Chair-itable Donations

Luca Furniture Before and After, Thrifting 1 Comment

“I’m in the Book” by This Way Home. Photo by Elaine Frederick.  Every year, the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) hosts a charity auction featuring upcycled, creatively reimagined chairs from designers and artists around the world. The event is officially called Take A Seat, but we have affectionately dubbed it “the chair-ity.”  This year’s entries from the New England IFDA chapter benefit the Women’s Institute of Housing & Economic Development, whose mission is to “promote economic opportunity and build strong communities by developing safe, affordable, and supportive housing for individuals and families.” It’s a worthy cause and a great excuse to get creative. I found my chair while trolling craigslist (what else!). It’s actually a vintage telephone bench, also known as a gossip bench. Back in the day, you would set your rotary landline on the built-in table and sit on the bench for a leisurely phone chat. You could even store your phonebook on the table’s lower shelf. Pretty handy piece of furniture, huh?  I …

Brimfield Highlights

Luca Events 1 Comment

It’s that time of year again– Brimfield Antique Show is in full swing! I spent yesterday trawling the market, searching for one-of-a-kind pieces for my clients; I did end up finding a cute vintage side table and brass vanity stool for one of my clients in Brooklyn. I will post photos as soon as I get the pieces to her space! But in the meantime, I wanted to share a few highlights from the rest of the show. This year’s selection was much more enticing than last year’s. Brimfield runs through May 17th, so be sure to check it out if you’re in New England! A bevy of Gustavian Mora clocks. Left: stone ram head wall hanging. Right: A signed Lee Reynolds mid-century painting of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline.   Papier–mâché animals and wall hangings. A vignette of retro mid-century clocks and industrial light fixtures. Moroccan rugs and throw pillows paired with a mid-century pendant light!  Love these chairs!  They would make a killer dining room set!  For …

Brimfield Antique Show

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Brimfield Antique Show, a world-renowned outdoor flea market, has been held triannually since 1950. They offer everything from architectural salvage to collectibles, fine antiques to kitschy classics, mid-century modern to industrial chic. For me, Brimfield is usually an exercise in restraint because I want to buy everything, but I was a bit disappointed by the selection this July. Nevertheless, here is a little peak at Brimfield’s wide variety of wares. A smattering of glove mannequins waiting for high-fives. An action figure injection mold– now I kind of wish I had bought this! An industrial lamp fit for an atomic laboratory. Alphabet soup. A fish and tackle booth. An antique octagonal cabinet. A bright azure Bengal stove. I definitely wouldn’t want to fly in a plane that says “EXPERIMENTAL” on the door… A beautiful set of teak rope seat mid-century dining chairs. The last Brimfield show for the year will be held September 2-7. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and pack some sunblock!

Oh Hey, George!

Luca Thrifting 1 Comment

I was strolling through Cambridge Antique Market last Saturday, and this handsome devil caught my eye: When I got closer, I realized that it was a painting on velvet of George Washington, modeled on Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait. It is roughly 6-ft tall. The painting has gorgeous craquelure, but it is still in excellent condition. The velvet is plush, and the color palette is rich; the subtle play of greys and blacks is still apparent. The dealer said he bought the piece at an auction, and unfortunately he lost all the information about its provenance. All he could tell me was that the painting is Victorian. Here is what George looked like when I first spotted him hidden at the back of the booth: I think this is a stunning statement piece, and I can’t wait to find it the right home. Perhaps in a living room against a white brick wall. Or in a library with lacquered black built-in bookshelves. We will have to wait …

The Settee Reveal

Luca Furniture Before and After, Thrifting 2 Comments

My Victorian settee is ready for its final reveal! The original piece was in a sad state, with lopsided springs and worn upholstery. I wanted to give the settee a fresh identity, so I chose an off-white fabric with embroidered black tufts. I love that this fabric is a bit irregular and freeform because it provides a nice contrast to the settee’s formal frame. Here is a close-up of the upholstery: Springs are much higher quality than foam padding, but they are also more expensive to replace. Luckily, loose and lopsided springs can often be repaired; they are simply retied in tight, orderly coils. One more reason to appreciate the excellent craftsmanship of antiques! This settee’s springs were able to be retied, and now it has an even, comfortable seat once again. The high contrast between the new off-white upholstery and the dark wood stain accentuates the frame’s intricate detail. I especially love the serpentine carving along the top edge of the frame back. I hope you all …

Lucite Chair Before & After

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Those of you who follow my instagram or twitter may remember a vintage lucite swivel chair I posted a few weeks back. I found the chair on craigslist in a little town just north of New York City. The red vinyl was all torn up, and the lucite body was covered with scratches; but I loved the fundamental design of the piece and decided it was worth restoring. Here is the before and after: I decided to reupholster the chair in white fabric. The original mod red vinyl was certainly a cool look, but I wanted to give this chair a real transformation. I found a creamy Italian suede for an excellent price at the fabric store. I love the little perforations that reveal a silver backing. The fabric looks simple from afar, but has a bit of personality up close. The silver backing also coordinates with the chair’s hardware. I took the chair and my new fabric to my favorite local …

Refinishing a Mid-Century Side Table

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I found a vintage mid-century side table on Craigslist a few months ago.  It had great bones and a lovely wood grain, but unfortunately the tabletop was worn and deeply scratched. Since the rest of the piece was in good condition, I decided to buy the table and refinish the top. I will take you through the process, which can be applied to any simple refinishing project. Here are some close-ups of the original damage. That middle scratch was about 6 inches long and a few millimeters deep. The top was also several shades lighter than the rest of the table from years of use and wear. The Process The first step is to remove the original finish and sand down any visible scratches. I used an orbital sander to expedite the process, but you can certainly do this by hand. This table has a wood veneer, a thin decorative layer of higher quality wood that surrounds the central structure, …

Quick & Dirty Bachelor Pad Makeover

Luca Design Projects, Thrifting 2 Comments

We all know guys like my recent clients: three bachelors who have been out of college for a number of years, but their apartment is still outfitted with broken Ikea furniture and family hand-me-downs.  My clients had a very small budget for decor, but they knew it was time for an upgrade. So I gave them a quick and dirty living room overhaul. When I design on a budget, I like to outline general parameters for the room without setting my heart on anything too specific.  In this case, I wanted to create a sophisticated, but unfussy space, filled with natural materials and vintage accents. My first purchase was a vintage leather couch on Craigslist for $400.  I love the warm medium tone of the leather.  We paired the couch with a grey loveseat, which we found at Target for $430.  The tailored look of the loveseat is a nice balance to the informality of the leather couch, but the loveseat’s …