Tag Archives: Greentea Design

Storage Solutions for Every Room

staircase bookcasebookcase staircase via Apartment Therapy

Seeing as we are nearing the end of our steps and storage event here at the store I thought I would put together a little roundup of storage ideas for every room in the house. Is adequate storage something you struggle with in your home? I know around my house it’s in short supply and I am always thankful when I see a new organizational solution that I haven’t seen before. Hopefully these storage ideas will bring a little inspiration your way.

suspended storage for the hallwayimage via housetohome


If you have a large family trying to keep track of whose stuff goes where is a never ending battle. This hallway cubby idea gives each person in the house a spot for stashing keys, mail, homework or anything else. You could recreate this idea by painting letters on larger containers or cubbies if you need more storage.

kitchen island storageimage via Design Mom


Industrial touches in the kitchen always get my attention, and that is why I am digging this locker island. The deep stainless steel shelves are practical and easy to access. I imagine this would be an island that you could easily DIY.

bedroom built-insimage via Young House Love


Who would have thought romantic ambience and oodles of storage could go together so seamlessly? I am over the moon in love with these around-the-bed built-ins by Sherry and John of Young House Love. As usual, they provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete this project on their blog if you want to try recreating it in your home.

Playful clothes treeClothes Tree by Pkolino


If you have kids who are dress-up fanatics, or maybe just kids who need a little encouragement to pick their clothes up off the floor, then this clothes tree could be a welcome edition to your child’s bedroom or playroom. The tangerine orange colour and fun shape make this perfect for little ones.

Elm Burl Step Chest by Greentea DesignElm Burl Step Chest from Greentea Design

Living Room

One of these step chests really could go anywhere, but it would be especially useful for hiding media and odds and ends in the living room. The best thing about this piece of furniture is that it gives you plenty of room for displaying as well as storing.

Mini Steps Giveaway 2012

Greentea Design launched its Steps and Storage Sale this week, and to celebrate, we’re bringing back the Cho Mini Steps!

You, our dear readers, can have the chance to own one of the three Mini Step Chests that we are giving away! All you have to do is go to our Facebook page, “like” it (if you haven’t already), and comment on our posts. You’ve got until May 22nd to make your comments. Each one comprises an entry to the draw which we will hold at the end of the contest period.

Best of luck, you guys!

Here is the complete set of rules for this giveaway.

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The History of the Step Chest

Greentea Design's Large Elm Burl Step Chest

When they first encountered the step chest, or Kaiden Dansu, in the 19th century it was love at first sight for travelers from the West.  It’s such an iconic piece of Japanese furniture, with an instantly recognizable shape. Their asymmetry; the many drawers and sliding doors; the intricate Japanese joinery techniques that ensure they’re built to last: Step chests strike a perfect balance between art and design, form and function.

how a step chest would've been originally usedImage via Pinterest from Picasaweb

These beautiful solid wood pieces first appeared during the late 1700s custom built by the local carpenter for stores and loft spaces in Japan.   They were built to serve the practical purpose of acting as both staircase and storage. These step chests are constructed in three parts that can be arranged in various configurations.

Haru Step, reconfigured

Historically, building step chests in multiple parts served a couple of key purposes:  it allowed the pieces to be easily transported, carried on shoulder poles, from one place to another (tansu were generally considered fancy storage boxes); but it also allowed the furniture to be reconfigured depending on a space’s needs.

Step chest in three parts Greentea Design’s 3D Step Chest Guide

And the need, from time to time, was to screw the taxman.  Space has always been a hot commodity in Japan.  And as the story goes, these step chests would function as staircases to the upper level of a loft, where you’d find a family’s living space.  The government at the time taxed owners on their livable floor space only, so when the tax inspector came around, the step chests would be reconfigured – poof! The staircase was gone! – and the owner would claim the loft above was soley used for storage – with no permanent access to the space – and therefore untaxable. This worked for a while until, predictably, that loophole was closed.

