Friday, November 20, 2009
Dream Redo for Two
What does a dream look like?
Many of my Dear Readers know (or have ascertained) my desire for my vintage décor fanaticism to become more than simply an avocation. Oh, to be sure, the hunt-and-find aspect of my addiction is most fulfilling; to lay hands on and actually possess a particularly appealing piece of vintage treasure is satisfaction defined. Indeed, the euphoria experienced during a fit of Vintage Vertigo is a reward in and of itself.
However, over the years, as my diverse collection of vintage furnishings has grown exponentially, an idea became implanted into my subconscious and has grown/fermented/festered into a dream. I now have a fervent wish to not only collect all these delightful and decorous vestiges of the past, but to also share them (and my own unique tastes) with others via a vintage décor boutique.
Surely even those who are not intimately familiar with my myriad of personal quirks saw this coming; after all, even the most ardent of collectors might show some restraint prior to reaching the point of actually having to rent storage space for the objects of their desires! And, as you’ve seen since the commencement of this Blog, my acquisition activities have reached a fever pitch. To let you in on a little secret: I’ve justified the majority of my purchases in the last couple years by proclaiming that they were being acquired on behalf of The Shop.
The dream: a small and tasteful shop offering a well-edited selection of vintage décor home-and-garden furnishings, from the 1920s thru the ‘80s, selected for their uniqueness, quality, and style, or simply because I find them appealing. I’ve recently refined my concept to reflect my other passion, fashion -- as in clothes, both haute couture and high-end ready-to-wear. I wish to restyle pieces of my collection to reflect fashion trends of the season, but in such a way as to render them timeless. I want to offer a collection of sophisticated yet edgy and quirky furnishings that expresses my particular viewpoint, and that encourages others to embrace the beauty of vintage and individuality.
So, what does a dream look like? If you’re Furniture Addict Howard, it starts out looking like these two chairs. Both items are vintage: the wing chair, discovered last summer among the cacophony of delights at Class and Trash , dates from the 1920s; the more contemporary one was rescued during one of my now famous “911” missions, and is of 1970s vintage. Both pieces appealed to me because of their overall aesthetics, as well as their sturdiness, craftsmanship, and comfort. However, you can see from the “Before” pictures that each chair was in dire need of a makeover. While the wing chair appeared to have been professionally reupholstered (probably in the 1930s, based upon the use of a quilted nylon fabric that was de rigueur back in the day), this lady was faded and worn. The other chair, tattered and torn, had been tossed to the curb (most literally) presumably because its previous owner had determined it to be past its useful life. Mistake. BIG mistake.
From the point when I had claimed each of these unique items, it had been my intention to restyle them in some unique way. However, it was not until I ventured into a local fabric store that the crucible of my creativity was uncovered; as I maniacally tore through the mounds of upholstery remnants, visions began to take shape in my mind’s eye. Not being content with any singular textile, I instead started piecing together coordinating patterns, textures, and colors into distinct viewpoints. Guided by my awareness and understanding of current and future fashion trends (I’d just reviewed online videos of the Fall/Winter 2009 and Spring/Summer 2010 runways!) I was able to down-select from the piles of fabrics I’d collected and create palettes of 3-5 fabrics that I could envision for specific pieces in my vault of vintage.
Behold, the two chairs representing the first instantiation of my dream. From its shape, you can see that form and function are the only remaining tangible characteristics of the wing chair. Gone is the seafoam green nylon upholstery; it is now resplendent in a symphony of white tiger print (accented with gold), black-and-white boucle’, and black faux Persian lamb, trimmed in chocolate brown velvet cording. The mahogany Chippendale-style legs remain as they were when I’d first claimed the chair, complete with the nicks and imperfections that serve as a nod to the piece’s undocumented (but undoubtedly colorful) history.
The second chair, its shape a nod to French moderne, resided in my boudoir from the moment it was rescued. Although I’d hidden its imperfections (tattered upholstery and worn seat cushion) with a handcrafted throw, for years it begged for a dramatic redo. And finally, a wish fulfilled: the front is a textured silver-grey, the back is luxurious in faux Persian lamb, and the buttons reflect the seat’s front and box, covered in a nubby plum. But the most dramatic accent to this chair, now painted in a Ralph Lauren saddle black semi-gloss: 11/16” nickel-plated pyramid nailheads highlighting the elegant line of the back. TOTAL.FABULOCITY. And, true to my concept, these pieces now reflect a clothing fashion trend; the colors, textures, and details embody the spirit of Rocker Chic . Rock on!
So, what’s next? The Rocker Chic collection will be completed with a number of pieces currently in-process: tables and accessories in black and metallics. Other collections are also taking shape, including a group of tables and chairs designed for an idyllic life by the sea, and inspired by Ralph Lauren’s Spring/Summer 2010 nod to the simpler and austere life of the 1930s.
And for The Shop? In case you were wondering, the name that I’ve had in mind: As Luck Would Have It. A Website is in the works (Frank and Nelson, if you’re reading this, GET TO WORK!) which will serve as an informational portal to my edited and restyled inventory of vintage furnishings. Then, I hope to convince realtors in the DC metro area that pop-up shops are a retail trend worth latching onto in this market abundant with vacant commercial space. And beyond that? Well, that’s what dreams are for, right?!?
What does a dream look like? If you’ve been reading this blog, you see a dream every time you go to the URL. And by doing so, you are sharing in my dream. Thanks for being a part of it.