Thursday, May 5, 2011



We’ve been doing our version of before and after’s for a long time. We’ve had a passion for 30’s barkcloth and vintage French ticking way before Martha put them in her magazine.  We’re horrible when it comes to curbside finds and bargain furniture. With an eye to seeing beyond what it is to what it could be we’re not at all phased by our daughter’s mortification at stopping on the street and picking up a piece of discarded furniture. It’s the going through someone’s garbage she objects to, once the piece is back and we’ve nursed it into a showcase piece her mortification disappears and there's a glint of pride and envy in her eyes.

These stools were your garden variety box store unpainted furniture cheapies. What we did was paint the bases semi-gloss black, then added a cushion to the top and upholstered it with vintage French ticking. The little pleated skirts are dish towels we found at a kitchen store. We made six of them and they were never enough.

DeWayne Lumpkin began graphically reproducing British route signs onto fabric and then used the fabric to upholster furniture, cover pillows,  drape windows, or simply framed the fabric in big oversized frames. His company can be found at British Route Sign Designs. His ingeniously upholstered pieces are among my favorites and would make a strong statement in any green environment. 

Last week when the weather once again refused to let go of winter we decided it was time for a little road trip. It was too wet to plow and too cold to mow the lawn. We’d driven to Milwaukee more times than we could count and every time right outside of Madison we’d pass a sign for a little resort town, Waterloo, and the Antique Mall of Waterloo. We decided a drive to Waterloo was the best alternative we could come up with to shake off the late winter bluest. It was worth the trip.

We discovered a designer and upholsterer combo with a unique perspective on how to reclaim abandoned furniture with vintage fabrics from blankets to patio cloths to quilts. The thing I like best is the unexpected pairing of the Rococo furniture styles or French Empire curves of the aristocracy with textiles you wouldn’t expect.  Gone are the silks and damasks and instead here are the cottons and canvases originally found on the shelves of early twentieth century mercantiles. The loveseat is a perfect New York size. I'd do a one-eighty from the obvious country cottage look and pair this loveseat with a Saarinen chair and Warhol painting in a funky Tribeca loft.

The Hudson Bay blanket ottomans and the quilt upholstered chair would be a welcome change from the ubiquitous burlap plaids seen in way too many cabins by the lake. 

And the patio cloth chair has moved out of the grimy kitchen and into the sexy bedroom. There’s a real freshness to the cheery motifs of fifties cloths usually used to protect picnic food from the dew off of summer grass. We're really high on these designs.


Boys will be boys and sometimes it’s hard for a boy to give up his toys. At Modern Anthology you can find your old Tonka crane, the one with the red bucket now transformed and turned into a table lamp perfect for the man cave.  I’ve got an old Howdy Doody doll I’d like to try this technique on.
At the other end of the chic spectrum you’ll find this Marie Coquine chandelier for Baccarat designed by Philippe Starck. In case a major storm brews up your light’s prepared. It’s a very practical use of light and reflection. The up lighting of the chandelier arms is bounced right back down from the reflective cover of the white umbrella. Who wouldn’t want to be seated at the dining table under the light cast by this brilliant adaptive use of an ordinary umbrella? It might be a great idea for a DIY project.


Andrew Moore
Palace Theater, Gary Indiana, 2008
Represented by Yancey Richardson, New York City

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