Old Hickory Furniture....a love affair

Having no real design direction for my new little home...I went back and looked at  some old pictures of houses that I have owned since I was first married.

And guess what?

I found quite a few things from the past that seem to be relevant and interesting and in keeping with how I enjoy doing interiors today.

One such love is Old Hickory Furniture....

So here is my story:

When I was a sophomore in college, I spent two summers working in Grand Teton National Park about 20 minutes outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming.  
Those were the funnest summers I can recall and it sparked my interest in all things "western" .....
including boots, hats, horses and men.

But scattered through out Grand Teton and Yellowstone are many wonderful lodges and small cafes that have interiors full of Old Hickory furniture

The company has roots in America dating to the early 1900's and changed ownership a few times but is still in operation today.

The original rockers placed in the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park in 1906 are still there...
Imagine the stories those chairs could tell!

The designs are rustic but at the same time, graceful and comfortable and definitely interesting.

Vintage Old Hickory is highly collectable and many of the chairs may have the original  woven seats and labels, which will increase the value.

Different finishes and weaves add to the uniqueness of each piece and you can mix and match those, to suit your taste when you order them new. 

Now for the rest of the story....

The last week I would spend in Wyoming, I found 4 spindle backed chairs in a dumpster behind a little cafe.  
The seats were ripped out but other that, they were sturdy and had the original lables.
So I strapped them on the back of my car and drove away......

I found a supplier for natural raw rush for the seats and followed the instructions;  first soaking the rush in warm water, in my bath tub,  then weaving the seats in a nice overlapping pattern.  I used a kitchen knife to push the rush tight and finished any loose ends with a staple.  
Those seats never moved, broke, loosened or sagged....not one bit......  
And I used them every day for over 25 years!!!!

 Here they are around a little table in a beach house we owned for about 10 years.
 The house changed and grew and got re-arranged but the chairs always stayed.
 I finally sold them, right before we sold this little house and the new owner loved them too!
 So here are my new Old Hickory barstools. 
 A little bit less rustic in the finish, the hickory is actually peeled and the backs are done in cane, rather than rush.

 I used a couple of vintage grain sacks for the seats.  
The sacks are similar but don't match, which I like.

 For the third stool, I found this old oak piano stool which adjusts in height and has a great little cane seat and dark metal detailing in the center.

 So there you go...I am so happy to have something to sit on, I can't even tell you!

It's nice to see some new/old friends again!
I wonder how long I will own these......hmmm

Here's to the start of a great week
Hope you are enjoying some wonderful fall weather


New Home....did I say Home?

Well here you go...
the very first peek at my new and somewhat temporary living space

Yes my friends...I'm going condo!

We have decided to make the most of the horrible Real Estate market conditions in California and rent for a while....not really sure what a while is, but more than likely it will be until I go completely bonkers from the beige walls
Everything is beige...walls, ceilings, carpet, floors....all beige...everywhere you look...beige
That is of course except for the black toilet...yes I said black!
I didn't even know it was possible to order a black toilet and why would anyone want one?
Well clearly someone did and now I will be looking at it...
luckily this is a powder room and I can close the door
Interesting sink too...sort of has a little Vegas Vibe
don't you think?
Guys seem to sort of like this bathroom...wonder why?
This is the living area
More beige with the fireplace accented with black granite, 
I guess to match the toilet
As a designer I always tell clients...what ever color your toilet is you will need to use that same color for your fireplace surround
Makes total sense...really...really?
Notice the little yellow box?  I stole that from the house I just sold...and why did I pick that box?...too weird!
The very first thing I did when we moved in was to remove these giant shutters to let in more light.  
It's that "handyman gene" coming out in me again...notice the cordless drill on the floor...just couldn't help myself!  
I felt this insane need to start fixing and changing things, within the first 5 minutes!
 I swiped a lamp too!
Here is a peek at the kitchen...not too bad 
The stone makes me a little dizzy however...
One of the better things in this condo are the built in areas...there are lots. 
 Storage is always a plus when you are a renter...which I haven't been for quite some time, but I'm learning fast!
It has two bedrooms, but both are good sized, another plus...and  there is a little bit of a view of Newport Harbor
More beige
and beige
Here is the master bathroom...no black toilet
Thank you!
Standard issue sliders and fuzzy carpet...
mirror, mirror on the closet....
Maybe I'll start dressing better with these big mirrors...nah
A very nice second bathroom with beige stone
Notice anything?

No furniture...nada....none...zip...zero...

How long do you think I will last?

