March 5, 2010

the rest of the blue chair hunt

Posted in furniture, life adventures, magazine tagged , at 1:07 pm by Brit

I love that I was caught up in the whirlwind of House Beautiful’s recent “Blue Chair Hunt” contest. Even though I didn’t win big, it felt good to win at all…I never win anything!

Here are some images of the other chairs that I coveted but did not score:

'prentiss chair' by bernhardt interiors found at south street seaport

arhaus furniture giles ocean blue chair found at columbus circle...this was my favorite

crate & barrel village azzuro...congrats jon!

la-z-boy 'carlyle reclining chair' in blue found at brooklyn heights

lee industries' 1703-01 chair in majestic blue found in greenwich village

room & board's 'cole' chair found in cooper square

Check out more images from House Beautiful’s Flickr Photostream.

Which is your favorite?


March 1, 2010

free furniture is the best

Posted in Apartment Project, diy, furniture tagged at 2:23 pm by Brit

At the end of every month, aka moving time, the sidewalks of New York are lined with rejected pieces of furniture, not worthy of being taken to the new apartment their owners are moving into.

But one person’s trash is another’s treasure, am I right? Point in case:

Found this puppy on the sidewalk by my apartment last night. Poor thing, all it needs is a little tender loving care. Nothing a few coats of paint (and a new drawer for the bottom) can’t fix.

No idea where I’ll put it, but I figured if I can’t find a place, then I’ll just put it back out on the sidewalk for another creative person to find and give it a new home.

In the meantime, Scout the Cat is enjoying a new height to perch upon.

September 23, 2009

interview with arms & barnes designer

Posted in designer, furniture, interview tagged , , at 3:38 pm by Brit

Show2Arms and Barnes is made up of the combined talents of sister designers, Andrea Porter and Ameri Spurgin. The duo handcrafts fabulous furniture from salvaged farm and factory wastes. I love the unique rustic/industrial look the furniture pieces bring to a room.

Show1They take old gears, blades, iron gates, breath a little life into them and turn them into luxury designs.


Andrea took the time to chat with me about her eco-friendly furniture.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.  My mom has been one of my main inspirations.  She has always been a creative force and has always made a lot out of very little in life.  I think my company’s path has paralleled my mother’s life.  My mother grew up on a Mennonite farm in Lancaster PA and was the eldest of 9 siblings.  She would wake up early every morning, before her farm chores, and study for her GED.  She went on to get her masters degree from NYU, here in the city.  Many of my pieces follow a similar route.  I find many of the objects in rural areas near where she grew up.  I turn these pieces into furniture that fits within an urban environment.

Do you go out looking with a particular type of item to find or does the furniture design idea come after finding a great piece to work with?

I have a general idea of what types of things to look for.  If there is a particularly great table that I previously made, I might keep my eyes open for something similar.  But I usually just keep my eyes open and look for things that are interesting.  Sometimes an item does not immediately seem like they would make a good table and it takes a little more creativity.

What made you look to old farm items and such to use in your furniture designs?

I made the 1st table for my own apt.  I had been looking for a coffee table and could not find anything interesting within a moderate price range.  Months before, I had picked up an old gear from a flea market and it had been sitting around my apt.  Since I couldn’t find a coffee table that I liked, I started to think that the gear would make a really unique table.  I took the gear to a local welder and attached legs to the gear and that became my coffee table.

How do you know where to look for old farm and factory items?

My mother came from Lancaster County, PA and there are still many farms in the area.  A large portion of my 1st pieces were from that area.  I visit antique shops and architectural salvage companies that I happen upon or find in various directories.  Sometimes I also go to farm auctions and flea market.  Otherwise, I just generally keep my eyes open everywhere I go.

What is your most interesting story upon acquiring a piece for a design?

One time I went to a farm auction.  Most of the bidders at the auction were working farmers.  Almost all of them were middle age to older men.  The few women that were around were farmer’s wives and were there to bid on the household items that were going up for auction separately.  As a female and an obvious urbanite, I received a lot of stares and questioning looks, when I started to bid on farm equipment.

