Category archives: Furniture

FURNISH | Roundup of Mid-century Deals

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It’s been awhile since I’ve gone trolling for treasures so in the interest of fun (read: mid-morning diversion) I checked out what new arrivals there were at two of my favorite online sources for vintage modern furniture and accessories (ThisisnotIkea and Lushpad). Tons out there but here is a little roundup of preloved pieces that are both modern and affordable:

YELLOW VINYL RETRO SOFA, $795
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This clean-lined three-seater sofa seems to “float” off its legs. A handsome piece that costs less than a new sofa at Crate&Barrell or the Sofa Company. It’s vinyl, which I would normally shun if it were a new, but since it’s vintage, it deserves a nod. Check out the listing at ThisIsNotIkea.com.

RETRO MODERN THROW PILLOW, $35
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A great fun print (love the pink, chocolate, olive color scheme). Then I noticed it’s actually made with sequins. Groovy! Only one available. Found for sale at ThisIsNotIkea.

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FURNITURE | Proof that the Japanese Can Design Anything

In America, we turn trash into treasure. In Japan, they recycle by design. Case in point: Doug Aamoth’s post about this dining table made from a washing machine drum. He stumbled upon it and the coordinating chairs during a tour oversees at a Japanese recycling plant devoted to handling home appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and TVs. The plant not only recycles, it apparently likes to design too.

The chairs are made of a really, really dense plastic derived from some of the bits of scrap from the various machines. It looks and feels like wood, though, and apparently there are picnic tables, chairs, and benches in nearby parks that Panasonic has supplied with this type of furniture.

Mythbuster fans will probably get a kick out of Doug’s video tour of the Panasonic recycling plant where you get to watch things get crushed, pulverized and blown up — all in a fabulously green day’s work.

Spotted at Curbly

DESIGN.DECOR | Vivavi Opens "Green" Atelier in Manhattan

I’ve always loved Vivavi’s selection of modern, green designer furniture and accessories offered in its online boutique. But isn’t it better to offer a shop where one can actually sink into the chaise and lounge chairs? Apparently Vivavi thought so too, having recently opened its flagship “Eco pop-up” store in downtown Manhattan.

The shop is part retail, part apartment showcase: hosted in Apartment 8D at Riverhouse, a luxury green condo complex located in new Battery Park City.

Prices reflect the well-edited selection of high-end designers they carry, but you can find a few affordable options like the Maku Ottoman ($349) by Team 7, the classic looking Arborline Side Chair ($385) by J. Persing, and botanically-inspired organic duvet covers by personal Fab Green favorite Amenity ($320).

Splurge items include the beautiful artwork of Sandy Schimmel whom we featured earlier this week, and the curvy yet minimalist Animavi Club Chair and Ottoman (shown in black above).

GETTING THERE

Vivavi
Apt. 8D at the Riverhouse
2 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282

Store Hours:
Monday to Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12pm to 4pm

Thanks to Josh at Vivavi for writing in. Congratulations on the shop!

DIY DESIGN | How to Make a Modern, Multi-functional Coffee Table

Courtesy of Blueprint Magazine

Here’s a fast and fabulous furniture idea from Blueprint Magazine, one of my favorite but sadly discontinued design sources. Closet storage cubes come together to create a coffee table and storage unit.

How-to instructions and sources are still available on the Blueprint website, but it’s easy to figure out how it’s done — and design your own variation.

TRY THIS

Sure this storage sectional makes a handsome coffee table, but why not try turning it into a display shelf, wall partition, end tables or additional seating?

Courtesy of Moco Loco

ADD YOUR OWN FAB GREEN TWIST

Create your own two-tone masterpiece using eco-friendly, healthier low or non-voc paints by Yolo Colorhouse, Benjamin Moore, or Fine Paints of Europe.

Prefer prints or patterns? Try these:

DIY DESIGN | Fast Facelift for a Dresser

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Shabby chic less the shabby. This weekend project works great on cast-off dressers, sideboards, desks, and tabletops. If you don’t already have a piece in your own pad to experiment with, try hunting down a gem on Craigslist, a local flea market, Goodwill or garage sale.

A Green Twist
Finish it off with a hip, healthier paint option like Yolo’s Sprout Collection (for modern, spring-inspired colors), Benjamin Moore’s Aura, or Fine Paints of Europe (for rich, historically-derived colors). Other companies like Pantone have started offering non-VOC or low-VOC paints and primers as well so it’s much easier to go high style and fume free. The few extra dollars per gallon is worth it for the health and environmental benefits.

Video Podcast Instructions
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIJ-DDOtH6k&hl=en]

Prefer written instructions? Check out the complete post by Chris Gardner on Curbly.

Check out our full list of DIY Design ideas here.

DIY DESIGN | Secret Salvage Yards

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Photo courtesy of Salvage One

Sometimes the most precious pieces are ones are those you find in unexpected places. The antique mirror you scored at a flea market, the Phillipe Starck chairs you got for $69 each at Hotel Surplus Outlet, the handsome used Eames Lounge Chair knockoff bought on eBay for $50 (yes, it’s true. The lounger is in my friend Michael’s apartment and what I wouldn’t give to steal it away). If you have an eye for spotting a diamond in the rough, you might consider checking out another insider source: salvage yards.

What’s so special about salvage yards?

