My mom is like a thrifting ninja. As she browses the flea market fields or scans second-hand store shelves, she always turns up with the best finds. And I’m not talking about the kind of finds your eccentric aunt brings you when she cleans out her attic. Nope, my mom will turn up with that last teacup to complete your set of thrifted China, or miniature impressionist painting of a plantation home. She brings home the good stuff. A couple of years ago she gifted me an old Samsonite suitcase, which I graciously accepted (I mean, who says “no” to old suitcases?), and then I carefully stored it in my basement until I knew just where I wanted it. As my nursery remodel came together I knew that the suitcase would soon find its home in that little girl’s room, but the problem was, the suitcase was a faded navy blue and looked pretty dull and out of place amongst the other white, yellow, and coral nursery furniture. So I decided to paint it! Painting suitcases can kind of be tricky business, so let me share a few tips and tricks I learned along the way!
Let’s Get Started
If you saw Liz’s decorating trends post you know that she and I recently spent several (blissful!) days taking in all that’s new and notable in furniture, accessories, lighting, fabrics and more in High Point, NC at the world’s largest furniture industry trade show — or as I like to refer to it: Disney for Designers.
While I certainly enjoy checking out the trendiest fabrics and finishes, the highlight of each Market visit for me is spending a few hours strolling thru the Market’s Antique & Design Center. Here, 60+ premiere antique dealers showcase centuries-old European rarities, architectural salvage, mid-century pieces and funky vintage finds.
Antiques have always been a go-to for interior designers but with each passing Market, the collected-over-time look is being realistically reproduced by more and more manufacturers. Although most of the items I point out below are available to-the-trade-only, meaning you have to go through an interior designer or dealer to buy them (sorry!), they’re just a few of the trending antique styles that caught my eye. So, the good news is, if you love antiques, like I do, they’re super hot in the design world right now — whatever type of vintage items you prefer, display them proudly!
Vive la France: French-inspired antiques have been the design world’s darling for quite a while and they’re not ready to raise the white flag yet. I spied all the Louis (13-16) plus several Empire and Rococo gems at Market. Below is a reproduction Louis 16 (or XVI, if you prefer, AKA the same Louis who lost his head alongside Marie Antoinette) gilt settee from Eloquence. They’ve done a fantastic job replicating the handcarved details, even subtly distressing the gilt finish so this new piece looks as if it might have been found at Versailles:
Aged to Perfection: Weathered finishes are also nothing new and I spied plenty of legitimately timeworn finishes, like the salvaged wooden pediment on the left at Design Legacy alongside new pieces, like the bistro chairs and zinc-topped table at Dovetail, that have been distressed to look like they’ve spent decades outdoors:
3 More Antique Trends to Watch
I actually experienced my first heartbreak a few years ago when I fell head over heels for a flawless, hand-dyed Chesterfield sofa. Once I discovered the price, I knew it would be years before we would be together. As a lifestyle editor, this kind of heartache is hardly rare; I see beautiful furnishings every single day that I’d love to get my hands on but can’t. Luckily, stylish and budget-savvy gal Sabrina Soto, host of The High/Low Project, has scouted the trendiest pieces of the season and found their lovely — and wallet-friendly — counterparts. From cutting boards and pendant lighting to area rugs and throw pillows, Sabrina has found an affordable match for your favorite designer pieces.
Company C | Rugs USA
Welcome guests this holiday season with a colorful, ornate area rug. The intricate pattern on the companyc.com rug drives the price up to $515 (left). But this similar botanical wool rug from rugsusa.com features less detail, making it a beautiful price of $168 (right).
DWR | CB2
For those who can’t get enough of marble, here’s a sleek coffee table you’re going to love. Splurge on the Italian marble-top table with a stainless steel frame for $900 at dwr.com (left), or save yourself some dough and opt for gray-veined marble at a third of the cost ($329) from cb2.com (right).
Cuisinart, Mauviel | Walmart, Calphalon
Culinary pros will love easy access from a hanging pot rack and the stunning copper and stainless-steel pans. The only true difference between the high and low pot racks is the chain links. Splurge on the stainless steel cusinart.com pot rack for $160 (left), or go for the similar buy at walmart.com for just $66 (right). For a 10-piece M’150s copper and stainless steel cookware set from mauviel.com, you’re going to pay $1,985 (left). But, if you go for the Tri-Ply copper and stainless steel 10-piece set from calphalon.com, you’ll save more than $1,500 (right).
