A Classic Wood Boat

If I may divert today from my usual posts of design classics of the 20th century and iconic pieces of furniture and instead write about something a little different.  The piece I want to blog about is a beautiful antique, hand-made, mahogany and cedar……wood boat!  This boat is a 1947 classic design of pure beauty.  The craftsmanship that went into the making of this boat would be comparable to that of a beautiful classic piece of furniture.  There are over 6,000 brass screws that where hand turned; definitely a labor of love.  Like many pieces of antique furniture (i.e. Spool bed) this wood boat has passed through many hands.  Each owner has loved it and added their own handiwork.  Since owning it we have sanded, stained and varnished the boat.  The hull of the boat is alternating strips of cedar and mahogany so we ‘tiger- striped’ it with stain.  Very cool.  Riding around the lake in this boat I feel like a lady from bygone days; an era of chiffon kerchiefs, cat eye sunglasses and halter top bathing suits.  Swimwear was tame and very ladylike; any two piece bathing suit was considered a bikini.  But here is an interesting fact; did you know where the name bikini comes from?  Originally created by Parisian designer Louis Reard in 1946, he named it after the Bikini Atoll, where the atomic bomb was tested! 


Spool Bed

The other day while driving through a ‘leafy’ neighborhood I did an “OMG” and slammed on the brakes. Fortunately there was no car behind me!

What caused me to stop so quickly??  A score, a real good score.  Sitting at the curb was an antique spool bed!!  I figured it was still sitting there because the neighbours/the locals would never allow themselves to be caught picking up someone else’s ‘junk’.   I on the other hand had no qualms about that.

While I was lugging the headboard, footboard and rails into my car the owner of the bed came out to give me a missing piece from the headboard.  A nice elderly gentleman who after inquiring as to why he was getting rid of the bed explained, “The wife said to get rid of it, so I am getting rid of it.” – I could not have been more thrilled.

The bed is in very ‘weathered’ condition as it appears as if had done some hard time outside.  But the good thing is that there is no finish left on the bed so no messy stripping necessary.  Just a light sand.

The spool bed, named for its resemblance to sewing spools, evolved after the invention of the multiple-blade lathe in the 1800’s.  This lathe was originally designed for making buttons and spools for clothing manufacturers.  However, furniture makers soon realized that a stack of empty spools made an attractive decoration for beds.

I don’t have any plans yet for this bed and I’m not sure where I will use it but when I do I will post the result.  Stay tuned.

As I like to say “One man’s garbage, another woman’s treasure! “

Marshmallow Sofa

My friend has a name for those sofas you see sitting at the curb.  Those sofas that have been disposed of, thrown out, retired, no longer part of the family.  My friend calls these sofas, ‘Marshmallow Sofas’.  Long since abandoned these sofas are all swollen and puffy from sitting many days (or weeks) out in the rain.  I am sure you have seen one of these Marshmallow Sofas; sad-looking creatures. 

But these are not the real Marshmallow Sofas.  The first Marshmallow sofa was designed in 1956 by George Nelson and Irving Harper and was officially known as the Marshmallow love seat #5670.  The designers were approached by an inventor who had created an injection plastic disc that he insisted could be produced inexpensively and would be durable. The designers took a look and arranged 18 of them on a steel frame – the origin of the Marshmallow sofa!  Truly a landmark of modern design.  The inventor’s cushions turned out to be impractical so when the Marshmallow Sofa was manufactured the cushions were covered in fabric, vinyl, or leather in bright colours.  Mostly all the cushions were the same color, but the sofa could also be ordered with cushions of various colors for a truly fun appearance.  A 1957 catalogue described the sofa’s playful design, “Despite its astonishing appearance, this piece is very comfortable”.  Fifty five years later, the curvy and fun Marshmallow Sofa is still turning heads and making people smile!

                      Image via Herman Miller


The Gift that Keeps on Giving

For my birthday recently I received a beautiful gift of potted red gerberas.  I put them into a white ceramic pot (contrasted nicely with the red) and placed them on my kitchen counter.  The flowers lasted quite a while and their bright cheery colour provided a boost on many grey spring days.  I decided to take photos of these flowers and so with my camera setting at digital macro I took some very close shots of the gerberas.  The details that were captured are striking.  Magnified beauty!  The photo provides more details of the flowers than the naked eye can see.  Digital macro is a very cool setting on the camera. 

I am thinking I may have this photo enlarged (8 ½ X 11 or bigger) and then framed in an oversized frame.  I use the RIBBA frames from IKEA and then cut my own mat to size.  It is a very affordable way to have some original art.  I think the red flower, white mat and black (or white) frame would look great anywhere; see my photo shop example.


