It rained today and was really cold. About as far from a spring-almost-summer day as it could get around here. I needed to get the creativity going, but the weather was putting a damper on it. Taking a cue from the blue/gray light and the moody vibe outside, I snapped a few real life still life's.
My newest antique acquisitions – painting of roses with black background circa 1910 and an alabaster and brass lamp with scalloped shade.
I'm always on the lookout for old wicker. When I go to Alameda, a flea market or an estate sale, I am drawn to chippy and weathered old wicker baskets, suitcases and furniture. A couple of months ago, I went to an estate sale and bought this funky cool setee.
Knowing nothing about it's history I did some digging, but since I didn't know what to call it or what it's made of, I had no luck. Then one day, while I was knee deep in an unrelated search for bathtub styles, I stumbled onto this photo from high-end antique store on the east coast. A clue! Was my settee the sister separated at birth from her siblings who now live a swanky life in the Hamptons? I left a message, but never got a return call. At least seeing the exact matching pieces confirmed my hope that the piece was probably worth the investment to repair and repaint it.
Eventually, I contacted a 'wicker expert' who told me that not only did mine probably come from a "Chinese Walmart", but so did the pieces from the high end antique store… hmmm. Not sure what to believe, but regardless I still love it. I'd like to pile it with some John Robshaw pillows for a little boho garden spot I'm creating in the corner of our yard. Will let you know how that develops… The moral of the story – buy what you love.
John Robshaw pillows and quilts
Martha Stewart painted her antique wicker gray and with the pink walls of her bedroom (in one of her homes – don't know which??) created a very feminine and vintage look.
This room by Phoebe Howard is in several inspiration files of mine – the beams, the floor and the light fixture and of course, the wicker chair. I always like to add one unique chair to a room. I love symmetry too (and realized how much after the recent post on Cote de Texas), but I find that adding one unique piece to an otherwise balanced room takes it to another level.
Kirby Mears via Cote de Texas
I adore the hanging wicker lamps in the above photos. Last fall, I bought the Ikea version to hang in the store. Recently I took it out of storage to try hanging outside with the settee, but felt it needed a little stripe or two first.
I was planning on adding a wide navy stripe at the bottom, but I kinda like it just white and cream… Plus the hardware store didn't have navy spray paint. I measured 10" all around then taped a garbage bag over the top and sprayed it with a flat white.
See the navy and white stripe on the beach chairs above? That's the look I was going for with the light fixture. I think I'll get navy spray paint tomorrow for a little weekend project.
For new wicker-like outdoor furniture – nobody does it like Janus et Cie.
At a more comfortable price point, Cost Plus has some great options that can be purchased online. My favorite is the Laguna chair (on sale right now for $116!).
I have a few other projects to tackle this weekend – our first with no sports since last August! Happy Friday!
The Sunday before last, I spent the morning shopping the Alameda Antique Fair. It's been a few months since my last visit, so I was ready for some serious treasure hunting. My usual picking partner couldn't make it, so just as I was about to head out at the o dark hour of 5:30am, my husband decided to join me!
Just a few of the hundreds of vendors…
I just love these vintage canning jars. When I find them, I like to pick up a few to fill with flowers or candy (I've even filled them with granola) for teachers, hostess or birthday gifts. The blue glass are my favorites.
Remember these? It's hard to believe this is what we used in high school!
I really wanted this bird cage, but have no place for it, so I passed. Still thinking about it though…
Grain sacks galore.
I've always been drawn to these primitive bowls. These were some of the largest I've ever seen. I was interested to learn they are dough bowls. The vendor told me they were used for kneading dough, but I can't imagine how since they're curved underneath? Maybe they were used for rising? Anyway, they would look beautiful on a long table or mounted on a wall!
My photography skills were a bit off – sorry I chopped off the top! But, such an interesting piece.
Bored husbands take silly pictures.
Shipwrecked treasures. I am so intrigued by these.
