Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi internet! I’m popping in to say a quick Happy Thanksgiving to you! We just got back from a few wonderful days in Palm Springs and, in between laundry loads, have this going on in our house. I’m so not ready for this, but the kids are. Holiday confusion! I have a feeling we’ll spend the day debating over whether we’ll get a real tree too this year (team kids) or just go nice and minimal (team me)…not the worst 2017 Thanksgiving debate you could have I guess. Wherever you stand (even team no Christmas decorations til after this holiday – I KNOW!) I hope you have a wonderful holiday! So thankful to you all and this weird internet world where I’ve gotten to connect with so many of you fellow house nuts!

See you on the other side of black Friday (team Cyber Monday/burn Christmas consumerism to the ground…#innerconflict).

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Jenny

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Dining Room Tulip Table

I’ve been trying to get our current dining room situation to work for our family for years and it just wasn’t. We finally decided to invest in a new table that was the right size and offered a more durable surface, this Lippa reproduction tulip table. VERDICT: A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER IN EVERY WAY! (Sources at the end)

This has been a great lesson that just buying what you love and making it work doesn’t actually always turn out. I wonder sometimes if I should be more content and less persistent when it comes to house stuff, but every time I invest the time and money to get things right, I’m always blown away at how much it elevates our day to day life. Often times “contentment” is really complacency. I think that’s why I love architecture/interior design/industrial design so much. A little effort towards good design can literally change your life for the better. Yes I just said that about a table.The things that weren’t working before: We never used this room, talk about a house red flag. It was uncomfortable and cramped. The table was too big/wrong shape for our awkwardly small square dining room. And the table, which was a vintage Heywood Wakefield dream table/find/purchase, was too precious, not to mention rickety, to let the kids go to town with art/homework/regular disgusting kid eating or even for me to spread out with a project. Add in that it took up the entire room but could only seat 6, and the color wasn’t popping with our grasscloth and wood floors, and it was time to move on. I’ve known for years, but it felt stupid to spend money on the table I wanted and knew would work when I had “a perfectly good one already,” which actually wasn’t true. I should have spent it sooner. Lesson learned.

Pedestal (for the tiny room size) and white (for the dark room color) were the parameters. Since I’m in a huge tulip phase right now, a tulip table was the only answer. I’ve been keeping an eye out for vintage ones and I even looked into the cost of a Knoll, who has been in tulip table production since the beginning of tulip tables, because vintage/real is better than fake…usually. But vintage and very expensive originals need some stewardship and responsibility that I don’t want for this season of our life. I need a table that can take a beating, that we can really use, where markers and spaghetti sauce are a go. So sellout repro it is!The cost was a little daunting. I’m a by low, sell high estate sale scavenger type and I think this might be the single most expensive piece of furniture we’ve ever bought and it’s not even real… I’m hoping to sell our old one for about the same price, so I’m justifying it as an even trade. But, so far, the cost and hassle (SO HEAVY WE CAN NEVER MOVE OUT OF THIS HOUSE) has been totally worth it because we are actually using it. I feel like we gained a room.

This room is small and acts as a passage from the family to the dining room, essentially leaving only a 9.5′ square for the dining area, making it difficult to find the right size. Rectangle didn’t work, I thought oval might, but once I got down to the actual available dimensions none were right. Circle made the most sense, 54″ or 60″ being the options. Normal recommendations are that you have at least 30″ from your table to your wall, and neither size offered that clearance. But the most important thing for me was table top square footage…for a giant workspace. Cozy was fine with us as long as I could comfortably move around the table when we weren’t sitting there. I took a chance and went big (60″) and I’m so glad I did. This may not work for the host who throws drawn out dumb dinner parties where people need to be able to come and go from the crowded table, but I am so not that person. Mostly I need this to meet the daily needs of the four of us, and it would be nice if we could occasionally squeeze a few more around our table. The 60″ fulfills all those needs. I’m SO glad I went big. The room is spacious, bright and comfortable – finally!As for the top, I went with the engineered artificial marble over plain white just for durability, but I am so happy with the texture it adds. I’m not really a marble person, there are so many other surfaces I’d choose over marble, but I UNEXPECTEDLY LOVE IT. I’m no expert, but the fake marble is pretty convincing and it won’t stain. The shine bounces light around in the room in a wonderful way.

Our chairs are from Ikea, 7 years ago. We have 6 of them and they easily tuck under the table, with room to squeeze in a few more if need be. I’ve apparently been collecting tulip stools for various parts of our house (dressing room and I recently got another for our kitchen desk area). When I brought one in out of curiosity, something magical happened! They look SO CUTE AND I WANT A TABLE FULL!!! Like 8 multicolored spinning stools around this round table. Highly impractical or the most practical solution ever??? The kids and I are all in agreement, husband thinks that is crazy talk.The most glowing endorsement for the new table has been from my son, who often cannot tolerate change or new things, especially when they involve getting rid of familiar pieces of furniture. When he saw this table he proclaimed, “I usually hate new things but this new Palm Springs table is great!” Hmm? While tulip tables star in many a Palm Springs homes, he has never ever seen one there himself. His explanation: “Things in Palm Spring are bright and clean and this table is so bright and clean that it reminds me of Palm Springs! I love it…even though it’s new!” GREAT SUCCESS.