Big Burl Step Chest functions as a room divider

Greentea Design's CD Step Chest

Today, using traditional building techniques, Greentea Design has a range of step chests that fit beautifully in modern spaces.  With two-sided design, they function as room dividers and offer loads of storage that can be customized to your needs.  These are heirloom quality pieces, the unique focal point of any room, that imbue a space with a little culture and a little history.

Slick as Can Be: Lacquerware Then and Now

Bamboo spoons coated in black lacquerUrushi Bamboo Spoons by Mori Kowa from Ashes and Milk

The technique of lacquer can be traced back to as early as the Neolithic period in China and the Jomon period in Japan. Practices for lacquer vary from region to region and country to country;   the traditional Japanese technique of Urushi, for example, uses the sap of a lacquer tree which is handpainted in thin layers using a paint brush made of women’s hair.  In many instances powdered gold was added to create intricate designs.

a lacquer treelacquer tree image via UniProt

Housewares, furniture, jewellery and even armor were popular lacquered objects in Japan, and there are still people practicing this ancient art in inventive and inspiring ways. Let’s take a look at some examples of lacquerware, both old and new.

Japanese antique black lacquer tea setJapanese Lacquer Tea Set image courtesy of Greentea Design

The Japanese tea set pictured above is an excellent example of the sorts of household objects that were often lacquered. This set exhibits the traditional colours of black, red, and gold as well as a traditional vine motif.

Japanese lacquer combs19th Century Japanese Combs from the Victoria and Albert Museum

How lovely are these Japanese combs? Such beautiful colours and impeccable workmanship. The delicate paintings on these combs show the level of artistic skill that the masters of lacquerware were capable of. These particular combs are part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection.

"Brick Screen" lacquer screenClassicon Brick Screen by Eileen Gray via Private

The Brick Screen by Eileen Gray is an example of how the art of lacquerware has been adopted outside of Asia. Gray designed the Brick screen from 1922-1925 after learning the art of lacquer from a Japanese artisan, and this work is still an iconic piece of art deco design.

Red lacquer Urushi BoxUrushi box by Kuroda Tatsuaki via architonic

Kuroda Tatsuaki’s magnificent red Urushi box is a textural and visual masterpiece. The flowing lines of this piece are accentuated by the way light is reflected off the lacquer surface.

Nendo's black laquered paper objectsLacquered Paper Objects by nendo

These lacquered boxes by nendo show how the old and new can be blended. The small boxes are made out of paper using a 3D printer and then hand finished with lacquer. The rolled paper and thin layers of lacquer almost give the impression of wood grain.

Gold and black detailing of this dining room mimics Japanese lacquerSteven Gambrel via Odi et Amo

And finally, this stunning dining room is of course not lacquered in the traditional sense, but the high gloss of the walls and the black and gold tones throughout the space give the impression of Japanese lacquerware, don’t you think?

Happy Friday Everyone!

The Story Behind the Maru Table

Wide Maru Dining Table

No question people make a home, as do the memories that permeate a place.  But furniture can too. For me one of the most beautiful pieces in Greentea’s collection is the Maru dining table, at once rustic and sophisticated, harmonizing beautifully with design schemes from modern to traditional.  But the Maru is more than just beautiful furniture, they tell a story.  The word “maru” in Korean means porch or floor and these tables are indeed that.

flooring in a historical building that was salvaged by Greentea DesignConstructed from century old Korean flooring, the wood is salvaged when traditional buildings are torn down or remodeled.  The reclaimed flooring is transformed into these beautiful tabletops.  Each batch comes from a different historical salvage project, the last for instance, a very old platform from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul. For this reason also, no two are identical.

Greentea Design's Wide Maru Dining Table

Close up of Maru patina

The age of the wood gives the Maru table its beautiful patina, while also attesting to the strength and durability of these 3-inch thick boards of Asian Pine.  In fact, no trees are felled to create these tables: while flooring slabs are used for the tabletop, the legs are constructed from original flooring supports.

Greentea Design's Narrow Maru Dining Table

The Maru table is a true heirloom piece, not just because of the story it tells, but in the history they continue to absorb in their new family’s treasured meals, as a hide and seek spot, and a gathering place for those who make a house home.

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