Chinese stools in the New Orleans auction. I always love adding an Asian element to decor, and one doesn't often find white painted Chinese stools like these. They would add an element of surprise to your white on white decorating. These are Lot 39, and have an auction estimate of $50 - $80. I would use them as extra seating, or even as end tables next to a couple of chairs.

This painted metal garden table would work inside as well. I love the design details of the twisted branch legs and the birds at the edge of the top. This is included in the next Copake Auction in Copake, NY 30th July. It is Lot 21 and has an auction estimate of $100 - $150.

Spend some time looking at paint colors in your hardware store, and there will be a mind boggling selection of 'whites'. Get inspiration on how to mix them for a classic white on white decor. You can build a room with lots of warmth, without the risk being cold.Then add some texture and subtle color, and you have the look!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cool Compact Desks

There are lots of rooms in the house that benefit from a desk. Of course, the home office or library must have one, but what about guest rooms or kitchens? It's always nice to have a place to write a note or sit and work at the laptop. Also, if you have children, you may want to keep an eye on their computer surfing while you cook!

Elle Decor - Designer: Alex Papachristidis

A French secretary with a fold down desk is always a stylish solution to fitting a desk in a living room or bedroom. In this living room designed by Alex Papachristidis, what could be a more elegant place to do some work on your laptop!

Designer: Phoebe Howard

In this East Hampton living room, Phoebe Howard tucked a desk away in the bay window. Wouldn't this be a lovely place to have coffee and read the paper on-line in the morning?

New Orleans Auction has their next auction July 30th and 31th. As always they have a beautiful selection of antiques, and here are a few compact desk options.

I love this George III fruitwood butlers chest (early 19th century). It hides a drop front secretary drawer that would serve as the desk. It's 36 inches wide. This is Lot 60, and has an auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800.  This would be perfect in a guest room - there are drawers for clothes and a desk for a laptop.

I've always liked the idea of a roll top desk. Most are quite bulky, but not this one. This is a Regency mahogany desk (1st quarter 19th century), and it has drawers and cubby holes inside. It's only 36 inches wide, and would be lovely in the corner of a living room, a kitchen, or a guest room. This is Lot 183, and has an auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800. 
You may ask, is this a desk? Well, it is, sort of. This is a Regency mahogany and brass lap desk, and would have been perfect to have while traveling for writing notes. This may not fit the bill for a laptop, but is wonderfully decorative, and nice for those who still write handwritten notes. Set it on a table, and it looks great closed as a decorative box. This is Lot 209. It has a green leather writing slope and compartments for bottles and pens. It's 20 inches wide and has an auction estimate of $500 - $800.

This desk would be more of an investment, but it's beautiful! This desk was designed by Gebruder Thonet in 1904 (Austrian). It has wonderful curves. This is called Lady Desk, model 2, and is made of lacquered beech, leather, and brass. It measures 38 inches wide, and sold at a Wright auction in Chicago for $7,500. This would be a wonderful spot to work in a library of living room. It's too pretty to hide away!

This lovely little French painted metal writing desk and chair sold at a Doyle New York auction for $1,875. This looks like a bargain to me for both pieces. The desk is 32 inches wide, and this would work well in a kitchen, or perhaps a young girl's bedroom.

I would argue that we all need multiple desks. I know my husband and I each have our own work spaces, as should children. And we always have a desk in our guest rooms. But there isn't always quite enough room, so a stylish compact desk may be just the answer! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

More on hall chairs

Hall chairs come up at auction regularly, and I love the chic masculine design. They are a versatile addition to a room.

Homes and Gardens, UK

In this serenely decorated living room, a smart hall chair with shield is  placed in front of the French doors. It adds decoration to the scheme, and is handy extra seating as well.

 Designer: Nina Griscom via Luxury Interior Design blog

Hall chairs in the hallway - imagine that! The shape of the backs on these used by Nina Griscom gives them added interest. Note all the classic elements in this decor - the urn on the Neoclassical console table, the framed portrait profiles of Roman emperors, and a bit of fun added with the zebra carpet.

Elle Decor - Designer: Todd Romano

The designer, Todd Romano, has a hall chair peeking in to this living room, adding to the overall room decor. It's also an easy thing to pull in to the room for extra seating as needed. 