More High/Low Ideas
Liz and I went to High Point Market this weekend to spot the hottest trends in home design. Some trends have made a comeback — like gold furniture — while others, like mid-century modern furniture, are still holding strong. We saw many new ones, including leather furniture, lounge chairs and clever storage solutions, but three trends really stood out.
Clockwise: Baker Furniture; Four Hands; Sauder Furniture; Leslie W. Moore Designs
It’s all about entertaining these days — especially with summer days ahead. What better and easier way to serve drinks than a bar cart? From extravagant wood carts to retro-style, glass-topped ones, there was a cart to fit every person’s design style and budget.
See More Trends
My friend and coworker Camille and I have pretty different tastes when it comes to design, but there is one thing we agree on: We both love a bargain. And so, for this week’s installment on my nursery design, I thought I’d riff on her Adventures in Antiquing series and share my latest furniture find, as well as some tips for turning a diamond in the rough into a showpiece for your home.
I’m a Craigslist junkie. I have the app on my phone and iPad and also check it regularly on my laptop. Obviously, furnishing the nursery has been at the top of my mind lately, because I was lacking a dresser for the room. Since I want this dresser to double as a changing table, I wanted a long and low solid wood midcentury-modern dresser, and I didn’t want to spend more than $200. When I found this Franklin Shockey sculptured pine dresser on Craigslist for under budget, I knew it was The One. These dressers typically sell for $400-$1000, but this particular example was a steal because the finish was in pretty bad shape:
I could see past the dried-out wood and scratches and knew this was a great piece. And so, I started off by giving it a good cleaning. Once it was dry, my husband, Chris, treated the exposed surfaces with Howard Restore-a-Finish, then gave it a generous coat of Howard Feed & Wax (I had to skip these steps because these products give off fumes that are a no-go for pregnant ladies).
The dresser still needs a little more TLC — maybe some wood filler on the deeper scratches — and I might take Young House Love’s advice to use a brown magic marker to blend in more shallow nicks. But for now I am thrilled with the results:
This dresser is just my latest Craigslist find (I really am an addict), and made me think about some other items I’ve been lucky enough to track down. Like this midcentury couch and wacky 1970s globe lamp:
Those are just a couple of favorites from a house filled with Craigslist bargains. How about you? Do you have any tales of triumph from Craigslist? Go on, make me envious.
MORE NURSERY FILES:
Last week, a few of the HGTV.com editors had the privilege of visiting High Point Furniture Market. We saw a lot of fabulous designs, from innovative furniture to one-of-a-kind lighting. I was on the lookout for the hottest colors in interior design. Here are my top four color picks:
Many designers have transitioned from the bold blues you’re used to seeing to a fresher, ice blue. I still enjoyed seeing unexpected pops of the bright blues in China cabinets and drawers.
Media Cabinet by Design Legacy; China Cabinet by Steven Shell; Denim Map by Splurge/Robert Nicholas; Tufted Chair by HGTV HOME
Designer Shane Inman’s Decorating Tip: Use soft blues for your walls and darker shades of blue in your upholstery. For something unexpected and daring, use a smokey-slate blue on base moldings and window casings.
I never thought I could decorate with orange, but seeing this color in accessories, upholstery and seating immediately changed my mind. It completely changes the mood of a room.
Chevron Wall Art by Vanguard Furniture; Dining Chairs by Design Legacy; Teal/Orange Pillows by TOURMALINE home; End Table by Trade Winds Furniture
Designer Erica Islas’ Decorating Tip: If you’re worried about a color overpowering a space, use it as an accent color mixed with neutrals. For example, pair a striped orange-and-white ottoman with a neutral sofa.
See More Trending Colors
I was born and raised in Tennessee, but I probably won’t live in this lovely Southern state forever. What better way to remind me of my home than a contemporary table shaped like Tennessee from UncommonGoods? The white looks especially pretty and mod with wooden legs, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a custom color like grey, sky blue or red. (Too bad they don’t have orange for the Tennessee Volunteers — now, that would be a perfect pairing!)
What state would you “memorialize” in your home? The place where you grew up? Your favorite vacation spot? Tell me below!
Hello, Design Happens fans — Kate here again with another roundup of inspiring projects for the home in the continuing series on secondhand sprucing, and this time the focus is on main living spaces. We all need a place to sit down, rest a book or drink, and visit with fellow residents or friends in a family room, and for most of us we need a place to relax while watching television. Naturally the furnishings we need include sofas, chairs, coffee and end tables, ottomans and storage units.
A secondhand sofa with a classic shape can be reupholstered in a modern fabric to give it a fresh look, or if the cushions are in decent shape, slip-covered for a casual and easy to clean option. Chairs are readily available on Craigslist and often you get lucky with a great set from your local Goodwill. One of the most clever ways to repurpose a coffee table is to cover it with foam and fabric and turn it into an ottoman!
