Domino (April) arrived over the weekend and I couldn’t help but feel left out of the hip ‘n trendy Chinese Garden Stool Club. Michael Bargo had one in a lovely green, the amazing Lulu de Kwiatkowski sported one in her home (in what appeared to be orange), Tom Scheerer incorporated a perky lime stool into the drinks table arrangement that he pulled together (in classic Scheerer style), and Jennifer Marsico had two white ones in her living room alone. But no worries my fellow design addicts. For as little as $69 USD, you can join the Garden Stool Club, too.
Here’s a floral ceramic stool used by Burnham Design in one of their rooms, it looks inspired by the Chinese garden seats, just a bit more dainty and detailed. I wasn’t able to find an exact copy of it, but if you spend some time on Google, I’m sure you’ll find something like it. Check with your local antiques dealer, too.
Why so appealing? They can do it all – the true multitaskers. They fuction as a foot rest, small table, plant stand, place for kitty to sit, or just for a little eye candy – a bright burst of color. They are also small enough to not give commitment phobes a showroom freak out, it’s just one itty bitty stool. Slightly larger than throw pillows. About the same price. We love a good ole barely-break-a-sweat purchase.
Also know as ‘tea stools’, ‘chinese stools’, and ‘porcelain garden seats’, the big sellers seem to be those in solid colors, circular, with intricate, but spare, cutouts (vs. the ornate hand-painted or square varieties). Although, I have to say that I love the hand-painted stools in blue and white, like the one shown a few images down from Wisteria for $179.
My #1 stop, Oriental DestinAsian on eBay. Prices range from $69-119 for solid colors in blues, greens, yellows, and of course, white. With a flat rate shipping anywhere in the U.S. for only $35, you can’t go wrong for a repro. Keep in mind that just like anything else, you can pay more and find something really unique and one-of-a-kind straight from artisians in China, or you can opt for reproduction pieces inspired by traditional Chinese garden seats if you’re on a limited budget.
Although the stools I’m seeing in magazines and designer’s portfolios aren’t nearly as ornate, if you love to mix things up, opt for handpainted or these cutout floral patterns from The Company Store ($108), or Mecox Gardens. For a one-of-a-kind seat, Red River Trading Co. in Boston’s South End has imported stools straight from Hunan, China. The two shown above in teal were handmade and fired in a kiln which means that are totally worth $350- each.
Additional Ceramic Garden Stool resources: Tonic Home, Clipper Trading, even Pottery Barn is in on the trend with a Jade green stool for only $99. You can google for “Ceramic Garden Stools”, “tea stools”, “chinese stools”, and “porcelain garden seats”, and find hundreds of other sources. Use those as search words on eBay, too.
Can you spot them in these rooms? Some are much less obvious than others…
So what do you think – Are you into these, or do you run screaming in the opposite direction?
I found a neat little eBay store over the weekend while searching for an alabaster deer head. Strange item to desire, but you must relate… I think we’ve all obsessed over something that others found a bit odd (your boyfriend, those jelly shoes, that eggplant hair color). I first came a white deer head in Real Simple magazine, then I spotted another on flickr from Shimrit + Yaar. Seeing that I couldn’t find any in local stores, or online (when I did they were always out of stock), I turned to my friendly eBay and searched for ‘deer heads’. Simple enough. Or so I thought.
I kid you not, I had to endure endless images of creepy stuffed heads until I found my diamond in the rough, a seller that not only had several in stock, but the price was right. He also has an online store in addition to his website, and his home won the 2005 “Home of the Year” award from Metropolitan Home magazine. A Thai-American living in Washington, D.C., Supon Phornirunlit, has a great eye for design and stocks some great products, so I’m sure you’ll want to shop his finds in both his eBay store and website, Home Republic. See Supon’s home here (don’t miss his retro cookie jar collection!).
I know some say antlers are out, but I think good design is good design and if it makes you happy and looks great in your space, then that is all that really matters. I plan to have a dog someday and think this would make a fun hook for a dog leash in a mud room, so once I tire of it on display in my living room, I’ll move it over to another area of my home for a more functional purpose, like the entryway.
So, what do you think of these heads? Be honest.
I try not to talk about myself on this blog because design is the focus, but after looking at the March issue of Living Etc with freestanding bathtubs in nearly every home featured, I had to point you to an article that appears in Boston magazine’s Home & Garden edition, written by yours truly. If you’re a local and looking for a tub, this article may help you out. It’s on newsstands until June 12, 2007. The article is called “Bathing Beauties”, pages 51-53. If you do not have access to the issue, I’ve uploaded it to my flickr account, so you can read it there (view in full size). A huge thanks to Julieann (a decor8 reader) from Jace Interiors in Cambridge for the quotes!
