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Friday, February 26, 2010

Console Yourself

Nothing makes our hearts all aflutter like seeing an artfully arranged vignette on a console table. A console table doesn't have to serve a purpose- it can just look pretty and purely decorative- so it's a perfect place to have a little fun. A good vignette is a perfect balance of two components- polished glamor mixed with "oh, I just threw any old thing on there" effortless. Achieving this mix, of course, is harder than one might think. We'll confess to being a bit stumped before when trying to figure out the best way to style a console table.

To help demystify the process, we've selected a few striking examples and want to point out a few key elements that make each vignette really sing.

Element #1- Height 
Simply put, you must have height. You must draw the eye upwards to make things flow. One way to do this is by adding a lamp; we are also partial to a floral component of some kind that helps give a slightly deconstructed effect and makes everything less stuffy. The cherry blossoms in the two photos below are a perfect example.


Without the cherry blossoms, sure this room would be great, but a bit prim. The scattered, imperfect branches are really the perfect finishing touch here. Bonus points for the haphazardly displayed clam shell on the floor!

House Beautiful

Element #2- A Striking Backdrop
A stunning, ornate mirror or an eye catching piece of artwork adds such a lovely embellishment to an console table. You can go a bit over the top here and get away with it, as the gilt mirror below shows. Of course, we love the symmetry of the lamps and the bamboo chairs that help to bring the focus to the mirror. And another giant clam shell- are we noticing a trend here?

Domino via Semigloss Chic

This cheerful yellow artwork contrasts so nicely with the peacock blue lamp. And to add height, Lindsey Harper has made the lamp even taller by putting it on a stack of books. Oh, and do we see a hand-turned-jewelry-holder similar to the one for sale in the MoS Store? By the way, that cat is totally wondering when the photographer is going home so that he can start chewing on those flowers!

Lindsey Harper

Element #4- A Pop of Color
It sounds simple, but you need a jolt of color to get the eye excited. The table below would be infinitely less exciting without those gorgeous green boxes on the right, don't you think? And of course, see the photo above for another great use of color.

Canadian House & Home

Element #5- A Mix of Textures
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to add a fabulous wallpaper like the one pictured here, but if you are so fortunate, keep in mind that you can then keep it a bit simple when it comes to arranging a tabletop. The sleek, thin console table might not make a huge statement on its own, but blends perfectly with the rest of the room without competing with anything else. The lamp looks fabulous when contrasted against the wallpaper, doesn't it? And don't forget the fresh flowers! You don't always need a million things on a table to get the arrangement to pop.

Lindsey Harper via Porterhouse Designs

Element #5- Books
The lamp in this photo is not my favorite, but I do like how this picture shows how you can utilize books to add a layer of depth to an arrangement. They don't have to match- it's probably better if they don't- but they add so much character to the photo below.


Element #6- Unique Objects
You know how you see unique, slightly bizarre objects at flea markets or antique shops and think "that's cool, but what the heck would I do with it?" Well, a console table or chest is a perfect place to showcase a slightly off the wall accent object, or a little collection of items. We love this campy little bust below, but the pretty seashells and orchid keep things on the straight and narrow.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's Cheap and Chic

Every so often we like to do a quick run through of our favorite websites for cheap and chic finds!  We would probably never advocate furnishing an entire room from these stores, but they can be great resources for finding an inexpensive piece here or there!

From Pier 1

Since black and gold has been on our minds....  Would you ever guess this is from Pier 1?  It could be a fab bedside table, or it would even work in a living room.  And we always love storage!

Whitley Chest, on sale for $200

We love the lines of this chair- a modern take on the traditional wing chair.  And you can't beat the price (go ahead and get a pair!).
Ikat Wing Chair, on sale for $290

I am in love with the base of this table.  It's alot like a marble-topped coffee table that my grandmother has from the 1970's from Mecklenburg Furniture that I absolutely love.  We'd like to see the top of this table in person, but the base is fantastic.

This seagrass headboard is exactly like ones we've seen at pricier shops.  Yes, it would be cute in a beach house, but it could also add an air of informality to an otherwise formal bedroom.
Seagrass headboard, on sale for $160 (Queen)

We were thrilled to see Pier 1's take on the $2100 Wisteria Peacock mirror on Caitlin Creer's blog earlier this week. 

