November 28, 2010

Furniture on the Cheap(er): Stuff Made from Metal

Instead of the usual post this week (given the holiday), here's an inspirational round-up of metal furniture. As I mentioned in this August post, local welders can make cool pieces for much, much cheaper than you'd pay for in a store - and to your exact specs. For example, I had a coffee table frame like the one in the photo of the ticking stripe sofa (below) made for just $75; I just had to add a $30 stain-ready top from Lowe's, cut to size. A few tips:
  • Call around, and I don't mean just two places, because prices can vary widely. I've been quoted anywhere from $75-250 for the exact same project, and was completely happy with the work done at the least expensive price.
  • The cheapest metal option is iron, which works well if you're going to paint it (remember, metal can be powder coated so it can be sprayed virtually any color if you want a change in the future). For a finish like antique brass, some welders will use actual brass (much more expensive) while some can create the look of antique brass on iron. Whichever finish you select, make sure you see samples first.
  • Be specific: Even if you're showing the welder a photo, s/he might not realize that it's important to you for the legs to be, say, ultra-thin. So give them exact dimensions when you can so there's no room for error.
  • Keep it simple: Contemporary pieces without curves will be more affordable for the welder to make, and there's less room for error. (Some of the items below, like the chairs, would require  more work on your part in terms of making sure your specs are exactly right, but they'd be so worth it.)
  • Table tops: Wood is your easiest/cheapest option (unless you want the welder to make the top surface out of metal, too). You can buy stain-grade pieces of wood for coffee or end tables at hardware stores for about $30 or less (Ikea sells these, too). If you want a professional, high-gloss finish on the wood, call an auto body shop: they can spray a piece, usually for less than you'd pay a furniture refinisher for the same job.  Another option is to call your local natural stone supplier to get a piece of, say, marble cut to size. Finally, glass: In my experience it will cost about $100 for a thick enough piece of glass for a desk or coffee table top (even at that price, the entire table/desk would end up costing only about $200-250).

All of the above photos are from 1stdibs, except for:
1) 2-tier Curvy Side Table from Worlds Away
2) Photo of gold leaf étagère from Sketch 42
3) Photo of dining table with two red chairs from Abbey Goes Design Scouting
4) Photo of coffee table in front of ticking stripe sofa from Domino magazine

November 21, 2010

Dark mustard velvet

1) Three dark mustard velvet fabrics (left to right): Performance Velvet in Wheat from Williams-Sonoma Home; Mustard Velvet from Greenhouse Design; Soft Textures Velvet in Cashew from Robert Allen Design
2) Tournai wool/sisal rug in Camel from Merida
3) Linear Wood Base Office Cabinet in Solid White Oak from Room and Board
4) Small Italian Burl Wood Parsons Table from Sputnik Modern on
5) Large Rail Vellum Side Table from Mecox Gardens
6) Bench with Leopard Print fabric from Ellen Ward Scarborough Antiques on
7) Parsons Desk in Solid White Oak from Room and Board
8) Harrison Three-drawer Writing Table from Hickory Chair
9) Louis XVI Gilt Bois Theatre Chair from Jerry Pair Antiques on
10) 1970s Tear Drop Table Lamp in Chrome from V&M
11) Thomas O’Brien Terri Crystal Accent Lamp from Circa Lighting
12) Kashmiri Temple Hanging from Sarajo on; (this one is WAY too big, but you could look for something similar in a much smaller size)
13) Blueprint Drawing of Ship Boiler Room, Circa 1920 from V&M
14) “Adventure on the Horizon” 16x16 painting from amolczak seller on Etsy
15) Picture of yellow books from

