Tag Archives: vintage

Vintage Schoolhouse Styles

image via racheldenbow

I am nowhere near ready to kiss summer goodbye, still enjoying the long days and warm weather,  but the lure of fall is starting to work it’s magic. Maybe that’s why I’m currently digging all things ‘back-to-school’, from vintage school chairs to faded wall maps, and I don’t think I’m alone judging by the number of schoolhouse inspired looks I’ve seen surfacing on blogs as of late. With one part school days nostalgia and one part industrial chic, the vintage school look is one that can be incorporated in many different decorating styles.

Are you ready to head back to class? Check out these school ready finds.

Schoolhouse clock- vintageshelfandwall

This vintage schoolhouse clock has been upcycled with a quiet clock mechanism while keeping the original vintage frame. The bright apple-red colour and charming design of this clock will make this a great accent piece for a kitchen, or a child’s bedroom.

via apartment therapy

School lockers are probably one of the most useful pieces of storage furniture. I have one in my kitchen for linens and odds and ends.  A locker can also give your home an industrial modern edge instantly, or be practical and rugged in a mudroom or workspace. The styling of this craft room has vintage appeal and tons of storage.

1950’s School Chair-AMradio

This vintage school chair would be a wonderful decorating piece due to it’s interesting curvy shape. It’s fun to imagine who the child was who may have sat here and daydreamed away a class or two. Vintage and antique school chairs aren’t hard to come by, so keep your eyes open at flea markets and antique shops if you’d like to find one. Or you could purchase this beauty from AM radio. This chair or a similar one would also look phenomenal as a night table.

letter necklace by merriweathercouncil

Cursive lettering was never one of my strong suits. I remember copying letters into a lined book until I thought I might go completely bonkers. Do kids even learn how to write in cursive anymore? Regardless, these embroidered letter necklaces from merriweather council are sweet and have just enough old school appeal.

school collection- keeky27

This school supplies collection would look fabulous grouped on a shelf or mantle for some quick fall decorating. The chalk slate is a great find, as are the perfectly worn books and bookstrap. You really only need a couple well chosen accessories to get schoolhouse style without doing an entire decorating overhaul.

Get the Look

If you’re looking to add some old school charm to your home this fall here are a few ideas:

Colour Scheme: Red, White, Green and Black

Textures: metal, unfinished wood, chalkboard

Furnishings: lockers, vintage desk chairs, solid wood table, industrial light fixtures

Accessories: Globes, wall maps, typewriter, vintage books


Posted in Design | Tagged , ,

New as Old: Gadgets in Disguise

Perhaps in the past century people moved, rushed, and pushed forward at a pace that left behind all too soon the great designs of the time. Or perhaps we of this age are simply nostalgic for the “ancestors” of our gadgets and appliances that we never got to meet.

Since we can’t travel back through time (at least, not just yet), designers have brought the past in to meet the present, giving today’s technology the look and charm of decades past.

TV Design by Mike Chen

What a darling TV! There’s such a quirky naivete about it, with its gorgeous light wood, and cute rabbit “antennae” which now serve as input and mode switches.

Fuji FinePix X100

Don’t let your eyes be deceived. Beneath this old-school exterior is the latest technology in digital photography.

CD Player

Yong Jieyu Studio took apart a CD player and reassembled it to look like a really sexy gramophone. The “needle” is not just for show, as it holds the player’s laser lens.

Customized Keyboard from Steampunk Workshop

This one is a painstakingly hand-crafted typewriter style keyboard that would suitably inspire today’s writer to churn out words like Hemingway or Kerouac probably did on the old clickety-clackety versions of it.

iDial App for iPhone

This iPhone app gives you a taste of what it was like to not have cellphone address books and speed dials. Which means you have to actually memorize phone numbers.

Bosch Classic Refrigerator


Image from Appliancist

There was a time when refrigerator doors did not have magnets and had latches instead. Bosch first launched its classic ref design in 1949. It has put everything it has learned since then into to this revamp.

Mirror, Mirror, Furniture!


Narciso by Caravaggio. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Mirrors are mysterious and paradoxical. Astronomers use them to see into the vast reaches of the galaxy; dentists, to explore the innermost recesses of people’s mouths. Magicians use them to create illusions, while most of us trust them to reflect truth. They figure prominently in science and superstition, in myth and reality.

We as visual beings are naturally drawn to bright and shiny things such as mirrors. And as self-aware creatures, what also holds our attention rapt and provides endless fascination is that mirrors have the ability to, well, mirror. We love the way they allow us to see ourselves. If it weren’t for mirrors, we’d probably be stuck in riverbanks and lakesides, mesmerized by our reflections, like the mythical Narcissus.

It is for all these same reasons that a lot of us like mirrored furniture. For some it may be that they are bright and shiny, and can imbue flash and polish to the prosaic. For others, it may be the convenience of being able to extend normal vision, or to surreptitiously preen. And for others still, it is just because they are beautiful.

Featured here are some pieces of spectacular mirrored furniture. Which do you think is the fairest of them all?

Venetian-inspired Romano mirrored side table from Homesdirect365.

