March 27, 2009

thonet on the cheap

I'm not a huge Thonet fan... but there is something appealing about his chairs. They are what they are - the design and construction virtually unchanged for YEARS... a smart and elegant yet functional piece of good design (i.e. form meets function)... they are light and airy... classic.

Several days ago I stumbled on 2 used Thonet chairs for sale... they were manufactured in 1910 (Poland) and had been in storage for 50 years. Guess how much... just guess...
... $40.

I bought them... seriously, at $40... that's less than a cab ride to O'Hare!!!

March 25, 2009

survey says...

Survey time! We have several options regarding the dining room table...

Option A: Ikea's NORDEN table
Finish: Beech
Cost = approx. $300.
Pros: Cheap(er); Ready to buy; aesthetically nice; extension table so size flexible
Cons: Not exactly what we're looking for - concerned that the red Eames DCW chairs with the table will look too 'clunky'; not a permanent solution BUT we could always sell it /use it elsewhere in the house (i.e. basement workspace?)

Option B: Do-it-Yourself Wood Slab with Chrome Legs (similar to table in photo below)
Finish: Not sure. Depends on how much we want to spend for the wood slab...
Cost = $300. - $500. + ?
Pros: Around the same cost as the Ikea table (= cheaper), or more mid-range in price, but much more streamlined / more along the lines of what we were looking for (if we build it okay...)
Cons: Depending on our millworking skills/budget constraints, may not look as nice as the table in the photo below; size not flexible (no extension leaves)

Option C: Vintage Danish Table
Finish: Rosewood
Cost: approx. $1300.
Pros: Investment piece; aesthetically beautiful; size flexible (2 extension leaves included)
Cons: Price $$$

... I'm kind of leaning towards Option B right now. Option C is GORGEOUS, but $$$. Sigh. What to do?

March 23, 2009

thoughts about the backyard fence...

... the backyard fence is on our spring to do list.

lomonosov porcelain

Quite a few years back, Bryan's mom picked up a set of Lomonosov porcelain dishes for Bryan, while in St. Petersburg. The dishes have stayed tucked away in boxes, down in the basement, for the past several years... awaiting the completion of the kitchen and dining room. Well, this past weekend, I finally managed to unpack all those boxes and was amazed to find a set of 114 pieces... yup, 114 pieces of hand painted, fine porcelain...
My first thought... dinner parties!!! My second thought... uh oh. WHERE are we going to store all of these dishes???

I've been trolling around for a good buy on a vintage danish or Knoll credenza / sideboard, but that purchase won't be happening anytime soon, given its priority is pretty low on the to do/wish list... So, in the meantime, I figured we could use my baby white cabinets...
My parents bought these cabinets from some scandinavian furniture store in Hyde Park (which unfortunately no longer exists) 34 years ago... They followed me to college and 4 apartments before ending up in this house. They have a few scratches here and there, but overall, they are still in pretty good shape!
The dishes filled the cabinets completely... onto more unpacking...

no more plastic... for now...

Granted, the living room still needs a COMPLETE overhaul, but this is so much more livable than 6 months ago...

March 17, 2009

prouve meets reality

I was hoping to salvage my grandparents' old 1950s wood dining table. It's nothing fancy, in fact, it's rather rickety... However, it's a wonderful size, with 3 table inserts, and it would definitely serve us well until we could build or afford something we really love, like the Prouve EM table...
(I love Prouve!) Back to reality... besides the budget factor, it's my grandparents table... The problem is that the table endured quite a bit of water damage while in storage. In addition, the table base is quite ornate (2 curved legs with lots and lots of stiles), so in order to refinish it well, the cost would be more than what the table is worth... sigh.

Ikea has 2 tables that really aren't that bad looking, plus they are both a really nice size... the
Forsby and the Norden... they aren't dirt cheap, but both priced under $300, they aren't out of reach either...
... Prouve EM will have to wait a few years. or more.

March 12, 2009

how narrow can you go...

Our house is one of many narrow historic rowhouses, dating back to the 1890s. I'm not sure why, but our block's lot sizes are not those of typical Chicago city lots. They are much narrower and a bit shorter. As a result, our house interior is approx. 15' wide x 65' long (the total lot length is approx. 105').

Don't get me wrong, we are very lucky to have as much space as we do... I just wish our house was 3' wider. 3' extra width would make a WORLD of difference in layout for spatial flow... especially
downstairs. It would allow for clearly defined 'zones': entry/stairwell; corridor/travel flow; and living.

While trying to figure out the perfect solution, I'm gathering ideas/inspiration for narrow living rooms/dining rooms off the glorious world wide web. Images above are courtesy of
Living Etc. and sfgirlbybay (both excellent resources!). Any additional suggestions are more than welcome...

March 9, 2009

Finn Juhl

The Finn Juhl Home in Denmark: via The Mid-Century Modernist

kitchen millwork complete

This past weekend we finished installing the rest of the kitchen millwork (a couple of shelves, a few door panels, trim pieces for base cabinets and the garbage/recycling bins). We also installed the base cabinet door and drawer pulls. The pulls are made by Linnea (stainless steel - item no. 221/F) purchased back in October 2008 at Clark & Barlow (I lovelovelove! that store). The pulls took awhile to install since they are recessed into the millwork panel about 1/4" (as a result, the pulls are flush with the panel edge).

A few things still to do before the kitchen is 'complete':
- install trim for all recessed can lights
- install window hardware
- install some type of window treatment on back door and large back window
- apply finish coat to window/door trim
- install undercabinet lighting
- finishing touches/organize

more books

So, given our 'temporary bookshelves' allow for approximately 80 SF of vertical storage, I thought FOR SURE they would fit all our non-reference books, with a little extra room for 'growth' - text books, reference books and periodicals would be stored elsewhere (upstairs). Well, turns out, not only there is ZERO room for growth (more books), but we still have a lot of NON-reference books without a home:
... I think we'll need more bookshelves... somewhere.