These are forgotten pieces of mid-century modern furniture, perfectly good kitchen and bathroom fittings, abandoned fireplace mantels replete with mosaics of cracked paint, and collectible flotsam covered with abstract, oxidized patinas.” – Christopher Brown, Senior Editor, Dwell

Thanks to Christopher Bright’s post on his favorite salvage yards, I parsed out a few favorites of my own to share:

Salvage One: Chicago, IL
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The crème de la crème of salvage style can be found at the Salvage One store in Chicago. Lots of collectible furniture, lighting, as well as architectural elements, vintage sinks and clawfoot tubs. With so many pristine pieces, it seems a shame to call them salvage.

OLD GOOD THINGS: Manhattan, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Hallandale, FL; Scranton, PA

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Old Good Things has a good selection of handcrafted tin mirrors, and decorative tiles.

EARTHWISE, Seattle, WA

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Earthwise gets more into salvage materials (like the wall paneling above) but also offers a good selection of tiles, doors, wrought iron and antique tin mirrors. The website pretty easy to search for items (we’d love to see a “view all” button). There’s also a “Fun” section for those looking for inspiration on how to design with salvage.

Ohmega Salvage, Berkeley, CA
Nice layout of categories, lighting is broken out by decorative period. Seems to be the most user-friendly website of the bunch
Gems include tiles, doors, cabinets, metal lockers, display pedestals from art museums.

HOW TO MAKE IT MODERN AND FABULOUS:
If you’re new to salvage style you may want to start with these ideas: mirrors, ceramic tiles as coasters or tabletop decoration.

Cast iron or brass floor registers: Powdercoat paint them white, black, silver, peacock blue, or a fire engine red and hang them as wall art.

DESIGN | Falling for A Hot Rocker

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The rocking chair is one piece of furniture with a bad rap. Instead of being seen as dynamic and fun, it harkens associations of aging, stodginess, a bygone era that was soooo last century. Enter the Gotham Rocker.

I’m in love. Just look at it. It’s gorgeous and sculpturally interesting from all sides.

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Designed by J. Persing Company (formerly Danko Persing), the Gotham Chair is actually made from surplus automotive seat belts, dyed with non-toxic water-based inks. Its lightweight form is intentional: great design with minimal material. It’s available in a wide selection of belt colors and wood stains. It makes a greener design alternative to fans of the iconic Risom Chair, and it’s more fun.

Interested in a little rocking chair trivia? Here’s what wikipedia says:

According to an american legend, the rocking chair was purportedly invented by Ben Franklin by simply taking a standard chair and adding rockers to it. Cabinetmakers began producing rocking chairs in the early nineteenth century, and many examples from that era still survive today. Their popularity has only increased, and antique rockers of many varieties are highly collectible today.

The Gotham Rocker retails around $1000 and was spotted at Vivavi.

Haute Hack | Design Your Own Bistro Table

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It’s almost Spring. Time for a change. Here’s a great idea for turning a blah bistro table into a bold, designer statement. This IKEA bistro table was once a blonde, but now it’s gone red. The pattern was inspired by a Louis L’Amour book. Spotted this gem of a design redux over at Ikea Hacker, one of my favorite DIY resources for interiors.

Make It Fabulous: A Healthy Glow

  • This idea works with just about any recovered table. Check out Craigslist, or your local flea market for bargain pieces.
  • Try non-toxic, low VOC paints to give your table a healthier glow. Free your home and the planet from unnecessary chemicals. Check out Benjamin Moore’s Aura Collection for Exteriors, or Yolo for even friendlier zero-VOC options.
  • Contemplating a graphic pattern? Your paint shop probably sells sample pots. Ask your paint shop to see all their low VOC options.

Ask Fab Green: Hot Shops in D.C.?

Dear Fab Green,
I live in Washington DC and recently bought a new condo which I’m interested in furnishing with green furniture and accessories (most of what I have now is of the college junk variety, so in a lot of ways I’m starting over). Do you have any suggestions (besides “Come to LA, and bring a truck”)?
Thanks very much, Jenny

Hi Jenny,
I’ve enlisted the help of DC-based gal pal and fellow designer Nicole Foley for suggestions. For home furnishings she recommends two spots:

For style mongers, D.C.’s Craiglist is a treasure trove for mid-century modern finds, and Domino-inspired revival pieces. In fact, Nicole says it’s often easier to snag a deal on modern furniture in D.C. over L.A. since the demand for and knowledge of mid-century design is less developed. Maybe I should rent a truck and swing out your way!

Case in point: $299 chair by Brocade Home (left). A set of four selling for $100 total in Arlington (right)

For new, eco-friendly furnishings Nicole recommends:
Eco-Green Living.
1469 Church Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mon – Sat, 11am – 7pm
Tel: 202.234.7110

What you’ll find: an organic coffee/tea bar, corn-silk carpet tiles, low-odor and no-odor paints (many of them milk-based), organic tees, and solar-powered radios.

Thanks for writing Jenny!

Uhuru | Reclaiming Design


This Brooklyn-based design-build studio knows how to look at something old in an unexpected way. Founded in 2004 by a quartet of designers, Uhuru is a company that loves to rescue materials around town and transform them into clean, contemporary furnishings. Their latest love is heart pine, a popular construction material 25 years ago. This beautifully-grained wood is excavated from demolished buildings and given second life — like the Stoolen Lite stool above.

This Fenced In table converts an abandoned cast iron fence into furniture. This collection is all manufactured locally in Red Hook Brooklyn.

You can find more pieces and work by Uhuru on their website.