(Reupholstered sofa by Made by Girl; Bergere chairs by Design Manifest; Slipcovered hand-me-down sofa by Miss Mustard Seed; Thrift store ottoman coffee table by Five Days Five Ways)
More From Centsational Girl
Here we are in August, and somehow it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school. I swear school starts earlier every year! I’ll admit that my school days are long past, but I can’t help but wax nostalgic about the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and the squeak of new shoes. And so, my inner middle-schooler gave a little cheer when I spied this so-old-school-it’s-new-school basket rack from Hertz Furniture.
Picture this rack in a pool house or mud room, keeping wet swimsuits, muddy shoes, and sports equipment stashed in style. The best part? The rack comes in 20 colors ranging from vibrant teal to neutral putty. What do you think, would you bring a little locker room chic into your home?
One rule I follow when thrifting is to see a find for what it can be not what it is. Take this antique drawer I found at an estate sale. It was at the bottom of a scrap wood pile in a stuffed-to-the-gills garage. The home’s previous owner had been a never-throw-away-anything-you-may-someday-need type and had seen the potential usefulness of a small drawer that had long since been separated from it’s original piece of furniture.
What sold me is its runner-less construction. Runners are the wood or metal glides that help a drawer to smoothly slide in and out; without them a drawer is just a shallow box. I was on the lookout for a small tray that could do double duty serving food and drinks at parties and was big enough to neatly store magazines on my coffee table the rest of the time – I thought I could make this drawer work. The bottom was flimsy due to water damage so I added a plywood board to strengthen it then tacked on quarter-round trim to disguise my fix and handles on each end so it could really function as a tray.
This project was a bargain costing me less than 10 bucks -- $3 for the drawer + another $6 for the handles which are actually gate pulls rather than drawer pulls. The quarter-round trim and stain I already had on hand.
So, last week most of the HGTV.com editorial team headed to NYC to soak up four days of contemporary and ultra-modern design at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Liz, Briana, Camille, Farima and I all covered 145,000-square-feet of space and talked with hundreds of designers, retailers and manufacturers from all over the globe. It. Was. Exhausting. And so much fun! We met Jonathan Adler, bumped into our very own Jamie Durie (who turned us all into giggling fools) and picked up some incredible design trends that we can’t wait to share with you all. But with more than 500 exhibitors, we were bound to pass a few unique and odd pieces worth passing along, since we’re pretty sure you won’t be finding any of these in your local furniture shops. Of course we saw plenty of functional, innovative and clever furnishings, but these are purely design for design’s sake. Ready to see? Here we go!
Carnegie Fabrics :: Parsons The New School for Design
A Structural Pavilion Created From Sustainable Fabric: I was completely and utterly mesmerized by this canopy that I noticed within the first few minutes of entering the conference on day one. Design students from Parsons The New School for Design took fabric off a chair and upcycled each piece to form this dreamy structure. Imagine installing this in your outdoor space and hiding from the sun with a good book. Sigh…
A Chandelier Made From Strands of Velcro: “Velcro: it’s not just for your KangaROOS shoes. It can also be your chandelier, and a beautiful one at that. These are custom made-to-order — the designer lives in Ireland but sells a lot in London and NYC, too.” — Liz Gray
Tracy Kennedy Wallpaper
Textured Wallpaper With Touchable Fringe: “When I first saw this wallpaper, I immediately thought of the flapper costume I wore a few years ago for Halloween. I can totally see it in a swanky bar in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, it was one of the most memorable pieces of the show for me.” — Farima Alavi
See a Mannequin Lamp, Zombie Chair + More
Sorry, this is another one of those situations in which I find myself fancying something French despite my utter lack of French-speaking and comprehension skills, so I’m at the mercy of Google Translate on this one. This stunner is a Grange hall cabinet from the Exceptions de GRANGE collection, as far as I can tell.
Google Translate also tells me it’s a “furniture input concept,” and while I am not sure exactly what that means, I like the sound of it! Maybe it’s referring to the fact that parts of it are 3D while the drawers and shelves are recessed into the unit itself? It’s like a wild mashup of this DIY nightstand by Brian Patrick Flynn, the trompe l’oeil door decals I wrote about and this Heidi Merrick Huntington dress in Neapolitan that I’ve had my eye on for weeks. In other words, this piece looks like it’d put the fun back in functional.
