There are a few catalogues that I look forward to receiving. Mostly they are related to home, decorating or objects of interest. Every once in a while I receive a catalogue that stands out. The first time I got one from Sundance, I had so many pages dogged eared, I might as well have said – I want everything and anything in this! Anthropologie is another one that I love to thumb through over and over again. This season I received one from uncommon goods. Talk about some unique and cool items. Since I have been shopping for the holidays these last several weeks, I thought I would share some the items I found interesting. Perhaps some that might be appropriate for your home. I have limited my selections to home goods, they offer so much more! I have kept the product descriptions as quoted from the catalogue because I thought they were appropriate. Please go to their website to view the following as well as many more items. www.uncommongoods.com
“Old wine barrels can be used for lots of things, like these sturdy Vintner’s benches, which are made from reclaimed wine barrel staves (the bent planks that make up the barrel’s sides). Perfect for the mud room, porch, or back-door entrance, each bench is handcrafted and uniquely aged and patinaed. No two are alike. Handmade in Texas.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Add a kick of street style to your home with this sturdy, compact seat that features a creative reuse of of roughed-up skateboards. Broken boards are byproducts of skate culture and decks are usually destined for the landfill once they’re cracked. Inspired by the consistent way many skateboards were busted, artist Jason Podlaski collects shattered skateboards from skateshops and skateparks in the US and Canada and turns both deck and truck into a hybrid, high-quality piece of furniture that’s built tough. The scrapes and scars on the decks create a beautiful veneer of use over the original graphics. Every deckstool is meticulously built, reinforced and finished by skilled craftsmen in Pennsylvania.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Lovingly reclaimed and refurbished by hand, this Adirondack-style chair was once an industrial storage pallet. Each sturdy, one-of-a-kind piece is handmade from repurposed pine and oak with rare earth neodymium magnets that transform its design into a functional modular piece.
Embedded magnets allow the chair to collapse back into an easy-to-store pallet shape. Naturally endowed with a gorgeous patina, each piece is made to play elegant host to backyard soirees for years to come. Handmade in Ventura, CA of reclaimed wood, glue, neodymium magnets, paint, VOC compliant exterior varnish & sealant.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“You won’t have to tread lightly around storage with this industrial tote, hand-sculpted from scraps of recycled tires in Milwaukee. Ideal for multi-purpose storage, its tough and roomy road rubber frame was born to haul it all–from firewood to fresh-picked fruit. A natural bin for your home or garden, this basket goes the extra mile: All one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade in a job skill workshop by people with disabilities or limiting conditions. Handmade in Wisconsin.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Whether or not the wine born from this wine barrel had an earthy flavor, this side table has an earthly quality. Made from recycled white oak wine barrels – they’re usually discarded after a few years – the side table has a shelf and splendid iron accents. Handmade in Georgia.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Add a burst of life to your table setting with this curvaceous candlestick. Designer Paul Loebach gives his creation its unique twist by using state-of-the-art technology: from computer design to special 3D printers to the final result, these whimsical candelabras are the embodiment of delight, pure and simple.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Each candle takes the shape of a bold, nearly two-dimensional shape with a textured surface, and rests in a brushed aluminum stand. But in spite of their futuristic aesthetic, the process of making them is decidedly old fashioned. They are entirely handcrafted, from the forming of the molds, to the trimming of each wick, and every detail in between. The candles are made from 100% triple-pressed palm wax, an environmentally friendly, renewable material. Palm wax melts with little or no dripping, and its high melting temperature ensures they will maintain their shape as they burn. The candles are unscented, so you can enjoy them at dinner without overpowering your meal. Handmade in Bloomington, IN.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Celebrate those dearest to you with elegant 100% recycled glass globes, featuring an interior glass trunk that branches out to support vibrant splashes of color. Handmade in Canada by artist Stephen Kitras. To make these pretty globes, artist Stephen Kitras first has to receive a shipment of broken glass from a supplier in Seattle that makes windows for cars, homes and offices. They send their broken shards to Kitras, who then melts them down in a furnace for 12 hours before creating his signature pieces. Globes come with a plastic hang tag that is designed to be used for hanging the globe, either on the display stand specifically designed for the globe or from a different location.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“This embroidered pillow piles the whole family onto the couch without cramping your style. The ultimate creature comfort, featuring customized figures for all the characters under your roof. Handmade of cotton and flax by Mary and Shelly Klein in Grand Rapids, MI.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Your guests are sure to be impressed with this eye-catching glass sushi or cheese tray. Artist Orfeo Quagliata designed this vivid colored tray using his own handcrafted opaque glass that he creates in his glass studio in Mexico. Striking, sturdy and versatile, this tray can be used as a modern centerpiece or to showcase your scrumptious hors d’oeuvres or sushi.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Since he was a kid, Graham Bergh has been making things out of found objects. After getting his Master’s in Economics and Environmental Policy, he wanted to become an innovative recycling professional when he got a flat tire on his bike and said, “Hmmm…interesting material…” So he got to building creations by hand out of recycled bicycle parts, and soon gathered a team of artists to come up with new ideas and assemble the ideas they had. The results are distinctive accents like this bike chain bowl, which is perfect for keys, change and more. Handmade in Oregon.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Show me your ways… teach me your paths… guide me in your truth.”