Designer: Thomas Jayne Studio

This country hall designed by Thomas Jayne Studio exudes English design. I can see the person who just came in from a ride sitting on one of these hall chairs and taking off her boots. I love the green walls as well!

This pair of Regency (circa 1820) mahogany hall chairs sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $1,063 off an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. This shape is similar to some of the chairs in the photos above. The curves give them a lot of decorative interest.

I love the almost whimsical carved back of this hall chair that sold at Bonhams in Los Angeles for $244. It's a late Regency (early 19th century) mahogany chair. The back almost looks like a smile! Wouldn't that be fun to come home to.

This pair of William IV-Style Mahogany Hall Chairs, each with a scrolling modified shield-form back above the wooden seat were sold at a St. Charles Gallery auction in New Orleans for $246 off an auction estimate of $200 - $200. They have interestingly shaped backs and carving.

I like these Victorian oak hall chairs for their color and the family crests on the back of the rectangular backs topped by rounded scrolling. The crests for the West family of griffin's heads issuing from coronets are flanked by shaped rectangular panels. These sold at a Bonhams auction in London for the US equivalent of about $1,920.

Hall chairs may not be the first thing you think of when decorating your home, but they are very nice decorative elements to have. Think of them as extra seating, a great place to take off wet shoes in the entry hall, or even as a spare table to place towels on in the bathroom with you have guests. Keep an eye out, and find one you like. There will be a place for it in your home!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dare to be rustic!

I love designers and home owners that have the courage to use rustic, vintage, even beat up, pieces of furniture in a confident way. This opens up all sort of opportunities to find great pieces at auctions for a song!

All photos from Skona Hem - Designer: Nina Hartmann Sundgren
In this Swedish home, the home owner has a passion for vintage, and it all ties together in a simple white scheme with touches of browns. The top photo of the entryway shows a pealing console table with vintage luggage on the shelves. It's dressed up with a chandelier and elaborate wall sconces. 

The dining area includes a painted farm house table, and industrial chairs. While the living room uses a vintage bench as a coffee table and a wonderful old cabinet for display and storage.

If we start with the entryway, this primitive wood sorting table would make a wonderful console table. This sold at a Copake Auction in Copake, NY for $80 off an auction estimate of $40 - $60. This is painted a chic gray, and measures 60 inches wide.
 Copake was also a great place to pick up a farm table to put in the dining area. This benchmade Quebec table sold for $900 off an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. It measures 38 inches wide by 100 inches long. It has a wonderful wood top, and green painted base.  This would comfortably sit eight. Just find some industrial chairs for the look in the Swedish home.

I love this vintage metal medicine cabinet. This would be a terrific piece of furniture in the living room, used for storage and display. It has lots of drawers, a shelf, and three drop front doors. This is circa 1900, and sold at a Kamelot Auction in Philadelphia, PA for $850.
I'm in to rustic benches! This green painted bootjack bench would be great as a coffee table like the one in the photo above, or as a bench in the entryway for a place to sit to take off your boots. It's 78 inches long and sold at a Copake Auction for $70 off an auction estimate of $75 - $125. 
At a Kamelot Auction this pair of French end tables sold for $300. They have a wonderful faded paint patina and marble tops. These are circa 1940. Buy an Ikea sofa with a white slip cover, place the end table, the bench coffee table, and the medicine cabinet for an instant chic room for under $1,500. More than enough left over to add a couple of comfortable chairs!

I love the rustic look, and with just a little courage you can have a chic home for not too much cash. Think about adding something glamorous for contrast, like an elaborate chandelier or a pair of sconces.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stylish settee seating

There is something quite elegant about a settee. They can be beautiful shapes and are wonderful extra seating. Use them at the end of the bed for a place to put on your shoes or relax: place them in a window for a spot to read a magazine; use them in an entryway for a welcoming look; or use one as an alternative style of dining table seating for two.

 Canadian House and Home

This wonderful little settee is set off so well with it's yellow upholstery against the deep blue wall, hung with an eclectic group of pictures. I love yellow and blue combinations!

 Designer: Steven Gambrel

In this Southhampton kitchen, the designer, Steven Gambrel, uses two settees as stylish dining seating.

We had a settee at the end our our bed in our New York apartment. We used it to get ready in the morning, or sit and watch the news on TV when we got home from work in the evening.