[Via: ARRAY Magazine]
As much fun as it is to jazz up a neutral couch with fun accents like throws and pillows, sometimes a statement sofa is where it’s at. The Sofa 3031 by Josef Frank has clean modern lines, and comes in different fabrics and styles but this blue-green variation (“in accordance with Estrid Ericson‘s instructions”) is one of the more interesting versions.
There are 14 different shades of blue-green linen on this sofa, and the effect is subtle, yet eye-catching. The almost-ombre reminds me of the way the ocean sometimes looks from above. I’m entranced, but what do you think of the statement? Is a multi-hue for you, or do you think it’s 13 shades too many?
Speaking of trompe l’oeil, here’s another delightful find I remembered from the AD show as I combed through the business cards I gathered there. Zachary A. Design‘s outdoor furniture looks like it was chiseled out of stone or formed from solid concrete, but is light enough to be moved by a toddler. (See the incredible pic below!)
They furniture is actually made from a combo of fiberglass and coarse sand, so it’s light enough to move around your yard at will, but sturdy enough that it won’t blow away in a breeze (unlike the plastic monoblocs of yore). And it’s all-weather with a very convincing finish — I touched it at the show, and it really does feel like it would age and wear in an attractive, organic way. I’d love to put these modern beauties near a swimming pool this summer. (So who has a pool and wants to invite me over, eh?)
Most of my preferences in furniture could be boiled down to one concept: “More places to put more things.” Again, it could be my specific circumstance of city-dwelling, but many times I think if a bed = good, a bed with a storage platform base = better. If you’re of the same mind, I think you’ll like this MASH Studios LAX Coffee Table.
This smart piece is no ordinary coffee table. No, it’s a divided walnut coffee table with an aluminum sliding top. That means you can tuck things inside of it and store things on top of it. And because the top cover slides, you can conceal or reveal whatever you have tucked inside the table with ease. I would love the ability to throw the things I have on my coffee table out of necessity (coasters, remotes) inside, slide the cover over and let my pretty art books steal the show.
When I saw this Juniper Bookshelf from Kenneth Cobonpue, I actually did a double take. Whaaaa?! It looks so much like the tree tables by Estudio Nomada I posted about a few days ago I thought I had to be dreaming.
It’s made from oak veneer, and though it comes in a large and small size and three different finishes, I think the taller size and this pale color look the most like the tree tables. So if Estudio Nomada’s creation had you dreaming of an indoor forest of your own, these bookshelves make the dream that much more possible.
Remember how I said I was obsessed with finding ways to maximize space because I live in a small apartment (and also because I get the same thrill out of it that I get when I am shopping in a thrift store and find something amazing)? I have a feeling the Rolly Shelf by Matt Carr on Umbra is about to be my new best friend.
What a pretty little baby! The walnut unit has “multiple stacking configurations,” so you don’t have to put it together exactly as shown, and can customize it to best fit your space. I also love that it would play very well with the Danish modern furniture that I already own. This is one baby you SHOULD put in a corner!
(Totally wrote this whole piece just so I could work in that last line. Could you tell?)
I’m back in NYC and trying to process all the great takeaways from the Design Bloggers Conference. (Read: I learned a lot and am very jet-lagged.) I enjoyed meeting so many talented bloggers and designers, and listening to distinguished speakers like Bunny Williams. Her keynote was a highlight for me, and I know I’m not alone because it got a standing ovation. One thing she said that stuck with me was to “buy things that you love and grow with them,” and I think several pieces from Bunny’s own BeeLine Home could grow with me for a long time.
There’s a lot to love in the whole collection, but these pieces are my favorites because together they cover all my design bases: Rich color, an unusual shape, a twist on tradition, great craftsmanship and clever invention. (The Tray Chic Ottoman with the built-in tray? You know I am all about it.) I am saving up my money, and the next time I’m in the market for some furniture, I’m making a beeline for BeeLine.
Greetings from Los Angeles. I’m here with my colleague, Liz, attending the Design Bloggers Conference, so if any of you readers are also here, please do say hi! I’ll make it easy for you. Tomorrow, I’ll probably be wearing a fun, fuchsia blazer that looks a lot like this. There’s no way you can miss me, just like there was no way I was missing this bright Cocoon Sofa from Richard Shemtov on Dering Hall.
I have a very safe, neutral couch, so it’s fun to daydream about something more DayGlo. I obviously love the color, but the wooden base, sleek curves and luxe tufting add to the appeal. As the Cocoon is made-to-order, it isn’t exactly a discount delight, but I still love looking at it. Or looking like it, I guess, when I put on my pink blazer. (Just hopefully not quite as stuffed!)