Tufting and bright flowers, two things we love!  This little chair is just adorable, although we would probably swap out the legs for something like these.  Although we haven't tried swapping out chair legs, we think it looks like an easy way to make an inexpensive chair look so much nicer!  How hard could it be to unscrew these fugly brown legs and add some turned legs with casters?!

We'd love to see this dining room table painted a fun color!  The shape of it is just fab- imagine it painted and then paired with lucite chairs.  It even has a removable drop leaf so you can expand it for more people.  Pier 1 gets fancy!

From my new favorite store World Market...

I will admit I'd never spent much time at World Market.  I had walked in before and walked out 5 minutes later, a little skeeved by the fact that they sell everything from bath salts to barstools to beaujolais.  But World Market is a place where it pays to stick it out!  Stay a little longer, look past the chunky teak end tables, and you will find a treasure!  Also worth noting- sign up for their rewards program!  You will instantly get a $10 off $30 coupon, as well as a 10% off coupon.
Like this glossy red bench!  Just what every back porch needs!

Isn't this chevron throw just beautiful?  It will have to tide us over until we can afford the one with the big H on it...

World Market does suzani like no other!  Great way to brighten up a room!

World Market also has some fun fashion accessories, like bangles, clutches, and scarves.  These clutches with wood clasps would be so cute for spring!

And, of course, last but not least, the zebra ottoman...  Zebra plus nailhead plus a clearance price?  We'll take two!  Chic Coles posted about them too!  I just bought a pair for my downstairs den.  More on that to come...
Zebra Kilim Stool, originally $118 but on clearance for $59 online and even cheaper in-store

From Pearl River Mart...

Since MoS Washington whet our appetites with her fab pictures of the b&m Pearl River Mart, for those of us who haven't had a chance to check it out in person, they are online as well!

This pair of turquoise foo dogs is fantastic and would look great in an entryway. 
Turquoise Foo Dogs (also come in Persimmon), $39

Doesn't this altar table make a fantastic tv stand?  And you can't beat the price!

I have a weakness for tea sets, and this gorgeous raspberry colored one is no exception!

Tell us about your favorite recent cheap and chic finds!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MoS Shops at Pearl River

I was recently able to pop into Manhattan to visit friends and before I left found some time to visit one of my favorite destinations- Pearl River in SoHo (477 Broadway). I could spend half the day browsing around its three full floors of all things Asian. From bottles of Sriracha hot sauce (picked up one of those to save myself a trip to the grocery store) to big turquoise foo dogs (got those too- and got a workout lugging them home!) there's a little something for everyone. And the nice part is that in comparison to most prices in New York, everything at Pearl River Market seems awfully reasonable.

The top floor- larger home furniture items and accessories. Think oversized ginger jars and vases, ceramic garden stools, big foo's, benches, stools, and the like. The third floor is definitely the most serene floor. Not too many tourists make it up there.

A table full of little trinkets and paperweights.

A striking root bench.

Oversized food dogs - perfect for a front porch!

An array of blue and white ginger jars and vases. All HUGE!
Loved this square garden bench- a nice change from the round ones that pop up so frequently (though I love those too!)

Loooooved the metallic gold and silver garden stools.

How fab are these feather placemats and mini coasters? These would be mistaken for cat toys in my house, though. So they stayed at Pearl River.

Trays, trays, trays. All shapes and sizes. 

Ok, on to the main (ground) floor. Tons of clothings, slippers, food items, teapots, and other little items. I loved all these silk slippers, and at only $13, they make a great souvenir. 

The best part- the basement. Everything ceramic- from vases to figurines to dishes galore- not to mention window coverings, shoes, kitchen items, lucky bamboo, general "Made in China" stuff, and a "pharmacy" that I definitely steered clear of.

Foos in many colors and sizes.

I love the kitchy Maneki Nekko's (Japanese for "Beckoning Cat") like you see in many Japanese restaurants. The right paw up is supposed to attract customers, and the left paw up attracts money.

I found these perforated white vases quite striking. 

Are these plates bedecked with horses supposed to be some sort of Hermes riff?

These wicker slippers look so striking out on display- not sure how comfortable they are in real life though!

Lots of lanterns- perfect for a party.

And on an unrelated note, stopped in at MJ Trimming to pick up some leather trim and had to snap a pic of their greek key trim selection. Gorgeous! So many sizes and colors. Though you can get it for 1/3 the price on Ebay.

Have you been to Pearl River? Any favorite things you've gotten there?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Adventure for Sale!