~ Psalm 25 (engraved on bottom of bowl)
“Symbolic of a spiritual journey and personal discovery, this beautiful labyrinth bowl encourages you to contemplate your own path through life. For a calming and contemplative practice, hold the cool pewter in your palm and gently run your finger tip down the path from the outer edge, trace the path to the center and then back out again. Handmade in California by Cynthia Webb. Lead-free pewter.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Made from dried Mexican papaya, this parchment bowl is a stunning centerpiece and guaranteed conversation piece. Artisan Margaret Dorfman hand builds each fragile bowl out of parchment made from slices of papaya through a 12-day process that includes curing, pressing and aging each piece. Place a glass votive candle inside the bowl for a warm orange glow or fill it with fragrant potpourri. Handmade in California. Each is one of a kind and will vary.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“More flip for your flop, these colorful doormats are made of scrap foam rubber from sandal factories in the Philippines that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Float-ropes are used by lobstermen to tether their lobster traps. Unfortunately, float-rope entangles Northern Right Whales (an endangered species) which swim in the same waters. In order to protect these whales, lobstermen are now required to turn in their old float-ropes and switch to sink-ropes instead. 300,000 pounds of float-rope was destined to go to landfills and burning facilities in Massachusetts before it was re-purposed for projects such as this.
Extremely durable, these doormats can handle the toughest weather conditions and are resistant to mold, mildew, salt water and sun. They do not absorb water or harbor insects. To clean, just give it a good shake. Handmade in Maine of 100% recycled materials. Includes card about the project.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“This multicolor hand blown recycled glass is so gorgeous, you may decide to display it au naturel. Of course, it also looks great filled. Try your hand at a centerpiece of daffodils, colored marbles or even jelly beans. The possibilities are endless thanks to the generous splashes of color. A unique gift since no two vases are exactly alike. Handmade by Canadian artist Stephen Kitras.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Enjoy a moment of Zen with the handmade Buddha Bowl. Nestled naturally in your palm, this bowl allows you to enjoy rice, soup, cereal and hot cocoa with ease. Its comforting shape washed in soothing color, this dish brings a touch of tranquility to your daily routine. Who knows-maybe you’ll find enlightenment in your morning latte. Available in many colors: olive, pacific, aubergine, black bean, tofu, and butter. Created by Flavour Design. Sold individually. Handmade in southern California.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Bring nature and relaxation to your life with this engaging bonsai garden kit. More than just a potted plant, this is a grove of miniature trees that you foster along, from seedling to sprout to bonsai forest.
These tiny trees are actually ancestors of the giant California redwood. Called Dawn redwood, they were thought to be extinct until the 1940s when one was discovered growing in a rice field in central China. And even though its towering relative is an evergreen tree, the Dawn redwood is one of only two known deciduous conifers. In the fall its leafy needles turn from green, to yellow, to copper, bringing the pageant of the changing seasons to your desk or kitchen window.
