Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scandinavian Design 'at auction'

Modern design seems to have practically started in Scandinavia. The cool lines of furniture by Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner, for example, are iconic, and copied over and over.

Skonahem Magazine (Sweden)

In this dining room, the sideboard is by Børge Mogensen, the chairs by Arne Jacobsen, and the rug was designed by Märta ­Måås-Fjetterströms. 

The ceiling fixture in the dining room above is by Poul Henningsen. It is reproduced (and copied) all the time. You can see why, because it gives a space a modern edge, but could be used with a more traditional look. The dining table is by the Danish designer Ole Wanscher. 

Elle Decor - Designer: Michael DePerno

In a California house designed by Michael DePerno, the living room includes these wonderful yellow Danish arm chairs. They fit with the mid-century vibe and add the pop of color to contrast with the white and beige sofas. 

Wright Auctions in Chicago has their Scandinavia Design auction coming up November 17th. It is full of iconic designers that could satisfy your desire to re-create the look!

My focus in the Wright on-line catalogue is on decorating a living room. If we start with a sofa this one designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1956 is perfect (Lot 207). It measures 71 inches wide, and is made of a bronze plated steel  frame and leather upholstery. This has an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. This exudes mid-century cool.

I love these chairs designed by Finn Juhl (Danish) in 1953. These are model NV-53, and are made of teak with uphostery. The have a comfortable  design, and are just plain fabulous! These are Lot 192, and have an auction estimate of $7,000 - $9,000.

This pair of Ole Wanscher (Danish) arm chairs were designed in 1944. They are made of lacquered beech and birch. The curves of the back slats are what make the design. They are very decorative and almost sculptural. These are Lot  101 and have an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000.

For me the Arne Jacobsen Swan chair is one of the most iconic of the mid-century designs. It was designed in 1957. This example in the Wright auction is particularly good looking because of the warm colored leather upholstery. It also swivels and tilts!  This is Lot 204, and has an estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

We, of course, need a rug. This design by Märta ­Måås-Fjetterströms (Swedish) would be wonderful. It was designed in 1925, and measures 63" x 115". This is Lot 109, and has an auction estimate of $3,000 - $5,000. There are a couple of other rugs by the same designer in the auction. 

You see this design by Poul Henningsen quite a bit. There are new ones available, but wouldn't it be more fun to have an original designed in 1958. This is called model PH5.  I love that this one is blue, which also makes it stand out from the crowd. This is Lot 284, and has an auction estimate of $700 - $900. 

Scandinavian design is quite the rage right now. You needn't go for a full Mad Men mid-century look. Just add an iconic design like an Arne Jacobsen chair, or a pair by Ole Wanscher to a room with a classic sofa, and you have instant chic!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Architectural details 'at auction'

As we look to decorate our home, the architectural details can often be critical to the overall design impression. Depending on your style, this might include adding or upgrading the molding, or stripping it away for a clean look. You might add columns to create room separation where this is none.

There is also lots of options to buy architectural elements from buildings and re-purpose them as art. As you might suspect, auctions have some creative offerings!

Designer: Lars Bolander

The column in this bedroom designed by Lars Bolander divides the sleeping area from a sitting area. Also if you look closely on the left, there is a wonderful carved wooden garland that I suspect was originally built in to paneling at a wonderful grand house.

Designer: Vicente Wolf (both photos)

Vicente Wolf can always be counted on to find interesting architectural pieces to include in his decorating schemes. In the top photo he turns an elaborate cornice in to a console table to fabulous effect. In the bottom photo, he uses window screens as art on the wall - wonderfully chic!

Kamelot Auctions in Philadelphia often has a good selection of architectural, industrial, and garden pieces in their auctions. Their next auction October 22nd includes a number of intriguing and fun items. Columns are terrific architectural additions to a space. Use them to frame a doorway or to divide a large space like Lars Bolander did. This set of four 98 inches tall marble half columns with gilt capitals are circa 1890 (Lot 2). Kamelot has an interesting way of doing the bidding. They show an estimate - in this case $400 - $600 - but that's for one. You, in fact, have to buy all four, so they call it 'times the money'. A bit confusing in my view. Anyway, I think these would add fabulous detail to a room. 
These cast stone corbels can be used a number of ways. They are large at 31" tall. They could be used as wall ornaments on their own, or to support a table top. These are Lot 213 in the Kamelot auction and are $50 - $150 each, and then 'times the money' for all four. They are circa 1920.