We have few more Osa Johnson books for sale today! Rather than listing each one in the MoS Store, please just send us an email at and let us know which copy you'd like; we'll then send you a Paypal invoice. FREE SHIPPING on all of them!

I Married Adventure- $46 + free shipping 
All three copies are excellent; binding is tight; wear is negligible. Click each picture to enlarge. 

Copy #1- Sale Pending                      Copy #2- SOLD

Copy #3

Four Years in Paradise- $65 + Free Shipping
Great copy- there is some wear to the back seam of the spine- please see second picture- this is not visible when on the bookshelf- binding is still tight and book is otherwise in great condition. If you've already got I Married Adventure then you need this to complete your set!


Email to purchase!

Anyone had furniture painted before?

Looking for some reader advice- I have recently come across a STEAL of a campaign chest and am thinking of having it professionally painted by an auto body shop (may sound silly if you've never heard of this before, but many auto shops will paint furniture for you and it comes out with a perfect, glossy finish, much better than I could possibly do myself).

The shop won't give me a quote over the phone, so before I hassle with bringing it to the shop, does anyone have a ballpark figure of what this costs? Anyone out there had this done before? I'd love to hear from you! Obviously I know the cost will differ depending on the piece being painted and the geographic area, but I'm trying to get an approximation so when they quote me a price, I'll have some frame of reference. Are we looking at $100? $200? Less? More? I have NO clue.

My inspiration.
Picture1-1.png vanessa campaign image by jkomenda

While I would love to say I am as talented as Jenny at Little Green Notebook in the campaign furniture painting department, I have neither the time, the space, nor the patience to undertake such a large task! Any thoughts are much appreciated.

And the Winner is....

Comment number #28, Laura from So Alaurable

Laura, please email us at so we can get your information!  Congratulations!!!

What does $5 buy these days???

When MoS Washington posted about her $5 Craigslist chair, I couldn't believe her luck!  She found such an amazing chair, and yes, it took a little elbow grease, but she was able to make it absolutely beautiful. 

Her find inspired me to look for my own Craigslist chair.  And hey, when I am up at 3am feeding the baby, I might as well do some surfing with Craig!

Enter a chair on Charlotte Craigslist, priced at $5, with this description:  "In good condition, new hand-caned seat, but needs a new dial and some TLC."  You never know what it means when something on CL needs "some TLC."  And what on earth is a "dial" on a chair???  After racking my brain (and reading the description aloud) I finally realized that "dial" probably meant "dowel."  That sounded like an easy fix.  So I called the seller (and of course I referred to the "dial" on the phone so he wouldn't think I was a know-it-all and raise the price on me...) and decided that the 20 minute trip to get the chair would be worthwhile.

My husband went and picked up the chair for me.  Yes, the dowel was technically the only broken part.  What the seller hadn't mentioned was that he had begun stripping the chair, which had been painted several times, so it was covered in very thick streaks from whatever he used to strip it.  Still, the caning job was absolutely perfect, so I decided it was worth a little effort.

I absolutely loved the lines of the chair.  It looks like a Swedish style (to my untrained eye at least), and the caning on the seat is beautiful.  My guess is that perhaps someone had taken a caning class and used this old chair to practice on?  But I can never be sure...

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the top of the chair had a hand-painted bee on it.  It really was beautiful painting, but the rest of the paint job was so awful (not to mention the hideous green color) that I decided that the bee just could not be salvaged.  Maybe one day the Keno brothers will tell me I was crazy to cover up the bee!

My sweet husband went to Home Depot and had a dowel cut that fit just right.  He sanded it and popped it in, secured with some Gorilla Glue.

As good as new!  (you can see the streaks from where he had stripped the chair- the entire thing was like this).

So, after replacing the dowel, it was time to sand.  And sand.  And sand some more.  I was truly shocked at how many layers of paint were on this chair.

I never quite got all of the paint off.  But I did get it to where it was even enough to repaint.  For a split-second I was tempted to leave it like this.  But I think this worn look is better-suited for the Wisteria catalog than in my house...

I had a sample leftover of my bedroom wall paint that I decided to use- it is a light blue with a bit of aqua in it.

Here is the seat once I started to repaint it.

And the finished product....  I just left the cane seat as-is.  I considered painting it but at least for the time being have decided to leave it its natural color.

Works great at my living room desk!

Just the right size!

Before and After....

Not bad for $5, right?!
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