New Accessories, New Projects And A New Feature

I know my posts have been fewer and farther between lately–I have a few client design projects picking up right now as well as design related freelance projects not to mention children, grocery shopping, life, etc.  It’s no more than anyone else is doing–I know we are all busy–but I feel like I am at the crux of learning how to balance it all and just figure the whole thing out.  Maybe we never really figure it all out!

After my last post about the piano, I wanted to share these great little accessories I picked up last week.

painted piano after,

I was in the Crate and Barrel outlet spending a gift card from Christmas and besides a couple of bowls and lanterns I found these great little brass vases:

painted piano with brass vase.

They have a cool shape–like a sphere that has been flattened (is this a shape?  What do you call it?)–and are brushed brass.  They would work in pretty much any style room and the brassiness is soft and subtle so it won’t be overpowering.


So as part of my resolution to share more on the blog (you didn’t know I made that resolution because I didn’t share it!  Dammit!) I’m about to detail (confess?) a weird obsessive phase I routinely go through.  I’ll call it my Ebay Spiral…

Several years ago I became obsessed with finding oriental rugs on ebay.  This was way before I started a blog–this was like 2007.  I didn’t actually buy any, I just spent hours each night searching ebay for perfectly imperfect vintage oriental rugs.  I had dozens lined up in my watch list and eventually I did buy one or two small ones (which I later sold–buyer’s remorse?) but mostly just wasted a lot of time looking at oriental rugs.  One could argue that I was researching (for what, I’m not sure) or adding to my designer knowledge and education but really I don’t know what I was doing.  I did learn some of the lingo and can recognize a caucasian vs a kilim vs a persian, etc and I learned a little about wool quality, but really I was just obsessing.  That lasted about 8 months and then I dropped it like a hot potato.

Next I got really obsessed with finding charcoal sketches, mostly of female nudes, on ebay.  That was actually a bit productive as I acquired one of my favorite art pieces in our house (the one in our master bath) from 1929:

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 3.58.07 PM

After that I continued with my art phase and searched for watercolor portraits and then oil paintings of abstract horses (I know, weirdly specific–I never found what I was looking for with that one.  If I don’t find exactly what I’m looking for I don’t buy anything which may be a good thing but also means I have lost hours of time with nothing to show for it!).  Then it was abstract or primitive sculptures of horses (another bust) and that brings me to my latest obsession.

For almost a year now I have been stalking brass animal sculptures on ebay.  I think it started with the awesome parrot I got for my client’s apartment last year:

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 4.05.43 PM

I have yet to buy one on ebay (although I bought one at the flea market last month) but I really covet them!  Again, it is weirdly specific: They can’t be too literal (usually–although sometimes this is a plus).  They have to be vintage–mid century is usually the best although the 1970’s provided some awesome examples.  Not mounted on anything (usually, although I have seen some cool lucite bases with some).  And they have to be animals.

I was just doing one of my ebay searches and I came up with some awesome ones:

OK, this owl is super literal and super adorable.  I want him for my living room!

I love this sweet little fawn.  How cute for a little girl’s room!

I know, this is really literal too but it’s not over the top.  I’m thinking of the ones you see of horses stampeding or dolphins leaping.  If you want dolphins, there are a ton of those by the way.  Brass dolphins must have been huge at some point.  There are also a LOT of phalluses.  I’m not kidding–brass phalluses.

There are also a lot of really dramatic brass bulls.  I think they were a big thing for Gordon Gecko types in the 80s (representing the stock market and all).  But I like this little guy because he’s actually a bison and he’s kind of folk art looking.

And I’m totally in love with this ginormous camel!    I love him!  I love that he loves champagne too.

At first I did not know what this was which made me like it even more.  A cute little funny weird elephant.  I also have a thing for elephants…

Combining two things I love: brass and animal skulls!  It’s a win/win.  This could work in somebody’s house…I just have to buy this, meet them and then give it to them…

I know, it’s very literal and life-like–but it’s a penguin!  And it’s huge!  I did not know penguins had such crazy claws.  Don’t they just have webbing?  That looks like a dragon’s feet…

As I mentioned, I bought one of these brass beauties at the Alameda Antiques Faire last month.  I gave it to John for his office because he really wanted the one I gave to my client (which really is the best one I’ve seen so far) and this is to kind of make up for that.  I’ve actually moved it to the living room and I do like him here:

 I just may have to get one or two more to move around the house.  I wouldn’t want this guy to get lonely…

Brass animals?  What do you think?

New (Old) Brass Kick Plate

 For a while now I have wanted to add an antique brass kick plate to our front door.  I don’t have a historical or period reference for it–I just thought it would look pretty!  Here’s a reminder of what our entryway looks like–this was taken over the summer I think:

Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 9.01.14 PM

My mom is visiting and while we were out shopping the other day we visited a salvage yard and found this old brass kick plate–the perfect size for our door.  My generous mom scooped it up for me along with some brass ager and home we went to work on it.  Here’s what it looked like when we brought it home

kickplate before

Yes, it did already have a lot of patina–perhaps too much!  It was dark and stained and uneven so I brought it home and cleaned it up with some SOS and 000 steel wool:

brass kick plate polishing

This was a little too cleaned up–a little shiny with some really brassy uneven spots.  So in comes the ager.  The bottle says to completely submerge the piece you are aging in the solution but I don’t have any containers big enough to submerge this thing in so I just dribbled it all over the surface and then spread it around with a paint brush.  I don’t have any pictures of this part because it was totally uneven and I panicked and ran to the sink to wipe it off.  The ager works fast and it turned really dark even after I rinsed it off.  I then took a dry piece of steel wool and lightly rubbed it over the plate until it was about how I wanted it:

brass kick plate aged

I also went to the hardware store and bought brass screws to install it and set them in the ager for a few minutes:

brass screws kick plate aged

After installing it my front door now looks like this:

brass kick plate after 2 wtrmrk

It definitely warms up the room–now I just have to use the ager on the super shiny door handle!

And BTW, I just noticed the blue rubber band on the bottom left corner of the rug in the picture!  I thought about retaking the pictures before I did this post, we are supposed to have several days of rain now so I won’t get good enough light to retake these photos for a while.  And really, that’s how it is around here–there are often rubber bands, markers, pencils, Legos, and other detritus strewn about that I don’t even notice anymore!  I’m just going to pretend it’s an umlaut over the U in “Urban.”

Thanks for stopping by!