Kit includes: tree and moss seed, recycled steel seedling training pots, seed starting wafers, growing medium, bonsai scissors, rake with spade, river stone, and directions. Handmade in the USA” (uncommon goods, 2011)
All of the above items can be found at uncommon goods. www.uncommongoods.com
Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season – here’s to a Happy and Prosperous 2012! As always, if you have any design queries, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978.335.1140.
Would I be interested in helping to update the high school teacher’s lounge? That was the initial email regarding the “surprise” make over that a group of parents wanted to provide to show the teachers/staff how much they appreciated the work they provided for their children and within the community. I received this email on November 17, with the intention to execute the transformation over the Christmas holiday break (December 27 – 30). Basically, one month to raise funds, make selections/specifications, order/purchase and install during the busiest time of the year: between Thanksgiving and New Years. Naturally, I said I would love to help in any way I could. I have two children currently in the high school as well as a graduate, so I figured this was a volunteer effort that was within my comfort zone.
A small group of us met with the principal to clarify any conditions that we needed to be made aware of and any restrictions. He informed us that we needed to use low VOC paint and that was about it. I thought it would be a great opportunity to also bring in a recycled flooring option that I have specified, FLOR carpet tiles. After assessing the situation, my thoughts were to:
An initial email went out to as many families as all of us knew sharing our intent and asking for donations of money towards the cause as well as time to volunteer to implement the design. We were stunned by the response within the first few days. As I had begun making selections and pricing out the costs, it looked like the donations would cover most of the expenses. I would pass my design discounts on where possible to help us reach our projected budget goals. I was able to do this on the paints/stains, FLOR carpet tiles, fabric for upholstering and labor costs for reupholstering and even on the tables from Bed, Bath and Beyond when a woman handed me a 20% discount coupon while in the check out line when she heard what the tables were going to be used for. The table lamps were donated by Timeless Interiors.
With everything specified and ordered before Christmas, we planned the schedule of installation. The carpet tile had been delivered to the custodial room and were being hidden under blankets. I had picked up the fabric yardage and was storing that along with the lamps at my office. I spent Christmas weekend assembling the end tables. The plan was that on Monday, the carpet would be ripped out and the walls and woodwork would be prepped for paint/stain (to be the messiest day of the week), Tuesday we would paint/stain, Wednesday we would install the carpet tiles, and Thursday we would have the sofa/loveseat picked up at Jordan’s and delivered and do final clean up and accessorizing.
Well- Mother Nature decided to throw a rather intense snow storm that Sunday into Monday – so the whole schedule was thrown out the window and we came in Tuesday to do our best to make it all come together with whatever volunteers showed up. The first issue that day was that the carpet was glued down for so many years – it took two very strong teenage boys along with some strong Dads to pull most of it up. There was an 8’x 8’ patch that would not budge. Luckily, the custodian walked in and mentioned a flooring company the school uses and perhaps they could help us out. Wednesday morning, Paul Ritchie of Paul Ritchie Flooring in Beverly and crew showed up to remove the remaining carpet patch and INSTALL the carpet tiles for us. I had intended to spend the day, along with volunteers doing this task. I am forever grateful that professionals did it!
Everything was coming together beautifully. A few on-the-spot decisions regarding paint vs. stain when the old wood would not stop absorbing the stain and it wasn’t looking any better than when we started. Apply paint!
I ran to Christmas Tree Shop on Thursday to see what I could find for adding some colorful accessories (on a strict budget!) to put on the shelves. As soon as I walked in, I hit the jack pot. $70 for all the decorative pieces of glass, ceramics and metal baskets. Sofa/Loveseat delivered Friday morning along with a handful of volunteers to move in all of the other furnishings. Chairs will be reupholstered in the coming weeks. (My upholsterer was on vacation.) Coffee table will get a crackle/antique finish applied in the coming weeks as well. Otherwise, we were able to make this transformation happen on time and within budget.
The added bonus: Monday morning, when the teachers returned from vacation – they entered their lounge in awe. I received wonderful emails and phone calls throughout the day expressing their gratitude for the time and money donated to this project. They said, “This gesture of kindness has improved morale, fostered collegiality and provided a space that is comfortable, welcoming and professional.”
A rather nice way to end 2010. Here’s to a new year of rewarding projects. Always feel free to contact me at lmk interiors, ltd.
email@example.com or (978)335-1140
Happy New year!