Mirrored retro "tulip" table from Out There Interiors.

Antiqued mirrored coffee table from J. Covington Home

Not every surface needs to be mirrored, as this 3-drawer Sabrina chest demonstrates.Also from J. Covington Home.

Love how the mirrors take on the color of the surroundings! Five-drawer chest in beveled mirror and silver leaf finish from www.ivgstores.com

The bright sky blue wall and the bronze carpet makes this mirrored credenza look oh-so-contemporary. Image from katrya-kyla.blogspot.com

And who says mirrored furniture have to look Renaissance, Baroque, or retro? Mirrors have inspired a lot of contemporary furniture design too.

Mirror circle table from hirshfields.wordpress.com

3 mirrored cubes from Linthorpe Interiors

Gorgeous mirrored CD tower by Tonelli Design

A cubist's approach to storage. Love the gold color too! Psiche sideboard also from Tonelli Designs.


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The Vintage Home

via The Brick House

It’s pretty much impossible to open a home magazine these days and not see the influence of vintage design. From mid-century furnishings to Victorian accents, today’s style is a synthesis of the old and the new. It can be a daunting task to make sure your vintage pieces fit in with the rest of your decor and that the effect is more high style than hand-me-down. Here are a few examples of how to bring vintage into your home.

via Design*Sponge

Sunny seventies textiles and a cast iron headboard make this bedroom cheerful and relaxed. Don’t be afraid to mix time periods and styles, done right it can lead to a well-curated overall look.

via The Brick House

Emily Henderson is the queen of using fabulous vintage pieces to create livable, beautiful spaces that are remarkably on trend. Furniture with great lines and eclectic vintage art work can give a room plenty of character.

via Design is Mine

Here’s another great example of how to put together vintage elements. This gorgeous loft space is packed with vintage wonderfulness, from the beautiful chandelier to the collection of vintage artwork.

Happy Hunting

via House & Home

A calm, zen-like tranquility comes over me when I am in a thrift or antique shop. I love being surrounded by old things and the way they can contain so much history. I think it all stems from my childhood where I spent countless hours in my grandmother’s antique shop, trying on old dresses and marvelling over boxes of faded photographs. I’ve turned my love of vintage into a business and here are a few of the things I’ve learned along the way:

1. If you’re thinking of purchasing an item check the overall condition of the piece. Small flaws are to be expected and can add charm, but be careful not to overlook the big stuff.  Is the cane back dining chair you’ve got your eye on going to fall apart the moment someone sits on it? Will that art deco sofa need expensive re-upholstery?

2. Ask questions. You can find out some pretty amazing things about the history of a piece by talking to the owner of an antique or vintage shop, or even someone holding a garage sale. “When was it made?” and “Where is it from?” are good questions to start with.

3. If you love it, buy it! Collecting vintage or antiques is all about timing. That perfect teak coffee table might not be there tomorrow and there is a chance you’ll never see anything quite like it again, so act fast.

There are also a number of fantastic places to find vintage antiques online including Ebay, your local craigslist, Etsy and other auction and independent dealer sites. Greentea Designs also sells antiques from Japan, Korea and China.


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Fountain Pens: Beautiful Writing, Old School


Image from Wikimedia Commons

My Dad’s handwriting is gorgeous. It’s even and firm, with perfectly formed letters. His loops and tails are smooth and flowing, and his capitals have flourish but can never be called frilly.

When I was little, I would watch my Dad write. I was fascinated by the pretty curvy lines that he would make on paper, and the instrument that he made them with. He used a fountain pen, and this, I found so beautiful, intriguing, and… grown up.

My Dad's handwriting. He likes to write down song lyrics that pop in his head. Photo by Nathalie Mariano.

Dad says he was taught to write long-hand using a fountain pen. Very old school–sitting up straight, pen at a 45-degree angle from the writing surface and pointing toward the shoulder. He swears that the fountain pen was key to finding the correct angle, and thus crucial to the development of good penmanship.

A fountain pen is one that has an ink reservoir that supplies its nib. Although the nib, reservoir, and ink have only been perfected several decades ago, the technology behind the fountain pen hasn’t changed since the 10th century. One would think it ought to have been considered obsolete long ago, and yet somehow this pen is still here, and new ones are continuously produced–fabulous ones that bring glory and pleasure to the often mundane act of putting letters on paper.

The fountain pen is a link to the past, one that is elegant and ever useful.

Here are some of the most interesting ones you can find online.

Montblanc's La Diva, from the Ingrid Bergman Collection. Gorgeous color, exquisite embossed pattern. I love this pen's tapered shape when it's capped. Made of solid 18k red gold and embellished with an amethyst and numerous tiny diamonds.

The sleek and sexy Lamborghini pen by Omas.

Who says pretty pens need to be expensive? This cloisonne pen is only around $10.

A quirky homage to the fountain pen’s ancestor, the quill, designed by Vivienne Muller.

The Aurora Diamante, the most expensive pen in the world, which has a platinum barrel blinged out with over 30 carats of DeBeers diamonds. Costs a whopping $1,470,600. I personally would be too terrified to write with it. From Italian pen maker brand, Aurora.


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