Our loot – a few wire baskets, blue and white checked fabric and a french garden table and 6 chairs for a sunny, pea gravel spot… someday 🙂
Last week during Design San Francisco I attended a private event held at the most amazing showroom at the Design Center – Coup D'Etat. The event was called "Public Eateries: A Conversation on Designing Restaurants in the Era of Food". Two of my favorite topics + Coup D'Etat – it couldn't get much better than that! It's been a dream of mine to design a restaurant…perhaps, oh I don't know, maybe an urban farmhouse open kitchen type-of-thing…
The discussion was panel style, moderated by Jeffrey Alan Marks whose work I have long admired. I strongly encourage clicking over to see his inspiring portfolio (as long as you promise to click back here after!)
Notice the arched windows and doorways. There's so much detail (a trademark of Marks') in this big kitchen, yet it has a relaxing and comfortable feeling.
above photos via thelaurelstreetblog
I wouldn't have thought to pair the ottoman and chair fabrics with a busy carpet, but it works beautifully and gives a slightly boho vibe to an otherwise formal room.
I was so excited to find out that Marks' will be starring in the new Bravo reality tv show – Million Dollar Designer- that follows five LA based interior designers as they go about their daily activities. Is this not the best news you've heard all week?! I can't wait!!!
On to the panelists. The talent on that stage in the area of restaurant design is hard to beat. First to speak was Cass Calder Smith. I'd list all the restaurants he's designed but I would run out of room, so here's just a few – La Mar, Restaurant Lulu, Perbacco, Barbacco, Rose Pistola and the newest addition; 25 Lusk.
above two photos – 25 Lusk
How flippin cool is this place? I can't wait to check it out.
Next to speak was Stephen Brady; Visual Director of Gap, Inc whose restaurant design credits include Spruce:
Notice the panes of glass (not mirrors) separating the bar from the restaurant. This is such an elegant restaurant. I especially like it for lunch.
And Cafe Des Amis.
cafe des amis
The third and final panelist was Charles De Lisle of CDL Workshop. I first discovered his work last spring at the SF Decorators Showplace which I posted about here.
The entire room was covered in rusched navy blue gingham and accented with chartreuse chairs. The affect was so dramatic and creative. The restaurants that CDL has designed include the remodeling of one of the oldest restaurants in San Francisco; House of Shields and the kitchy Canteen.
I have been planning to do a proper post on Coup D'Etat since they opened their new bigger space (next door from the old one) last fall, but haven't had a chance. I took a few photos with my phone and they are not very good, but will give you an idea. Also, they have a 1st Dibs shop that never disappoints.
Lots of industrial elements that have been reworked into furniture and lighting. In addition to European and American antiques, they also make a variety of custom upholstered pieces.
Lucite table base with gorgeous wood slab top. How about those canister lights???
One of my favorite parts of the showroom are Erin Martin's pieces. The custom designed leather engraved cocktail table (in background) is outrageous and has a price to match!
I adore these French nesting tables (unfortunately sold) and the casters are brilliant.
Restaurant design is so much more complex than I realized. Sound, lighting, menu, flow all need to be carefully considered. I definitely have a new perspective and will look at restaurant detail more thoughtfully now. I would love to see shelter magazines do bigger spreads on them. What's your design favorite restaurant?
This past October I tested the retail waters and opened a one-month-only store (aka pop-up). It was a great experience in every way, most of all I realized that in some way, shape or form, having a retail component is something that I really want to do and a great fit as a designer. As I work out the details, I am gradually building my inventory of refurbished antiques and home decor pieces.
One of the first things to go at the store was a pair of vintage chairs. They are so pretty! Here they are at the store before they were sold.
The two I bought were from a set of four. At the time I could only splurge on two, but hoped the other two would be available when/if the opportunity came. I am so happy that I just got my hands on them!!!
I thought that before I upholster them, I would offer the option of customizing to my readers. With the first pair I went with a Belgian linen in flax with a charcoal gray Belgian linen wide stripe. Double welting and the chair back are also charcoal. The price for the pair (in above fabric) is $3,400 or individually at $1,800. The options for customizing are endless, although I think the stripe really compliments the chair. Was toying with oyster linen with an orange stripe for a splash of color!
If you are interested in the chairs either as a set or separately, please let me know! Happy to send fabric swatches and discuss options!
A few weeks ago I blogged about a new favorite show – American Pickers – about two childhood best friends from Iowa who comb the country in a van knocking on stranger’s doors, going into dilapidated barns and storage units to dig through piles (usually junk) in hopes of finding a treasure. Or as they say, anything they can sell for a profit.
