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Monday, December 30, 2013

American studio pottery

I thought you might like to look at some beautiful American studio pottery while I continue to recuperate from the flu. Enjoy!

All images from

Glenn Spangler

Isabel Parks

Nancy Wickham

Robert Maxwell

Snake River Pottery

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New collection

A new collection has started, but this time it's not for me. I bought my daughter her first piece of Cathrineholm as one of her Christmas gifts. It's a beautiful two-toned blue 8" Lotus bowl in excellent condition. The design by Grete Prytz Kittelsen has been an icon since the 1960s.

Cathrineholm Lotus bowl

Excuse the ebay photo. The whole family has been sick since Christmas Day. Thank goodness I had several posts scheduled, but they've all been used, so what you get may be a little short or even sporadic for the next few days.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Address change

End-of-Year Reminder

Several weeks ago, the URL to my blog changed. Currently, Blogger is redirecting to the new web address, but I don't know how long that will be the case. If you haven't updated my address, now might be a good time to do so. I wouldn't want to lose you.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Star style: Frank Sinatra's penthouse

In 1957, after divorcing Ava Gardener, Frank Sinatra bought this 3000 square foot apartment at 530 East 72nd Street in New York City, which takes up the 22nd and 23rd floors of the building. Sinatra helped design the penthouse himself, which was completed in 1961. He lived there until 1972.

The penthouse has four bedrooms, six bathrooms, a wraparound terrace and a glass party room, from which guests have a view of the East River and the NY skyline. Andy Warhol once called the penthouse "the glittering grotto in the sky," where party-goers such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe and JFK were seen.

Sinatra sold the property to Andy Warhol's doctor Denton Cox. After his death in 2008, it was purchased by insurance executive Penny Hart for $2.3 million. She renovated the bathrooms and the kitchen and added a glass staircase, just like the ones in Apple stores, and put the penthouse on the marked for over $7 million in 2012, but there were no takers at that price. She eventually sold it for approxiately $2 million less.

From,,, and
l to r: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Simple design...spectacular look

This great lamp is now on my wish list. It's the Disk for Toss B, designed by Jean-François D'Or.

It is the epitome of simple design elegance. A large disk of reinforced, coated aluminum with a textile electrical cable, it comes in a large and small hanging versions, wall and ceiling versions, as well as a floor version.


Disk by Jean-François D'Or for Toss B

Ceiling/wall version

Floor version

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day, 2013

Here's hoping that you are enjoying a very happy holiday season.

Festive Ornaments, Shimako Okamura

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas over the last half of the 20th century

Over the last half of the 20th century, Christmas fads came and went. Some even became family traditions. On this festive Christmas Eve, take a look at a few.



Harry J. Hoenselaar invented HoneyBaked Ham's sweet glaze and spiral slicer in his Detroit basement in the late 1950s. By the 1980s, the meaty treat had become a holiday regular. The company still makes half of its annual sales in December.

Artificial trees entered the marketplace in the 1950s. By 2010, about 50 million homes had gone artificial, while 30 million stayed with real trees.


People went crazy for Etch A Sketch in 1960, and the Ohio Art Company manufactured them till noon on Christmas Eve. Kids today still love the static-charged drawing toy, as well as the Etch A Sketch-themed iPhones and iPad covers.

Etch A Sketch

By 1961 Nat King Cole was on his fourth recording of "The Christmas Song," this time in stereo. It was added in 1963 to the album The Magic of Christmas, a full album of holiday tunes that are still played today.

Nat King Cole

Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas came out in 1966. It, along with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Charlie Brown and Frosty the Snowman remain perennial animated stars, and all are from the 1960s.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas


The quest for the perfect roast turkey ended in the 1970s when Butterball introduced plastic giblet-and-neck bags, patented turkey lifter, a cooking directions booklet and its patented Deep Basting process.

Butterball turkey

In 1975, ad executive Gary Dahl put a rock on some straw in a cardboard box, punched holes for air, and made more than a million dollars on Pet Rocks. The craze ended within six months, but they're back on the market this year.

Pet Rock


The movie A Christmas Story came out in 1983 and has developed a cult following by the turn of the century. Cable channels feature 24-hour marathons of Ralphie, the leg lamp and the Red Ryder BB gun.