 Skona Hem Magazine (Sweden)

This wonderful Gustavian styled room features the most fabulous white painted settee with carved griffins holding up the arms. In typical Scandinavian style, the room is simple and light. 

This lovely and refined settee is included in the Bonhams estate auction in San Francisco 17 July. The curved shape of the back and the spindle details make this an inviting place to sit. It comes with what looks like a comfortable cushion. This is Lot 5203. It's 1st half of the 20th century and made of fruitwood. It's 44 inches wide and has an auction estimate of $300 - $500.   This would be very chic in a bedroom, or by a window.
The Bonhams sale also includes this Louis XVI fruitwood settee (late 18th century). This has an auction estimate of  $1,500 - $2,000. I love the clean lines. This could grace an entryway or living room, and even serve as dining table seating.

At a past Doyle New York sale this Italian rococo style painted settee was on offer. It's 33 inches long and sold for $250 off an auction estimate of $200 - $300. The style makes this great for a bedroom, or it's a good size for an entryway.

I fell in love with this Edwardian painted satinwood and caned salon suite which sold at a Doyle New York auction. The decorative cane details are wonderful, and the sheild on the backs are decorated with putti and garlands. This sold for $3,438 off an auction estimate of $3,000 - $5,000. The settee is 46 1/2 inches long. This would work in the Sheila Bridges style room in the photo above.
This French walnut and tapestry settee is a very classic style. This is Lot 660 in the next Christie's Interiors sale in New York 18 - 20 July. It measures 54 1/2 inches long. The settee is 20th century, upholstered with a 19th century tapestry. This has an auction estimate of $3,000 - $5,000. This would be lovely in any living room or entryway. When guests come over, pull it up to your seating area and squeeze in more people for cocktails!

We can always use more seating options around the house. Whether for a place to read, or to accommodate more guests. A settee will do the trick stylishly!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Modern Design 'at auction'

I've been looking at the Swedish magazine website, Skona Hem, for inspiring homes. Scandinavians know how to put together simple, stylish decor with a very modern sensibility. I also love Dwell magazine for it's features on modern architecture, and inspiring design.

Dwell Magazine - Pearson-Trent Residence 
This wonderful open concept room uses warm tones and comfortable vintage furniture. It exudes a bit of a 1950's vibe, but updated. 

Both photos Skona Hem

I spot a few classics in these photos like the Arne Jacobsen Swan chair in brown leather in the top photo, and these simple dining chairs, also of Arne Jacobsen design. 

Wright Auctions in Chicago is a 'go to' auction house for modern designs. They have a Mass Modern auction 9 July. These auctions are generally filled with accessibly priced pieces that will give you that modern vibe. Furnish your living room now!

You could just sink in to this leather chair! It was designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia in 1966, and is called the Amanta lounge chair. This is included in the Wright auction (Lot 149) with an auction estimate of $500 - $700.

I think many modern coffee table lack pizzazz, but this one  bucks the trend. This is French circa 1950, and was designed by Roger Capron. It's made of glazed earthenware and steel, and measures 38 inches long. This is Lot 169, and has an auction estimate of $900 - $1,200.

This chair has real style! There is something simple in the cream leather and lacquered wood materials, but with a fabulous design shape. This is Lot 152, and was designed by Ward Bennett for Brickel Associates, circa 1970. This has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. 

This lot has to be the bargain of the auction if it goes for the estimate range of $200 - $300. The set is described as 'attributed to Paul Frankl, USA 1948 (Lot 218). I suspect that the 'attributed' means it's not, so therefore the low estimate. Forget the attribution! This is a stylish set of chairs and coffee table. I love the beige upholstery with the contrast piping. 
I realize that I haven't used anything Scandinavian yet, and that was my lead off to this blog. These make it up! They are a Alvar Aalto (Finland) design circa 1936, manufactured by Design Artek in Finland in 2005. These exude modern, and paired with a white sofa make a great living room design. These are Lot 108, and have an auction estimate of $3,000 - $5,000.

Finally, the Arne Jacobsen chairs come up at auction frequently. If you're looking for some, do a little research first on past sale prices to get an idea of what to bid.

This set of eight model 3107 chairs sold at a Christie's auction for $2,000. They are a 1955 design produced by Fritz Hansen in the 1990's. They are in black leather upholstery. 

Modern design is everywhere at auction. Find something to add a modern vibe to your decor!

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