(images from boston magazine)
Surf’s Up! We kicked off our trend report with Mad About Morocco and The Nurturing Naturalist, but with so many other hot looks out there, let’s explore a few more. For this trend, think beach parties, palm trees, and lots of California cool, and relaxed interiors. You can even support the environment by incorporating pieces that are eco-friendly, especially with Beachy Keen because so much of the look is based on what’s au natural. We’re talking more Denmark or coastal Maine faded vs. Lily Pulizter preppy.
The Look: Serene and subtle, natural shapes and finishes, sun-kissed. Images of sea, sand, pebbles, driftwood, and raw raffia come to mind. The look incorporates light and medium wood tones, and plenty of organic materials and fibers. Try to find sustainable, durable products when you can. Beachy Keen can be relaxed and soft (slipcover sofas, for instance), or streamlined and contemporary (a chair in wicker and chrome). Look for pieces with clean lines and uncomplicated, organic patterns. Bring the outdoors in to immerse yourself in a total resort-like atmosphere with lots of found objects neatly arranged. It’s all about personal preference.
As with any look, don’t lay it on thick… You want your home to function and breathe and it can’t if smothered to death. Think of the coast when it is quiet – a few people, some gulls in flight, you, the sand and surf. Nice vision, isn’t it? Now think of the beach during peak season with wall-to-wall bodies, so packed you can barely see the sand. Not as relaxing a thought. Same with your home. Packing a room with too much visual clutter isn’t the goal here, Beachy Keen is about good organization and well thought out displays and a smart floor plan. Lean on having too little over an abundance. If you have collections you’d like to use in the room, pottery or jars of shells that you collect, group them together in one place so they can be appreciated. Scattering them doesn’t show them off nearly as well. It’s hard for the eye to appreciate any one object in a room that is too busy. Examine the images below for further confirmation. Aren’t they soothing?
To create your very own peaceful escape, here are some beautiful pieces to get you started, from lighting to linens. Have fun!
Furniture – Wood, wood, wood! In blonde or acorn, monkeypod, walnut, bamboo, driftwood, teak, elm, wicker, rattan, or painted in white or pastel. Lacquered works if it’s pastel, acrylic if it’s clear, and glass top tables with a wood base work fine as well. You can mix periods – think fusion bohemian. Lines can be raw and natural, traditional (mid century European pieces, such as Finnish or Scandinavian pieces) or clean and contemporary. Here are some examples. In addition to options below, try Maine Cottage for some painted wood furnishings that may suit your tastes. I’m more of a clean, contemporary girl myself, so most of what is featured in this post are items I would own or suggest to my clients.
Clockwise from top left: Concentric coffee table from Z Gallerie, Bradenton Cube End Table from Pier 1, Lyabak pouf from Bleu Nature, Akta stool from Bleu Nature, rolling table from Excel DK showroom.
Benches and tables, clockwise from top left: Barn Beam tables from Viva Terra, Truck Tarp ottoman from Anthropologie, and the Z Bench from Branch Home.
Prints range from organic shapes to wood grain, palm branches, stripes, sea fans, and bamboo. Keep metals to a minimum, although a little silver or gold goes a long way, especially hammered or in a matte finish.
Pillows from Hable Construction
Contemporary and clean Waves bedding from West Elm. A great gender neutral option.
Rugs from Angela Adams via Design Public.
Walls: Never forget the power of wallpaper! Grasscloth is ideal. Think of non-tacky ways to bring the sea home without it becoming a theme park. You can do it!
Surprise! These light fixtures are from Pottery Barn.
I’m so impressed with their selection this season.
Surprise! More Pottery Barn beauties. I love these.
Bubble Bud vase from Rare Device, Surf Stripe grommetted gift tags from Hable Construction (sweet to hang around the neck of a pretty glass bottle), knit ceramics from Loop in London, and vessels from West Elm.
Ceramics from Papa Stour in Scotland.
Glassware from West Elm
Soap, soap leaves, and candles from Simplemente Blanco
Psst: I highly suggest picking up the current Domino magazine, it’s all about going green. You can even find their green list that Graham from Treehugger pulled togther for them. It’s packed with resources from furniture to rugs, many of which would fit nicely with your new ocean-inspired decor.