Note to self:  buy a couch


Vintage Toaster Lamps

You may recall a post I did a few weeks back about Barn Light Electric and my love of their industrial and fun lighting. 
 I love to mess around with different things to make unique light fixtures 
I also think I must have some sort of "handyman" gene because I also love to go to the hardware store...
my good friend Melaine from My Sweet Savannah does too, 
check out her latest lamp creation at here

So here are the elements I used:
Take a vintage stove top toaster....about 10-20 dollars from the flea market...

 Use a vintage colander, about 20 dollars, 
or something with a "lampshade" like shape and combine the two with the necessary parts to make a lamp...
These take two small 40 watt bulbs that spread horizontally at the top of the fixture,
 so this is soft diffused light.

Here they are sitting on a little dresser in a guest room.
 The toasters are really very sturdy and a great shape for the bases
 I really want to use these in my kitchen somewhere but I haven't found the right spot yet...
 I like these!

what do you think?


The Perfect Neutral: Color that works & A great book on how to live & love color

 Last month I purchased one of the very best books I have found...ever... on how to work with color...and the irony is...
 If you read the title you will be surprised and enlightened when you see that every page is full of color....
not to mention.... great design
 The book is called 
Perfect Neutrals 
Color you can live with 

Stephanie Hoppen
Throughout the book, Stephanie shares her knowledge,
 and love of color
 in a way that make using color,  
 understandable and friendly...like Stephanie herself...
 I had the opportunity to contact Stephanie...
 and she was so nice to answer a few questions about her work and why this book speaks to so many people...
it has now been published in 11 languages...even Polish!
K:  When I picked up the book, I thought it would be about rooms without much color when in fact is it just the opposite.  How did you come up with the idea of the "new neutral" ?

S:  I had become so tired of that boring beige look that everyone was using thinking that was the cool neutral way to go.

S:  I had always felt that in every colour there was a neutral shade, a shade that would go with everything.  I was determined to prove it and the book has exceeded all of my expectations-10 languages-all over the world-it seemed to fulfill a need!!!

K:  Do have a favorite color?  I steer clear of certain colors sometimes, but you have included so many different colors, used so beautifully in various rooms...

S:  I love colours that have their base in nature,  rather than artificial colours.  If it has  an edible name, you can be pretty sure it is a good colour-chocolate, mint, buttermilk saffron and so on.
K:  Explain what you mean by using "dirty or "off" colors and why that concept works so well in interiors...

S:  When a colour is too clean-too poster-to bright and and shiny, it can be very hard to live with.  By dirtying or toning down or aging a colour you can obtain a much more elegant, vintage, livable shade...

K:  You included 3 different swatch guides using grey...so is grey the perfect neutral?

S:  Grey has been a colour of the moment for so many years now,  it is almost a staple.  I find it one of the easiest colours to live with and to wear and it is always elegant- always chic and always of the moment.  
It blends so well with things like chinese red, coral, turquoise, bordeaux-anywhere you see it you love it.  It is my favorite!
 K:  I love the swatch guides and think they could be used by just about anyone as a guide.  Did you try to gear this book to the "non-professional" or who were thinking your reader might be?

S:  I always try to be educational, helpful, practical, pragmatic and never pompous.  Although I suppose my imaginary reader is a non professional, I have found that pretty much all of the professionals-be they curtain makers, designers,magazine editors-all have my books and use them frequently.

 K:  My favorite swatch guides were "Duck's eggs to Denim" and "Silver to Mist" ....was there a favorite for you, after you put these all together?
I also thought is was fabulous that you included flooring!! SO  always over looked!

S:  Those are wonderful,  but also the grey as above and the edible shades of coffee,chocolate and buttermilk.

 K:  I know you have a wonderful gallery in London and showcase new and interesting artists,  how do you choose who's work you will showcase, with so many talented artists out there?

S:  Experience.... flair... instinct... and things I relate well to.
It is not easy to find artists whose work I want to sell-  I am always on the lookout...

 K:  And finally...what's next?
A new book or project on the horizon?

S:  Have you seen Perfect Palette?  It's about paint colour... and doing very well

S:  I want to do perfect pillows or cushions or what ever you call them in the US...
  I feel it would be the perfect recession book,  as when you can't afford to do anything else to "zuzz" up your home.... a few pillows will do the trick don't you think? 
 And what a selection one has today-every home company does them!
 What a pleasure Stephanie!
and yes I love pillows....I so agree

So much fun for me,
 she is interesting and thoughtful and current...

I love that about her!!!

Here is a link to Stephanie's gallery... which is just amazing and so very chic

You will love this book...I guarantee
~thanks again for stopping by~

And on a side note: your comments on my last post just amazed me!