My cheery red gerberas are now in the compost bucket but their beauty lives on; truly a gift that keeps on giving!



Part of the enjoyment I get from staging a client’s home for real estate sale is that I get to work (or as I like to call it – play) with the homeowners ‘objets d’art’. Their accessories and décor items.  Their tchotchkes!  Sometimes there are interesting pieces collected from world travels or beautiful vases and coloured glass bowls.  Often the kitchen may have cool stainless steel barista items or wooden trays made from exotic woods. And I always smile when I come across a gumball machine in a child’s room.  I think it is the rainbow of colours that are fun to work with and the childhood memories that are beckoned back. 

So recently when I came across this 2nd photo I was reminded of gumballs.  And once again it made me smile. 

Any guesses as to what these colourful balls are??!! They look just like gumballs.  This is the ‘Pinocchio’ carpet from the Hay Rug Collection www.day.dk   named after a Danish candy of colourful, sugar-coated licorice balls.  The Pinocchio carpet is handmade in Nepal from 100% pure wool and every single ball is felted by hand and then put on a string like pearls.  This carpet would definitely be a centerpiece in any room.  Not to mention that it would make you smile! 

Eiffel Chair

Ahhh…Paris in spring. When a young woman’s fancy turns to all things beautiful.  Ok, maybe I am not visiting Paris this spring but I do fancy beautiful things!  I am not visiting the Eiffel Tower but I do love the Eames ‘Eiffel’ chair. 





See the slight resemblance?  The Eiffel chair or DSR as it is officially known was a landmark design from Charles and Ray Eames created in the 1940’s.  It was coined the ‘Eiffel’ chair due to its distinctive chrome rod base that resembles the Eiffel Tower.  The seat was made from molded plastic. The Eames’ focus at the time was on plastic because this new material held the promise of being able to do more with less.  (sound familiar?) The plastic could be molded into organic shapes that would imitate the shape of the body. Very comfortable. This chair was the winning entry in a 1948 NYC Museum of Modern Art competition and in the 1950’s went on to be the first mass-produced plastic chair.  It was an award winner then and is still an iconic piece today.  I would love to have one of these chairs in my collection but….what colour would I choose; Aqua Sky or Lime Green or Red or maybe even White??!! Would I buy a pair or just one? Definitely a statement in any room.

My Bathroom Reno

RENOVATING.  That one single word can bring up a whole variety of emotions.  Frustration, anger, panic, confusion or happy, thrilled, eager, excited.   Frightening words like; gutting, ripping, tearing down, become triumphant words when pertaining to renovations.  I am ‘gutting’ my main floor, ‘ripping’ up the old hardwood and ‘tearing down’ the wall between the kitchen/dining room.  Some people would find the gutting/ripping/tearing down thing very upsetting whereas others may think “OMG, you are so lucky!”   Whatever your situation or the size of your project I find the best way to handle the ‘upheaval’ is to always keep the end point, the ‘after’ picture in sight.  Keep the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ always emblazoned in your mind, even when you are about to lose your mind!   I can say this honestly as I speak from experience, a lot of experience.  My present house has been renovated from top to bottom and front to back.  (Necessary when owning a 100-year-old home.)  Some renovations by choice, some from necessity.  I like to think that at this point I am a pro at dealing with drywall dust, preparing meals on a Workmate, washing in a bucket and quick trips to the neighbour’s toilet late at night!  We recently renovated our bathroom, the only bathroom in the house.  We did not have the benefit of living somewhere else during the 6 week project and therefore we had to be very ‘inventive’.  We took much-needed space from the adjacent bedroom so the bathroom and the bedroom were both turned upside-down.  But I did not care; I was getting a new bathroom.   This was going to be my first new bathroom and one that did not have pink or blue or mint green or brown fixtures!  I have had all of those colours at one point but had never had a white toilet/tub/sink.  The room was gutted and the wall between the bathroom/bedroom was torn down.  The sink and toilet were left in place for as long as possible. (See 1st photo)  The bathtub was removed each day (see 2nd photo) and then put back in place at night. 

Everything went along okay until the one time the bathtub drain was not connected properly for the night and my entire bath water ended up on the kitchen floor below!  I can laugh about it now but back then…. #@!!  After that incident bathing was done at the local rec centre or kind friends’ homes.  Finally the light at the end of the tunnel shined real bright and the bathroom was finished.  I now have a lovely new bathroom.  And guess what?  We installed the second bathroom soon after!