What piece was the most difficult to create and why?

The creative aspects are not difficult, but sometimes there are other obstacles in creating my furniture.  I made a table out of a 62” diameter pulley wheel that was several hundred pounds.  It was very large and heavy, which made it awkward to work with and transport. Many of the pieces are made of cast iron or other heavy materials, but this one was particularly difficult.

How did you come up with the name “Arms and Barnes”?

They are childhood nicknames for my sister and me.  I wish I had a logical explanation for those names, but the reasoning of a child is not easy to decipher.

You get to travel the world, which must be amazing, what has been the most amazing place you’ve visited?

Cinque Terre, on the coast of northern Italy, is one of my favorite places.  I haven’t picked up any pieces there yet, but it is just a wonderful place to visit.

What are your goals for “Arms and Barnes”?

My immediate goal is to make more beautiful tables and get my pieces into the hands of people who love them as much as I do. I have some other ideas for the future, but right now I am focusing on tables.

Thanks Andrea! Be sure to check out their YouTube channel where they give you behind the scenes look in creating their masterpieces.

September 18, 2009

pallet daybeds…sigh

Posted in Blogs, decorating, furniture, inspiration tagged at 4:15 pm by Brit

I may have the complete opposite of these, but pallet daybeds make me swoon.

by pia jane bijkerk

by pia jane bijkerk

Here’s a great how-to from photographer Ashley Ann:


Wood pallets (ours a bit smaller than the standard size)

Palm Sander

80 grit, 200 grit sandpaper

5 large caster wheels

4 hinges

Thick foam for the ‘mattress’ – mine is from a fabric store then covered in a down comforter and soft bedding

The instructions are a simple as can be: Sand the pallets good and smooth. Bolt the two together on the tops and bottoms. Add caster wheels to all 4 corners and one in the very center. The wheels on mine are locked, except for the center one. I used an old door to sit behind it – just because I liked how it looked. Simple enough.

Be sure to check out the gorgeous before and after photos on her blog!

June 5, 2009

dresser makeover

Posted in Apartment Project, decorating, diy, furniture tagged , , , at 8:00 am by Brit

Back in college, I went through an “Asian-themed” phase. I have since moved on, but still have a few stragglers in the forms of accessories and this dresser:

pier 1

pier 1

I really like the actual bones of the piece, and I believe it’d make a nice makeover project. Maybe painted an off-white or light grey-blue color, sandpaper it down, and top it off with pretty knobs like these:

drawer pulls AT

Note to self: Scour the flea markets over the next couple of weeks for vintage knobs.

April 28, 2009

easy bookshelf diy

Posted in Apartment Project, decorating, furniture, living room, new apartment tagged , , , , , at 10:42 am by Brit

On my 5th birthday, my grandfather handmade me a bookshelf. I still have it, but it needed to be a bit updated. The wood color didn’t match anything that I owned, nor would ever own. Not wanting to trade it in for a new one, I made a few minor adjustments so I could keep it in my decor. I love the simplicity of the design, with the soft serpentine edges keeping it from looking too stiff Federal-style.


I painted it white, ran sandpaper over it to give it a distressed look and then took some wallpaper that I snagged from the giveaway table when I was at Elle Decor (I knew I would eventually use it!) and lined the back of the shelves to add some subtle interest. I didn’t want to bring too much attention to the bookself…with the amount of books that I have, it would cause it to look cluttered in my tiny apartment.

I did leave a small section unpainted…on the back my grandfather wrote “9/26/1989 Happy Birthday Brittny.”  Reading that makes me happy 🙂

Also, sorry I didn’t take a before pic! I thought I had a picture of this bookshelf taken in my old apartment, but unfortunately the entirety of it did not make it into the picture.

This literally took me 2 hours tops. It was a quick, easy, and most importantly, cheap, project. It’s amazing what a little paper and a coat of paint can do.