Friday, January 28, 2011

An old alternative to the modern day door stop.

In your home, would you rather have this:

or this?

If you have kids/spouses/dogs who throw open a door with abandon, you need a door stop to keep the door handle from damaging the wall , or worse, punching through the wall. This is what my kids did to our wall:

We live in an old house and luckily, some former resident had the brilliant idea to use a finial on another door to keep it from slamming in the wall. We've never had a problem with that door, so I unscrewed it and replaced it on the baseboard below the wall damaged by my kids. I drilled a small hole into the baseboard and screwed the finial in by hand.

If you have or are getting ready to have kids in the house, you'll know that the plastic caps on the end of most modern day door stops pose a choking hazard to curious little fingers. Why not use a wooden finial instead?

If you are looking to install or replace your door stops, here are a few ideas:

You can try your hand at junking. Buy a few old curtain rods (or maybe you have some stored in the garage), and unscrew their finials. Or maybe you have taken to refinishing furniture and have a few odd knobs hanging around. Those could work too.

Or you could pick up something like this unfinished wooden finial from Home Depot for $4 and paint it to match your baseboards.

It's all about the small details, right?

(I say this as I eye my ugly, plastic light switch plates. Hmm. Another project to put on the list.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New/Old Clock for my Mantel

I found this broken mid-century clock at one of my favorite antiques stores for $10 about two months ago. I love the shape, the lines, the brass, the stylized numbers and most of all the little round O on the small hand. I wasn't sure if it would work, because it was missing the battery that operates it, but I bought it anyway.

Well, I got the darn thing home, and it didn't work. Off to a little shop called The Clock Shop I went. These kinds of shops are a dying breed in our throw-away world. The owner had his doubts about whether he could get it to work again, but I got the call yesterday that it was ready to be picked up. A mere twenty bucks later, and I was on my way home with it.

So now I have a new/old clock on my mantel to replace the one I recently broke and turned into a mirror.

I love that I was able to take a old clock with a sense of history of the dusty shelves of an antique store and give it new life. That's recycling at its best. I also love that I was able to help keep a place like The Clock Shop in business by giving them my business. And I love the thrill of the deal. I found this similar clock on sale at Etsy for $80.

via Etsy

All told, I paid $30. Did I mention that it makes a soft tick-tock sound? You know the one. It's what you hear when you walk into a quiet, old antique store with an ancient man sitting at the counter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tail of the Yak

I am stunned. That's the only way to describe how I feel after having just walked out of a neighborhood shop called Tail of the Yak in Berkeley. I've never been in a store quite like this. Have a look for yourself:

via Ruby Press (Apparently, I'm not the only one with the bright idea to blog about this shop.)

Tail of the Yak is full of little treasures, all curated and arranged with nothing short of artistry.

Chair with folded fabric and gorgeous, stacked picture frames.

One of these paper and cardboard picture frames came home with me. They're hand-made by Theresa Weller, an artist who also works at the shop.

The store is full of beautiful paper items, like these gilded honeycomb tissue garlands.

And these paper shelf decorations which looked as though they had been hand-printed.

In fact, it was this window display that drew me in. Try to look past the awful reflection from my camera, and what you will see is a hanging sculpture made from lanterns, honeycomb decorations, ribbon, and what looks to be muffin tin liners.

Even their business card is a tiny work of art, made by letterpress on heavy cotton stock.

If you live in the Bay Area or plan to visit, you MUST visit this incredible shop. You might get lucky and receive a free calendar poster made by one of the owner/artists.

They open at 11 am most days and don't be deterred by by the doorbell you must ring to get in. (Which is why I had never been in until today even though I can easily walk there from my house.)

Tail of the Yak
2632 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705-2228

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sometimes the Vintique Object Finds You

Take this sweet handmade car with upholstery tack headlights. It was given to me a few minutes ago when I was down in my driveway refinishing this table top.

More about that in a minute. First the toy car.

We live in a fairly urban walkable neighborhood of San Francisco's East Bay -- there are always people cruising the street in front of our house.

Carl, the man who gave me this car, is very much like me -- he likes to pick through junk, only in his case, he takes it one step further and goes through people's trash for cans and plastic bottles. I often run into him when I'm in the driveway painting furniture or gardening, and we've become friendly. Carl always asks permission before he comes on the property -- he's a kindly, innocuous sort, and I figure he's doing the world a bit of good, so I let him dig through our garbage.

Carl has met my kids -- he's seen me walking with them in the stroller when he's on his daily route through the neighborhood -- so today he presented me with this car, which he found in a dumpster. (It promptly got a good wipe down with a Clorox wipe.) I think it's lovely little gift.

Back to the table top. I originally thought I would find a round, laminated top from Ikea, but they sell no such thing without a base and for way more money than I want to spend. That's when my hunt on Craigslist began. The table top was $20 bucks for solid wood. See? Buying used and vintage is often the better deal.