Mostly for my benefit, here’s our updated dining to-do. Notice that baseboards are crossed off. I AM LIVING. Next up in here is a mind blowing wood room divider. I can’t wait to get to that project. Pure fluff fun! 2018?

Dining Room To do:

  • Remove carpet
  • Swap out old light for Nelson saucer
  • Paint trim
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Paint ceilings and walls
  • Hang grasscloth wallpaper
  • Frame out pass through
  • Put some weird woodwork in the pass-through
  • Build room divider
  • Walnut curtain cornice boxes?
  • Finish wood floors
  • Baseboards
  • Paint the pocket doors
  • NEW TABLE!

Now I need to figure out if things are getting too themey in our house. Tulip table in the dining room, tulip coffee table in the family room, tulip stools in the dressing room and kitchen. Plus round white table just outside on the patio. Too much??? It feels right to me, but some non-tulip-obsessed eyes would be appreciated.

SOURCES

table – Lexmod | chairs – old Ikea | tulip stools – Amazon (I recovered)

painting – DIY ripoff of this one | bookshelf – DIY

light – Modernica, now at Herman Miller | grasscloth wallpaper – Brewster, similar

Bertoia Diamond Chair Cover

This is an entire post about a chair! But first, let’s catch up:

I’m sure every person you know in California is all like ‘hooray fall weather has arrived’ and you are like ‘shut up Californians.’ But seriously, it finally cooled down and got all gloomy and wonderful just in time for Halloween. My husband and I spontaneously took a no-kid trip to Disneyland, and had the best time reliving our high school/college days. The haunted mansion always inspires, but there is nothing like it during the holidays. I will gladly stand in that line for 2 hours just to stare at the exterior decorations. My take away was that I need a million jack-o-lanterns for next year and that maybe I’m way more goth that I think because that place moves me. Trick or treating, as always, was a house creepers delight. We have some pretty sweet houses in our neighborhood and I’m thankful for the one day of year where I can non-criminally glimpse inside. I’m a little sad Halloween is over and the cheesy spider decorations need to be put away, but November is so packed in a really good way. I head to science camp with my daughter next week, then we have a big birthday to celebrate, then we are taking a highly anticipated trip to our family favorite PALM SPRINGS, and then it’s basically Christmas time! Pumped for it all.With all the festivities, plus an extra busy season for work/school for our family, house progress is almost non-existent right now. Minus two very exciting developments….

The first being a new to us original Bertoia diamond chair! I’ve wanted a vintage one in black and orange forever and it finally came to me. (If you can’t land a vintage one but want one of your own, they are still in production for so much money at Knoll, or several of companies sell reproductions.) The chairs are insanely elegant as is…my future architect is super interested in the bent square construction, melt my heart. But the covers, in orange specifically, push them over the edge.I think it will live right here by the fireplace in our family room (and maybe I will even track down a matching ottoman one of these days!?), but I need to address the cover first. The fabric is in stellar vintage condition. No rips or worn spots and only slight fading along the edges. The orange is vibrant and the texture is nubby. But there are some “vintage” cigarette smells and the interior foam is deteriorating, leaving lumps and dust. :(

I’ve never really had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a vintage cushion before and I naively hoped I could remove and replace the foam myself, clean the vintage cover, and be good as new. But upon closer inspection, that idea is wacko. It’s not like a giant pillow. The cover construction is much more advanced than I could ever replicate. The foam is cut and sewn in a 3D shape, and I believe spray adhesive was also employed so I don’t see how I could successfully remove the old foam, which throws quite the wrench in my uninformed plan.

I had a hard time finding detailed pictures of original covers, so in case any of you need some up close visuals of cushion construction, here you go. The front and back panels are sewn together and a channel runs the perimeter so that a piece of twine with hooks on the ends can hold the entire piece in place on the frame. string twine hooksI’m not sure where to head at this point. At minimum, I could use the chair without a full cover. Umm, see below (from Knoll)! Like I said, gorgeous as is. But the chairs are over the top striking and more comfy with upholstery. I had a few Instagram friends (thanks everybody!) suggest an eBay seller that makes decent reproduction covers. Sounds like my best option, though I need a little time to stomach the unanticipated, though reasonable, costs. Now for the other very exciting house development. YOU GUYS AND GALS I just ordered this table for our dining room!!!! My beloved Heywood Wakefield table is moving out and a crazy huge round tulip reproduction is moving in. I’m so excited, but nervous too. Thanks to all of you that weighed in on table size in Instagram stories. After much debate, I went with the biggie, against all traditional decorating advice. I can’t wait to see if it is gonna play out like it does in my head. Usually I’m very ok with design experiments bombing, but this isn’t an easy or cheap decision to reverse. Fingers crossed it works in our space. I’m sure I’ll share a big old post about it when it arrives in a few weeks.

Good talk! xoxo Jenny