Santa telling Ralphie, "You'll shoot your eye out!"

Cabbage Patch Kids became the "in" toy in the early 1980s, and by the end of 1983, almost 3 million orphan dolls had been "adopted."

Cabbage Patch doll


Blockbuster Video introduced the gift card in 1994, and today more than half of all adults say they would rather receive them than gifts, according to the National Retail Federation. Today's latest trend is e-gift cards. Now you can say, "Here's an email. Go buy yourself something nice."

Gift card

In the mid-1990s, "Happy holidays" emerged as the season's greeting of choice as people decide to avoid offending anyone who celebrates Hanukkah or Kwanzaa...or doesn't celebrate at all.

Holiday decorations

Monday, December 23, 2013


While researching for a post, I happened upon a site...tudò & co...that has interesting lighting offerings...some reproductions and some not.  I won't open the can of worms about the ethical implications of buying replicas/knock-offs. I did that in a series entitled Is It Real? that you can read here, here and here. You get to decide where you stand on that issue. Here are a few samples of their wares.

Benjamin Hubert BH1 and BH2 pendants (replicas)
Original:  $500-650
Tudo and Co:  $165

Foscarini Aplomb pendants (replicas)
Original:  $805
Tudo and Co:  $169

Tom Dixon Beat pendants (replicas)
Original:  $535
Tudo and Co:  $68

OCTO pendant lights (replicas)
Original by Secto:  $1892
Tudo and Co:  $$112

Edison filament bulbs

Sunday, December 22, 2013

In the store: A tale of four chairs

We recently acquired another A-Frame chair by Edward Wormley for Dunbar...dark and serious, except for the sweep of the front legs. And we got in another Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner for AP Stolen.

The last time we had these two chairs in the store, the A-Frame was a bit on the wild side, with genuine alligator upholstery, and the Papa Bear chair was an understated  gray wool.

Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner

Edward Wormley #5840 A-Frame chair for Dunbar

This time the tables have completely turned, and the A-Frame is the quiet and unassuming one, while the Papa Bear...well, let's just say that Papa has found his feminine side. (We're offering it as-is or with a complete makeover.)

Edward Wormley A-Frame chair

Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair in 

What do you think? Will the buyer find Papa pretty in pink and take him home as-is or insist on a complete restoration?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In the store: Floor lamps

New to the store are two floor small Lightolier by Gerald Thurston and a large Italian made of brass and marble. The small lamp stands about 48 inches tall (122 cm), and the Italian lamp is 86 inches (122 cm). Despite their difference in size, both are equally dramatic.

Gerald Thurston floor lamp for Lightoler

Front view

Italian floor lamp in brass with marble base

Close-up of globe

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sottsass (1917-2008) was born in Innsbruck, Austria. He studied architecture in Turin, Italy, and opened a studio there in 1947.

He was a design consultant for Olivetti from 1958 to 1989, where he created the memorable Elea 9003 calculator and the famous red portable typewriter, commonly referred to as the Valentine typewriter, because it was released on Valentine's Day in 1969.

In the 1970s he designed housewares for Alessi, a decanter for Baccarat, a chair for Knoll and carpet for Namastre.

In the 1980s he was a founder and leading figure of Memphis, a Milan-based design group famous for brightly colored post-modern furniture, lighting and ceramics. The collection  included works in glass, acrylic, aluminum and tropical wood. His Tahiti lamp from this period looks like a tropical bird with a long yellow neck and red beak.

Sottsass was known for his playfulness, his wit and his whimsical ornamentation, but he said, "Memphis is like a very strong drug. You cannot take too much. It's like eating only cake." Even he would probably say of this room, "Out of control!"

From and

Memphis design

Valentine typewriter for Olivetti by Sottsass and Perry King

Enorme phone

Tahiti lamp

Knoll Mandarin chairs

Tartar console

Custom headboard with drawers

Nine-O chairs for Emeco

Olabuenaga House - Hawaii, USA

Wolf House - Colorado, USA

Jasmine Hill House - Singapore

Casa Cei - Tuscany, Italy

I found this brief video to be an interesting look into Sottsass's life and career.
Uploaded by DesignPublic - June 9, 2008