Friday, November 25, 2011


Once upon a time I bought a beautiful house and claimed a room in it as my office. This room was not large, and the dumb old antique glass doorknobs always fell off when I slammed the door shut and yelled, "Be quiet! I'M WORKING!!!" Sometimes they fell off on the outside, which meant eventually someone had to come and let me out. This still happens in the master bath, and so, if you haven't seen me in a while, please check there first.

But it was my room. OK, so I shared it with the ironing board (taunting me always) , a guest sofa, several friendly guitars, and enough amplifiers to recreate the Who's WALL OF SOUND. Yet, when I said the words, "I'll be in the office," I wasn't referring to a blanket fort under the dining room table. You didn't have to follow the extension cord until it ended at me, sitting on the floor in the stair landing, typing furiously. It was a room with a door, and it was mine. Occasionally my family was even kind enough to leave a pen or half-chewed pencil there for me to use.

Fast forward a few phases of child development, and it became necessary to give our sons their own rooms. Among other things, the top bunk was being used to investigate certain laws of physics. Growing up in a house full of girls, it had never occurred to me to see if I could pee on ANYONE'S head from the top bunk. There is simply no way to prepare for certain things about parenting.

There followed a whole year where my "office" was an old desk three feet from the blissful marriage bed, from which my husband would lovingly glare at me, turn over, sigh loudly, and bury his head in three pillows. I felt great about it. I was also able to conserve nearly all my calories, since my commute for the day was: roll out of bed onto rolling chair, push self off wall over to desk. Never had gaining weight been so easy, so automatic!

I decided to rejoin the living by sharing the family computer upstairs. Commence six months of wondering, was it just me or did everyone in my family chew food/breathe so loud that I could not focus on what I was doing? (It was me)

This is my long, I'm-sick-in-bed-so-I'm-going-to-tell-you-my-life-story, way of saying we are turning the garage into an office and I painted an old campaign desk Kelly green. Behr's "Mint Sprig" green to be exact. The rug and the chair look a little awful with it, but nothing says "These would be perfect for mom" like random things dug out of the basement. I selfish materialism knows no bounds.

SO, come visit me in the new office. We can hold important meetings and try and ignore that the garage door was just sprayed by a skunk. I hope you like centipedes and mice as much as I do! Of course, if you don't find me there, it's possible that another family need has forced a relocation of my office. Look for an extension cord. Follow it. There are a few spots we haven't yet tried as my office. There's a crotch in the tree out back I may be able to use...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adrian Pearsall for Craft Associates "Jacks" Tables

Regardless of trends and fads, there are some Mid Century pieces that are so intrinsically lovely and well-designed that they become more pieces of art than furniture of a specific era. I definitely think these pieces fall into that category.
In the shop now.

The Next Big Thing in Design

Mid Century design has always had its collectors, and always will. I think the fact that huge swaths of real estate in this country are Post War means that there will always be a strong market for things that look good in those environments.

But let's be honest with ourselves...the craze of Mid Century; the insinuation of it into every level of design and commerce, into every level of society, probably spells its doom. Three years ago, no one over 30 was familiar with the term "Mid Century." Today, elderly folks are using all the right key terms to accurately attribute their furniture on Craigslist. Or innacurately. Suddenly everything is Mid Century. The awful table made out of a wagon wheel. The "French Provincial" girl's bedroom set.

We are visually saturated with these images, and the eye grows weary. Rather than finding the lines fresh and stimulating, they will begin to seem a little old. Common. When every mop and kitty litter commercial begins to feature homes decorated in vaguely or overtly Mid Century style, it's a good sign that the renaissance of MCM is over. It's been appropriated by the mainstream, and it has become, for the time being, boring.

So what's on the horizon? If we know one thing, it's that trends swing to extremes: once overstuffed and comfy got old, we turned to clean, lean, and modern. So, if the slim, uncomplicated lines of Mid Century seem overplayed, what will the market turn to next? What, exactly, is the antithesis of the 60s?

Interviews as far back as 2006 and 2007 have tastemakers declaring the 80s as The Next Big Thing. "Mark my words," they say, and yet several years later it hasn't truly come to fruition.

At an auction several years ago, a designer, mistaking my friendliness for naivete (happens all the time), decided to share with me her trade secrets. Pointing to a Mid Century chair she said, "Whatever you do, don't buy that stuff. It's on its way out. Florals and Modern Country are making a comeback."

One thing we do know is that we won't, currently, find the Next Big Thing all that attractive. Maybe right now we even find it repulsive. That's because it hasn't been overexposed yet, and retailers haven't adapted it to make it more approachable.

So, maybe Kelly Wearstler's weird mauve lacquered 80s hotel furniture is just a frontrunner for the styles we will all be dying for in a few years. Maybe we love to hate her because we don't (yet) understand her. Maybe the visual equivalent of elevator music really is the Next Big Thing.

What's your forecast for the NBT? What trends are you spotting?


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