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It’s snowing in New York right now, finally. We haven’t really gotten snow since Halloween and it was kinda bumming me out. (I know, I’m one of those weirdos who actually enjoys snow even as a grownup of driveway-shoveling age, even on weekends, when it doesn’t mean a day off from work.) Watching the crystalline flakes drift down, I’m reminded of this gorgeous frosted chandelier from

frosted chandelier

The way the Lucite prisms hang straight down reminds me of icicles. And the frosted white fading away into a robin’s egg blue feels wintery as well. Plus, it’s very art deco — always a win in my book. I imagine the light dancing from these prisms would look like sunlight bouncing off of a bank of snow.

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If you tend to need as much extra space as you can get, then this week’s What the. . . ? might be an ideal addition to your living room. What are they? mycreativepath was the first to submit a guess and hers was right. (I’m impressed.) When they’re put away one beneath the other, the tiered levels of these Gianfranco Frattini-designed Cassina stacking low tables appear to be one solid cylinder. One of the coolest aspects of the design is that the laminate tops are reversible. Depending on the day, you can let your mood decide: white or black.

Cassina Nesting Tables - Designer Gianfranco Frattini

Italian designer Frattini started his career in industrial design and is best remembered today as a major player in the Italian design movement of the late 1950s and 60s, as well as for his Boa lamp. If you’ve been looking for a set of tables like these, I found them for sale at For a deeper look at the design of these tables, check out the Cassina gallery on

Don’t forget, we’re always interested to see what strange objects you find. If something sparks your imagination, let us know at

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In honor of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, we selected this unusual punch ladle for this week’s “What the…?”

punch ladle
This silver punch ladle in the form of a riding crop and cap that’s for sale at 1stdibs dates back to the late 19th century when fox hunting was at its peak of popularity in Europe. I think it would make the most amazing hostess gift at a Derby party. Perfect for ladling mint juleps from a community bowl.

If you come across mysterious finds, send them to us at

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The whole “new year, new you” philosophy made a huge impact on me this year. I disbanded my nasty procrastination habit and filed my taxes three months early. Three months! While I safely stored my refund in an untouchable savings account (compulsive shopping will not take over this time!), I can’t help daydreaming about a tax return wish list full of designer pieces from 1stdibs I would love to call my own. My wish list total = $17,650 — eek! My refund from the IRS — not even close to that.

Tax Day 1st Dibs Designs

If you could splurge on anything, what would it be? Let us know, and in the meantime, feel free to lust over my wish list. And don’t forget to file your taxes. Monday’s the deadline!


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Twinkle, twinkle, little star, who was the first to guess what you are? Kathleen was the first to get this week’s “What the…?” right, with a confident reaffirmation from Hilary. (Forget “cradle will rock” … cradle will roll away.)

oregon pine cradle

This 1960s Oregon Pine Cradle is the work of Danish design icon Nanna Ditzel. She’s best known for her Hanging Basket chair, Toadstool table and Trinidad chair.

Be sure to send us your mysterious design finds at

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It’s Gretchen FTW! This week’s “What the…?” offers a history lesson.

This is a color sphere that was used to teach color theory. Alfred Munsell designed and patented it in 1900. The Munsell Color Science Laboratory offers this bio of Munsell:

Artist and teacher Albert H. Munsell developed the first widely-accepted color order system to make the description of color accurate and convenient and to aid in the teaching of color. The Munsell color order system has gained international acceptance and has served as the foundation for other color order systems. Author of A Color Notation (1905) and the Atlas of the Munsell Color System (1915).

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While its form is anything but design drudgery (and quite an unusual statement for a coffee table), the original function of yesterday’s “What the…?” was routine. And not for steeping tea.

Terri got it. This Brass Laundry Ball dates back to 19th century Sweden. Washing machines sure have come a long way. (Now, if only someone would invent an automatic folding machine.)

If you come across relics from a bygone era that are mysterious in their purpose, be sure to send them our way at

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If your definition of smooth sailing means cocktails at the ready, you would have had a leg up on the answer to this week’s “What the…?”.

It’s a…1930s brass drink server for use on a yacht.

We thought we’d have you on the line for a while, but leave it to a ChicModern gal to know about an accessory that combines sailing, cocktails and physics.

Let’s keep playing. If you have any great mysterious finds, send them our way at

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While they look very different, they serve the same purpose. What is it?

Submit your answers now. And check back tomorrow for the reveal on these helpful household items.

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The answer to this week’s “What the…?”

A framed collection of velvet leaves used by milliners as color samples at the beginning of the 20th century.

Thought you’d enjoy a close up. Just looking at them makes me want to break into a medley from Jerry Herman’s hit musical, Hello, Dolly!

Email us at with decor/home items that you’re confident will befuddle, as well as generate interesting and unexpected answers.

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Last week, the chocolate molds stumped some of you but not as many as we had hoped. So this week, it’s a lovely, colorful array of….what?

Aha! Gotcha. Well, we’ll see. Submit your answers. Tomorrow, the big reveal.

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