It’s addictive, especially if you have even the slightest picking tendencies -(hello flea market, antique shop, garage and estate sale lovers!) But the other cool thing is that you get to see the backroads of America that most of us don’t ever see. It’s a lot like being on a cross country road trip since much of the show is shot from their van. Check them out on the History Channel on Mondays at 9pm. Here’s a clip.
Anyway about the giveaway! I was totally surprised and excited when I received an email from the History Channel offering my readers a gift of The American Picker’s – Season One on dvd! Actually they sent me two (maybe one was for me, but since I’ve seen and tevo’d them all I’ll gladly pass it along so there can be two winners!)
All you have to do is leave me a comment with your email address so I know how to find you if you win! No having to go surf around any other sites, do a backflip, friend me on facebook, subscribe to the blog, then leave a comment about your favorite color! Just a comment with your email. That’s it.
That said… it would be awesome (but won’t sway the scientific random selection widget that I have to figure out how to install) if you either tell about a favorite pick of your own and/or your favorite episode of AP. But in the interest of full disclosure, the History Channel did not ask for readers to do a thing! I just thought it would be fun 🙂
Now to sweeten the pot, I’m throwing in a pick of my own to this giveaway as a gift to you all! A thank you from me to you for reading and supporting the urban farmhouse! So in addition to the AP dvd, I will give both winners, something I ‘picked’ last summer while in Paris at the venerable Clinquencourt flea market.
I fell in love with this antique linen drapery panel and had it made into pillows. It made many, some of which I sold in the store. Fortunately, I saved a few so the winners will each receive a beautiful 20″ x 20″ pillow!
To get into the spirit, I thought I would share some of my most recent picks as well as my all-time-best-pick-ever.
The Alameda Antique Fair has been rained out the last two months, so I’ve had to find alternative ways to get my fix. Luckily I have attended several great estate sales in the city as well as discovered a great ‘antique shop within a shop’ that just opened near my house.
I found these bowls at an estate sale, mixed in among a bunch of kitchen stuff. The bottom says they’re McCoy, but I’m not sure if they’re authentic? Anybody collect McCoy and can tell me?
At the same estate sale, I found (heart be still) this set of Emma Bridgewater pottery which I have loved for seriously ever!
The set for 8 is complete and includes cups and saucers, teapot, creamer and sugar bowl, breakfast plates and bowls (which are not meant to be with the set since they say “Risotto, Pasta and Sorrel Soup”, but I am guessing they were purchased to be used for cereal or porridge and complete the breakfast theme).
For the entire set of Emma Bridgewater as well as the McCoy bowls I paid $80! Perhaps this is my new ‘best pick ever’?
My local antique source is a treasure trove of wonderful findings. The newest acquisition is this chippy basket.
I love it and it fits perfectly in the new linen closet! The perfect container for beach towels.
I don’t know much about it’s history, but the store owner mentioned it coming from Long Island. It is beyond sturdy. It could carry a load of bricks and not break.
Last but not least, my best pick ever was a small limoges porcelain box.
I bought it at the Goodwill in Seattle (the big one on Dearborn) about 7 years ago. I was looking for pretty teacups for my daughters 5th birthday – a tea party – and on the shelf was this dainty box. Inside it said simply ‘merci’. It was $ 0.50. Tragically, it broke about a month ago. My storage for select earrings. I can’t part with the top quite yet so this is all I can show you.
I hope you all are enjoying some time off this holiday season and doing some picking of your own along the way!
Please do enter the giveaway! It ends on January 4th, coincidentally my 1 year blog anniversary! Just click on the teeny ‘comment’ below, then follow the steps!
In the meantime, you can stay up to date with Mike and Frank on their facebook page.
Hi, and welcome! I’m so glad you landed here and I hope you find this to be a place you visit often.
I started this blog in 2008 as a way to chronicle the remodeling of our nondescript Northern California house into our dream home. While that did happen, so did a lot of other things - life and all the messy, glorious, complicated, wonderful things that go with it. As such, in early 2017 I decided to change the focus from the house itself to the life that happens inside.
My wish is that this blog provides beautiful inspiration, creative ideas, connections to other like-minded folks, as well as stylish products for your home, to wear and to give.