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Sunday, April 12, 2015

HELLO THERE, MR. CHAIR!

I've always dreamed of owning an iconic mid century lounge chair. Like an Eames or Saarinen "womb" chair, anything historic and amazing. But I just don't have thousands of dollars to get one, new or old. Truth be told, I usually can't afford to shop for furniture anywhere but thrift stores ... and sometimes on Craigslist. So that didn't seem like a dream that would come true any time soon.

The chair I wanted more than anything was the "Mr. Chair" designed by George Mulhauser. I think it's more beautiful than any other mid century lounge chair. It's no longer in production like the other famous chairs, so you can only find vintage versions. And around here I've only seen one, at an antique mall, costing $1600.

Until one day I saw one in the window of a local thrift store that's a bit more "high end" than your usual Goodwills or St. Vincent dePaul. I almost dropped when I saw it! It cost $795, not cheap but actually a great price given its excellent condition. 

And then we got our tax refund. And there was enough to get the chair. Dream come true!

Here it is with a Batik elephant-print cushion from Sri Lanka:



Mr. Chair's legs show that it was the original design from the '50s. In latter ('60s-early '70s) versions, the legs were wood and metal with sharp, straight lines.



Here it is with our 1950s Russel Wright side table and 1960s globe:



Mr. Chair was the most expensive item of furniture we ever got secondhand, but it's worth every penny. Just looking at it makes me happy!

Monday, March 30, 2015

EASTER 2015

This is the first year I've decorated for Easter. To me, it's all about the ancient pagan celebration of Ostara, the Spring Equinox, from which the term "Easter" originates. I love honoring the newness of the season, the symbols of fruitfulness and anticipating a good year ahead. Many cultures, including in Sri Lanka, celebrate the lunar New Year at this time too, so for us it's even more significant.

Here are some ways I honored the Equinox around our home:

I found this magnificent little redwood burl table at a thrift store, and almost jumped for joy because I've always wanted one! I arranged my seasonal display of flowers and plants on it:





Another 1950s vase I thrifted recently:


Nothing signifies fruitfulness like the ancient symbol of the egg, and I love this groovy egg candle (on an Ikea tray)! I found this years ago:


And of course, bunnies! This vintage straw bunny wallhanging was made in the Philippines:


I'm glad I was able to honor the season and the new cycle of life all around us, this year! Now I'm looking forward to Sri Lankan New Year in April ... can't wait!

SPRING!

Spring is my favorite season! With flowers blooming everywhere and beautiful colors popping up all over the place, it's easy to see how the world is transformed even before the Vernal equinox. Nothing makes me feel more rejuvenated and alive than Spring.

Some glimpses of our home in Springtime:

Our plum tree and two other little trees (which may be plums too but bear no fruit) explode with white blossoms! The petals carpet the garden and make everything magical:








This year I found a beautiful vintage vase that I took out for Spring. It looks like folds of fabric, and displays flowers in a marvelous way. It also looks great with our mid century lamp:


I placed a pair of mid century candlesticks next to it, with moss green candles. Everything except the candles were thrifted!


Our local hospice thrift store gets unsold bouquets from area supermarkets, and they're a great deal at just $2.50 for two bouquets!


I wish Spring lasted longer around here. All too soon the heat of summer sets in and Spring becomes another memory ... till the next year. But I do all I can to enjoy its beauty while it lasts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ST. PATRICK'S DAY 2015

Hi friends! How was your St. Patrick's Day? Ours was low-key (a Tuesday, after all) but our little son loved looking for the "leprechaun feet" at preschool and had a great fun day!

My urge to decorate for different holidays extended to St. Patrick's Day this year. I began as soon as Valentine's was done, and found some lovely symbolic ways to honor the day:

First, a handloom table runner in shades of green from Selyn, a wonderful, fair-trade, Sri Lankan company (that was honored to create a gorgeous altar cloth for Pope Francis's recent visit to Sri Lanka!). On this I placed our mid century Danish-style candelabra, with green candles of course!



Next to it, our vintage Bijan hummingbird sculpture:



The two together:



I also found this adorable ceramic rainbow wall-hanging from the '70s, at a thrift store, and hung it on the front door:



And finally, my little "green" arrangement on our coffee table:



Featuring this mid century ashtray of frosted glass:



The vintage drip glaze flower pot in brown tones, as well as the California pottery pot in ivory/green, were all thrifted too:



So that's how I decorated for St. Patrick's day! I loved all the touches of green so much I'm thinking of just keeping them around all Spring long, but I may change things around a bit for Easter. Stay tuned!

Hope you all enjoyed a fun and festive (or just relaxing) St. Patrick's day. Now I'm off to put the corned beef in the slow cooker for a belated Irish dinner! See you next time ...

Monday, February 16, 2015

VALENTINE'S DAY 2015

I always like to add seasonal decor touches around the house, but doing this with a vintage/mid-century feel is not easy. So whenever I find vintage things that work for different seasons and holidays, I grab 'em!

This year, for the first time I was able to decorate for Valentine's Day! Some things were vintage, some not:

First, fresh flowers! Nothing says Valentine's like flowers, so I got a bouquet of Calla lilies from the thrift store and put them in our red mid century Japanese vase (also thrifted):



Then on the door, I hung this adorable wall-hanging from Ikea. It was sold as a Christmas item last year, but I thought it worked much better for Valentine's Day:



I also found this little macrame plant hanger at a thrift store, and hung it (with a little faux plant from Ikea, because real plants kept slipping out!) from the corner by the front door: 


I love this thrifted mid century vase and drip glaze plant pot, and I thought they went surprisingly well together with a faux lotus from Michael's craft store and a thrifted vintage metal "love" sign:



I went crazy for this little metal "love" sign! I'm assuming it's from either the late '60s or early '70s:


Hope you enjoyed our Valentine's decor! I'm now decorating for St. Patrick's Day, so stay tuned for a look at those once I get it all done. :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

THE MIDCEYLON-TURY AT HOME: BALAGALLA, LIVING ROOM

Or as Sri Lankans like to call it, the "sitting room"! This is where guests are received and entertained, so it's usually the best-kept room in the house. In fact, in poorer and/or smaller households the living/sitting room is pretty much all guests will see when they visit, the back rooms of the kitchen, bedrooms, etc. being closed off from company for the most part. Unless, of course, a closer relationship is eventually established, which is when Sri Lankans let their guard down and visitors get to see the rest of the home. 

The Balagalla living room is one of my all-time favorite rooms in Sri Lanka! The mid century furniture takes center stage:



 


We can't wait to go back and visit our family here and see this beautiful home again! Our memories of it are still fresh in my mind. What a beautiful afternoon that was!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

THE MID CEYLON-TURY AT HOME: BALAGALLA, FORMAL DINING SPACE

Even though most Sri Lankans eat at a kitchen table, like the one I showed before, in large estate homes like this there's usually a large, formal dining table too. This is where important guests or outside (non-family) visitors are served meals. Dining is a very important ritual when guests come to visit in Sri Lanka, so households try to keep a good-sized table for the purpose, no matter how small their homes might be.

This is the only truly mid century style dining table I've ever seen in Sri Lanka! It's even more magnificent in real life:




At the other end of the table stands the little display cupboard with all the important family photos, including my husband's uncle's 1950s wedding photo!


When we visited, we ate lunch at the kitchen table (shown in the previous post), which was much more cozy and convivial, but I can just imagine being served a huge formal meal at this table - truly a treat!