I'm painting the table top white, and it will go on this base which I found at a junk shop for $15. After pictures coming soon.

One more thing. See the pretty shadows on the car in the first picture? I have mixed feelings about Ikea (don't we all?), but love these curtains I bought there six months ago. They filter the light, keep our neighbors from peeking into the dining room, and create the most beautiful shadows during the day.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Here are two of my favorite rooms, and I think it's hilarious, and perplexing that they are completely opposite.

via House Beautiful
This room is clean and modern, bright and light, without extra adornment. It's well edited, and everything seems to have been carefully chosen and placed. I love the contrast between black and white with a few warm woods thrown in as well as the eclectic mix of objects. It's balanced without being overly symmetrical. When I saw a picture of this room for the first time, I literally sighed.

via? I have no idea where I found this photo.

And then there is this favorite room. It is completely opposite. I ADORE the dark turquoise color on the walls and door with that green velvet chair. I love the ornate light fixtures and the books leaning haphazardly on the shelves and the messy floral arrangement on the table. There is stuff everywhere -- this is not a simple room. It is ornate and old-looking and lovely.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gold and White

Lately, I've been noticing that I've been attracted to white and gold (brass) objects. Here are some recent finds from one of my favorite antiques stores.

Vintage gold and white chevron woven blanket.

It's in perfect shape! Wouldn't it be fun folded up on the end of a bed? Don't you love the zig-zag detail at the end of the blanket?

And here's the picture I had filed away in my memory when I bought the blanket:

This gorgeous gold and white fabric was a score at $1 for what I think is two yards worth. It's made by Jonathan Logan, who according to my research, was a major clothing manufacturer in the 60s.

I am going to make pillows out of it, I think. The fabric reminds me of this Nate Berkus pillow:

via HSN

Brass wall sconce. The quarter is there to help visualize scale. Isn't it beautiful?

Here are some similar styles available through a high-end lighting website called Circa Lighting. Thanks, Heather, from My Many Moments blog for bringing the site to my attention!

And finally a simple brass envelope sorter. Maybe I should have taken the photo with a white envelope instead to maintain the gold and white theme!

Except for the fabric, I think I'll try my hand at selling the rest of the items -- how I will do that, and have no idea!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ugly Plant Stands Turn Into...? You help me decide!

I came across these ugly plant stands a few months ago at Goodwill. The basket is horrendous, but I love the tripod shape and the raw wood/woven quality of them.

The plant stands have been sitting in my garage until I could decide what to do with them, but I'm having a condundrum.

Do I add a light kit and turn them into lamps? If I did that, I would need to cut down the neck of the taller stand to make them level. Or, and this takes some imagination on your part now...

do I rip off the basket and attach a plate of some sort plate like the brass chargers I found at the Salvation Army? (I am loving brass these days.) The plate would sit at the very top of neck - not on top of the basket.

And I really need a side table to go between these chairs. The two different height tables would be nice and would leave space for two people to set down drinks. (I read somewhere recently that Bunny Williams proclaimed that a good host always has a place for a guest to put a drink.)

Remember, the plate will not sit on top of the basket. The basket has to go. If I made the plant stands into tables, I'd have to paint my chairs (black?) because I think the look is too matchy for my eclectic sensibilities. Or do I need something chunkier, like a garden stool between the leggy chairs?

Please weight in! I'd love to hear your opinion because I just can't decide. Or do you have other ideas?

Leaving with a few tripod images to stir the imagination.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Incredible Junking Finds

I had a babysitter for a few hours today, so of course I had to spend some of my time-off junking. My first stop was at the Salvation Army.

These chairs (a pair of them) weren't particularly cheap at $50 a pop. But the upholstery, which I think is fun, was nearly perfect. I'd paint the chair white, if I owned these beauties.

I'm seeing campaign furniture everywhere these days.

This department store style trifold mirror caught my eye as I was leaving, but I couldn't find a price tag on it. Wouldn't you love to have it in your room? Or better yet, in your huge walk-in closet? As with most things, I could not take it home with me because the darn thing would not fit in the trunk of my Camry. What's a girl to do?

Next stop was this place:
It's a huge warehouse full of junk in Berkeley. Believe it or not, a ton of what is in there is hauled out of the trash by a team of people. Today was a particularly good day there, which is unusual, because it is typically picked over by swarms of people.

Urban Ore has all manner of chairs. How about this tall beauty for $10?

Or this lovely lady for $8? Strangely both above and below were sets of three.

Here's a pretty quatrefoil top to a coffee table. It was painted the prettiest shade of blue. (Too bad my iphone doesn't pick that up.)

And here's the base.

Someone else spotted this coffee table sans glass top and found another piece to see if it would fit. Guess not.