November 15, 2010

Recreating Favorite Rooms on the Cheap: An Apricot Couch

1) Photo of inspiration room from Style Chronicle
2) Morrison sofa from Robin Bruce; Depends on fabric, but pricing starts at under $1100
3) 2 Ethan Allen chairs from Chicago Craigslist; $350
4) 2 upholstered taupe chairs from Chicago Craigslist; $350 (offer $250 or less)
5) 2 antique chairs from Chicago Craigslist; $125
6) Jute Boucle rug in Flax from West Elm; $220 for 8x10 size
7) Torkaman 5x9 wool rug from Heritage Unlimited (it recently sold, but keep checking the site to find something similar); $445
8) Gold Toile Embroidered pillow from Bellacor; $61
9) John Robshaw gold king-size bed skirt from b.doe seller on ebay; $110
10) Gold metallic linen from NY Fashion Center; $30/yard
11) Pair of vintage French brass wall sconces from barondemontignac seller on ebay ; $57
12) Gold Leaf 2-light sconce from Interior Homescapes; $215 for a pair
13) Henredon Chinese Chippendale coffee table from seller highendusedfurniture on ebay; $390
14) “Child Pulling his Toy Truck at High Speed” from; $100 for 40x30
15) Judy Ross Tracks pillow from ; $88 (until 11/18)
16) Thomas O'Brien for Visual Comfort hand-rubbed antique brass sconces from Neena's Lighting; $380 for two

November 08, 2010

Recreating Favorite Rooms on the Cheap: A Bedroom from Domino

1) Photo of Kym Canter’s bedroom by Ditte Isager; via Sit. Relax. Gossip.; originally published in Domino, October 2006.
2) Torkaman 5’6”x9’7” wool rug from Heritage Unlimited; $265
3) Mazlaghan 4’9”x8’3” wool rug from Heritage Unlimited; $263
4) Coyote Faux Fur throw from Restoration Hardware; now on sale for $99
5) Hotel Collection 300 Thread Count Sateen Duvet Cover Set in black from Overstock; $50
6) Morgan full/queen duvet cover and two shams in Espresso from Pottery Barn; $280
7) Mongolian Lamb pillow covers from West Elm (for $60-130) and la*style seller on ebay ($78)
8) Louis XVI End Chair in Natural from Wisteria; $380
9) Louis XVI Oval Back armchair from Ballard Designs; about $500
10) Hand Painted Regency black side table from Simply Furniture; on sale for $137
11) Jizo side table from Urban Home; $100
12) ORE side table with two drawers from CSN Stores; $114
13) Weston Arc Sconces in Antique Brass from Pottery Barn; on sale now: 2 for $150
14) Globe pendant from West Elm; on sale now for $80
15) Light Source Swinger II Swing-arm Wall Lamp in Polished Brass from; $113 each
16) Medium Storage Basket from Urban Home; $380
17) Diamond Marble Charm from West Elm; $19
18) “The Detailed Mesh Pattern on a Military Tank Painted Beige with a Black and White Cross” print from; $50 for 32x24 print (other sizes available)
19) 7 ½-inch Black Fluted Pot from; $13

November 01, 2010

Affordable Room: Subtle Blue Curtains in a Dining Room

Sorry: It's a shorter-than-usual post this week.

1) Venetian Ottoman linen/cotton fabric in Celestia from Designer Fabrics Online: $33/yard
2) Parsons dining table in Walnut Veneer from West Elm; $400
3) Louis XVI Oval Back Side chair from Ballard Designs; $330 for COM option
4) Antique Vanilla table from JC Penney: $279
5) Spindle-back Windsor chair from Wisteria; $250
6) Vintage Art Deco chandelier from seller toynmn on ebay; $80
7) Ceylon chandelier in size large from Ballard Designs; $370
8) Mariestad 6-light chandelier from Ballard Designs; $200
9) Inked Flowers sketches from SephirothsHeart on DeviantArt; will have to “request as print”, but prints cost about $42 for a 20x30.
10) Water photo (“Meenikunno IV”) from Mithgariel on DeviantArt; will have to “request as print”, but prints cost about $42 for a 20x30.