I can think of all sorts of ways to use this cast iron window cornice, circa 1870. This lot actually includes six of these, but it is being sold 'as many as you wish'. Use it to frame a fireplace, use two to make a head board, or place it over a doorway. They are Lot 3, and measure 35" tall and 49" wide. They have an auction estimate of $300 - $600 each.

Copake Auction in Copake, NY is a bargain hunters treasure trove. They have their next auction October 22nd. They have this wonderfully carved wood architectural ornament (Lot 400) on offer. It measures 30' x 30", and would be a great piece of art on your wall. This has an auction estimate of $40 - $60. 

This pair of late 19th century stone painted fruitwood wall brackets were originally architectural elements. They are elaborately carved and would make great brackets, either on their own, or with something displayed on top, or they might serve as base for a wall mounted console table, like the one in the Vicente Wolf hall way above. These sold at a Christie's for $2,750 off an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. These measure 13" tall and 13" wide.
For comparison, this pair of carved wood architectural brackets sold at a New Orleans Auction for $584, off an auction estimate of $250 - $400). The are not nearly as detailed, but I like the chipped paint effect, and would leave them just as they are. They were made in the 1st quarter of the 20th century in the Southern United States.

You can have a lot of fun looking for architectural elements on offer at auctions. Let your mind be creative in how to use them, and you will create a distinctive look for your home. No cookie cutter designs for you!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Iconic modern furniture 'at auction'

Ever think about adding an iconic piece of modern furniture to your decor? Maybe a Charles and Ray Eames, or a Mies Van der Rohe, or an Arne Jacobsen?

In this Spanish apartment in Barcelona, we see examples of or iconic designs. In the top photo, there is a leather Charles and Ray Eames lounge chair and ottoman along with a Saarinen side table. In the bottom photo, we have a pair of Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs in a warm brown leather.

Auctions are a great place to get pieces that are vintage, and maybe even at a good price. There are some auctions coming up that will provide just such an opportunity.

The Bonhams 20th Century Decorative Arts sale coming up October 16th in Los Angeles is chock a block with iconic pieces. Let's start with Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. This pair of chrome steel and leather Brno chairs are Lot 5209. They were designed circa 1930, and produced by Knoll. These provide instant modern design credentials! These are estimate at $2,000 - $4,000.

I love the Hans Wegener Papa Bear chair and ottoman for comfort. Not all modern chair designs are that comfortable!  This one is teak and wool upholstered and was designed in 1951. It's Lot 5195 in the Bonhams sale, and has an auction estimate of $2,500 - $3,500.

This yellow version of the Charles and Ray Eames DAR chairs just makes me want to smile. These are Lot 5253 in the Bonhams sale, and are described as being an early version 1950's. They have an auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800.

Another Eames classic is this rosewood and leather lounge chair and ottoman. This would be great for curling up with a good book, and feeling cool at the same time! This is Lot 5250 in the Bonhams sale with an auction estimate of $2,000 - $4,000.
Poul Jensen may not be quite as well known as the above three designers, but these chairs caught my eye. They exude mid-century style. These were designed for Selig and have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200 (Lot 5197).

We have to include Arne Jacobsen on our list of iconic modern designers. The Danish master designed the Swan chair, and this pair sold at a Christies auction for $2,250 off an auction estimate of $2,000 - $3,000. These are upholstered in a fun bright blue fabric, and would be a great punch of color in your decor. The Swan chair was designed in 1958 for Fritz Hansen.

Elle Decor

Modern interior design often relies on iconic designers as the base from which to build the look. In these Elle Decor photos we have an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair in the top photo, and the Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe classic in the bottom photo. It looks very stylish and cool, and auctions are a great place to buy vintage modern designs.
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